Sheila and David come to visit

October 30, 2014

Roanoke, VA  USA

Happy Halloween…almost.

     Last weekend our friends Sheila and David came 4 hours from Ashland,VA for a too short overnight visit.  Randal and I have a tiny one bed/room apartment so they stayed with my sister Harriet.  Coincidentally, Phil and Marie, Jim’s ( my brother-in-law) brother and sister-in-law had visited on their drive from Maine to Florida leaving Saturday morning inspiring Randal to rename the house to “the Harriot.”  One of these years Randal and I will have a house with guest rooms and then we hope everyone comes to visit us!  Sheila, Harriet and I were all at U Mass together years ago so lots of annual catching up gets done.

     Of course we had to take a drive up to our land.  As it turned out the land played second fiddle to the two sweetest dogs that came for the walk with us.  Not sure who owns them but hopefully someone nearby so they can visit us when we finally do live there.


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A puff ball with legs and a tail.  They just loved us and we loved them right back.  It was all Sheila could do to keep David from taking this one home. 



Actually you would have to take both as they seemed like such pals!

The bigger dog was a bit standoffish at first but then was as friendly as the little fellow.  They looked well cared for but were so willing to come anywhere with us that I just don’t know.  The bigger dog had a collar but not a tag.  Makes my heart hurt thinking they might have no home.

Our next stop of the afternoon was the Parkway Brewery in Salem.

Sheila had come across a “what to do in Salem” brochure that mentioned the Parkway Brewing Co.  She and David are wine and beer aficionados so we stopped for a visit on the way back to my sister’s. 

clip_image006  established 2012 in Salem, VA 

The Brewing Company is actually located along The Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail greenway and we saw some bicycles in the parking area as well as cars. 

     “Opened in 1999, the Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail in Salem (just outside of Roanoke) is associated with Southern Virginia’s impressive Civil War history. The northern trailhead at Hanging Rock was the site of the 1864 Hunter’s Raid, in which General John McCausland’s Confederate forces won a substantial victory against the retreating Union army under the command of General David Hunter. The site is marked by a monument along State Route 311.

     Start at the Hanging Rock trailhead with the understanding that this is primarily a pleasant walk if you’re already in the neighborhood, and not necessarily a destination trail. Parking is plentiful, and you can hit the convenience store and gas station next door to stock up on provisions. On the trail, you can absorb the Roanoke Valley’s beautiful wooded scenery; the corridor winds along Mason Creek and Kessler Mill Road.

     After passing under Interstate 81, you will soon enter the township of Salem. The trail curves through a residential area, and houses flank the trail until you reach the southern trailhead at Timberview Road. If time permits on your return to the northern trailhead, take a quick jaunt on the short hiking trail at the Hanging Rock trailhead. It meanders along Peter’s Creek right up to I-81

.  The trail is 1.7 miles so you could walk back and forth and deserve a beer!



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On tap and in bottles :  take notice of the Factory Girl beer!

Searching the brewery’s web site found this interesting page.   The brewery has created a brew called Factory Girl to coincide with the book by Beth Macy  Factory Man soon to be a movie thanks to Tom Hanks. The book is about John Bassett III and “his fight to keep Vaughan-Bassett Furniture going – and made by American hands.” 

And excerpt in the Galax Gazette talks about the book and Tom Hanks.

     “Vaughan-Bassett is the largest wooden bedroom furniture maker in the U.S., with sales of more than $80 million and with about 700 employees.

     Is there a chance “Factory Man” will be shot on location in Galax? “That’ll be a decision that the production company makes,” said Doug Bassett. “But there’s no better place to play Galax than Galax. It’ll be nice if it’s able to play itself.”

     The full title of Beth Macy’s first book is “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local and Helped Save An American Town.”

     “It needs to be handled with sensitivity and respect, but in that regard you can’t do better than Tom Hanks,” said Doug Bassett. “We’re thrilled with who ended up with the story. What a wonderful place for it to land.”

     The book has spent its first seven weeks in publication on the New York Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list. It received glowing reviews from a variety of sources, including The New York Times, Garden & Gun Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

     Macy is a former reporter for The Roanoke Times and won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award at Columbia University Journalism School for “Factory Man” in 2013.”

Factory Girl brew

“Brewed in celebration of Beth Macy’s first book, “FACTORY MAN,” and as a nod to American workers everywhere, we are proud to present FACTORY GIRL Session IPA. This deliciously complex Session IPA is lighter in alcohol, but not in flavor – a tropical sweetness with a hoppy finish – its all-day drinkability will leave you wanting more! Perfect for Summer days by the water with a good book!”

Look for more in our BOOKS & BREWS Series!

     Coming this Fall: the revival of THE REMEDY Brown Ale, honoring the upcoming book by SW Virginia’s Martin Clark, “THE JEZEBEL REMEDY.”

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$5 entitled you to taste lots of beer!  Light to dark. 

I’m not a beer drinker so you can’t go by me.  But Sheila and David have studied up and preferred the two in the middle.   Randal liked the lightest beer.  I actually sort of liked the dark beer which tasted like coffee to me.  But a few sips were enough.


Sheila and David


More people arrived and as we left there was a band just setting up to play. 


Salad and pizza for dinner.

     Sheila volunteered to make the salad to go with our Pizza Hut pizza.  You can create them online and I concocted  one with a thin crust, no sauce, extra cheese, chicken and sausage and onions and mushrooms.  Yum!  Everyone else thought it was dry but I really liked it.  We ordered 3 different kinds size large so there was lots for the next day.  Once, years ago, Sheila’s friend Larry referred to Sheila and me as contenders for the Olympic Eating Team as we all scoffed down lots of Joe’s Pizza in North Hampton.  Sheila and I also finished off a Baked Alaska each at the end of a multi-course meal at the Miss Florence Diner.  But then I once finished two servings of U Mass enormous pancakes just before my Constitutional Law final.  It did the trick and I pulled up my grade two notches!

Randal’s sister refuses to have her photo taken and my sister isn’t so fond of it but one of these days I’ll do some family photos and force them.  For much of Saturday my brother-in-law Jim was off volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.  Three cheers for Jim!  He volunteers two days each week.  Har volunteers at a Medical Center.  I’m looking forward to some volunteer time when we’re home for good. 

Miss Florence Diner 

99 Main Street, Florence, 413-584-3137

      The diner’s Art Deco sign lends an Edward Hopper touch to this sleepy burg on the outskirts of Northampton, where generations of bleary-eyed Five College students have packed the Worcester Lunch Car No. 818 for homemade corned beef hash. It’s a glorious mound of brisket cooked low and slow, a staple dating from the 1940s. (Manager John Zantouliadis says that “Eddie the Butcher” — a neighbor related to the original owners, the Alexander family — slipped him the recipe.) True gluttons should request the Breakfast Club, stacks of homemade French toast layered with eggs, sausage, and bacon. “It’s not the easiest sandwich to put together,” Zantouliadis admits.

16 must-visit New England diners: Have you tried them all?

Housed in those fabulous prefab buildings of yesteryear, these restaurants greet their guests with good food, down-to-earth atmosphere, and friendly prices.  is what I think of as Joe’s Pizza

A Lovely Fall weekend with Linda and Ken and Books!

Roanoke, VA  USA


   Last Friday evening my tooth started to bother me and today I had a root canal.  Thankfully the tooth already had a crown so that didn’t need to get done.  It really was quite painless.  If all is well the permanent filling will go in November 12th

     Two weekends ago Randal and I drove to Big Island (90 minutes east) to visit his sister Linda and her husband Ken.  I love their house at the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It has trees and a stream and visiting deer.  My sister has trees and a stream and visiting deer.  Our house will have trees and deer but the stream that is just near where our driveway begins might be on the neighbor’s property.  I doubt they’d mind my visiting it just to look.  Didn’t Robert Frost write something similar about watching snow in a neighbor’s woods? 

    We drove to Big Island Friday afternoon and returned Sunday along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was a spectacular fall weekend!


Saturday afternoon we drove to Charlottesville planning to visit some used book shops and then go on to a winery.  Best laid plans….  But we had a lovely day and the winery will be there next visit.


Ken, Randal and Linda during a break on our drive to Charlottesville

We spent most of our time at the Downtown Pedestrian Mall


Tarot readings on the Charlottesville Downtown Pedestrian Mall.   We just observed.

clip_image003 clip_image004 was one of our stops as we wondered around looking for used book shops was one of the artists whose work I loved especially his pen and wash horses.

Blue Whale Books

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I could have spent hours at the Blue Whale. It wasn’t so large, but it was lovely and had a great collections to browse.   I stopped at 3 books!

Below is one of the  shop dogs that have gained fame at the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.  The store clerk said everyone took photos of the dog but not of the staff; so of course I did.


           Great dog!  Gizmo from Blue Whale Books!

6 Charlottesville Shop Dogs You Have To Meet


My Blue Whale books:

     Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart   A strange book that includes mention of the artist Tintoretto and has the ghost of Emily Bronte as a character.  The writing is very lyrical so I’m keeping at it.


I love finding messages in books.  Wonder why this book was chosen for Susie’s birthday gift?

A few weeks ago, at Too Many Books, I bought a used book that had a 2013 Mets ticket stub and the business card from the Brooklyn restaurant  franny’s.  I looked it up and the Mets won and franny’s  is on Flatbush Avenue.   Looks like a great place to eat.

     The Mets ticket cost $20.  Fenway Park tickets are way more than that!

Mark Hampton : The Art of Friendship by Duane Hampton includes some of the 100 watercolors painted as gifts for friends which captured the essence of that friend.  They are whimsical and lovely and I can learn from them.

     The Best Day the Worst Day : Life with Jane Kenyon by Donald Hall former Poet Laureate of the US about his marriage to and the untimely death of wife poet Jane Kenyon.  He wrote the words and Barbara Cooney illustrated the Ox Cart Man which won the 1980 Caldecott Award for best picture book which I must have cataloged for the Roanoke County Public Library as part of my job as kids’ book cataloger.  And I loved his Fathers Playing Catch with Sons because it really isn’t only sons who play catch with dads.

clip_image010  specializes in SciFi so attracted Linda and Ken.  I am going to mangle the story but apparently the husband and wife team who own the store had an interesting first meeting.  He, a nucelar engineer or some such occupation walked into the store and was helped by the lovely owner.  He noticed no ring on her finger so decided then and there to marry her.  I believe that was over 20 years ago!  Or atleast that’s the story retold to us by Linda and Ken.

Sunday morning I got up with the sun!






Their driveway


A family of deer cross the lawn and stream.

The stone bridge crosses the stream.  Turn left for a walk along a paved country road or go straight and walk the dirt road up to the Parkway.

Years and years and YEARS ago Randal and I actually biked from our house in Roanoke County to Linda and Ken’s! 


Randal and Ken swapping stories Sunday morning.  I love listening to the Johnson Family Stories

We drove back to Roanoke along the Blue Ridge Parkway



One of the Overlooks

Some pictures of our land and future home

Roanoke, VA  24012


     A bit of work has begun on our land; just a tiny bit to allow for the bigger work to begin when the engineers complete plans for the 1,000 or so foot driveway and Roanoke County approves them.  Runoff is a big issue these days so any project over a certain size must be approved.  Randal has built a model of our future home and he has also begun laying out, in his mind, the probable route the driveway will take. 

    It has been some time since I wrote that initial paragraph and now that we’ve marked the probable route of the driveway with yellow ties, I’ve a better idea of the “lay of the land” so to speak.  It will be a wonderful place to live!  Most of the comments below are Randal’s. 



Topographical map I sketched a driveway on and gave to the engineering firm.


Preliminary road and lot layout by the engineers at Caldwell White


The future driveway entrance looking toward the state road.

Our driveway comes off of a paved county maintained road. Ru


An old collapsed cabin before removal on October  6th 2014




We left the fireplace standing because it’s sort of interesting and stable. Ru


Tools of a novice surveyor.


Novice surveyor



Me using my homemade inclinometer made with a cheap level, mirror, and straw which is fixed at 11% grade.


Lots of bolders in the woods near the planned driveway.  Like natural sculptures which we’ll leave when possible or move to a new spot if necessary.  Ru



Beautiful fall colors.  After years of helping school kids with their leaf identification projects, I’ll finally use my copy of Forest Trees of Virginia.  And we’ll need bird books too!  Lots of deer tracks are visible in the mud where the house was knocked down.  When these lovely leaves are gone and the land for the house has been cleared, we should have a wonderful view of the Roanoke Valley below.  Ru


Marking the tentative driveway route.  Better than breadcrumbs!  Ru



Where the driveway ends and the house will be built. 


This pictures here and those below are of the property near the Goodwin Avenue access which we will not use to access our house.

This is the lower end of the 100 acres and will be great for hiking when I can figure a trail down from our house. Ru



The man and machine who has “bush-hogged” the cleared areas created by the previous owner.



No, we didn’t buy it, but I won’t swear that Randal won’t one day own some kind of bull-dozing kind of equipment. Ru


This is a model of our idea of what the house may look like. As you can see it will have a flat roof. The center section will have 12’ ceilings and the wings standard 8’ ceilings. The side of the house that will face south will have lots of glass to take advantage of the winter sun but roof overhangs to shelter from the summer sun. The model is based on dimensions of 32’X96’ but the actual plans may be different. 

There will be windows!   Lots of windows! Ru

Whirlwind tour of Turkey

Roanoke, VA 24012  USA

Merhaba which is hello in Turkish. 

I believe the people walking barefoot in what looks like snow are visiting Pamukkale. is the link to our visit to Pamukkale. 

The hot air balloons are over Cappadocia.   is the link to our visit to Cappadocia

All of this reminds me of the wonderful times we’ve had in Turkey.  I wish we could discover it again for the first time.  link to A Whirlwind Tour of Turkey

A Whirlwind Hyper-Lapse Tour of Turkey

Oct 14, 2014 | 103-part series
Chris Heller

Filmmaker Leonardo Dalessandri traveled more than 2,100 miles to make this short, which tracks north to south through a half-dozen of Turkey’s vibrant cities. I especially like the way he uses quick cuts to build momentum between each time-lapse; it’s a thrilling touch to his unique style.


A Personal Story about the internment of Japanese American during WW 2

Roanoke, VA  24012

"The idea is that the city that opens the same book – closes it in greater harmony."

~Mary McGrory,

"The Washington Post"

The Internment of Japanese American Citizens during World War 2 was the setting for the books chosen by Roanoke Valley Reads.


      You all met have met my friend Jane Field at least twice; once when she and her husband came to London, visited DoraMac and Jane and I went out and about for a day.  And just recently in the story of the City Library’s reopening.  Well this email is about Jane too. 

     Jane was born in Chicago.  Her mother and father were born in California.  Both of her parents while in their teens, along with their families, were sent to Japanese American Internment Camps during World War 2.  As part of Roanoke Valley Reads, Jane was asked to speak about her family’s experiences during the war  as well as join a follow-up panel presentation.  After agreeing Jane, being a wonderful librarian/teacher, started doing research, because though she knew her parents had been interned, they’d not shared the stories while Jane was growing up.  However, not long after her Jane’s father’s death, and while her mother’s memory was still good, Jane’s mother wrote about her own and her husband’s family’s history.  Jane’s uncle also wrote a family history; all three together totaling over 1500 pages of stories and documents.  Jane correlated her family’s experiences plus information from exhibits she’d seen at museums with the events in the three Roanoke Valley Reads books;  Adult/Young Adult book :  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford; picture book : the bracelet written by Yoshiko Uchida and illustrated by Joanna Yardley; and Young Adult book  : Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata    Though all of the titles chosen were fiction, Jane’s family had shared similar experiences. 

Jane did an amazing job!  Her presentation was eye-opening, personal, educational and very moving.  . is the hour+ presentation.  We all could have sat another hour listening to Jane!   I’ve not tried to tell you what Jane said during the presentation because watching the video is so much better than anything I could write about it. 

The following photos were taken from my computer screen.  I’d not taken my camera to the talk but thankfully it was video-taped



Jane told us that in many cases the  adult males were taken first to help build the shelters used at the camps leaving the women and children to gather and transport family belongings as best they could.  Some churches did step in to help, but not the American government.

Jane brought the two small suitcases her mother had been allowed to take to the internment camp.  They were heartbreakingly small.  Many families burned family photos and personal documents rather than leave them behind and to be destroyed by looters or taken as “evidence” by the American government. 

Randal and I also attended the Roanoke Valley Reads panel discussion about the Japanese/American internment camps held at the Taubman Museum of Art.

“A panel presentation and discussion of themes in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Panelists are Jane Field, whose parents were in an internment camp, Mary Atwell, retired history and criminal justice professor, and Susan Mead, professor of sociology.”  Susan Mead spoke about our fear of those different from ourselves and also how long it took for the study of American history to mention the Japanese/American internment camps.  Mary Atwell spoke about the Supreme Court Cases related to the internment camps. “


Susan Mead, Mary Atwell, and Jane who taught us all about the Art of the Gaman “to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.”


Artifacts from Jane’s family and books connected to the Art of the Gaman.

“We are at our best as a nation when trying times lead us to redemption, growth and inspiration. Stories from such times—and the lessons they teach—play a key role in the Smithsonian’s mission to tell the American story. A case in point: “The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946,” on view through January 30, 2011, at the Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. During World War II, our government sent 120,000 ethnic Japanese living in the western United States to internment camps; more than two-thirds were American citizens by birth. Most were given barely a week’s notice to settle their affairs and report to camp, with possessions limited to what they could carry. They lived in hastily constructed barracks in remote and often barren locations, while several thousand of them were drafted or enlisted to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Despite the harsh conditions, many internees found the will to make beautiful objects—chairs, dolls, tools—from scrap and indigenous materials. The word gaman means to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience. These works help us understand art’s healing power as they remind us of tragically misguided actions by our government in the heat of war.”

Read more:  is a short video about the Art of Gaman

"Most of the 110,000 persons removed for reasons of ‘national security’ were school-age children, infants and young adults not yet of voting age."

– "Years of Infamy", Michi Weglyn

"In the detention centers, families lived in substandard housing, had inadequate nutrition and health care, and had their livelihoods destroyed: many continued to suffer psychologically long after their release"

– "Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians"

Almost 50 years later, through the efforts of leaders and advocates of the Japanese American community, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Popularly known as the Japanese American Redress Bill, this act acknowledged that "a grave injustice was done" and mandated Congress to pay each victim of internment $20,000 in reparations.

The reparations were sent with a signed apology from the President of the United States on behalf of the American people. The period for reparations ended in August of 1998.

Despite this redress, the mental and physical health impacts of the trauma of the internment experience continue to affect tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. Health studies have shown a 2 times greater incidence of heart disease and premature death among former internees, compared to noninterned Japanese Americans.

The Grand Re-opening of the Roanoke Public Library

Roanoke, VA 24012  USA

Hi All,

    First let me thank everyone for the B’Day wishes.  I would never remember a birthday if my sister didn’t remind me so I’m impressed that anyone thought of mine.  Of course Facebook helps.

Tuesday Jane and I attended the re-opening of the main branch of the Roanoke Public Library.  She and I had worked together for years at the Roanoke County Public Library.  Jane left to work in the Roanoke City Schools as a school librarian and, though now retired she is involved with almost every reading project that takes place here.  Many of the library buildings in  Roanoke County and Roanoke City are being renovated and expanded which says a lot for the people who live here who have to pay the bill. 

Yay Libraries!!!!  is the Newbery Winner Neil Gaiman telling why reading and libraries are so important.


We arrived downtown 30 minutes early so walked the few blocks to Bread Craft Bakery and  Café which Jane insists has baked goods to rival those she and Peter have eaten during their many visits to Paris.


106 S. Jefferson St. Roanoke, VA  540-562-4112

Monday- Saturday   7am-2pm

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Everything looked tempting but I’d had a giant bowl of Grapenuts for breakfast so settled just for coffee which really was good too.

The weather forecast had been for storms but thankfully the rain held off until Tuesday evening and the library ribbon-cutting could go as planned.  Mayor Bowers and Library Director Sheila Umberger were able to get in their remarks and the ribbon was cut before the bits of drizzle began.


Jane outside the library waiting for the ribbon cutting.


Sheila is in blue and Mayor Bowers is to her right.  I don’t know the lady in black but then I’ve been away for years and Randal and I lived in Roanoke County with its own officials.

Two school sent their little people for the opening and a talk by children’s book author Rosemary Wells


Filming it all for Roanoke Valley Television is our bike buddy/friend Hank Ebert.


$3.27 million renovation,  an additional 2,500 square feet,  $150,000 worth of books added


Jane walking over towards the Children’s Area


A city scape acts as a stairway wall


Of course more computers

To help celebrate the re-opening of the library, Rosemary Wells was invited to explain to the children in the audience and those of us interested adults how she creates her characters and her illustrations. I found it quite interesting and the children were really well behaved so maybe they enjoyed it as much as I did.  When Rosemary Wells told the children there was only one correct way to hold a pencil to draw or referred to sandpaper as something their father’ would have I was a bit taken aback. Women use sandpaper and I’ve seen lots of ways to hold implements for drawing.   But Wells is a famous illustrator and I’m not and she did have some wonderful art tips I’ll try to explain later.

“Born in New York City, Rosemary Wells grew up in a house "filled with books, dogs, and nineteenth-century music." Her childhood years were spent between her parents’ home near Red Bank, New Jersey, and her grandmother’s rambling stucco house on the Jersey Shore. Most of her sentimental memories, both good and bad, stem from that place and time. Her mother was a dancer in the Russian Ballet, and her father a playwright and actor. Ms. Wells says, "Both my parents flooded me with books and stories. My grandmother took me on special trips to the theater and museums in New York."

"When I was two years old I began to draw and they saw right away the career that lay ahead of me and encouraged me every day of my life. As far back as I can remember, I did nothing but draw."

A self-proclaimed "poor student," Wells attended the Museum School in Boston after finishing high school. It was, she recalls, "a bastion of abstract expressionism an art form that brought to my mind things I don’t like to eat, fabrics that itch against the skin, divorce, paper cuts, and metallic noises."

Without her degree, she left school at 19, married, and began a fledgling career as a book designer with a Boston textbook publisher. When her husband, Tom, applied to the Columbia School of Architecture two years later, the couple moved to New York, where she began her career in children’s books working as a designer at Macmillan. It was there that she published her first book, an illustrated edition of Gilbert & Sullivan’s I Have a Song to Sing-O.

Rosemary Wells’s career as an author and illustrator spans more than 30 years and 60 books. She has won numerous awards, and has given readers such unforgettable characters as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. She has also given Mother Goose new life in two enormous, definitive editions, published by Candlewick. Wells wrote and illustrated Unfortunately Harriet, her first book with Dial, in 1972. One year later she wrote the popular Noisy Nora. "The children and our home life have inspired, in part, many of my books. Our West Highland white terrier, Angus, had the shape and expressions to become Benjamin and Tulip, Timothy, and all the other animals I have made up for my stories." Her daughters Victoria and Beezoo were constant inspirations, especially for the now famousMax board book series. "Simple incidents from childhood are universal," Wells says. "The dynamics between older and younger siblings are common to all families."

But not all of Wells’ ideas come from within the family circle. Many times when speaking, Ms. Wells is asked where her ideas come from. She usually answers, "It’s a writer’s job to have ideas." Sometimes an idea comes from something she reads or hears about, as in the case of her recent book, Mary on Horseback, a story based on the life of Mary Breckenridge, who founded the Frontier Nursing Service. Timothy Goes to School was based on an incident in which her daughter was teased for wearing the wrong clothes to a Christmas concert. Her West Highland terriers, Lucy and Snowy, work their way into her drawings in expression and body position. She admits, "I put into my books all of the things I remember. I am an accomplished eavesdropper in restaurants, trains, and gatherings of any kind. These remembrances are jumbled up and changed because fiction is always more palatable than truth. Memories become more true as they are honed and whittled into characters and stories."

Her writing career has been a "pure delight," she says. "I regret only that I cannot live other lives parallel to my own. Writing is a lonely profession and I am a gregarious sort of person. I would like someday to work for the FBI. A part of me was never satisfied with years of tennis. I still yearned to play basketball."

Rosemary Wells has a keen understanding of what matters to young children. The author and illustrator of more than sixty books, she has created unforgettable characters such as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. Her appealing stories capture the emotional charge of a child’s world.

While her stories are primarily directed towards children, Ms. Wells knows that they are not her only audience. As a writer and illustrator, she strives to "appeal enough to the sense of humor in the mother and father or teacher or older brother or grandmother who is reading so the child will feel the laughter and the enjoyment in the reader’s voice and want the book again and again and again."


Rosemary Wells


Drawing and signing a drawing for each of the two schools that had brought their students


Her characters behaviors were based on her children’s behaviors


Origami paper is one of her tricks for patterns and added textures, and perhaps were used for the clothes on the characters above.


Paint pigment is mixed with gum arabic to make the exact color that she wants


Her daily warm up is to paint this house drawing  though I don’t know if it’s the same colors each time


Rubber stamps are used for background or when she needs patterns.

     It’s so cool!  She takes some rice, cheerios, lentils or even straw and fills the screen of a photo copier making it a fairly even square.  (One ingredient per square though you could mix I would think)  She takes the copy of the image and has a rubber stamp made.  After drawing the image of her characters she covers them with a plastic protective layer.  Next she paints or inks the stamp and then stamps the background  

     The green is from the straw stamp.  I think the other is a nail brush dipped in paint.  She runs her finger over the brush and splatters the background.   When the background is complete she lifts the plastic and the character is still clean.





I was fascinated by the colorful beads or accessories adorning the children’s hair. 

The kids were all so photogenic that I’d have taken lots more pictures but I wasn’t sure how the teachers or parents would feel about that so I just sort of shot quickly and cropped.



Or you can take the elevator or stairs!


I loved her wistful expression; probably wishing she was going down the slide too.


New reading porch at the front of the library and the sculpture by Betty Branch

Once Upon A Time

bronze, life size

Ronaoke Public Library, Main Branch, Roanoke, Virginia has one as does the Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, North Carloina  and Phieffer College, Meisenheimer, South Carolina is a link to the sculpture of a boy reading that’s at the South County location of the County Library System

   I have been lucky enough to have met Betty Branch and visited her beautiful home thanks to my pal Martha who knows Betty through shared art experiences.

“Betty Branch earned both her BA and MA in Studio Art from Hollins University. Proficient in both Painting and Sculpture, served as an apprentice to acquire technical skills (Miles and Generalis Sculpture Services in Philadelphia), and embarked on periods of independent study to expand and reinforce her knowledge of art history and art techniques in Greece, Italy, and The Bahamas. She has spent a portion of many years working at Nicoli Studios in Carrara, Italy. And notably, she was the only American Exhibitor invited to the first Salon International de la Sculpture Contemporaine in Paris, 1990.

Over a thirty-year period, she has focused on the female form and has defined female rites of passage in both traditional and unorthodox media-bronze, stone, fiber, ceramic, terra cotta, earthenware, and straw. Branch’s award winning art has been exhibited internationally and has been the subject of television documentaries. Her works, from small to monumental, are in many private, corporate, university, and museum collections. She has produced a number of commissioned works, has had solo and group exhibitions, operates her own studio and gallery, has been included in many national and international publications including most recently ‘Sculpture Review’ and ‘National Sculpture Society’ and has exhibited in prestigious exhibitions including New York’s Annual International Art Exposition, and the Brookgreen Gardens Invitational, SC.”

My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy

Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty

Oily, greasy, fleecy

Shining, gleaming, steaming

Flaxen, waxen

Knotted, polka-dotted

Twisted, beaded, braided

Powdered, flowered, and confettied

Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Lyrics from the musical Hair

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So of all the people at the library re-opening including the library director, mayor, city manager, library board members, staff…. Look who ends up in the newspaper, Jane and me.  My friend Sarah said she thought she recognized my hair but then when she saw the camera, she knew for sure.    Sometimes my hair is a bit calmer but it had been muggy that morning.  I think it’s ironic that I shot all the hair photos and then it’s my hair that ends up in the newspaper!  When I worked in my library people would come in and ask for the “woman with the hair.”  And the teens called me poodles.  When I learned that from a “grown up teen” I was pleased as she and her friends had been a handful so I expected a nickname much worse. 

Helping at the Library Book Sale

Roanoke, VA  USA


    Although rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, we have had a week of beautiful fall weather.  It truly is my favorite time of the year.  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I volunteered to help unbox and arrange books for the semi-annual library book sale.  It felt good to do good and it was great to see former co-workers again.  The bonus was a “worker discount” at the coffee shop and discovering the nature trail behind the library.  I love libraries!!!!


Dear Friends:

It’s that time of year again!  The semi-annual book sale begins Saturday, October 11 and continues through Thursday, October 16.  The Friends’ preview sale is Friday the 10th. Wednesday October 15 is ½ price day, and Thursday, October 16 is box day – fill your box with books for only $3.00 per box.

Of course, with the sale, comes the preparation.  We need volunteers for set up and the sale:

For Set Up, October 6 – 8 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday):

· 4 – 5 Lifters who can lift and move boxes of books once they are delivered to the library.  The boxes weigh approximately 40 pounds each.  Start time is approximately 9:00 am Monday; work until job is finished, usually by noon.  We can use a couple of people after lunch to assist with moving boxes.  (You can work in teams so that you don’t have to lift an entire box by yourself!)  We also have hand trucks.  J

· Unpackers and sorters to unpack the boxes of books and arrange the books on the proper tables.  You will need to be able to bend and lift, and carry a few books.  Volunteers needed from 9:00 to 5:00 pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can work all day, ½ day or a couple of hours.  Your preference; we just need to know what works for you.

· The room will close from noon to 1 for lunch.

For the Sale, October 11 – 16, during library hours:

· Customer Service Guides to walk the sales floor, offering assistance with locating books, handing out shopping bags, answering questions, carrying bags to the holding area (so customers can continue to shop), straightening tables, assisting the counters and cashiers as needed.  Shifts available from 9:00 to 5:00 Saturday, October 12; from 1-5 on Sunday, October 12; and from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday, October 13 through Thursday, October 16.

· Counters (to count the number of sale items by price, and send the tally with the customer to the cashier) and Cashiers.  Volunteers needed Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday from 1-5, and Monday through Thursday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Shifts are available; you won’t have to work the entire time; just let us know your preference.

So this past Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I volunteered to “unpack and sort.”  Tuesday was fine and I unboxed books and put them where they were supposed to be as much as that could happen with so many books and not so much table space for them.  Wednesday I did something a bit different.  The Friends have an ongoing book sale of the weeded library books and media.  They were displayed in a separate area just across from the small Mill Mountain Coffee shop that is housed in the library.  Things have definitely changed since I worked in the library when it was located on 419.  The new building is lovely and there is a wonderful nature trail just behind the library. 


A few years ago I went on a tour while it was being built, but we’d returned to the boat before the grand opening.



The coffee shop has a drive through too.


The trail from the back of the library



The raised walkway over the wetlands area


Viewing Platform

South County Library Wetland Trail – Roanoke, VA

     The South County Library Wetland Trail trail is just a small part of Roanoke County’s master plan to balance its parks’ ball fields and parking lots with nature. A few years ago, the Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department conducted a survey asking what citizens were looking for. Their response was more passive park land: trails, greenways, and natural areas where families can enjoy wildlife.

Bridge Builders USA, Inc. worked with Roanoke County to construct this 900 linear foot pedestrian walkway near the South County Library site. The 10′ wide boardwalk features a 10’x30′ overlook platform and will eventually incorporate signs explaining the value of wetlands and its inhabitants.

In some places, the boardwalk is only 18" above the environmentally sensitive wetlands which contains 30% of the areas plant species. Special environmental permits were granted for the project.

The County of Roanoke required that all work associated with the construction of the wetland boardwalk trail and viewing platform shall be conducted with minimal environmental impact, performed from the deck level and above the grade of the wetland within the trail corridor. As a pioneer in "top-down" construction, Bridge Builders USA, Inc. was a "natural" fit and constructed the boardwalk while preserving the surrounding environmentally sensitive areas and wetlands.

“For wheelchair accessibility, please park in the lot to the far left side of Penn Forest Elementary, then take the crosswalk at the roundabout and walk down the concrete sidewalk along Merriman Rd to access the boardwalk.”

I walked from the coffee shop exit down a lengthy set of stairs to access the greenway.  So it is only in retrospect that I asked myself if the walkway was wheelchair accessible.  I don’t think it is from the library.  But I thought it was funny wording that Parks and Rec told someone in a wheelchair to walk down the concrete sidewalk.  I would have said ‘and continue along the concrete sidewalk.’


The sunny area of the coffee shop


Organized chaos

Actually lots had been done on Monday; but all of those boxes under the tables had to be moved, opened, and the books inside put in rows under the tables.  I spent most of the morning doing just that.


Wednesday morning things were more under control and so I worked on the weeded (removed from the collection because no longer needed) books partly to avoid dealing with the media formats which appeal to me less.  But unboxing and shelving the weeded books needed doing and I enjoyed doing that.


Of course there were drinks and snacks.  Tuesday I had the delicious coffee cake and Wednesday a wonderful homemade cookie.

Lake Spring Park Salem VA

Roanoke, VA  USA


      Couldn’t type Y’all after hello.    I guess after all these years spent away from Roanoke, I’ve lost most of the southernisms I picked up living here from September 1979 until we left for China in November of 2006.  Around the world we often heard  “you guys” which amazed me as that’s what we grew up with in New Bedford, MA.  You guys were women as well as men which is why I thought y’all a much better description.  But y’all no longer feels natural and “you all” isn’t quite right either though apparently grammatically correct from the tiny bit of research I just did.    Hello sounds too bland and only one step away from Dear Sir/Madam,  but will have to do for now.  My mind goes strange places.

   Last week I talked my friend Sarah into an “art outing.”  Here’s the story.



     Last Thursday, a beautiful fall morning, my friend Sarah and I went to the “duck pond” in Salem.  We brought paper, pencils, paint, books to share and snacks.  I did a little drawing; Sarah a little reading.  But mostly we just enjoyed the morning and the antics of the Canada Geese and ducks.  They’re all so tame that it took will power for me not to try patting their heads.  Geese bite!    There were so many geese that I wasn’t tempted to buy bread at the convenience store across the road.  It would have been chaos trying to make bits to share with all of them.  And I have read that bread really isn’t great for water birds.  (See second article below.)

While we were there a truck pulled into one of the parking spaces and a man got out with a huge bucket of corn.  In no time all of the geese and ducks came walking past us or racing across the pond using their webbed feet like water skis to brake before they crashed into the stone wall.  Then they hopped out of the pond and waddled over to help themselves to the corn.  There was enough for all of them to eat their fill and then return to whatever they’d been doing before the “corn man” arrived. 




Geese in search of hand-outs from these visitors, but no luck there either.




“Corn man” comes every day. 

He told me the birds prefer his corn to the officially provided Salem Parks & Rec corn. 


He also feeds the birds at Green Hill Park footing the bill himself

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They can twist their necks and heads any which way but when they look you in the eye you feel as if you could start up a conversation.


A white-crested drake, I think as most photos on the web show them being completely white



My version of the duck pond.

After our visit I thought I’d look up something about the park just as I have with places around the world we visit.  I certainly learned lots I didn’t know.  Somewhere I have a history of Roanoke I’ve never read and I’ve also not visited the Salem History Museum so must do that while we are home.  Though our home will be in the Catawba district of Roanoke County, we will live much closer to ‘downtown’ Salem than ‘downtown Roanoke City.’  Roanoke County has no center.  Though geographically linked they are all separate political entities. 

I learned that Lake Spring Park was once a hotel and spa linked to another hotel and spa across Catawba Mountain.  From my bicycle riding days I know the Catawba Valley quite well so found it all very interesting. 


A few miles west of the Salem marker on Main Street is Lake Spring Park.  Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs is in the valley between the two mountain ranges.  To get to McAfee’s Knob you hike up from top of 311 onto the first row of mountains overlooking the water of Carvins Cove.  (Hiking up to McAfee’s Knob was for many years a pre-Thanksgiving dinner hike for Randal, my nephew Andrew and me.)

From the Salem Museum Website:

Local Spas Cured Ailments Galore  

By Lon Savage

     The old Lake Spring Hotel, situated a century ago in Salem’s present-day Lake Spring Park, once figured in a health resort arrangement with the Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs across the mountain at Catawba — an arrangement that some thought would make Catawba "the Baden-Baden of America."

     It was a two-hotel venture owned and managed in the late 1800s by one of Salem’s all-time great entrepreneurs, F. J. (for Flavius Josephus) "Joe" Chapman of an old Salem family, son of a hotel keeper, father of a hotel keeper, and a hotel keeper par excellence, himself. Visitors from throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic traveled to Salem to enjoy the Lake Spring Hotel, then to travel by stage over the Catawba Mountain to the "Roanoke Red," where they took waters that promised to cure just about every ailment known to man or woman.  (For many years both my sister and I lived on route 311, the road that takes you to and over Catawba Mountain.  And as a member of the Blue Ridge Bike Club I’ve biked over that mountain and past the entrance to what was Roanoke Red but is now Catawba Hospital.)

Dr. Joseph A. Gale, who later was to become a founder of Lewis-Gale Hospital, described the Red Sulphur water as "a valuable and efficient remedy" in the treatment of the following ailments: "skin diseases, the early stages of consumption, and pulmonary affections generally; in dyspepsia, general debility, nervous prostration, and vascular excitement. Experience has proven it to be invaluable in diseases peculiar to females, and disordered conditions of the nervous system resulting therefrom."

And a Dr. Mattur added that the waters were "eminently beneficial" in treatment of "womb affections and diseases of the genito-urinary organs of both sexes, dyspepsia, neuralgia, debility supervening upon acute diseases, especially febrile affections; chronic intermitttants, chronic rheumatism, gout and dropsy, the cahexia of scrofula, syphilis and mercury, and some of the diseases of the skin and bone."

And Dr. E. G. Walls of Baltimore predicted in 1884 that "as soon as the Red is a little more accessible, it will be the Baden-Baden of America."

The people who flocked to The Red enthusiastically agreed, reporting cures of all manner of ailments, with reports like this one from Gale W. Sparks of Parish of Pointe Couper, LA, in 1886:

"When I left Louisiana in June, I was suffering from a complication of heart, liver and kidney troubles. It was with the greatest difficulty I could walk two hundred yards…My appetite and digestion were gone…I had been under the treatment of some of the ablest physicians of New Orleans for two years or more…without benefit." "As a last resort," he came to Red Sulphur. "After a sojourn of three weeks, I came away a changed man; my appetite was completely restored…[I] could run and romp like a boy. In fact, I am satisfied I owe my life to Roanoke Red."

Such testimonials were not unusual. It is estimated as many as 500 tourists visited Chapman’s two establishments each summer — most of them staying at least several weeks and many for the entire summer. Guests came from an area stretching from Pennsylvania to Texas, and especially from the Gulf states where yellow fever epidemics flared. Scores told of the marvelous cures they found to their ailments. Chapman and his son and partner J. Harry Chapman published more than 100 testimonials to the quality of their water and service, written by both satisfied customers and doctors.

Five of Salem’s most prominent leaders were directors when The Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs Company was chartered in 1857: George Shanks. Abraham Hupp, William Walton, Green B. Board and David C. Shanks. They bought 700 acres in the Catawba Valley and invested $50,000. By 1858 a hotel was ready, and by 1860 it was leased to Chapman. He was the son of H. H. Chapman who owned the Salem Hotel.

The Civil War disrupted the venture, and it was in the 1870s before it really got going again. By this time, Joe’s son, J. Harry Chapman, was helping him manage things, and they purchased the Red. From then on, both father and son made the enterprise go.

In 1876, Chapman saw an opportunity to build the Lake Spring Hotel just west of Salem. Always the astute businessman, he managed to make the hotel a companion project to the opening of Salem’s first water system, winning an $11,167 contract for the water system. Grading of the lakes as a reservoir for the water system went on that spring of 1876 at the same time the Lake Spring Hotel rose 75 yards to the east. The hotel opened in July and the water system was accepted in December.

It was a time when everyone talked of the magic of voices traveling over wires, and Chapman took advantage of that situation, too. In 1877. with his usual foresight, he connected his hotels (he also owned the Lucerne in downtown Salem) by telephone and telegraph — some nine years ahead of the next franchise for a phone line. The phone connection appeared prominently in his advertising thereafter.

Room and board at the Lake Spring cost $25 to $40 a month in 1889; $30 to $40 for four weeks at the Red, with special rates for families. The Chapmans also shipped their healing waters over much of the country at $4 per case of 12 half-gallon jugs, or $5 for a ten-gallon carboy, on railcars at Salem.

The Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs resort was kept in continuous operation from 1876 until its sale after F. J. Chapman’s death in 1894. His sons sold it in 1908 to the Commonwealth of Virginia (deed shows $18,774 paid in cash) and it became the location of the Catawba Sanatorium, for tubercular patients. Today it is the site of Catawba Hospital.

The Lake Spring operated from 1876 until the night of June 16, 1892, when it burned to the ground as a ball celebrating the hotel’s summer opening broke up about 2:15 a.m. Departing guests in tuxedos joined citizen volunteers in a bucket brigade, and firemen used their hose to pour water on the cottages. The hotel was never rebuilt.

But while the two hotels lasted, they were enormously successful. The waters were key to the success, but of almost equal importance, the Chapmans made sure their guests enjoyed themselves.

Chapman’s carriages met every train at the Salem Depot, taking guests first to the nearby Lake Spring Hotel which overlooked three natural cold water lakes encompassing a three-acre plot. A small bandstand stood in the center of one lake where Italian string bands serenaded guests paddling in boats beneath overhanging willows. The hotel also offered the mineral waters, along with horseback riding, fishing (in either lake or river), hunting, croquet, nightly dances, and, biggest of all, a jousting tournament, in which knights riding horseback and carrying lances attempted to spear rings strung out for about 80 feet, followed by the "Coronation Ball". The knight who speared the most rings in the tournament won the honor of crowning "the Lady of the Lake" and was featured, with her, at the ball.

At the top of the mountain, the driver usually stopped to allow guests to admire the breathtaking view and also to regain their composure from the harrowing ride, before starting the last leg of the ten mile trip. George Braden of Louisville, Ky., wrote in 1886 about the trip: "Its very roughness added immensely to the enjoyment of my summer vacation."

Once at the Red, guests chose from still more activities: horseback riding, croquet, ten-pins, billiards and bowling, checkers parties, the usual bands and dancing; trout fishing, hunting, hot and cold sulphur bath rooms, and walks and other excursions into the surrounding country. One of the favorites was to 4,200 foot high McAfee’s Knob, five miles away, described by one visitor as "one of the most magnificent pieces of scenery in America." Standing atop the table rocks on the knob, he looked outward and exulted as "Hundreds of square miles, tinged with the crimson purple and gold of the approaching autumnal sun, unbosomed themselves before us."   (I’ve hiked up McAfee’s Knob dozens of times and, for a while, it became our pre-Thanksgiving dinner hike for Randal, my nephew Andrew, and me.)


The article continues with testimonials to the efficacy of the water’s cures.  Also there are huzzahs  to the guests themselves.  

The next article bemoans the messes made by the Canada Geese and the cost to Salem for cleaning up that mess.  You know you live in a very safe part of the world when the local government can devote time to solving the problem of geese poop in the park.  I’m not actually making light of that; not really.  All of our travel has made me appreciate the relative peace and security we have in America.  It truly is what most people of the world want for themselves and their children.

Page 9 – SalemMagazineFall2014-web

Inside City Hall

Kevin’s Corner

Kevin Boggess – City Manager

For residents and visitors entering the downtown corridor from the west, Lake Spring Park is often the first city landmark that catches their attention. It has been a popular attraction dating back to the late 1800s when the area was home to the once popular Lake Spring Hotel.

Lately, the park has been home to some not-so-hospitable guests, who are taking advantage of the plush accommodations on the corner of West Main and 4th Street. Simply put, the ducks and geese that are supposed to compliment the lake are running amuck and refusing to clean-up after themselves.

The problem is two-fold. The ducks are being fed too much of the wrong kind of food too often and their bathroom habits are causing the Street Department to spend way too much time cleaning up their mess.

For months, city officials have been studying the situation and looking for long term solutions to the problem beyond a daily power washing. We all want children, parents and visitors to be able to enjoy the park and the ducks, but in the proper mixture. Recently, members of the Street Department traveled with me to Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. The folks in Staunton have a municipal duck pond very similar to the one we have in Salem, but what they don’t have are problems with overfeeding and duck feces

covering their sidewalks. Staunton Parks and Recreation Department Director Chris Tuttle actually traveled to Salem and gave us his assessment of Lake Spring’s current situation before we headed up to Augusta County. Before Tuttle had even made it halfway around our facility, he suggested that we create defined areas for the ducks. The idea of “giving them a home” sounded like something that was way too simple of a solution. But once we actually saw how Staunton’s addition of fencing around an entire pond and the creation of “landing” areas at the pond to keep the ducks contained, we were sold.

Right now, we are looking at not only the addition of fencing, but also signage that will better educate the public on why no one should feed the ducks bread, French fries, donuts or other foods that lack nutritional value. To that end, Staunton has had great success with duck food dispensing machines. Money generated from the sale of the food is used to feed the ducks every morning. Lake Spring Park has been the site of hundreds of wedding photos, prom pictures and to this day it is easily the most

photographed place in the city. All of us want to make sure it remains that way for years to come. That likely means we will have to embrace some changes to the park that all of us hope will be huge

improvements in the long run.