National Geographic : 1993 Feb
of drama-storytelling. "I want to show them how important it is to understand and appreciate their family and their culture," she said. "At first the class complains, 'Oh, these are like the stories I hear at grandpa's.' I say, 'That's part of who you are.' Storytell ing keeps the past alive." I wish someone had encouraged my interest in my home. I might have been more like Tif fany Waller, who doesn't seem at all the type who will ever deny where she's from. The 15 year-old daughter of Maxine Waller, Tiffany works with the youth council of the Ivanhoe Civic League, which has been raising money to build its own radio station. Tiffany and a friend wrote a fight song for the cause, based on the popular country tune "I'm Gonna Be Somebody," by Travis Tritt. Clicking her fingers and jumping from one foot to the other while a boom box played the original song, Tiffany sang unselfcon sciously in the dining room of the Waller home. "We're gonna be somebody; one of these days we're going to break these chains." Her mother sat at the table, nodding her head in time to the music. "We're gonna be some body someday; you can bet your hard-earned dollar we will." "Tiffany is me without restrictions," her mother told me that night as she lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling. "She's not afraid to say she's Appalachian and be proud." As Waller was telling me how she worried about reaching all "the young 'uns falling through the cracks," Tiffany stuck her head into the room to remind her she needed a dress ironed for school the next day. "I'm going to bed," she announced. "Well, kiss me good-night," Waller com manded. Tiffany bounced past me, bent over the bed, and pecked her mother's cheek. "Hey," Waller shouted, breaking into a laugh and grabbing Tiffany's wrist, "you're gonna be somebody!" 0 No more strains of "Rocky Top"float over the tobacco harvest on the Lewis farm in Mountain City, Tennessee. Matthew "justdidn't like to march," so he's dropped the saxophone. Last year's crop started poorly but ended well. Or as the "old folks say," according to Matthew's mother, Arlene: "It came out of the kinks."