1101 University Orientation
The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
Memories Can Speak Volumes and Remind You Who You
In The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Janisse Ray invites readers into her often flawed and sometimes not so educated past. She tells her story intertwined with the natural history of the long leaf pine. It seems like a love story but not one like the Georgia Gone with the Wind kind. Ray was often kept from certain comfort creature privileges and therefore created her own reality and the junkyard and long leaf pines became her escape from her real world. She frequently goes between her memories and natural history. This is effective because as she takes you on a journey through her youth, she also tells you the journey of the long leaf pine. The only drawback is that at times, the book seems more like a textbook than one of fiction, history and a need to tell the world of how the long leaf pine is vanishing in the South.
Ray’s father was a devout religious man, so her family grew up without television, radio or most of the comforts kids today would not even dream of not having. Therefore, Ray had to find beauty in the things around her and unearth a story that is told through her memories of her childhood. At the very beginning you learn that Ray’s childhood home was “about as ugly as a place gets.” There were broken down cars, bathtubs and balding tires. There were ten plus acre of failed machines that often helped supply people and neighbors with spare parts. They had sheep, but not for clothing or food, they were to keep the grass from growing all over the place in between the junkyard cars and spare parts. However, Ray found the beauty in the cracks of this awful looking environment.
Instead of dwelling on what she did not have or how embarrassed she was that her family owned a junkyard, she found beauty in the natural world. She was so embarrassed; she often referred to her father as a salesman rather than...