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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Walton's Mountain

I've always tucked the Walton family, from the iconic 1970's television show, in a special place in my memories.  I still watch old episodes on the Hallmark Channel. Like the Andy Griffith Show, the weekly exploits of  John Boy, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen and the gang comforted me during a chaotic childhood.

The incredibly special thing about The Waltons is that the actors portrayed a real family struggling and growing during the Great Depression in the Virginia Mountains.  The narrator in the television show, who was also the creator and the actual John Boy, was Earl Hamner, Jr.  And he grew up with his many siblings, parents, and grandparents in this house in Schuyler, Virginia which is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.

We thought it would be a great place to explore on July 4.
Located about three hours from my home in Portsmouth, Schuyler is a sleepy, pastoral country hamlet along the Rockfish River.
Speaking of Rockfish (Daddy was always delivering lumber to Rockfish in the television show) here it is, post office and all.
Lumber operations still flourish in Nelson County.
The Walton kids on television were always messing around at the river. Ninety years later, kids were tubing down the mild rapids and jumping off a granite outcropping into the Rockfish.
I watched them from this bridge listing to the sound of the lazy old river, making its way down to the James River as it has for centuries, the cicadas encouraging it on its way, and children delighting in it as it flowed along.

Up the river, we think we found Ike Godsey's General Store from the television series.  Although it has been sadly overtaken by nature, if you look closely at the front roof line,you can see where the old sign hung.  The large porch overhang sheltered the old gas tanks.
Little farms spread out across from the Rockfish.
Schuyler Virginia is a slice of Americana relatively unchanged in 90 years. Schuyler and Rockfish have no McDonalds, no Payless Shoes, no strip malls, no stoplights, and no gangs.  No graffiti, no litter, and no one rude honking a horn.

In fact, as we slowed to take a picture of these barns, a car pulled alongside to make sure that we weren't having car problems.  When we let the driver know we were visiting "The Waltons" she wished us well, waved good bye, and told us that the river was just up the road.

I guess the Waltons don't just exist in my mind, but Walton's Mountain is a real place with real people who choose a different way of life.  I'm so glad they're still there, aren't you?
G'night John Boy, G'night Elizabeth, G'night Grandma,...cue harmonica music.  The end.