Somebody once told me that "There's only two types of people in the world: the kind who like Loretta Lynn, and the kind who don't." Now that's true, obviously, but I'd take that statement one step further: Here in Kentucky, one of the fundamental rules is that you have to like Miss Loretta.
Born April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Loretta was the daughter of coal miner Ted Webb and his wife Clara. Life wasn't easy in 1930s Eastern Kentucky; Loretta once said "You get used to sadness, growing up in the mountains, I guess." But, Loretta was a survivor. Like many girls of her generation, she got married young -- she was only 14 when she married Oliver "Dolittle" Lynn. Loretta later joked of her youthful naïveté, "I didn't know how babies were made until I was pregnant with my fourth child."
Like a lot of mountain folks, Loretta and Doo had to leave home to find work, settling in a logging community in Washington State. in 1953, Doolittle bought Loretta a $17 Harmony guitar as an anniversary present. She taught herself to play, and by 1960, she'd cut her first record.
Miss Loretta's musical career has spanned decades, and she's received every imaginable musical accolade. Her enduring popularity, however, is as much for her amazing personality as her musical talent. She's a strong woman, a trailblazing musician, and an outspoken voice for common sense morality. She's always advocated for women's rights, recording controversial songs about divorce and birth control, while championing traditional values. When Miss Loretta says "The country is making a big mistake not teaching kids to cook and raise a garden and build fires," we Kentuckians hear the wisdom of our own grandmothers.
Loretta Lynn is a source of pride and strength for generations of Kentucky women. We are all a little better for the teachings of the Coal Miner's Daughter from Johnson County.
From all of us here at HerKentucky, Happy Birthday, Miss Loretta!