Freudian Slips: Big Stone Gap of a Heart

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

May 17, 2005

Big Stone Gap of a Heart

The Internet is shrinking the world at an unfathomable rate of speed. It is difficult for my children to understand that we are living in a technological revolution. The word consumer has an insatiable appetitie and never before has it applied to so much in our ever expanding society.
Recent uprsings in my mind have drifted me back to my childhood when we lived in rural Virginia in 1974-1975. While blog surfing a couple of weeks ago, I came across the wonderful homespun blog of Contrary Goddess. She had a picture of a garden amidst the backdrop of the Tennessee landscape cued up front and center. It was the very first thing I saw on her blog as if it were posted for me. Everything about the picture reminded me of Virginia. Pinny for your thoughts, as Virginians say.
I stared at the picture and part of my childhood unfolded. Its sereness got me a little homesick for the childhood experiences I long to remember in my middle age. The town I lived in was a small holler called Big Stone Gap. I can still visualize the neighboring towns carved out of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the smell of the land, the magnificent foliage of the trees, the 1550 feet of billy goat elevation. There is something about Big Stone Gap that I hang onto but I still can't put my finger on it. Perhaps, the absence of a metropolis and a stronghold on Mother Nature seems enchanting. I can smell rhubarb growing in the fields, the sound of children playing tag in the schoolyard, my green and white Piggly Wiggly uniform scampering around the baseball diamond. All this mental downloading from one 3x5 picture on a stranger's blog? I'm afraid so. The picture haunted me until I emailed the host of Contrary Goddess. We have been friends ever since. Don't you know she lives fifty miles from where I lived.
Memories of Virginia continued. Big Stone Gap is where I bullseyed my first crush on a girl. Her name was Jenny Williamson. The area is only 1% American Indian but Jenny bore physical features to Pocahontas that were only outdone by her contagious smile. What more could a fifth grader ask for other than a teacher's lunch and a sneak peek at a quiz answer key? Too bad I was a northern Yankee. Pocahontas sent me up a creek without a paddle. If Virginia is for lovers, it considered me a youngin and not ready for prime time player. Enough about unreciprocated grade school crushes on Southern Bells who blamed me for the Civil War.
In one of the many emails to Contrary Goddess, she asked me if I have read the national best selling book about my little spittle of a mining town. Read it? I didn't know it existed. How many people have charming novels written about their hometown? Big Stone Gap is only less than five square miles of God's country! Contrary Goddess told me the book was aptly called Big Stone Gap and written by a former resident named Adriana Trigiani. I found it instantaneously on Ebay and had a copy at my doorstep later that week. I am not recommended the book per say as much as I am calling upon the coincidence, the irony of the moment. Sometimes when you are a little homesick, chicken soup for the soul is a welcome treat.
I have my attraction to irony and the Contrary Goddess to thank for curing me of homesickness. So if you want to learn how to build your own log cabin, live off of the earth, or need the best darn chicken soup recipe for the soul, visit the Contrary Goddess blog at



Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

Joe, I'm just glad we found each other. And I hope you make it back to the Gap someday. You found your Pocahantas in NJ but there IS just something good about these hills and the people in them. Well, except for me, I'm just Contrary! LOL!

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Memories.....Memories are only good for nice thoughts. The ugly thoughts should be abolished from the brain. Big Stone Gap will always be one of the better memories and a keeper. It was lovely there and at times, I miss it too. Like when I read your blog, I remembered a lot of things and one of those memories was of your crush on Jenny. Mostly, I miss the warm, down home, extremely friendly people. I think they call it "Southern Charm." Post by ET

2:25 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Contrary Goddess,
Like the saying goes, fall into the gap. Big Stone Gap that is.

southern comfort no less.

4:44 PM  
Blogger justrose said...

what a great blog you pay tribute to. CG has a voice like no other. It's cool that you have that connection.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

You and Pax are responsible for uniting the world. I am only a young apprentice.

11:31 AM  

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