Blessings, Connecting, Family, Life, Love, Rainbows

Going Home, Again

They say it can be easy, but…

Such a simple phrase — Going Home, Again — but with profound implications when you grew up in an orphanage, a children’s home, or as a resident of family services. Going home again, can be a challenge, but it can also be a revelation.

The Home

A couple of weekends ago, June 22-23, 2019, a group of “old” kids got together to remember, reflect, and on Saturday, to dedicate The Hough House. We came home.

During the dedication ceremony of the brick structure that was the home of the Franklin Hough family, the current Executive Director, Dr. Richerson mentioned that the number of children that passed through the campus was counted to be over 30,000. I was one of them.

These were children who relied on the support of strangers. Not because they desired it, but in many cases, it meant life or death. Children who knew nothing about what their potential future may hold, but were clinging to the hope that the people who were entrusted with their care, would do them right.

The dedication of The Hough House helped bring that home to me. It also brought back many memories. Two of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Hough, Jr along with their daughter were there to celebrate their father and grandfather’s work. Together, we remembered living on campus as one and we celebrated the Hough legacy.

Listening to different ones share their memories through story, one thing became very obvious. We were family then. Not all by blood. But, by a unique set of events that thrust us together. The important thing I realized, we still are family.

What’s In A Name?

The Baptist Orphanage of Virginia first opened its doors in 1890. Then, around 1953 the name was changed to the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home (VBCH) to reflect the change in need of the children. Most were no longer true orphans, but were there due to financial hardships or other family tragedies. VBCH was the name I came to know, hate, and then loved.

The "Old Main" Building on VBCH campus
The “Old Main” Building on VBCH campus circa built 1900s raised 1960s

Through the years, the needs of Virginia’s youth, and adults required more help, more intervention, more hope. Thus, in 1985, the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home changed its name again to include the families it served. The change made the name long – The Virginia Baptist Children’s Home & Family Services. Now, it is doing business as HopeTree Family Services. There is still a residency campus in Salem, VA at the same location. This name covers more aptly the vast services offered.

The Work

Many of the old buildings are gone. I remembered walking their halls. But somehow, the ghosts of those old buildings reflected the work that is still going there now. And the new structures show the determination to continue that work.

When I was growing up there, at any one time, there were at least 200 or more young souls running around, being kids, learning how to live, and to do it together. There were adults who served as our houseparents. They were surrogates. Their job was not easy. I know that now. At the time, I thought they were there to be cruel, rub in the fact I was an “orphan,” or it was a job.

The administrative staff worked miracles as I look back on how they managed to wrangle so many of us with so many different issues. To think as many of us turned out as good as we did is in and of itself magic.

You see, the need has not changed, what has changed is the services offered to Virginia’s families now. It is much broader and reaches a diverse group of souls.

Reunion Time

The lives touched by those who made campus life in Salem possible was seen in the dedication of the members of the VBCH Reunion Committee. This committee is made up of “old” kids who were residents. Often their spouses pinched in to help.

It took me over 40 years to walk on campus again. And when I did in 2009, I was numb, excited, and marveled at how the campus looked different from my memory.

This past weekend, walking around the campus, I saw many more changes. Hours before the dedication was to take place, finishing touches were being made on a new handicap access ramp to the old print shop building, which now serves as a museum.

Then, I saw my brother, moving around the reunion table setup in front of the museum. He was helping Debbie, Stan, Fred, Larry, and many others, too numerous to name, getting things ready for the days ceremony.

Visiting – Greeting – Remembering

Different “old” kids began arriving. It was a joy to hug and greet them. It was going to be a good afternoon.

My husband, Albert, and I went into the museum. Pictures of the campus as it was in the early years were on display. They contrasted with images I had in my mind. We looked at old annuals of Andrew Lewis High School where “The HIll” kids mingled with “The City” kids. The annual I picked up and looked at with care was the “final” album. My little brother, Ralph, was a member of that last class–the class of 1977.

Bitter sweet memories of Ralph, Archie, and I came to mind…

Searching through the pages, I found images of him playing football. Happy. Five years later, he would be gone from us. Bitter sweet memories of Ralph, Archie, and I came to mind when we’d play, fight, and then run around the grounds with other “brothers and sisters.”

Next, we walked through rooms replicated to depict scenes of life on campus–the infirmary room, the dinning hall, a cottage room. Each I could relate to, and I shared with Albert memories or events.

On one wall were the portraits of two Executive Directors – Franklin Hough, Sr. and his son, Franklin Hough, Jr. They were the reason for the dedication of the Hough residence.

Life

During my ten-year residency, I lived in three cottages. The first being Hobday and the second was Robertson — an innovative cottage for brothers/sisters to live in together that was consider “close to a real home life.” The summer of my Junior year in high school, I moved to Shiloh cottage to live during my Senior year.

While on campus that Saturday, my last roommate with me in Shiloh, Laura, greeted me. We hadn’t seen each other for two years. It was fun to catch up, talk, and commiserate.

We walked the campus together talking about the different cottages as we meandered the sidewalk to where we lived. Shiloh no longer stood where it once protected us. The shadows of that building structure formed into a ghostly image. There it stood in my mind all the same.

Hobday Cottage on VBCH campus with the print shop to the left.

Hobday cottage with the print shop to the left

Then, when we walked back to the center of campus, across the parking area from where the old main building once stood. I looked to my right and saw myself as a young eight year-old girl, carrying my suitcase up the steps to Hobday cottage. Hoping my life would not end, praying I’d be okay.

And, as it turns out, I was okay then. On this day, I had come home again and I was doing well.

My husband waved to me. We needed to walk down to The Hough House. It was time to make more memories with my family.


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Personal Aside…

This past Wednesday, June 26, was our daughter, Julie’s birthday! Happy Birthday lovely, young woman! May you have a most wonderful year! HUGS to YOU!

Pam's Quill - Going Home

Write on!
Pam

This post Going Home, Again was first posted on Pam’s Blog on June 28, 2019.

Family, Inspiration, Love

Quilted Bookcase – A Labor of Love

Being Surprised with

A Labor of Love

Our cousin, HM and her husband, JM came for a visit yesterday. And, what a visit it was! Look what she gave me!!!

Bookcase Quilt

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It is a bookcase quilt she made with a “labor of love” as she said in the panel where she signed her name (See the last image). The idea came to her after she saw a picture I’d posted on my FB page of a bookcase quilt someone had made.

All of the books in the bookcase are created from fabric scraps she had on hand. She is an accomplished quilter. HM told me she had looked and looked for a quilting pattern and couldn’t find one. After several months searching, she looked at her sweet husband, JM, and said, “I’m going to design my own!” JM is a great supporter of her work. He fixes dinner, takes care of the animals, entertains the grandkids, and keeps busy as she locks herself away in her beautiful sewing room her son helped design and build for her.

The amazing part was all she did to make this quilt possible. When she began this project, she shared with friends she was designing it herself. One friend of hers who lives several hundred miles away would talk with her every day-giving her advice, recommending things to try, and needed moral support. Finally, they decide to learn how to do FaceTime so that they could share ideas better.

Another friend said that the vases needed to have flowers. Instead of using fabric, her friend made the yarn flowers so that it would give a three-dimensional effect to the quilt. HM was so excited because she didn’t learn how to make the flowers. Instead, she used the talents of her friends, which is just how HM is. She loves people.

And, her granddaughter “A” got into the act, too. She came up with the very cool pouch that holds an actual book (I think that’s an awesome touch). HM even learned how to take the book spines of my published novels from photographs Jules gave her, and then printed them on the fabric! (See the second picture) How cool is that?!? What a wonderful job!

The backing is a gorgeous piece of warm fleece. The edging is suede. I’ve thought and thought where to hang it so my family and friends can enjoy it. But, I keep finding myself wanting to sit with it wrapped around me as I write. It is so warm and cozy.

What do you think? Should I hang it or should I use it?

This is one of the gifts that keeps on giving. Each time I look at the bookcase, I’ll be reminded of HM’s “Labor of Love” and I’ll be so inspired by her creativity. With this post, I’m sending much love and gratitude to Cousin HM and her sweet husband, JM for sharing their love. And, an extra special shout out to Hobbit King and Jules for keeping this a secret. You guys truly surprised me!

Writing with Love,
Pam

Owl - Mr. Scruffy Icon - Rainbows

 

Blessings, Love, Thankfulness

Ten Reasons to Celebrate Veterans’ Day

Celebrate Veterans’ Day

There are many reasons to celebrate holidays during this time of year. Today, I’m sharing my ten reasons to celebrate Veterans’ Day on Friday, November 11, 2016.

Image of morning sky--The following image came from FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Guilberto-107 with modifications by Pam

You should celebrate Veterans’ Day because:

  1. Our Veterans’ do what is HARD – they put THEIR lives on the line to protect OUR freedoms.
  2. Our Veterans’ do not always come HOME after giving of their TIME and their LIVES.
  3. Our Veterans’ Families GIVE more than we can ever IMAGINE of their LOVED ONES for US.
  4. Our Veterans’ sacrifices GIVE us one VERY precious gift – the RIGHT TO VOTE–We should ALWAYS remember and EXERCISE that right at EVERY election, not just the ones we agree with or don’t agree with.
  5. Our Veterans’ go away from THEIR homes to foreign lands to PROTECT our RIGHTS, which means WE can then AGREE to DISAGREE without FEAR of being arrested practicing FREEDOM of SPEECH, FREEDOM of PRESS, FREEDOM of ASSEMBLY, & FREEDOM of PETITION.

Image of Poppies in England-British War Memorial--The following image came from FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Stuart Miles
Image of Poppies in England-British War Memorial–The following image came from FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Stuart Miles

  1. Our Veterans’ go in harm’s way to ASSURE us the RIGHT to WORSHIP or NOT to WORSHIP — FREEDOM of RELIGION.
  2. Our Veterans’ VOLUNTEER to SERVE our country to ensure all SEXES – Male AND Female have the RIGHT to acquire an EDUCATION of his or her CHOICE.
  3. Our Veterans’ work to keep SAFE the borders of our Country that enables us FREE movement interstate and intrastate without FEAR of REPRISAL, SEARCH, or SEIZURE.
  4. Our Veterans’ practice and DEFEND the LAWS of the Land that enables us to have the FREEDOM to travel around the World and be able to come back home.
  5. Our Veterans’ give the ultimate sacrifice of their lives (physically, mentally, and emotionally) so that we have the RIGHT to Work HARD, LEARN, and DREAM as we PURSUE our ENABLE RIGHTS for the advancement of equality for all people regardless of race, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristic.

There are many, many more reasons, but these are some to get you thinking.

THANK a VETERAN Today…

Here’s THANKS to my Father and my Mother – Both served in World War II. My mother as a WAC and my father as an infantry man. He also served in Korea.

May Blessings be given to our country, the United States of America.

Write On!
Pam's Signature

 

Family, Life, Love, Magical Moments, Writing

Thirty-eight — The number of years we’ve loved each other!

Friday, August 26 will be our thirty-eight year anniversary! Here are few snap shots from way back then…

Wedding Invitation – Thirty-eight years ago!

Invitation to our wedding in 1978 -thirty-eight years ago.
Invitation to our wedding in 1978.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the inside:

Thirty-eight yrs ago - Invitation
Invitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we are cutting our cake. The wedding was such fun and we were looking forward to getting out of our clothes. It was a hot August day.

Thirty-eight years ago. Cake is old.
Cutting the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My pose for the paper

Back then, b/w photos were the norm. Look at our napkins. The letter “N” was going to be part of my initials!

Pam posing and napkins from thirty-eight years ago.
Pam posing and our napkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had matches as souvenirs, too. Wish I had a picture of the matchbook. It said “The Perfect Match” with our names and date. Course, back then, everybody smoked.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip down memory lane!

Hugs and Write On!

Pam's Signature