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A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia
Sherryl Woods

Литагент HarperCollins

A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia

Sherryl Woods

To that old gang of mine:

Mike Gill, Sue Gill, Mike O’Neill, Marge Owens

and gone far too soon—Patti O’Neill and Bob Owens

Those were, indeed, the days!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (#ulink_951df7b3-ad07-53a9-86ee-d0f874cbbfe2)

FOREWORD (#ulink_f6703939-5480-5de0-826c-02bba826f6c1)

A LOOK BACK: A COLORFUL PAST, A QUIRKY PRESENT (#ulink_287e3f22-f733-575b-a234-c986b7760d00)

Remember When: Jackie Shinn (#ulink_d9436e75-33ea-5dc0-a493-2b2c86d7ef11)

A Naval Neighbor (#ulink_ac6fcb3e-bfbe-5fd4-ad40-21e8705db0e2)

A Story of Family and Farming: Mildred Grigsby (#ulink_32c44ebb-8dbb-5b4e-b88d-2ea9feace077)

The Family Farm (#ulink_891b079e-17cd-516a-8cb9-476e384bf07d)

A Lifetime of Friendship: Jackie Curtis and Jessie Hall (#ulink_366c430f-ea58-5890-b3c3-b887e4577cd5)

Serving Community and Country: Carlton Hudson and Pat Fitzgerald (#ulink_d0113f16-e108-5a4d-addf-1403160908c6)

Changing Times: Burkett Lyburn (#litres_trial_promo)

Right Side of the Law: Michael Mayo (#litres_trial_promo)

A Whole Different World: The Sydnors (#litres_trial_promo)

A LOAF OF BREAD, PENNY CANDY…AND FREEDOM (#litres_trial_promo)

A Long Line of Merchants: The Densons (#litres_trial_promo)

From King Cotton to Penny Candy: Marguerite Staples (#litres_trial_promo)

Business Reality: Potomac Sunrise (#litres_trial_promo)

THE TOWN’S WELCOME MAT: FROM GRANDEUR TO COZY B AND Bs (#litres_trial_promo)

Make No Mistake, It’s a Motor Court, Not a Motel: Ellie Caruthers (#litres_trial_promo)

BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA (#litres_trial_promo)

A Life Built Around Oysters: The Curleys (#litres_trial_promo)

Sand in their Shoes: The Mears Family (#litres_trial_promo)

A Fish Tale: Alberta Parkinson (#litres_trial_promo)

A Come-Here Who Stayed: Diana Pearson (#litres_trial_promo)

Building Boats…and a Future: Mary Virginia Stanford (#litres_trial_promo)

Muskrat Ramble: Mike Stine (#litres_trial_promo)

Creating a Small-Town Atmosphere: The Potomac River Festival and More (#litres_trial_promo)

THE OYSTER WARS (#litres_trial_promo)

A Night That Ended in a Hail of Bullets: Pete and Sugie Green (#litres_trial_promo)

FOOD FOR THE SOUL (#litres_trial_promo)

A Name Synonymous with Seafood: The Wilkersons (#litres_trial_promo)

LAS VEGAS ON THE POTOMAC (#litres_trial_promo)

Gambling on a Dream: Sandra Conner Scroggs (#litres_trial_promo)

A COMMUNITY’S SPIRIT (#litres_trial_promo)

Drifter Pride: Wayne Kennedy and Steve Swope (#litres_trial_promo)

AFTERWORD (#litres_trial_promo)

PHOTO CREDITS (#litres_trial_promo)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I’ve had a lifetime to get to know the people of Colonial Beach, but never have I had more fun and met more characters than in the months when I was working on this book. I need to thank Kitty Norris, head librarian at the Cooper Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, who started me on this journey by mentioning that there were so many stories in town that needed to be recorded or written down. She provided endless assistance and cheerleading to get this job done, as did so many of the people you’ll meet in these pages: Ellie Caruthers, Jackie Curtis, Jessie Hall, Alberta Parkinson, Diana Pearson and Mary Virginia Stanford, who were always ready with a bit of town history, a new name for our ever-growing list of possible interviews and a whole lot of laughter. A special thanks to Frank A. Alger Jr., who recorded many of our sessions and created an oral history of Colonial Beach that will provide a lasting resource for those who come after us.

I couldn’t possibly have gotten to everybody on our list, including some dear friends who are incredible storytellers in their own right—my favorite electrician, William Hall, and his wife, Joyce, the Reverend Ron Okrasinski, longtime pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (who’s so great at eulogies, residents often seek him out to do theirs no matter their denomination), Larry and Andrew Groves, who entertain me with stories on a regular basis, childhood friend Marge Owens and her mom, Mary Burnley Owens. Marge played Drifters basketball, and Mary Burnley worked for the Texaco distribution company owned by John Ware for many, many years. The list is endless.

Even though there are so many more with stories to tell, I hope this book captures at least the essence of what makes Colonial Beach so unique and special for me and for many of those I spoke to.

Even more, I hope it will resonate with many of you who long for a simpler lifestyle. Most of all, perhaps, I hope it will encourage you to talk to those in your family or in your town who have wonderful stories to share. Get them down before they’re lost.

In the meantime, welcome to my world.

FOREWORD

I grew up in Arlington, Virginia, the very large suburb of Washington, DC, but I was blessed from the age of four by the privilege of spending my summers at a beach cottage in the very small town of Colonial Beach, Virginia. Our house had a wraparound porch, and what I remember most from those early years was riding my tricycle off the edge of the side porch, out of the view of my parents. Or not.

So many stories from those days were exaggerated, embellished or flat-out never happened, but it was summer, and family—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends—was crowded on to benches around a long, banquet-length table in a huge dining room, windows open to the hot breeze, as we cracked piles of Maryland blue crabs. The air was thick with the scent of honeysuckle and the salty bite of the nearby Potomac River. Stories and laughter—along with an antique splatterware coffeepot filled with some sort of “adult” beverage—abounded.

By my teens I had become one of the town’s summer kids, though most of my friends were year-round locals. It seemed to me from those lazy, idyllic days that they were incredibly lucky to live in a small town. I wanted desperately to live there, too. I, in my youthful and only-child exuberance for what was best for me, thought that my mother should be happy to give up her career at a direct mail advertising agency to work as a waitress at one of the town’s gambling casinos, and that my dad, who worked for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service, could surely find work at the nearby Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren. Suffice it to say, they were not impressed by my plan.

Aerial view of Colonial Beach

Undaunted, I continued to beg the adults in my family to accompany me on lengthy summer stays, so I could spend my days on the beach with my friends, snag a lime or cherry snow cone in the evening on the boardwalk, play an endless number of surprisingly energetic card games and bake countless pizzas in an old gas oven we’re lucky didn’t blow up the house. Drives around the “Point,” where the Potomac River meets Monroe Bay, were an almost daily ritual. In fact, that drive is so ingrained in the lives of many residents that their funeral processions take it one last time.

The Jumbo Stand on the boardwalk

At Curley’s Point with Pete the Bear

Palm Gardens Dance Pavillion and Hotel
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