This is the most charming book in all of Appalachian literature. On his eighth birthday, January 9, 1891, Will McCall's mother gave him a blank journal, and this book consists of his entries into that journal. I guarantee you will love how he writes about "Sunday my wursist day," "relijin in both legs," "smiled way in my eyes," and you will be moved by "he whipped hate in my eyes but nary a grunt outta my mouth," and "Ma was drinkin tears,"Although born in Blount County, Tennessee, near the Smokies, Will's father had moved first to Red Ash, Kentucky, and then near Jellico, Tennessee, to work in the coal mines. The year after young Will got this journal, he started working in the mines as well. Then he attended nearby Highland College which became Cumberland College while he was there and is now the University of the Cumberlands. Then, as was much more common at that time, he got a second B.A. from Lincoln Memorial University, and then he went on to Columbia University where he got his third Bachelors, a Masters, and PhD from Columbia's Teacher's College. He became a leading education professor there and one of the pioneers in the field of educational assessment. In this journal, which the bright young mountain boy wrote as a kid, his favorite expression was, "I thunk me a thaut," because he was always using his brain to devise some kind of trick to get his way or figure out what was going on or to play a joke on somebody. This book will make you laugh out loud, but don't be surprised if some of the passages also elicit some tears from your eyes.
New York: Teacher's College Press, 1975. 40 pages with Preface and Afterword by Helen Dudar. Hardback issued without a dust jacket but with a nice title graphic.