April Feagley – Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

“My hope for the future is that people would realize that we are far more alike than we are different. It doesn’t matter what background you’re from, what religion you are, what color your skin is. Smiles mean the same thing, tears mean the same thing. And I really think if we could stop focusing on how we’re different and start focusing on how we’re alike, and caring for others’ feelings and well-being the same way we would care for our own, I think that would solve a lot of problems.”

“I’m April Feagley, I’ve lived in Huntington all my life. I am 43. I married my childhood sweetheart who I proposed to when I was four, and we have a 21-year-old who is joining the Peace Corps, and a 19-year-old who is starting college in three weeks. My daughter is graduating from Juniata [College] in May, my son will be going to Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.”

“There are a lot of undercover philosophers [here] that you would not expect. I have met men who are probably geniuses wearing torn overalls and battered ballcaps. I’ve met people in three-piece suits who couldn’t put a sentence together. So I’ve learned a good lesson around here in not judging a book by its cover. You meet all kinds and that Scots-Irish Presbyterian ‘work hard’ ethic is still very much in play. “

“People really, really value those family connections, and some people I know who are transplanted to the area get aggravated when the first thing somebody says is ‘Now are you related to…so-and-so?’ But for me, I’ve been married 23 years this year, and if I’m doing an interview out on the street, chances are I’m going to get called ‘Fred’s daughter’ whether I know who that person is or not. So, for me being asked ‘Are you related to so-and-so?’ seems run of the mill, but for people who move to the area it seems – they take offense some times.

But it’s just an expression of a need for connection. They just kind of want to know ‘Who are your people?’ and I’ve tried to encourage them ‘If you’re not from around here, find a commonality.’ Recognize that desire for connection and answer it with a connection. You know, if you’re not related to anyone here – ‘Well, I’m not from around here, but where I am from we have mountains like this’ or ‘I really love the lake, it reminds me of ‘x’.”

“I look at myself as a storyteller – not always in the sense of ‘come listen to this heartwarming story. I hope for that, but sometimes there are meetings that you go to and, as an observer, you’re kind of acting as the proxy for the people who couldn’t make it to that meeting, or that should know what’s going on but might not otherwise be interested. And I kind of look at myself as the eyes and ears – a literally ‘reporter’ – ‘here is what’s happening, here is what you need to know.’

What I really cherish is the stories that I get to explain something or try to educate somebody. Just for instance, we had two fatal horse-and-buggy crashes – a man and wife were killed in the same accident, and another one I think it was a pregnant woman. After there’s an incident like that there’s always that flurry of ‘they shouldn’t be on the road’ or ‘they shouldn’t have the right to the roads’ or ‘if they weren’t so slow, this wouldn’t happen.’ And I actually was able to coordinate what I call my ‘Secret, cloak-and-dagger, top secret interview’ with two Amish men.

We had to do it clandestinely so their bishop didn’t find out. But I was able to talk to them: ‘what did they wish drivers knew about being in a buggy on the road?’ And they were able to fill me in on some really fascinating things that most drivers would never in a million years realize. They also informed me that one of them teaches driver’s ed in his house every year for the teenagers who are moving up. I didn’t know there was any such thing. He also mentioned that they do pay taxes to the state for road upkeep. So it was a chance to kind of, not directly address the comments, but kind of provide some information.

And then there’s always the fun stuff, that you get to celebrate with the rest of the community. We’re home to the oldest woman in the country…we actually have a surprising number of 100-year-olds. Delphine Gibson is 114. If you can get her going, she’s fascinating.”

“I think a lot of people around me know it already, but probably my relationship with my husband – that is a huge component – I would not be anywhere near here today without him. He and I are five months apart in age, we went to kindergarten registration – that’s where we met. I had told the elementary school secretary, when she asked me why I was coming to kindergarten, that I was there to find a boyfriend (and was teased about it every year from then on). And by the end of registration I had already proposed to Scott.

We were best friends throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school. I went away to college and that’s when I realized that I didn’t really think of him so much as ‘a friend.’ And I confided in a friend who had a big mouth and she relayed that to him and he was waiting for me when I came home from college that weekend. And we started dating and it was just – we probably married a little too young, but oh well.

He has always been – I don’t think people realize, because he’s quiet and prefers to stay in the background – he is the one who keeps me going, who keeps cheerleading me on. He’s the one whose faith allowed me to go back to college to get a degree. He’s the one who encouraged me to apply for this job, because he knew it’s what I always wanted to do. And he is the one who makes sure supper’s started if I’m running late, is willing to drop everything if I have to run out and cover something at the last minute. He’s…he’s just everything.”

“The woods and the mountains, even just traveling outside the area I sense that loss a lot. As the woods start to thin out or the mountains start to flatten, I miss the security. You kind of feel ‘nestled’ here. My grandfather, who we grew up near, his family was generations of saw-millers, so I grew up walking around in the woods. That would be something I would miss tremendously [if I were to move away].”

Limited edition print available (alpha edition):
Giclée (Archival Inkjet) print w/ quotes, in window cutout, typed on artist’s 1955 Olympia SM3 Typewriter.
1” Matte Black Frame, 2” Ivory Mat, Archival Hinge Mount, UV Glass.
10″ x 8″ (Framed: 16″ x 14″)

April - Limited Edition Print, Framed Alpha Series
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