to Harlan. It's a sorry place, but mostly I like Harlan.”
Betty Lundy gave birth to fourteen children. Their ages range from eighteen to forty-one. Eleven are living. Betty collects an unemployment check of $78 every two weeks and a black lung check for $60 once a month. She and five of her children are crammed into a four-room shack. No one says too much to “outsiders” in this family. They just look at you silently, in pain, and hesitate to answer questions.
Sunshine is typical of the old mining camps that have not been abandoned nor kept up. Dilapidated houses sinking into the ground, with broken-down porches, failing ceilings, and decayed walls, is the bill of fare for two many people who rent in Sunshine.
Not far from this community is Ivy Hill, where smartly dressed children race around on their Mopeds. There are no houses to rent on Ivy Hill, just buy. The prices range from $75,000 and up.
Clyde Gaines, owner of Gaines Lumber Company, lives on Ivy Hill. He also owns 1,000 acres on Pine Mountain. On his land, he has built a summerhouse; a man-made lake, stocked with fish; two tennis courts—owned by Gaines and his neighbors; a stable and riding ring; and a grouse farm. If you talk to Clyde Gaines, the living ain't too bad in Harlan County. Although Gaines is a charming, industrious and affable mountain man, he conveniently ignores the housing and welfare problems facing Harlan County.
“I have a five-room house down the foot of this hill, with city water and a new bathroom. And it's for sale, and it's been for sale for two months,” he said. “I'm asking $15,000 for it. I have not been able to sell it. We've been advertising it in the paper. Does that sound like a housing shortage? It's a test. It's been in the paper. Forty percent down...that's $6,000. Does that sound like a great sum to raise to buy a house?
“Most everybody around here has something like that if you're talking $6,000. Six thousand dollars in Harlan is not very much money. It may be in Boston, but it's not in Harlan. People buy automobiles around here every day for $6,000. Maybe that's why there are so many shacks.
“What you're trying to get me to agree on is that this is poverty and everyone is poor, which is not true. Everyone is rich. Everybody has a color television, two automobiles and a bathroom. I sure don't agree with that—that they don't have adequate housing in Harlan. I don't know of anyone that's not pretty well housed in Harlan.
“In the Depression, I lived in a four-room house. They are much better than the tenement houses I see in places like Boston or Washington, D.C. That's (the tin and debris on the sides of the roads) just the fault of sorry people. That's not because they won't let us