Finding My Family’s Bones

How visiting Appalachia helped me begin to understand my family

A photo of my dad and his family visiting Hillsboro, Ohio, in 1964. My dad is the little boy rubbing his eye, leaning on his grandpa’s knee.

There are no stars or skyscrapers in the suburbs. Even as a child, it felt like an in-between place to me. Suburbs were built for commuters — they leave them to work and come back to them to sleep. Maybe that’s why garages are the focal point of most suburban homes: They’re the portal for a morning exit and…