#Charlottesville

If it wasn’t personal before, it’s personal now.

My first trip to Virginia took place in the fall of my junior year in high school. Visiting two campuses as part of a college-shopping tour, I ultimately chose William and Mary in Williamsburg. But it was a close call and I could have just as easily ended up at UVA in Charlottesville.

The 35 years I spent in Williamsburg, getting my degree, meeting and then marrying Don, forging a library career and raising two daughters, included many trips to Charlottesville. I well remember listening to Bonnie Raitt singing in the UVA arena, visiting Monticello with 3 year old Meg and tiny infant Melissa, eating “grillswith” (griddled Krispy Kreme donuts topped with ice cream) at the corner cafe and bagels from Bodo’s. When we drove Meg home with two broken arms after her car accident at Smith Mountain Lake, we stopped in Charlottesville to pick up sandwiches. Wanting to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in style, we went to the Boar’s Head Inn. We cheered from the sidelines as our local high school football team won the state championship in Charlottesville.

You get the idea.

So this past weekend hit home, or close to it. Raised a radical liberal New Yorker, I went off to college and learned fast that many (not all) Virginians referred to the “War between the States” or “the recent unpleasantness” rather than the Civil War. The Commonwealth celebrated the birth of Jefferson Davis, but there was no observance of Lincoln’s birthday. And when a professor waxed eloquent about the virtues of sorghum over maple syrup, I muttered under my breath “but we won the war,” and then took a long drag on my cigarette and blew smoke. Tobacco. How ironic.

Virginia changed a lot 0ver the 35 years from 1974 to 2009, when we finally pulled up stakes and headed for Texas (I know, I know). It had moved from red to purple and was leaning blue. There was hope.

And the decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville was yet another step in the correct direction (I won’t say “right”). Though it ended in tragedy, I dare to hope it galvanizes other localities to see the insanity of memorializing hatred and slavery.

So today I stitched, taking words written by Marti in New Mexico, in response to the Peace Pin Project that began last February …

“Hope is standing up not standing aside …
to connect in a way that helps to make us all one …

There will be other peace patches for a cloth I’m thinking will be named It’s all connected. Eventually, I hope to have enough to make a two-sided peace shawl, stitched together Pojagi-style.

And there will be more posts after Don and I finish up our month-long joyride taking care of Parker (who enters daycare next week) and return from our birthday season visit to Jackson and Jace in St Louis …

Getting ready to roll …

Because life goes on and I have much more to say.