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Nanty Glo aka Camelot on the Blacklick

Letter No. 337 | March 4, 2009

I have to admit that my first impression of Nanty Glo was kind of wonderful.

I had been living in Cleveland, Ohio, after leaving my beautiful Appalachian Hills in and around Asheville, NC. Cleveland seemed the ugliest place on earth to me, and I genuinely grieved the loss of my beautiful Smoky Mountains. When we had moved to Cleveland, at the time I was 16, it started with my mom and sister in the bus station at Cincinatti, Ohio, and some people commenting on us, "Hillbillies! you can spot them every time!" I said to my sister, "Where are the Hillbillies?" and she replied, "I think they mean us, sis!" Ooooh, that stung!

When we arived in Cleveland, I thought it was the ugliest place I had ever seen. I thought, "Where are the beautiful Mountains?" I thought the people were cold, too. They would laugh at my accent, and at 16 , I wanted to "fit in." I always hated Cleveland, but my family lived there, so I stayed.

I met Dominic after I had lived in Cleveland about eight years. He took me to visit Nanty Glo and his family seemed so warm and friendly. I did love the hills. Although the slag heaps were ugly (at that time), it seemed like a paradise after having lived in Cleveland.

His family would all meet at Grandma and Grandpa Bendinelli's on Cardiff Road, and they welcomed me as if they had always known me. His mom was a Bendinelli. Dominic's dad was so sweet. He cooked spaghetti with meat on the side for us every time we came to see him. His Aunt Albina lived across the street in the house with a shrine in the front yard. There was a spring underneath, and everyone was welcome to come and get water at that time. Albina always made great food for us, and I learned that Dominic's grandma had lived with Albina until her death. What a loving and faithful daughter Albina was!

We would go up the hill by the railroad tracks to visit his Aunt Mae, who was the widow of his Dad's brother David. She was always very hospitable and kind, and always brought out cookies or some refreshments. I met with a new family who were all so friendly and welcoming.

I also thought that Nanty Glo had a charm and a magic that had been lacking from my life for so long. It still holds that magic for me.

Sallie Covolo

Click here to read the original articles by
Ronna Edelstein and Jon Kennedy

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