I grew up in rural America. A small place — that I can’t even really call a town — on the summit of the Appalachian Mountain Range in central Pennsylvania. Population, 264. My Elementary school was connected to the Jr./Sr. High School. The school bused students in from over twenty miles away and still my graduation class size was just over 100.
I lived in one of the most populated areas; which means someone was within shouting distance. It was within walking distance of the school. If you look at the photo below you will see my school, the sports fields I played on, the woods I hunted, and the streams I fished. It was remote, to say the least. Just look at the distance between the “development” we lived in and the next closest home! The areas that are clear-cut were strip-mined back in the early-1900’s. Mine shafts run all through the area (in fact, there’s one under my parent’s house).
We didn’t have a mall. There were no 7-Elevens. We didn’t have cable television; just three over-the-air channels (if you count PBS) that were not entirely clear.
What we did have was wildlife, to include an occasional bear wandering into the back yard. We played pick-up football games in the autumn on fields that were, essentially, pastures. My summers found me with my fishing rod tied to my bike frame, a baseball glove on the handle bars, and something that was once a baseball (but now was held together by electrical tape) tucked inside. Winter was brutal on the mountain, but it didn’t stop us from zipping ourselves up in “snowmobile suits” and grabbing our Red Flyer sleds and toboggans. We skated on frozen ponds… the same ones we swam in (against our mother’s wishes… and knowledge) during the summer. Catching tadpoles was practically a rite of passage.
The schools closed on the first day of buck season.
The county waited all year for the Fair to come in August.
It’s how we lived… and we loved it.
The people were genuine. Hard working, self-sufficient, folk who would give the (flannel)shirt off their back. We looked after our own, yes… but we also looked after anyone else who found their way into our town. We stopped when someone’s car was broken down alongside the road. We supported the local high school football team on Friday nights. A night out was sitting with friends, drinking “pop” and dreaming. You know, simple acts of kindness and living. I expected the whole world was like this until I went off to college. Shocker!
This was not at all unlike many areas of West Virginia. This is probably why I love that state. It is so much like where I was raised.
It’s certainly why I hate when people think of those who live this way as backwoods country-bumpkins. We’re not stupid! You can see why those who think this way offend me. They offend the people of rural West Virginia no less.
Which brings me to the Vantrease family…
I convinced myself a while ago that they lack emotional intelligence. By this time, is there anyone who would still disagree?
It all started weeks after Austin Vantrease, the pride of the family, was put behind bars in 2010. The sister, Andraya (Andy) Vantrease, puts out what I call a “cutesy” post on social media that really just offended people of West Virginia. It was based on the premise of “oh, the people you meet” and, in a round-about way, poked fun at those in rural America. It has become her trademark passive-aggressive tactic.
Some people are such idiots!
Why in the hell would a person irritate those who it would be best to leave alone?
It continues too. When Austin spent several weeks in a prison in Welch, WV she specifically attacked those who live and work there. Nothing like pissing off those who have the inmate brother in their custody. To me, it’s typical of their approach to everything… attempt to humiliate and deflect. Why else would she seemingly make fun of those people? She uses degrading hashtags like:
Congratulations. Way to annoy the wrong people. I can hardly wait for the insults to start rolling in about the citizens of St. Mary’s, WV. I take that back, in effect, they already have.
You would think that after the Parole Board, in no uncertain terms, cautioned this family to think twice about what they post on social media that they would not do something this foolish… so flippin’ soon. I swear, some people just never learn! This is after all the “misinformation” that was released by Andraya Vantrease leading up to the hearing. Eh, let’s call it what it is, by my way of thinking… libel. This family has said plenty for me to file a suit against them. I believe I would win. I’ve even been asked if I want to pursue this. Maybe, but I’m so sick of lawsuits, lawyers, judges, and criminals.
Then again, it’s always nice to have this (and the ever evolving lies) in my back pocket in case they go after this website (or me).
Andraya Vantrease would be the first name on my claim! She’s in deep.
If Austin Vantrease has any chance in the future I’d suggest he separate himself from this “support system” now. He won’t, of course, and this is why he seems doomed to me. Would you actually believe that one of the other men involved in the attack actually attended his last parole hearing in support of his release? He proudly represented himself as “best friend of Austin Vantrease”. It’s true! Nothing like signaling to the Parole Board that nothing has changed in his post-release social life.
Like I told the Board, his family and friends are not his support… they are part of his problem.