Why Daddy Sold Old Betsy

published by Ithaca Press


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About the Author

The Author of Why Daddy Sold Old Betsy, Ralph Hall, talks about himself

I was born in 1936 in a two room house in the village of Melvin, Kentucky. Melvin is a village that sits in a deep valley in the Appalachian Mountain chain, about 30 miles from Jenkins, Pikeville, and Hazard, Kentucky. My ancestors came from England in the 17th century and settled Melvin.

I was the oldest child in a family of six children. I had three brothers and two sisters. At the end of the Great Depression, my father worked for a government program called the WPA. His pay was 10 cents an hour. My mother was a homemaker who took care of our little family.

I started to school in 1941 in Melvin, Kentucky. In fourth grade, I went to school in the coal camp in Weeksbury, Kentucky. I graduated from the eighth grade in 1951. I went to high school in the coal camp in Wheelwright, Kentucky. I dropped out in 1954 and joined the Air Force. I took basic training at Sampson Air Force Base in Geneva, New York. I stayed for one year and then returned to school. I graduated in 1956 and after that I worked many different jobs in Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and Ohio.

I went back to school at the age of 40 and graduated from Prestonsburg Community College with an A. B. degree. From there, I went to Pikeville College and got a degree in psychology. I taught school for 22 years at Wheelwright High School, in Wheelwright, Kentucky, and at South Floyd High School. I worked for 11 years as a substitute teacher and 11 years as a special education teacher. I did graduate work at Morehead State University and I retired from teaching in 1997.

I have been writing poetry most of my life. In 2004, I started writing stories about my life when I was a child. I have been married to Claudette Hayes for 50 years. We lived in a large house beside a small stream. We have three children, seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

I wrote a poem about England and sent it to Queen Elizabeth. She had her Lady in Waiting return a letter to me. That is something I treasure very much. I am a bishop in The Church of God of Prophecy, which has offices in Cleveland, Tennessee. I now pastor a small church that sits on top of a hill in a village called Ligion, Kentucky. I have been a pastor in different areas for 42 years.

Writing has taken me places I never thought I would go. To me life is journey. I never know where life will take me. I am enjoying the ride. To me writing is just a way of life. I write because I can’t make myself stop. Every day I thank God for the gift of writing.