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by Helen Rule

"Antebellum Elegance"

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artwork by Helen Rule








My Southern roots are both deep and twisted. I was born in Kingsport, Tennessee in the heart of the Scots-Irish highlands where my ancestors had settled hundreds of years before. Yet my parents had just recently moved to Tennessee, completely unaware of those deep connections or how they had been shattered 120 years earlier. In 1860, East Tennessee was a bastion of union sympathizers in a confederate state, and like numerous others, many Rules left to fight for the north, never to speak of their homeland again, let alone return to it.

And yet, in many ways those southern connections were never really broken. The attraction of the lush green mountains, the

sense that "this feels like home", and the appreciation of the culture of the region all speak to an almost genetic tie to the region and its people. Those connections not only provide a grounding for the soul, but a source of pride.

Antebellum inspired, Byzantine chainmaille necklace with crystal beads

But while East Tennessee may be the cultural homeland for those named Rule, it should not necessarily be their final resting place. The world is full of wonders, with much to see and do that is beyond the scope of Gatlinburg. In some ways, living in Marietta, I am even more deeply immersed in the south and southern culture than I ever was in Kingsport.