AARP Eye Center
When I sat down with Loretta Lynn in her spacious home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. (she owns the entire town), she had just finished recording Full Circle, a joyous album that combines new material with some favorite old songs, revisited. After six decades in the spotlight, Lynn has no plans to retire: "I just don't think you're ever through singin'."
On gratitude … and grit
I almost died from mastoiditis when I was real little — I didn't walk till I was 4 — but God was on my side, and I thank him every day for that. We lived in a one-room cabin in Butcher Holler, Ky., till I was 9 years old. Then Daddy bought an old house for $600, and we thought we was in a mansion. It wasn't an easy life. But as long as we had beans and fried potatoes, we thought we was living great.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
The apple of his eye
Mommy would pack Daddy's lunch for the mines. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I'd set out on the hill and wait for him to come home from work. He'd have on his hard-shell cap, and he'd be so covered with coal dust that all you could see was the whites of his eyes. Daddy always saved a bite of apple or a little bit of sandwich in his dinner bucket for me. I wouldn't trade nothing for that.
Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter — and get movie reviews, great games and more delivered to you every month
Snake in the grass?
There was no roads and no cars in the Holler when I lived there — just a little path about this wide, and we walked that path to school every day. I was always scared a snake would jump out of the weeds and grab us.
We all sang
My mommy sang. My daddy sang. Whatever instrument they picked up — fiddle, mandolin, guitar — they could play it. I thought everybody lived that way, singing and playing whatever they wanted. When I got married and moved to Washington [state, in 1949], I found out otherwise.
When times get tough, the tough get sewing
I made my own dresses and, let me tell you, they was tight, short little things at first, 'cause I didn't have the money to buy much material. Or frills: I'd sit in the back of the club and take the fringe off one, then sew it on the other (I only had two) and go onstage in a different color.
The accidental hit
During a dinner break in a Wilburn Brothers show, I took my guitar back to the bathroom, sat down and strummed, "Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter." I didn't really mean to write about it, but as soon as I sang that, I remember thinking to myself, You know, that could be a good song!
Siren of the times
"The Pill," "Rated X," "One's on the Way" — those songs I wrote in the '70s — I was just singing what a lot of women lived, you know?