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Belhaven!

2015/12/10

If you’ve read my blog you probably know a place in NC, Belhaven, is close to my heart. This summer I got to visit, and it was joyous. Other aunts, uncles & cousins who don’t live there were visiting. My generous uncle had a crew to cook & clean up. We had the best fried shrimp I’d had in a few years. And this incredible layer cake he gets in Currituck or somewhere on the way.

My cousins and I rode all over town in my uncles golf cart. It’s probably less than a mile from downtown to River Forest Manor, where we were staying. The house is being renovated and I told a little of its history here. While downtown, the golf cart ran out of gas and we were chugging and pushing home, and I was periscoping it, which was hilarious. It took 1/2 an hour to get back!

My Uncle rented a luxury bus that had bedrooms, a kitchen, etc. He also rented some of the outer cottages that have been renovated (very nicely, I might add, they were skanky for a long time.) He also brought his cars. One of them is the the Rolls from Arthur, which my uncle got at an auction. ALS (which killed Dudley Moore, star of this film,) is related to Parkinson’s, which my uncle has had for 20 years. He’s only 10 years older than me and has lived such an active life. I got to drive his newer Rolls in the parade! Here are some pics from the weekend.

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River Forest Manor

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Preston and Uncle Sonny

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Water Street view

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Bishop Home on Water St.

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Preston rolls into Belhaven

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4 of his cars

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My cuz Chelsea

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Preston and Aunt Libby

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Preston’s Kris Kraft

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Arthur Car

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Boats at the marina

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Preston’s Rolls

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 Aunt Nellie’s house

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I drove this!

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My view at parade

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Late afternoon

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Boats at the dock

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New Marina

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All the water pics are Pantego Creek

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I wonder why the writing prompts for kids are more interesting to me than the ones for adults? I think the ones for adults are too involved, write too much of the story for you, maybe. Anyhow, I don’t have a favorite childhood toy, but I will tell you about some of my dolls. They were so important to me. I was a serial monogamist with dolls.

There was Baby Tender Love, Chrissie (with the blonde hair that grew!). My first doll was Thumbelina, which I sort of thought was because I sucked my thumb. She was a little doll, half the size of Baby Tender Love. Baby Tender Love had a real mouth to pretend feed.

Thumbelina might have had a pull string in her back that made her do something, but I don’t remember what. Or that may have been another doll. I remember mostly her size (small like me) and her beautiful dress, which I loved. Also, she had a soft stuffed fabric body, not plastic like Baby Tender Love, who I obviously remember better! It was a rust colored corduroy. I can feel it right now. I rubbed the heck out of that corduroy. She was quiet and sweet and really seemed to have a personality. I had a huge imagination. She may have been a hand me down, because I remember she seemed a little grimy. Probably from me carrying her everywhere! And maybe my sisters before me.

Once my Uncle David (who is 71 today!) was stationed in Korea after he graduated NC State, and he sent my sisters and me this beautiful Korean doll. She was gorgeous. I think I’ve written about her before. She was about 3 feet tall, and her elaborate clothes seemed like silk and she had a silk-covered china doll face. And I remember sequins. It was exquisite. I wish I could tell you more details about the doll. I don’t remember details well at all.

Anyhow, my sisters and I literally loved that doll to death. She became a ragged toy after we were finished with her. At the time we were probably 5, 7 and 9. Each one of us loved her. To death. RIP, Korean Doll.

Let’s see-I may have a pic, because I think I told this story before. I think we were about 4, 6 & 8. I’m on the left. I always felt guilty that we didn’t take better care of this special doll. Which seeing my age is a little ridic.

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There used to be a bumper sticker that read “4th of July in Belhaven”. This was in the 70’s, I suppose.

I’m sure I’ve discussed Belhaven before. The town is on a peninsula in Beaufort County, NC. It’s South of Hyde County & North of Pamlico Co by road.

My parents grew up there. Dad’s folks were from Bertie Co. & Washington, the county seat of Beaufort. Not to be mistaken with the charming town of Beaufort south of Belhaven near Morehead.

Mom grew up there. Dad was born in Norfolk, lived in Manteo & moved to Belhaven when he was about 12.

Anywho, there is a big Independence Day celebration in Belhaven every year. The town swelled from about 2000 folks to about 20,000 when I was a kid.

And, I could sit on Granny’s front porch on Main St. & watch it all. It was the most fun. At 9 pm, Avon Skin So Soft slathered on, we went a block over to Aunt Nellie’s to watch the fireworks from her pier. The story of the year the whole caboodle of fireworks exploding prematurely & the (possibly inebriated) operators diving into the water to escape was often retold.

When I was 12 the small community where we lived had its first 4th of July celebration. This was in Beaverdam, Hanover Co, VA. It was 1976, the Bicentennial. I remember the lady who organized it all riding into the Ruritan park on the hood of a white car.

My friend’s Mom was an artist, and both of her parents were a lot of fun. Her Dad had an old open box truck from the 30’s or 40’s. Barb J painted the stars & stripes on the truck & my 2 best friends & I spent a few 4ths (into our early 20’s!) on the back of that truck in the parade. I’ll have to find a picture.

Afterwards we’d go to Lake Anna & ski. Fun, fun times. I always missed Belhaven, though. It was hard to go back after Granny & Memom weren’t there anymore. However, I have lots of relatives there & spent several 4ths there in recent years.

One year my friend and I went to the park here in Richmond. There is a stage called Dogwood Dell & we sat on a blanket & listened to Patriotic music & mellowed way out. They had fireworks there. Later, we were driving on a parkway & pulled over (along with many others!) to watch the fireworks from the baseball diamond.

Tim likes a quiet 4th. We love to watch the Boston Pops & fireworks on PBS. A few years ago our elder son was in Boston on the 4th & saw this stunning fireworks display live.

Today has been mellow. Took a walk with Penny the dog & my sweet friend TT. I also sat in the sun awhile. Decided if I wasn’t doing any house or yard work I was not going to feel guilty, just enjoy it.

Our Internet & TV (Fios) have been down since last night. They are supposed to come & hopefully fix it by 2 pm. If not, I may just drag Tim to some live fireworks.

I’ve had a hard time reading books lately. I’ve gotten so into long-form magazine articles, I wonder if that is why. I ordered Tom Grimes’s novel City of God a while back. The book is stamped “no longer the property of Spokane library”, which amused me.

Ta!

1st Post of 2013

2013/01/01

Well, it’s been a bit rough this past several weeks because Elsie died Friday, 7 December, or early the following morning.  She ran off (something she never did) and either kept running because she panicked and couldn’t hear me calling her, or she may have run off to die.   She was found the following morning in a kind woman’s yard.  She was dirty, but no blood or appearance of having been hit.  The 2 days before she left she was drinking a lot, a whole lot, of water, and I was thinking I’d need to take her to the vet to see why.  My heart is broken, but it will heal.  I will always have her in my heart.  She loved me and I loved her and we had almost 5 wonderful years together.  RIP, my Baby Girl.  I love you forever.  You were a beautiful girl.

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November 23rd

2012/11/23

Today is my birthday.  It is my favorite day of the year.  I love the Thanksgiving holiday.  In the past,  because my birthday was around or on Thanksgiving, but now because I reflect on how very much gratitude I am blessed to possess.

I was born about 5:20 am the morning after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  That has always cast a bit of a pall and fascination around my birthday.  Strangely, 23 November was the birthday of Denise, the first wife of my husband, and Mommy of my boys.  I’ve written some about Denise or grief here, here, here and here.  Today would have been a milestone for Denise, her 50th birthday.  I feel sad for Tim, the boys, her folks and sisters, nieces and friends.

Tim and I were talking about it this morning, and he read some words to me by Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent

knowledge of the beyond;

     And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart

dreams of spring.

     Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

 

     Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd

when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid

upon him in honour.

I have some friends and acquaintances with my birthday.  A few months ago we lost one, Annie Mae.  She fought cancer for 60 years!  Her kindness was renown among her friends.  I was especially attracted and amazed by her incredible kindness to children.  She made delicious chocolate pie.  She loved God, her husband, Billy, and her children.  Her soul is one of the gentlest I’ve known.

Gibran says:

For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.

 

The Henrico Citizen has this amazing piece by its managing editor, Patty Kruszewski.  She lost her daughter to a hit and run driver this year.  It captures so well the agony and, yes, joy that accompanies a tremendous loss.  The price and reward for having loved another.

Gibran tells us in The Prophet our capacity for joy is only as large as our capacity for sorrow.  The full passage is here.  I love the line “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”  Tim and I have talked about that so much.

So, with compassion and love I’m thinking of the losses of my loved ones.  I’m thankful for my family and friends.  Life is good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a chilly, sunny day.

Flat terrain, near the Pamlico Sound.

Just a church and some houses.

My Uncle Guy Swindell helped build the church.

On our way to Lake Mattamuskeet,

were Virginia, Tim and me.

Uncle Guy was my great-uncle,

and Virginia’s stepfather.

I met a Spencer,

surely a relative in this tiny, swampy place,

home to my ancestors.

Inside,

the wood,

carved, dark, dusty.

narrow, spiral steps.

Outside,

the steeple.

Church at Fairfield, Hyde Co., NC

by Gregor Gibson. I found the website for it here.    Let me start by saying I read in Salon ‘Our School Shooting’ by Sarah Tomlinson here.  It was an excellent article.  She linked to the Galen Gibson Fund’s website.  Galen Gibson was her schoolmate, who was killed in 1992.  Their schoolmate, Wayne Lo, took a cheap Chinese-made semi-automatic gun, injured several people, and killed 2.  It was the same old story of an alienated, mentally ill person whose sickness wasn’t obvious.

This led me to ‘Gone Boy’.  Written by his father, Gregor Gibson, it is the story of a young man who was a victim in this random spree shooting.  It is also the story of the elder Gibson’s journey of grief.  Gibson accounts, quite viscerally, his feelings and how they progressed throughout an understandably agonizing process.

One of the things that struck me about the book was how Gibson never loses his abundant humility.  He is soooo honest.  He is also a good writer.  I really recommend this book!!