My family members have never been rich landowners; the land they had they tilled themselves.
This is pertinent because lately I’ve been going through my late grandfather’s shed, and his tools. Amongst the modern tools, the power drills, the leaf blowers, I’ll come across a rusted hammer or some tool that I have no clue what it is supposed to do. Or I’ll move a shelf and find a posthole digger. Tools of a bygone age that were passed down from father to son for years, but stopped when the last patron’s sons took white collar jobs and bought modern tools to keep in clean and organized plastic toolboxes.
And it got me to thinking about what the lower class of southern steampunks would be like. Something tells me they’d be a lot like my ancestors: overall wearing, sweating, and swearing farmers and railroad workers. They’d be laying the brick next to their clockwork counterparts to construct the new dirigible hangar. Their moonshine distilleries might be prettier, but what they make could still make you blind. The women would be right out there in the fields next to their husbands, brothers, and sons, their skirts smudged with dirt instead of the grease so many of us imagine.
So, as southern steampunks who pride ourselves on our chivalry and hospitality, how do we take this other aspect and work it into how we define ourselves? How so we acknowledge the banjo playing, moonshine drinking, people who live off the land instead of bringing home a paycheck from a factory, or pirating the skies?
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’d be clockwork, steam powered farm hands that make this class of people unnecessary.
But I know that this question has been plaguing my mind for a while. Now that I am living near my family, and am confronted with where I came from on an almost daily basis, I wonder how this will change how I define being a southern steampunk. There is one thing that will not change: the southern pride; we might not have the fancy bustles, the big house, or the shiny toys, but we are just as proud a bunch as our pretty cousins.