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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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DURING THE 1930'S THE FAD OF TREE SITTING SWEPT THE COUNTRY.
PRACTICALLY EVERY COMMUNITY HAD A TREE SITTER, AND THERE WAS
A CONTEST OF TRYING TO BREAK PREVIOUS RECORDS. IN ASHLAND,
KENTUCKY, WE HAD SEVERAL TREE SITTERS OVER A PERIOD OF TWO OR
THREE YEARS. THE ONE I REMEMBER MOST VIVIDLY ENDED IN TRAGEDY.
A BOY WHO HAD FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL BUT WAS NOT ABLE TO FIND A
JOB DUE TO THE DEPRESSION, BUILT A PLATFORM ABOUT THIRTY FEET
FROM THE GROUND IN A LARGE TREE. HE MADE SOME PROVISION FOR
SHELTER AND HAD DEVISED A PULLEY BY WHICH HIS FAMILY SENT HIS
FOOD AND OTHER NECESSITIES UP IN A BUCKET. THE TOWN PEOPLE
WOULD DRIVE BY AND TALK TO HIM OR WALK UP AND SPEND AN HOUR
OR SO IN THE AFTERNOON OR EARLY EVENING. HE HAD BEEN
UP THE TREE FOR ABOUT FORTY DAYS AND A STORM CAME UP ONE
NIGHT. EVIDENTLY THE STORM FRIGHTENED HIM DURING THE NIGHT
AND HE FELL FROM THE PLATFORM. HIS FAMILY FOUND HIS
CRUMPLED BODY ON THE GROUND THE NEXT MORNING.

Where learned: KENTUCKY ; TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; ASHLAND

Keyword(s): POLE SITTING

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Man

Date learned: 00001930 CA.

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