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RAW Magazine – September 2000

BACK ROADS
By By Robert J. Bledsoe

For Matt and Jeff Hardy, all paths lead back to their small-town home.

About 50 miles south of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, lies Cameron, a town that seems to have more in common with the fictional town of Mayberry than the high-tech Research Triangle. Yet, this quiet small town is also home of two of the youngest and hippest members of the World Wrestling Federation’s roster–the Hardy Boyz.

This month, Matt and Jeff Hardy showcase their Southern hospitality as they take RAW Magazine readers on a guided tour of the place they still call home.

The day began with breakfast at Pat’s Cafe, a local restaurant known regionally for its Southern-style homecooking and a favorite of Matt. The proprietor of the cafe, Pat Nurenberg, greeted us, and two waitresses led us to a table.

Matt quickly explained that Jeff would be joining us a little bit late. “As always,” he warned with a grin.

After some 20 minutes of waiting, Jeff finally arrived, and the brothers dug into a very traditional country breakfast.

While they were eating, Wendy Stewart, our waitress, spoke about the Hardys. She had known the boys since they were about nine or ten, and recalled keeping stats for one of their Little League teams. “Whenever they get home, they always come by and see us,” she said proudly.

Nurenberg echoed those thoughts and added, “They haven’t let celebrity get to them.”

The Hardys are deeply rooted in Cameron, and are all about giving back to their town. This was most evident by their making a surprise visit to a special education class at their alma mater, Union Pines High School.

Principal Linda Duncan remembers Jeff fondly. “Matt had already graduated when I started; he was a straight A student. Jeff was also a very good student, very artistic. I think that’s where he gets his flair for designing their costumes and the color.”

M.D. Guthrie, the brothers’ former high school football coach, now the assistant principal, spoke proudly of his two former players. “They were both on the football team. Matt played offensive guard, tight end and defensive end; Jeff was a linebacker. They were good players and good kids.”

Guthrie also repeated a description of the Hardys that seemed to be collectively shared by all who knew them: “We’re real proud of them. They haven’t forgotten where they came from. They remain themselves and don’t think they’re better than anyone else. That’s why people like them.”

Robin Calcutt, Matt’s and Jeff’s art teacher, recalled that they were both good students. “[Jeff] had a way of looking at the world around him and showing it in a unique way. The students were always mesmerized by his work.” Calcutt still has some of his early drawings, which she shows to her students on occasion.

Finishing up their visit at the high school, the brothers paid a visit to Cameron Elementary School. Teachers there remembered the boys as well-mannered, great kids whose attitudes gave hints that they’d someday achieve a great deal of success.

“Really, the biggest thing to me about coming back there is just the memories–the good times and the bad,” said Matt. “It’s always great for me; it brings back a lot of nostalgia whenever I go someplace where I’ve spent a lot of time. It makes me start thinking. It makes me appreciate where I am now, too.”

“It’s cool to actually be living [your dream] now and doing something that you thought about as a kid,” added Jeff.

When asked about what advice they give to boys and girls interested in following in their footsteps, Jeff is quick to respond. “I tell them: ‘If you want to do it: Do it.’ If you really want to do something, you can.’

“We try to give ’em the best advice we can,” continued Jeff. “These days there are so many kids in their backyards who are beating the hell out of each other. It’s ridiculous. They’re going to end up hurting themselves. When you turn 18, check out wrestling schools in your area. Enroll in a class and start getting your butt kicked. If you want to get into pro wrestling, then don’t hurt yourself in your backyard.”

The next stop was to the post office to pick up fan mail, which often includes gifts of videotapes, poetry, and Pearl Jam CDs and concert stuff. The amount of mail that arrives for the brothers tells just how far they’ve climbed to Superstardom on the Federation roster.

“I think the night we knew we arrived was in Cleveland, Ohio, after the [Terri Invitational] Ladder Match [No Mercy, October 1999],” said Matt. “Winning was a dream come true. The feeling when everybody stood up and gave us a standing ovation was incredible.

“I remember the feeling walking around backstage. I felt like we were now an integral part of the Federation.”

“To hear Mankind tell us that we’d cemented our spots,” adds Jeff, “Oh man, it was a great feeling.”

After the post office, it was off to Matt’s and Jeff’s childhood home, a modest ranch surrounded by acres of pine trees and foliage.

Despite the many cities the Hardys have traveled to, both Matt and Jeff remain content to call Cameron home. Though Jeff has since moved into his own place, brother Matt still lives with their dad; both say that they will forever remain North Carolinians.

“I’d say the first person who really stood out in our lives was our dad,” said Matt.

“I agree,” said Jeff. “Any kid is going to love his father and look up to him as a superhuman person. We were brought up hard, in a tobacco field, farming. Now, I look back on all that and say, “Thank God we were raised that way.”

Official Merchandise
Travel Schedules

8/4: Halifax, NS
8/5: Saint John, NB
8/6: London, ON
8/7: Toronto, ON
8/11: Bangor, ME
8/12: Augusta, ME
8/13: Worcester, MA
8/14: Boston, MA
8/20-21: Brooklyn, NY
8/26: Chicago @WizardWorld
8/27: Tupelo, MS
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