by Jane Nardy
For many years, starting in 1920, the Dr. Van Epp family drove over primitive highways, from the West Palm Beach, Florida area to summer in Cashiers Valley, renting the north end of the Frank and Minnie Cole residence.
Fifty one years later, the Van Epp daughter, Soyrieta Van Epp Law, who had been a sophomore in high school on the family’s initial visit to Cashiers Valley, wrote and published a book titled, “Status Quo,” which begins with her young life in Florida and ends up with fascinating tales of mountain life without electricity from the perspective of a “big city” teenage girl.
In her book, Soyrieta included sketches of local homes, waterfalls, surrounding mountains, as well as many plants and flowers, which she identified by name.
If you’re a person who is fascinated by Cashiers daily life in the 1920s, this book will delight you, especially pages 87 through 189, as that’s where you’ll find Soyrieta’s personal mountain memories. Some of the stories about Cashiers’ folks, prior to the 1920s, as told to her, may contain some exaggerations, but when Soyrieta writes of what she, herself, experienced, it’s “spot on.”
Following are a few examples of what’s in Status Quo:
“We located the house we would be living in. There was a wood-burning cook stove. There were no closets, just wooden pegs on which to hang garments. For running water, one ran to the springhouse and got it in buckets. It was icy cold. The method of lighting was old-fashioned kerosene lamps. To my dismay, there was a two-seater privy, with an old Sears Roebuck catalog in place of toilet tissue.”