Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memories Light the Corners of My Mind

I have such a strong sense of history and a love of all things vintage, back-in-the day, Little House on the Prairie-esque or Waltonian (as in John Boy).  A recent drive was suffused with all those things and some old-timey Virginia, as well.  The pics just screamed out "edit me in sepia!" so I did.  These are pics from late May of Surry and Suffolk, Virginia.  It is so interesting that the brave and adventurous settlers of the New World looked back to the old to name their cities: Hampton, Surry, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk...all named after their homes back in England.

I loved the textures of the back of this building in Suffolk.

I think the physician's office is still in business, but this should be in Mayberry.

This is the old train station in Suffolk, VA which has been lovingly restored and serves as a museum.  Some of the most wonderful old buildings around are railroad stations.  The station in Richmond, VA is magnificent.  The station in DC, where I will be next Thursday is completely AMAZING, so much so that I am leaving Portsmouth earlier than I need to so I can shop the Farmer's Market there and have lunch at the station.  Finally, there's the Queen of all stations, Grand Central, built by Commodore Vanderbilt and saved from demolition by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Peanut farming and production figured heavily in the history of this region, along with other types of agriculture and the military.  The Obici family has a strong presence here (including Obici Hospital, which they founded).  The Obicis owned Planter's Peanuts and Mr. Peanut was their idea.

The drug store is sadly closed, so Dr. Turnstall can no longer call in a prescription here on a rotary dial phone.
Oh, if I could do anything I wanted, money no object, I would buy this sad, neglected old building which probably once housed a small general store.  I'd paint it white again with pink trim.  I'd hang pink geraniums from the porch roof and set an old church pew out front.

I'd go to upstate New York,  find Debra's old blue bicycle, put more geraniums in the basket, and set it in front of the side door we never use.

Every day when I came in to open "Tia Annie's" (what my sister's girls call me), I'd take our old outbuilding wooden ladder and lean it against the wall next to the window on the left.  All my carefully collected linens, crisp and starched, would go on those rungs; tea towels, and embroidered pillow cases, table runners with flowers lovingly stitched, and an old quilt or two.

The store windows would be filled with vintage displays, like the old Victrola case I found left for the trash on one side and a stand-alone kitchen cabinet I rescued in the same way...filled with Fire King batter bowls sitting on doilies, and a wonderful old dictionary from 1930 sitting open to the word spectacular next to an old oil lamp.  Can't you just see it?  Well, maybe not, but I can.

Money being no object, I'd fix the grocery up, too, and could probably live happily above the store, just like Stanley Roman, my grandmother's butcher, did on Burnside Avenue, in East Hartford, CT.  Beausang's Grocery, after my grandmother's last name.  Really French last name, totally Irish one knows why.
I wish my train to Washington would travel over the old-timey trestle, but I think that it is abandoned now.
This wonderful old building still serves the city of Surry.  Every time I see it, I think of my grandmother.  My grandfather (if you look up curmudgeon in the dictionary, it says, "See J. Robert Galvin, Sr.") was an attorney and often had court papers to file.  My grandmother took care of that.  At East Hartford's Town Hall, there was a clerk who was always curt to her, bordering on obnoxious.  My grandmother, Helen, was about the kindest person on earth, so this bewildered her.  Obviously, this woman was just very unhappy and as with many frustrated people, shed that abroad to others.

Typical of my Helen, she strove to win over that woman, to kill her with kindness, as it were.  She'd quote the scripture from Romans 12:20,  "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

I never understood that until I was an adult.  The glowing coals phrase is symbolic of a sanctification process.  In other words, Helen was helping the cantankerous city employee become a better person.  Just like her. I probably would have filed a complaint.

Queen Anne's lace is one of life's free pleasures which I never tire of.  Did you know that is is a member of the carrot family?  And now, having posted a bunch of pics and happily remembered my Helen, I will say, as Sparky used to announce on the public address system in MASH, "that is all."

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