Sunday Evening


So Venus & Jupiter are going their separate ways.  It was nice watching them over the past few months coming closer together.  I love it when I can see Venus in the early evening.

My son participated in a marathon dance this weekend.  His high school does it every year.  They have some costume competitions and he and his buddy dressed up as Conan & Andy. (My son is Conan.)Image

It was a good weekend, although I’m feeling a bit of Sunday blues now.  It will pass.



My nephew, who started middle school this week!  He was about 2 years old here.  Isn’t he adorable?


1944 Atlantic Storm


I was reading about this storm earlier this week, and realized my Dad was living in Manteo, NC during this time.  He was 9 years old.  Today I asked him what he remembered about it.  I’m going to talk to him more, but wanted to get the things he told me down.  He remembered going down to Aunt Cada’s store (Tarkington’s) downtown with his Daddy, his 2 uncles Frank, and his cousins Jack and Jerry who were around the same age.  He remembered walking through water that appeared very deep to him both outside and in the store.

He also remembered seeing the roof blow off the gym at the school, so I guess they were running around during the storm, but that’s what residents did.  They had  to check their businesses, and one of the uncles was the Sheriff of Dare County, so he had to be out and about.  I’m pretty sure he was Sheriff at that time.  He was also in charge of the jail.

Actually, he didn’t become sheriff until 1946 so I don’t know what they were doing out in the storm.  Checking on the store, I guess.  Anyhow, I’m going to ask him some more questions about it when I see him again.

I wonder if my outer banks kin evacuated.  Irene will be there late tomorrow night, I guess.  I doubt it.  I’ve never known any of them to evacuate during a storm.  I’m very concerned about the beach replenishment project at Nags Head.  They spent millions and aren’t done, and I’m sure Irene isn’t going to help.

So thankful Andy evacuated to my inlaws’ in Williamsburg.  He goes to school in Va. Beach at Va. Wesleyan College, and was planning to stay with friends in the area.  I was so worried he was going to be stubborn about it and stay.  He’s 20.  After he sees this storm he’ll be glad he left, I bet.

All for now-Ta!

A Lady Named Ruby


called me the ‘other wife’ today.

She was being kind,

and I took it thus.

Mother of my sons,

Giver of Life,

Ruby knew her first.

She knows a family,

who lost their youngest daughter,

and this family lost

their own lives as they’d known them.

I entered this family,

became an instant Mom,

to two precious boys,

the grandsons of Ruby’s neighbor.

I’m the other wife.

First, location, location, location.  406 E. Main Street, Belhaven.  Just 2-3 blocks from downtown, around the corner from Water Street & Aunt Nellie’s house on the water.

The floors were always painted light gray, and always gleaming.  It was about 5 or 6 feet deep, and had a wide 2 or 3 step stoop.  After FEMA raised all the houses, the porch had lots more steps, but it was a long time after Granny was gone.  It was as wide as the house, which was late, late Victorian.  Nothing fancy, but oh, the most comfortable, comforting, safe place I ever knew.  Always something we loved to eat in the cookie jar, and usually something smelling good on the stove.

Back to the porch.  At one end was a hanging, 2-person swing and it was old.  Once I believe my cousin Susan and I were swinging on it and the screws came undone or stripped and it dropped to the floor of the porch.  I believe our egos were bruised, mostly.  The swing was painted dark, dark green.  She had 2 benches on the porch.  One was a sort of plain & simple federal style reproduction, the other matched the swing.  I wish I could find a picture.  The boards were very close together, and they looked about the size of a broom, cut in half length-wise & round side up.  The design was kind of deco.  She always had pretty plants on the porch and it was pristine.  In front of the porch were hydrangea bushes with blue blooms, lots of blooms.

We always had a crowd on the 4th of July because it was a prime spot from which to view the annual 4th of July parade.  And all afternoon we’d watch people parading up and down Main Street on foot, bike, car and the occasional shriner’s go-kart. 

The memory of that porch at Granny’s is sacred to me.  I’ll find some pics of the 4th of July w/ everyone sitting up on the porch and post them sometime.  Since I don’t have any of the porch, I am posting a pic of my sisters and me ca. 1964.  I’m the baby.  It’s in front of Memom’s house, and you can see Memom’s red Rambler in the background.  My oldest sister, Lynn, then Betsy, then me (looking messy, as always).  Oh, and you can see why bangs don’t really work on me.

Lynn, Betsy, Julie ca. 1964, Memom's, Riverview St., Belhaven

Susan & I were very mischievous.  Eventually she had it taken down, but Granny used to have a huge cedar or some time of conifer that reached the ground in her front yard.  Once the neighbor lady across the street was calling for her daughter or grandaughter & Susan & I were on the porch, hidden, by the tree, from her view.  We kept answering her, “what?” every time she called.  I think Granny caught us doing this and admonished us.  I’ll have to check w/ Susan.  She’s my cousin with whom I have many fond memories of being at Granny’s.



I am looking for full time work.

It’s a topsy turvy process.

I feel confident, capable,

but there is a draining of


some of it positive,

as I willow and wallow through

this tangle.

While I feel good

about most things,

it is very alien.

In 25 years I’ve had 2 jobs.

With a brief temp job,

and child rearing–


No, child rearing

is the hardest, albeit rewarding,  job.

I’m not complaining,

just processing.

It is so new and,

in a way, fresh.

I like meeting people.

I’m happy I like change.

If I didn’t, I’d be a ragged mess.

My spirits have been good,

and my family is well.

I’ve felt joy

and some fear.

How I haven’t felt fear constantly

is anathema to me.

I don’t think I fear, fear


That helps in life.

This fearful voice in my head just said,

What if something happened to Tim,

or one of the boys?

Fuck you, fear!

Love trumps you any time!

Still Reading…


The Nazi Doctors by Robert Jay Lifton.  It is slow going.  There seems to be a lot of repetition.  He’s really getting into the psychology of the participants, but it seems repetitive.  I’m about half way through, and usually I read faster than that, if you read my blog.  I’ve been distracting myself..

Tim gave me a plastic box to put all of the books I have lying around that are library books, borrowed books, books I’ve bought & not read, books I’m reading.  Sometimes I read more than one at a time.  Oh, and books I’ve read and I’m going to give away.  So, the box is pretty full.  I”m very tempted to start a new book, but I’ve found other ways to distract myself.

First, let me tell you about a fabulous documentary I watched last night.  It is called Bright Leaves by a film maker I can’t believe I didn’t know–Ross McElwee.  The work is very personal and moving.  I usually watch docs for info., but the film itself was a work of art.  He narrated, and his voice is gentle and melodic, with a soft southern vibration.  I was attracted to the film because it is about the NC tobacco industry, which is rather close to home for me.  My people are coastal, but I’ve known quite a few tobacco growers on the inner banks of NC.

Spoiler alert!!!!  The film drew an amusing parallel between a legend in McElwee’s family, and a legend in my family.  His first: (this is the spoiler part).  There was a film starring Gary Cooper & Lauren Bacall, among others, called Bright Leaf.  It was based upon a novel by a man with the wonderful name of Foster Fitz-Simons.  Fitz-Simmons and his wife, Marian Tatum, were creatives.  He was a dancer, a dramatist and, of course, a novelist.  He taught at Chapel Hill for years.

Ross McElwee’s family always thought the film was about his great grandfather, who purportedly had his tobacco trade secret stolen by Buck Duke, thus robbing the McElwee family of  all of the accolades and riches bestowed upon Mr. Duke.   In the film, the entire family always thought the Gary Cooper character was, literally, their ancestor.  Toward the end of Bright Leaves, McElwee speaks with Fitz-Simons’s wife and creative partner, Marian, who debunks the McElwee family legend.  He also tours the Duke Museum and realizes Buck Duke was the first to manufacture cigarettes on a large scale, which his great granddaddy hadn’t done.  So, a big letdown.

I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but my Great Uncle Frank was the sheriff of Dare County, NC, for about 35 years.  My Great  Aunt Cada, his sister in law, ran the main general store in Manteo.  Her husband was older, and a politician.   She always called him Mr. Tarkington, but Dad called him Uncle Lindsay.  Everyone else in the family worked for either Frank or Cada. 4 of Cada’s siblings (included Frank’s wife, and my Granddaddy) were pretty bad drunks.  They binged a lot.   Uncle Frank (the sheriff-I had 2 great Uncle Franks) was acquainted with Andy Griffith, who still has a home at Manteo.  I think you probably know where this is leading….  I will say Andy Griffith acted in The Lost Colony before he was famous, and knew my family.  My Dad was young and used to sell cokes there.  My 1st cousin once removed, Virginia, to whom I was very close and is the subject of my prior post, was an extra the first 2 seasons.  In case you don’t know, The Lost Colony could be the longest-running outdoor theatre production in the US.  I know it used to tout itself thus, but there might have been a few years there was no production or something.  I’ve linked to their website.

Anyhow, the White family legend has it that Sheriff Andy was based on Uncle Frank, Mayberry on Manteo, and Otis, the town drunk, was a composite of Granddaddy, his brother, and their 2 sisters.  The truth is, while there are parallels, Andy hails from the lovely Mount Airy, NC, which, understandably, bills itself as the famous Mayberry.

Anyhow, I thought that little parallel between McElwee’s family and mine was kind of funny.  His treatment of this disappointment is excellent-great, subtle humor.  I really recommend this film, and I think I’m going to watch another of his films called Sherman’s March right now!  Both films are available for playing on Netflix.

Could I, perhaps, be avoiding my Nazi Doctor book?  Must I finish it?  I’ll be honest.  I want to know more about Mengele and he hasnt’ gotten to Mengele yet.  I know.  Macabre.  Should I just read about Mengele?  Ta!