V & W: West Virginia

Shame on me for not posting on V-Day!  So, let’s double down with W. 

I say West Virginia, you say ___________________.

Go on….fill in the blank…the first thing that comes to your mind is ______(what)?

Did anyone think…hillbilly…coal miner…squirrel hunter…or another word that stereotypes West Virginians? 

If you did…you’re not alone.  Making generalizations about people based on where they live happens all the time.  I live in Pittsburgh so most people assume that I’m a beer-drinking Democrat who loves the Pittsburgh Steelers.  If you’re from West Virginia, most everyone in the States would generalize you as a hillbilly.  Why?  Because we open our local newspapers and read articles like these:


(note: I have paraphrased and omitted names and to protect the guilty)

Two West Virginia residents who were stopped with a back seat full of stolen beef jerky pleaded guilty on Tuesday to summary charges in district court.

Police stopped the 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier because the license plate was dangling.  It was then that “a large amount of boxed and packaged beef jerky was observed in plain view on the rear seat,” police said in a court affidavit.

The two men, who are cousins living in Milton, W.Va., appeared in court…

Police said the price of the salted beef was estimated at more than $200.  At the time of their arrest, the men told police they were headed to Pennsylvania, where a relatives’ car had broken down.  The cousins admitted to stealing the goods from various auto-parts stores and gas stations along the way, police said.

The pair “attempted to sell the items to various people to cover travel expenses and gas money.”   

The judge told them not to return to the area.  “No we, won’t.  Sorry your honor,” they said.

Can you even imagine the conversation that these two had when they were coming up with this idea? 

Hey, Bubba – we don’t have any gas money.

That’s okay, Billy Bob, I’ve got an idea.  Let’s steal beef jerky from gas stations and then sell them for 50 cents a piece at highway rest stops.  That should cover us. 

Hey you…wanna buy a Slim Jim?

How is your area stereotyped?  Are there any aspects of your own personality that meet the stereotype? 

On Friday, I’m doubling down with X and Y.  Saturday concludes the A-Z Challenge with a real zinger!

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by suzicate on April 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    My very good friend recently moved to WV and hated it before she got there due to all she’d heard. While she still comes upon things that shock and disgust her (as there are these types of things in all states) she has finally opened herself to receiving new friends and experiences and it’s starting to feel like home to her…has only taken a year!


    • That first year had to be difficult…I hope those new experiences don’t include the local VFW and squirrels LOL. Glad she is feeling home.


  2. …where I was born! Buckhannon. We left when I was an infant and I’ve never been back, but I’d love to see the town where I was born someday!


  3. Posted by Cindy on April 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I moved to Pittsburgh in 1998. Revealing that I had lived in southern California the previous 15 years caused mixed reactions. Some people wondered why I would move from “paradise” to Pittsburgh. But some folks let me know that Pittsburgh really was the smarter choice. In fact, one person went on and on about how terrible southern California was with crime and air pollution. Dreadful. Just dreadful out there, how did I ever survive. I had an inkling what this person’s thoughts were based on so I (innocently) asked, “so when did you live there?” No surprise, the answer was “never.” But she KNEW it was a terrible place to live.


    • Interesting…and great question to throw back “when did you live there?” Sweet!

      I can relate. When I moved to Pittsburgh from California someone in my community tagged me as a “California girl,” and said my ideas were “Californian” and not welcome here. Little did this person know, I was born and raised in PA, proving his stereotyping w.r.o.n.g.


  4. I’m in Wyoming so basically whenever I say that this is where I live I get, “Wow. I never knew people actually lived in Wyoming.”


  5. Fabulous post, Tracy. And one that is very spot on, because I often assume about a particular area/state/country before I actually visit it, and have been pleasantly surprised that my assumtions were wrong.

    I had such preconceived ideas about Japan before I visited and was OH SO WRONG. It turned out to be my favorite place I’ve ever been to. I could actually live there and feel comfortable.

    Philly definitely has it’s steriotypes. Some are correct, others are not. As much as I enjoy certain aspects to this city (in which I was born), I honestly have never felt as though I belonged. My energy is very different than a lot of the people here. I’m much more a New Yorker at heart.

    Hope you had a great day, my friend!



  6. P.S. I also have to learn how to spell.





  7. I haven’t been to West Virginia Tracy and only know it from songs – John Denver’s Take Me Home – and it sounds a lovely place to be.
    We drove all across the states to Los Angeles on Route 66 so if it doesn’t sit along that route we missed it. Have been back many times but to New York and particularly California where my sister lives.
    If I knew you better I would suspect you made up the robbers story.
    The one I have that almost matches it is from when we lived in Montreal in the early 70s. A guy went into a shop to rob it, was told there was no money and so he said he would take a check. How’s that for stupidity. Wonder what happened when he took it to the bank on Monday!


    • Hello Judith! It sounds like a made-up story, but it’s honest to goodness true, reported in my local paper on March 22! That bank robber story made me laugh – oh gosh!!


  8. West Virginia Mountain Mama! I was born in the North and moved to the South. I pick the South and don’t care what the stereotype is.

    Your post was entertaining. At least the two were not so greedy that they robbed a bank. I hope they learned a lesson. Blessings to you, Tracy…


  9. I had to giggle over that one, Tracy! Wow sometimes we really do fall into stereo types.

    When you said West Virginia, however, I thought John Denver’s “Country Roads.” I guess that’s from living in Canada. 🙂


    • Combined with Carol Ann, now I’ll REALLY have that song in my head all day. How can anyone not like that song – it’s such a classic.


  10. Hi Tracy .. everyone has opinions .. on the “W” of what or the “V” of vat de question .. I hav no idea!!!! Love the story though .. people are completely cracked sometime and so dumb – it is laughable .. good story – thank you!! Cheers Hilary PS spellings intended to be poor!!


  11. Bahahah!You made me think vagina. Hahah!


  12. Born and raised in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia-Go Mountaineers!! Getting ready to drive up to WV for a visit, love the drive and the scenic views. Bye Bye Folks, and you’all come back ! from your WV hillbilly-raised by a southern belle-she taught me all the wisdom of the hospality ways of the south. Maybe I will stop by and get me some of those good pepperoni rolls while I’m there.


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