(Original post date: June 30, 2010)
We keep reading and hearing people recount real-life Blue Ridge Parkway memories that echo the story that unfolds in “When the Parkway Came.”
We first wrote about this last December upon reading about Virginia musician Whit Sizemore’s memories of his family’s encounter with the Parkway.
Last night, WRAL’s wonderful new Parkway documentary, “America’s Favorite Journey,”featured Jerry Wolfe, of Cherokee, recalling that his birthplace home stood where the Parkway now lies. And this morning’s Asheville Citizen-Times carried Nanci Bompey’s good piece on Haywood County’s Joe Arrington, who has recently sold and donated some of his family’s lands to the Parkway to preserve views. A little section from Bompey’s article reads almost like a page from our book:
“We lived on the property (bordering the parkway) until I was about 12 years old, and I remember very early on in my life my mother and father telling me that they were going to build a highway on the mountain behind us,” the Haywood County native said. “It seemed impossible, but they did it.”
As a teenager, Arrington would ride on horseback to look at construction of the scenic road running through land his father and grandfather owned before it became part of the new national park.
Even though When the Parkway Came’s central story is fictional, it’s gratifying to know that — in the spirit of other works of fiction that we admire, like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel — we’ve captured something true about the hundreds of personal histories that crisscross the landscape of our beautiful national park.
We hope our book will spur other people to unpack their own memories and share their own stories.