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Willie and Vivian: 1964

Willie and Vivian: 1964

"Leatherwood, Kentucky, 1964. Willie and Vivian Cornett sitting on porch." Willie, a recently laid off coal miner, and wife Vivian had 12 children when William Gedney snapped this exposure on his first visit with the Cornett family. Gedney Photographs and Writings Collection, Duke University. View full size.

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Fearless. I tell ya

I have a feeling that there is nothing in the world that could scare a Cornett. With every Gedney shot you post, I grow more and more curious as to what has become of them.

Thanks again Dave, for all you do on shorpy.

Solid citizens

They look well groomed and clean, as is their porch (notice the broom in the background?). The husband's shirt may be holey - but hey, it's an undershirt. They look like a great team. They are doing the best they can given the times, and they certainly don't seem like "complainers" to me. I bet they raised solid adults.


Looks to me like they are "snapping" peas in the the pod. You had to "snap" the pod to get the peas out before you could cook them.

I recall seeing my great-aunts doing just that on the back porch of their farmhouse in the fifties.

Must be Date Night

These days marriage counselors and psychologists tell married couples they have to keep the romance and magic in their relationships by having a date night about once per week, spending leisure time alone together. I'm pretty sure the rural living and low income for the Cornetts in Leatherwood, Kentucky, made for this kind of "alone time" that was simple and free of charge as they appear to be shelling peas or stringing green beans together. Note how she is watching out of the corner of her eye to make sure he does it right. This heartwarming photo really portrays the simplicity of that time and place in an austere environment which still manages to convey a certain intimacy in their leisure time together.

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