We bought our first tract of ground in Meade County, Kentucky February 14th, 1997, Valentines, Day. We had driven from Scottsdale, Arizona., where I suffered a heart attack the previous year and had the urge to return to Kentucky where I wanted to be buried. I was 52-years-old and Fran was 50.
We looked at various acreages in Meade, Breckenridge, Hardin and Bullitt Counties, and bought land through a local listing, an 11.2-acre tract with a 28-year-old, 2-bedroom mobile home and an incomplete shed. We used our entire savings, but had no debt. The land had been logged and tree lapses were all over including the over grown fields. It was beautiful. Roach Road was the most interesting place. The people were rich, maybe not in greenbacks and silver coins, but in other ways. In our minds, all of us were homesteaders, dreamers, carving a community from logged out land, in the bottom of a deserted “holler;” a group of people craving, privacy, independence, peace and a new start. When we moved in there was no telephone service. Six months earlier no electricity. Vince, Bob and Mona, and Scott and Marsha had generators to power their trailers, but they did have cable television. The cable company, ran cable lines through the woods on top of the ground, later buried along Roach Rd. After a few months, BBTEL sent us a letter stating if 10 people agreed to sign for phone service, they would run the lines. There were only nine of us at that time. We had a fax machine and paid for two lines and that’s how we got emergency service. Cell phones were not as common then.
Scott and Marsha lived at the end of the road, George and Katie across the road from us with their two children, and between them, Vince Bob and Mona. There was a vacant trailer across the road and west of us. Other vacant land was absentee owned. Now all of the 100 acres, more or less comprising Roach Road is owned. At the top of the hill Troy had his place, and then us.
The man and woman, referred to only as the Teepee People were across the road and two tracts west. Counting Katie and George’s two children and Scott and Marsha’s little girl, sixteen souls resided on Roach Rd. We were an eclectic group, diverse and unique in many ways. We had a State Park restaurant Chef, construction worker, Catholic school teacher, Engineer, two office workers, two stay-at-home moms, a factory worker, Dollar Store manager and the “Teepee people.” On any given day you could see Ostriches, peacocks, an occasional hog, horse or cow walking down the road, sometimes you still can. Fran recently had to stop for a small herd of goats blocking the road.
I never met the Teepee People, but I did occasionally see them coming and going. They, like Fran and I, friendly with everyone, but stayed to themselves. They had no children, and the man and wife dressed and appeared to be, old hippies. She had long light brown hair, was lithe and winsome, but streaks of gray in her hair revealed her age. You could see them when the sun or wind was just right. She was maybe five foot eight inches tall wearing ankle length skirts and dresses. Her companion was ruggedly handsome, maybe in his late forties about six feet tall and with blackish hair. Most times I saw him, in warm weather, he was wearing blue jeans, no shirt, with a denim vest, and sometimes a headband. They waved at us when we passed on the road and always were smiling. By cold weather, they had left the road.
I only know two people who actually saw their Teepee, one from afar and the other up close when Vince spent a hospitable night in its shelter. A lady I met when doing business with her father, had some high ground on New State Road, and watched the animal life on her place through binoculars. We were talking one day and she said she noticed smoke rising to the north and focused her binoculars and saw the teepee. (See part 2, next week Vince and the Teepee People)