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What’s Next?

Teddy the Dog turned 10 in late October. I turned an age "greater than 10 years old" this summer. We're both feeling like it's time for a change, but not sure what that change is going to look like. In late August, I had a health issue that consumed three months of my...

My Beautiful Daughter Singing a Beautiful Song

One of my top three favorite people is singing one of my top three favorite songs: "God is Love." I was in Boston recently and got to see my middle daughter and my grandson, and it was a little bit of heaven. I have so many reasons to be proud of her, but one of the...

Teddy’s “Evening Constitutional”!

A few people have asked me why I bought a golf cart. The truth is, it's something I've always wanted, and more importantly, it's something that Teddy wants and needs. Her arthritis is slowing her down quite a bit these days. On our walkies, she's good for about a 1/4...

An Aladdin “Colonial” in Lynchburg!

Years ago, I did a survey of kit homes in Lynchburg but apparently, I missed a couple. Earlier this week, I was in Lynchburg for other reasons, and on my way to an appointment, I made a wrong turn and stumbled upon two beautiful Aladdin kit homes, literally across the...

Spotted in the Wilderness: A Perfect Elsmore

Whilst driving along State Route 501, between Lynchburg and Glasgow, I spotted this Elsmore in Big Island, Virginia. (And why was a town high atop a mountain named "Big Island"?) Nonetheless, this Elsmore is a beauty, and it looks like it stepped right off the pages...

Multitudinous Blessings

It's amazing how something as pedestrian as an old-house website can turn out to be such a catalyst for multitudinous blessings. Through this website (and its accompanying page on Facebook), I have met so many people. With few exceptions, old house people are the...

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Last week, I traveled almost 1,000 miles (round trip) to Newberry, South Carolina to learn more about Sadie Bowers, and visit her gravesite. It was also an opportunity to visit James, a dear friend who lives less than 100 miles away from Newberry. James and I had a...

And Her Name is C-Biscuit…

In the last few months, I have really struggled to sort out my thoughts and figure out what makes me happy. More than a year ago, I decided that I was going to live on a five-acre horse farm and keep a couple horses. And then I spent some time with a...

Penniman.

Yesterday, a dear friend called to remind me that I had a lecture in the afternoon at a Williamsburg library. Fortunately, I remembered to attend THIS lecture! The 50-mile drive on I-64W was uneventful, which is a little miracle unto itself. I left two hours early,...

Penniman Par-TAY! It’s DONE!

Updated! Good lecture. Good times.  😀 Ghost Towns. Virginia History. Phenomenal Personal Sacrifice. Women workers. And a devastating epidemic that wiped out so many workers that the local cemeteries ran out of space. Penniman has all of these elements and more, and...

Who Doesn’t Love a Story About Ghost Towns?

On May 26th, I'll be giving a talk on Penniman (with lots of new pictures). For a variety of reasons, I'm not sure how much longer I will be living in this area, so if you'd like to hear me give a talk on Penniman, please attend this talk in Williamsburg. And if...

Help In The Garden?

It seems as though winter is finally over, and Teddy and I have been spending time in the yard. She and I have been trying to figure out what type of plants we have here. If you can help identify these two items, we'd both be very grateful. * * * * * * * * * * To...

Prayers For a Quick Turning…

To start, a quote from O. S. Guinness: * The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can...

Pink Bathrooms: Extinction Looms

Remember the very first commandment of old house renovation? Thou shalt not destroy good old work. That's it. More than 35% of the garbage at America's landfills is construction-related waste. That's a phenomenal amount of debris. What's worse is this: The replacement...

What’s My Happy Color?

Six months ago, a new chapter of my life began when I moved into this house in Suffolk, Virginia. In the 12 months prior to that, I'd often tell people, "I want a house that's quirky and fun, something that's solid and well-built, but unique. When people walk into the...

Boardwalk Empire and Sears Kit Homes

The last few weeks, I've been watching Boardwalk Empire (HBO), set in 1920s Atlantic City. It's centered around the real life story of prohibition-era gangster Enoch Johnson, who's known as Enoch ("Nucky") Thompson on the show. From the start, one of my favorite...

Compartmentalizing the Sacred Spaces

As my friends know, I consider the Open Floor Plan to be a plague spot on American architecture, and it's a plague that continues to spread. The home I recently purchased in Suffolk has lots and lots of walls and a few doors, and I'm a big fan of walls and doors....

Ladies, Where Are Your Names (and Stories)?

While little is known about the men who worked at Penniman, even less is known about the women of Penniman, and yet, the majority of the workforce at DuPont's 37th munitions plant were women. Loading TNT powder into 75mm and 155mm shells was a nasty bit of business,...

Richmond: Replete with Recherché Kit Homes

My late husband loved Richmond. In the beginning of his legal career, he had lived in Richmond and worked as a clerk for a judge with the Supreme Court of Virginia. I'm sorry to say that I don't remember the judge's name. Wayne always seemed pleased that I could...

The People of Penniman: Personal Papers?

There's no doubt in my mind that a "Pennimanite" left behind a personal reminiscence or journal or unpublished manuscript or something, telling about his war-time experiences at Penniman, Virginia. The problem is finding these people, and then finding their...

Is That You, Dr. Cottrell?

Last month, Steven Beauter was kind enough to share an incredible vintage photo album with me, which featured more than a dozen pictures from 1918-era Penniman, Virginia, a "ghost city" six miles from Williamsburg. There are several unidentified folks within the pages...

Nope, It’s Not a Sears Magnolia…

In the last 20 years, I've probably received more than 200 emails and inquiries from folks who think they've found a Sears Magnolia. In the last 20 years, I've found four Magnolias as a result of these emails and inquiries. That means that 2% of the time, these...

Pulchritudinous Poquoson and Its Kit Homes

Several months ago, I went looking for a GriefShare group to join, and chose one in Poquoson (Virginia). The primary reason was this: I didn't know anyone in Poquoson, so if I had a panic attack or started crying or acted like a fool, I could surreptitiously slip out...

Penniman: We Have Alleyne’s Last Name!

After that last blog, Milton, Mark and David (three faithful researchers that have been with me since the start of this project) went to work to find Alleyne's last name. This morning, I found an email from Mark Hardin, explaining that he'd found Alleyne.  Her full...