Volume V, No. 1, Fall 1977


As we begin our fifth year publishing BITTERSWEET, we realize how complete has been the turnover in our staff over the years. Obviously, not a one of the original nor the second year staff is still with us, though we do have younger brothers and sisters of that first staff. But even though at our headquarters in Lebanon High School, I'm the only original one still here, out there in the towns and on the farms, are many of the same people who from the start have been absolutely essential to our success--the men and women who invite us into their homes and lives to give us the information we need to write and illustrate our stories.

The staff members graduate. As they keep changing, so might I be replaced with another teacher and still the magazine could go on, but we would have to fold up without the continued interest and willingness of people like Lois Beard, Dorothy McMicken, George Kastler, Ella Dunn, Lyn Marble, Esther Griffin and Myrtle and Elvie Hough to answer patiently our thousands of questions as we come back again and again.

Our association with the Houghs goes back to our beginnings. In April of 1973, before we were offically a class, Eliot Wigginton from FOXFIRE visited us. He was with us on our very first interview visiting Elvie and Myrtle Hough when Elvie explained how he used to cut oats with the hand powered grain cradle. "Would you like me to show you how this summer when the oats get ready?" he asked.

Of course we did, the resulting story appearing in Winter, 1973. Since that time we've visited them many times for instructions on how to use homemade lye, tack comforts and make sorghum molasses and for information on outdated customs and ways of living. Nor have we learned anywhere near all they can teach us. As I'm writing this Daniel and Stephen are with Elvie getting more material for a forthcoming article on building bridges.

Therefore the staff thought it appropriate to put Elvie's picture on the cover of this issue which is devoted to people and personalities.

We have still another reason. This photo gives us an excellent opportunity to sneak in a bit of advance notice of our book BITTERSWEET COUNTRY which will be released by Doubleday and Company, probably next spring. Elvie Hough and the grain cradle will be included in the book, and though we don't know whether it will be used or not, we sent a photo similar to this one to use on the book cover.

In appreciation of their help the staff and I would like to dedicate this issue of BITTERSWEET to all our friends whom we have met and loved throughout the area all the way from the Kansas border to the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers to northern Arkansas. We dedicate it to all our old friends as well as the new ones, Rose Lorance, Katie Lowry, Ernie Hough and Goldie Campbell who are featured in this issue.

Thanks, each one of you.
Ellen Gray Massey

First year staff member Robert McKenzie snapped Elvie Hough in April 1973.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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