And then there are “the locals,” the dear folks who befriended and welcomed my family and me when we chose to make the Valley our home over twelve years ago. I can still remember when the late Ina Bryan and our “new friend” Judy Roland (formerly of Georgia) came up to the porch for a visit. Ina had never seen the Valley from the angle of our house, and I really enjoyed her pointing out to me various peoples’ homes and farms.
On another visit with Ina, I asked her if she grew up here (in Wears Valley). She said, “Oh, no.” That surprised me since I had assumed she had lived here her whole life. Naturally, I asked her, “So where did you grow up?” And Ina quickly replied, “Happy Hollow.”
Now Ina’s answer really made me stop and think. In my mind Happy Hollow was a part of Wears Valley just the same as say the Thunder Mountain neighborhood is. But not to Ina…when she grew up here it was a long ways from Happy Hollow to Wears Valley!
Pondering our conversation later, I really understood Ina’s perspective. I, too, grew up in a little small town in rural Mississippi. When we had the opportunity to go to the next town over (10 miles away), that was a real treat. And if you went on a weekday, you must really need to do or get something badly. No one ever drove that ten miles unless there was an important reason to do so!
Some rural areas like Wears Valley and Happy Hollow have seen a lot of growth; others like my Mississippi hometown have not. What has not changed, though, and the major reason I am honored to call Wears Valley home, are the people like Ina and W.B. Bryan. Wonderful, salt of the earth folks who have blessed me by being my “friends and neighbors.”
About Fran: Fran Troxler, husband David, and their 5 children moved to the Valley in Jan. 1999. The children have attended Wearwood Elementary School and Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. Fran is the owner of East Tennessee Realty Group. She lives in the Hideaway Mountain Subdivision off Little Cove Road.