Today, my family and I joined in on The Woodstock Holiday Homes Tour, a once-a-year event that showcases a collection of beautiful homes in our little community of Woodstock, Virginia. One of the eight homes open to the touring public just happened to be my childhood home, once proudly owned by my Grandparents, my Mom’s Folks. Unlike today’s curious visitors, walking through these doors was an emotional trip down memory lane, especially for my Mom. She had moved here from Washington, D.C. as a teenager with her parents, became part of the community, married, began a family (Thank God), all the while calling this beautiful house her home.
My sister and I’s memories, of this time in our lives, are based on family stories, pictures, and grainy black-and-white 8-mm movies taken by my Aunt B, my Mom’s sister. The ‘B’ in Aunt B stands for Beverly, who my younger sister was named after, which coincidentally is very similar to the current name of the property, Beverley Farms.
The house sits on the hill across Route 11 from Massanutten Military Academy, which purchased the property from my Grandparents in 1963, and is now home to the Head of School. The structure is over 100-years-old, and is an impressive landmark, both for its striking architecture and vast lawns.
I’ve been joking with others for years that I was born in a restaurant, and that was the beginning of my restaurant career. Which, like a lot of what I say about myself, is partially true. When my Grandparents first purchased the property, my Grandmother operated it as a boarding house, primarily targeting traveling business-types. The tour’s brochure described it as a small bed & breakfast, but the typical B&B didn’t serve-up Grandmother’s fried chicken for dinner or treat you like family as your laundry was being cleaned.
This picture is from today. I took all of these pictures with my 6-year-old cellphone, as you may have guessed due to the quality. This shot, of the brick sidewalk leading to the driveway, was my attempt to capture a picture from the same angle as the Video shown below after this paragraph. My Sister and I may not remember exact details from our early childhood, but I think that I got this ‘recollection’ pretty close. With a little…a lot of help from my Dad, who actually pointed it out to begin with.
Click Here for the Video. It should open in a new window.
Now this trip down memory lane is all fine and dandy; warm and fuzzy. But today’s tour included a landmark that ranks up there with the “Birthplace of George Washington”, “The Grand Canyon”, and a little gold placard on the back of a booth in a Huddle House in Biloxi, Mississippi which proudly proclaims “In This Booth, on June 2, 1953, Elvis ate a Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Chocolate Milkshake”. The following picture is the site of one of the most important times in my entire life (as my Mother loudly pointed out.) Reminiscent of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the surface of the moon, it was a giant step from childhood straight to adulthood. I give to you….(drum-roll, please)
“The Site of Robin’s First Attempt at Potty-Training”
I haven’t finished the training course quite yet, but I’m feeling confident. Every time our Tour Hostess turned her head (and after Mom had pointed out the significance of this historic landmark), I stuck my arm through the door to take picture after picture. If I would have only known beforehand, I’d have brought along a roll of Charmin.
This last picture is of the garage apartment where Mom, Dad, B.J. and Robin grew together as a family. It’s not physically beautiful like the main house, but was beautiful for a whole different reason.
Have a very Merry Christmas !