The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
All the experiences of our eventful years in Warrenton would fill another book about the growing up of the children and all their doings, all their pets, their school experiences, concerts, friends, happy times. I hope our children will write their own personal histories sometime. If you do, don’t wait ’til you’re 66 to begin. If you are packrats like I’ve always been, it will take you hours and days and weeks just to wade through all your notes and letters and receipts and diaries and photographs to jog your 66+ year old brains; then it will take months to get all your information and stories typed up. Trust me! But it’s been fun for me … and I’m starting to get very excited about seeing it published, someday.
In Warrenton our nearest neighbor was a large property owned by the Airlie Foundation, consisting of several thousand acres. Airlie was an off-campus extension of George Washington University, and Airlie House was used for seminars and conferences. Every Christmas, a spectacular poinsettia plant arrived at our house, and to the homes of nearby neighbors, delivered by a florist from Airlie.
There were some not-so-flattering stories about Dr. Head, the administrator of Airlie. One was about his attempted sabotage of a residential subdivision across from Airlie Foundation. Dr. Head bought old school busses and filled them with pigs and located them near the subdivision. They were fed and cared for, but they had quite an “effluvia,” if you remember what that word meant which my Grandma Herivel used to say. (The stink!) It did not have the desired effect, though; a local court enjoined Dr. Head and the subdivision continued, well-developed and growing. When we left Warrenton our house and land was bought by Airlie, the day after it was listed for sale
During the years in Warrenton, we went to Detroit to visit our parents once or twice a year, and they came about that often to visit us. We always had a hard time saying goodbye, and it seemed to get harder, not easier, as time went by. Once when they visited, Dad and I decided we wouldn’t say goodbye that time, and they would just leave early in the morning before we were up and avoid the sad farewells. But since we all knew they were leaving, we all boohooed like we always did, only it was on the night before.
We just can’t fool ourselves, can we! Let’s add a new line to Abraham Lincoln’s wise old saying, “We can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, and none of the people all of the time.” And add a new line: ” … and ourselves we can fool none of the time.” Dad sent us a cartoon he drew of four sled dogs pulling a sled loaded with supplies, with a lady standing on the sled behind the boxes, holding the reins, saying “Mush!” Dad labeled the lady “Grandma,” and printed a sign in the corner: “Warrenton 560 Miles” with an arrow pointing east. This was during the East’s Blizzard of ’66 when she was concerned about us all.
To be continued…
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family