Posts Tagged ‘University of Virginia’

Last year, we traveled to Italy with a group of our old friends. I wrote about the sheep bells and the wine tasting; it was by far one of our best adventures. But you probably didn’t know that Bess, our chief archivist and amazing photographer, was the editor of our high school yearbook back in 1966. Underneath my senior school picture was a quote, “Where’s Bobby?”

It was funny at the time. Teenage Bob was a bundle of energy, always on the move. His knee like a jackhammer under my desk in French class.

This year it appears that dredging up old yearbooks is trending. I first cringed at the suggestion, in Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS hearing, that one of the girls in another Catholic prep school was an “alum” of most of the boys in his class. So we learned that he and his cohorts objectify women, and love to drink beer. It was all there in black and white, not just in his yearbook, but on every calendar he kept locked away in a drawer.

I get the embarrassment of our teenage selves. When my kids came home with their high school yearbooks I was usually not “allowed” to look at them. It wasn’t so much what was printed on those pages – the Rocker was voted “Most Changed” because he came in like a little surfer dude and left like a heavy metal rock star. Instead, it was the impromptu pen to paper musings of their friends and so-called friends, the doodles and yearnings of years of adolescent angst.

But we all went to school in NJ. Is the South still grappling with our nation’s collective scar of slavery?

VA’s Governor Ralph Northam handled his shameful, KKK and blackface medical school yearbook picture poorly. First, he sort of apologized, and then he said, “It wasn’t me.” The wistful Michael Jackson moment was tone deaf! Then yesterday, I read that VA’s Attorney General Mark Herring has said he wore “brown makeup” to a party.

What is going on in my lovely state of Virginia?

I asked the Bride if she still has her medical school yearbook. After all, she went to UVA and Duke undergrad in NC, maybe I could find a clue. Are elite Southern schools still harboring a vestige of white ‘good ole boy’ entitlement? Northam graduated from med school over thirty years ago, I was eager to compare. Unfortunately, if there was a yearbook for the Bride and Groom’s class, they never got one.

Stacey Abrams from Georgia countered Mr T’s State of the Union this week with this: “We continue to confront racism from our past and in our present, which is why we must hold everyone from the highest offices to our own families accountable for racist words and deeds and call racism what it is, wrong.” 

We are living in a transparent world, anything you might want to know is just a Google moment away from our fingertips. Horrible, racist, anti-semitic, misogynistic words that were once uttered behind restricted, whites-only doors, and sometimes found their way into yearbooks, are once again finding fruitful soil in our great country under the guise of “America First.”.

The image of hateful men wearing white shirts and khaki pants, holding tiki lights and shouting, “You shall not replace us,” on Thomas Jefferson’s campus has been seared into my memory. The confederate statues In Charlottesville are still standing.

For a more visceral understanding of our racial history, I’d like to recommend a book, “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. It is not an easy book to read, I finished it on vacation; it covers 300 years of the African American diaspora and follows two half-sisters, one captured and sold into slavery, another who stayed behind in Ghana. https://www.npr.org/2016/06/07/480477931/homegoing-is-a-sprawling-epic-brimming-with-compassion

Until we can achieve true socio-economic justice for all our citizens, until black mothers can stop having “the talk” with their sons about racial profiling, until images of the Jim Crow South can be placed within the context of what it was, a vile chapter of our history, until every single monument to the confederacy is placed in a museum,.. only until then will we be able to reconcile our past with our present.

Dig up your old yearbooks, they are a time capsule into our souls.




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While looking at colleges for the Rocker, we stopped by my alma mater. After the proverbial backward-walking tour, I dragged him into the library. I remember being told that each graduate’s senior thesis would be stored there permanently, until the end of time, and my young self thought, “Hey, this writing thing is cool!”

Sitting with him, we poured through the old-school paper, and I could see he wasn’t all that impressed. After all, there were numbers and graphs and charts, and psycho-babble about what those statistics meant. I had spent the better part of a year testing a group of deaf children to find out how the development of language influenced cognition. His eyes remained focused on the middle-distance. Then I said,

“You know I did all of this by hand, right? We didn’t have computers.”

The Rocker grew up with personal computers. Not just at school, but at home Bob was a very early adapter. Granted they were bigger, and cumbersome, but we were like that family that got the first color TV on the street. Or maybe the first black and white. So it was no surprise to see how well the Rocker could integrate his God-given musical talent with technology. That pioneering spirit came straight from his genes, from a Dad who never stayed within any line he ever saw.

In fact, when people ask whatever would Bob do if he retires, I think to myself, he will always be hungry – he will never be afraid to be foolish.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” was imprinted on the back cover of the last old school paper edition of the bible of innovators, The Whole Earth Catalog. This book turns 45 years old today – a mere blip in time – but it was like Google before personal computers, and its creative genius was Stewart Brand. The single most influential guy in Steve Jobs’ universe.

…it’s almost impossible, to flick through the pages of the Catalog and recapture its newness and radicalism and potentialities. Not least because the very idea of a book changing the world is just so old-fashioned. Books don’t change anything these days. If you want to start a revolution, you’d do it on Facebook. And so many of the ideas that first reached a mainstream audience in the Catalog – organic farming, solar power, recycling, wind power, desktop publishing, mountain bikes, midwife-assisted birth, female masturbation, computers, electronic synthesizers – are now simply part of our world, that the ones that didn’t go mainstream (communes being a prime example) rather stand out.   http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/05/stewart-brand-whole-earth-catalog?CMP=share_btn_tw

Maybe Bob will start the first commune/co-housing community for old Boomers and revolutionize the continuingcare/assistedliving/nursinghome industry? I can see it now, the Rolling Stones and Parlor Mob playing in the dining barn.

As for me, there will always be meals to prepare. We celebrated a friend’s graduation yesterday from UVA. An amazing wife and mom of three, Michelle is an exceptional NICU nurse who completed her doctoral thesis and will Walk the Lawn today. Congratulations Michelle, my former roller derby cohort, you are inspirational on so many levels for young women today.

And of course, since we are always hungry, I made lobster pot pies!  IMG_4435

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I woke up this morning to this picture IMG_2376

And just as I was getting ready to meet Anita for another great Book Festival event http://vabook.org, Bob asked me if I heard the news…

“What, is another girl gone  missing?” I asked Bob. No, thank God, but it’s the good ole Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) running amok once more. Remember those Keystone Cops of a few years ago, cornering some UVA sorority sisters in the parking lot of Harris Teeter for buying seltzer water? https://mountainmornings.net/2013/06/29/about-that-glowing-marble/ The ABC just last year payed out a whooping six figure settlement to Virginia Daly, the girl driving the car that was pursued by these gun-waving hooligans, thereby avoiding a court case.

Well, this time the ABC agents picked on the wrong student yet again. It seems a 3rd Year Honor student at the U, who just so happens to be Black, was wrestled to the ground outside a bar on the Corner (the small strip of bars and stores right across the street from the university). Martese Johnson’s head was smashed on the concrete sidewalk, and a picture of this bloody scene was circulated everywhere thanks to social media. His injury required ten sutures to the scalp!

Last night, over a thousand protesters marched from the campus to the Police Department on the Historic Downtown Mall, even though the City Police had nothing to do with this; these are plain clothes ABC agents who must just lie in wait to catch underage drinkers.

When I first moved here from the North, I was surprised to find wine and beer being sold in grocery stores and gas stations. And I learned about ABC stores, when you needed the hard stuff for parties, which we never do. Cocktails are not my thing, but back in the day I might have gone to one for some Bailey’s Irish Cream on St Pat’s day. Johnson was out in the wee hours of St Patrick’s Day and was denied admission to Trinity Irish Pub. http://news.yahoo.com/virginia-gov-calls-investigation-students-arrest-205040028.html

Now in our day, a bouncer would have confiscated a fake ID, and that would be that. But is that why Johnson was singled out and wrestled to the ground?

Returning from our trip, I was singled out for a “random” security search. even though Bob and I went to the trouble to get Global Entry clearance, I was patted down and got my carry-on up-ended. Then after going through customs in Charlotte, NC, I refused to go into one of those X-ray machines. The agent asked me, “Do you have a cell phone?” and proceeded to tell me that I get more radiation from the phone than I do from the machine. I gave him my best “Well bless your heart” look. As y’all know I hate those things. So I was sent to sit and wait for a TSA agent, for another pat down, until somebody opened up a metal detector since the wait was getting too long, and I strolled through it with the rest of the crowd. Thanks Global Entry, for nothing.

It’s an age old question, how much of our liberty are we willing to give up for our security? Maybe the ABC should stick with storefronts, after all, we have enough cowboys with guns on our streets as it is.

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a familiar mystery gripped Central Virginia, where a string of young women have gone missing over the past five years, starting with Morgan Harrington in 2009.

When we first moved to this Southern enclave, the best place to retire/be happy/enjoy your golden years in a college town/ we loved it. The encircling, comforting Blue Ridge views, the non-stop cultural happenings, the historic homes and of course the weather wasn’t bad. Except for all the ice storms –  and so what if I had to learn to pump my own gas, I was still in my 50s, a mere youngster, anything was possible.

This is our tenth year in VA, it should be feeling like home about now. Seven years ago, on September 20,  we moved into our newly built house,

Niece Lucia came to visit

Niece Lucia came to visit

and yes it took us three years to find the land “with a view” and the contractor to make it happen………..

And today I’ve been invited to a Candlelight Vigil in town to “Bring Hannah Home.”

A Second Year UVA student, 18 year old Hannah went out to dinner last Friday night and was going to meet up with some friends at a party later. Her last text message was something about being lost in the very early hours of Saturday morning. More than 24 hours went by before her off-campus room mates noticed she was missing and her brother and parents notified the police on Sunday afternoon.

Before this summer came a string of cases involving young women, starting with Harrington, 20, the Virginia Tech student who disappeared outside the John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert in October 2009. Her remains were discovered on an Albemarle farm three months later. No suspects have been named in that case.
Two 19-year-olds — Orange County’s Samantha Ann Clarke in September 2010 and Charlottesville’s DaShad “Sage” Smith in November 2012 — since have vanished. No suspects have been charged in their disappearances. In the spring, a jury convicted Randy Allen Taylor in the killing of Alexis Murphy, 17, a Nelson County High School student who went missing in August 2013. She never has been found.
Roberts said police do not believe there’s a connection between Graham’s case and the others.           http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/charlottesville-police-chief-landowners-should-check-downtown-properties-for-signs/article_9bd9be5e-3db3-11e4-9762-0017a43b2370.html

And now we are seeing video of her running past a gas station, and walking along the Historic Downtown Mall, with a man following her. This man told the police he was trying to “help” her and later he witnessed another man putting his arm around her. Bloodhounds are tracking her scent, the police have established a Tip Line, (434) 295-3851, and asked residents to check their property if they live within a certain radius of the Mall.

Our little four-square brick house, the 100 yr old home we lovingly restored to house medical students, is right down the road from that gas station, just two blocks off the Mall. Today I’ll check out the backyard. Tonight I’ll hold a candle.

When we first moved here, while I was looking for land with a view, the Cville police were looking for a serial rapist who was attacking young women in the university vicinity. Pictures of his face, drawn by a police artist, were hanging in the women’s bathrooms all over campus. It turned out he was working in the meat department of the Harris Teeter on Barrack’s Rd.

It would seem there is a serial killer in our midst, he may hide around gas stations, or he may live and work right next door. The FBI has been called in. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah’s family.

Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham


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Birds do it, bees do it. But apparently if you happen to be the next single woman to serve as a university president in some parts of these Southern United States, you won’t be allowed to do it – that is, live with a partner in the usually big, beautiful, university-provided campus president’s house.

Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, is leaving Johns Hopkins, and is slated to become the first Black female president of her alma mater, Alabama State University in Montgomery, next month.

“Her contract requires the 58-year-old engineer to move into the president’s home…(one) clause states ‘for so long as Dr. Boyd is President and a single person, she shall not be allowed to cohabitate in the President’s residence with any person with whom she has a romantic relation.'” http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/01/17/263484808/no-cohabitation-for-alabama-states-first-female-president

She seems to have no problem with this clause, after all she signed the contract. Still, it makes me smile to think about the “scandal” happening in France right now. President Hollande jets around at night on his scooter, disguised in his helmet to visit his lover, a film actress. He is only discovered by the fashionable French press because of his shoes! It’s all over the papers, but knowing some French people as I do, and listening to the interviews on the streets of Paris, his citizens could care less! Alors, Les Liasons Romantique!

Fidelity is over rated in France. “When it comes to extra-marital affairs, the French are the most forgiving nation in the world, according to a recent study. The U.S., however, is still as unforgiving as ever, ranking 27th on the list, right between Brazil and Ghana.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/infidelity-study_n_4611674.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

What I didn’t know until I read the above article, is that President Hollande is simply cohabiting with his First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler, who was his previous mistress. Yes sirree folks, they are NOT married, but have been together since 2007. I am trying to imagine this arrangement in the USA. My brain just cannot do it, sorry. But let’s try…it would be like Bill living cohabiting on Pennsylvania Avenue with Gennifer Flowers, and then seeing an intern on the side. You can see how the first part just wouldn’t work!

If there’s one thing I learned from moving South, it’s that things move a lot slower down here. We talk to strangers, we help each other in airports, we drive slowly in the left lane. In fact, I’m pretty sure our Governor would never close any lanes in a grudge match, after all we can snarl traffic just fine by stopping to talk to a neighbor on the road. And no Virginian would think of honking their horn!

So maybe this cohabitation clause wouldn’t work at NYU, and it certainly wouldn’t be considered at any French university. I doubt that the clause would have appeared on a male president’s contract. But I’ve got a feeling that Dr Boyd has bigger fish to fry. Might I suggest she give our single female UVA President Teresa Sullivan a call? After all, somebody always gets hurt when all those glass ceilings shatter. http://www.virginia.edu/presidentsreport/

Here is the Bride with Great Grandmother Mamie and some of her great grandchildren after a lunch at the MSU President’s gorgeous historic home that honored my brother and sister-in-law last year. And The Love Bug with her cousin, Frankie.IMG_1554IMG_1558



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