It seems like it may be a while between blogs...but nowadays, when I write, it's long-winded. I'll apologize in advance for that! So, anyhoo...grab the beverage of your choice and settle down for some reading...
At long last, it was time for Mandy to visit again…and also to
exercise the antique car. Off I went,
in androgynous mode, to an out-of-town solo car show weekend, with Mandy’s clothes in the trunk. Unfortunately I was off to a late start,
which affected how much sightseeing I would get to do that day.
Enroute was a quick stop for lunch at a fast food restaurant (have stopped there before), with
a one-occupant restroom, where Mandy exited in a skirt and blouse, as in
the picture, with refreshed makeup.
Then it was on into Winchester, VA for some sightseeing. First stop on my agenda was the Moore
house, a Gothic Hudson River Revival Style dwelling originally built in 1854, which Confederate
General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson was invited to call headquarters from November
of 1861to March of1862, by Mr. Moore, the then-current owner. After that, General Jackson left Winchester to begin his well-known Valley Campaign.
Mandy at Stonewall Jackson's headquarters in Winchester
The name Moore may ring a bell for those of you who are old
enough to remember Mary Tyler Moore – as in the Mary Tyler Moore Show on the
telly, years ago. The docent mentioned that Mr. Moore
was one of her ancestors. And when
restoration of the Moore house was under way, Ms. Moore paid for the
remanufacture of the wall paper found in the study.
The day of my visit, the Confederate flag was at half staff… it
turns out they were celebrating the recent 150th
anniversary of Jackson’s death. I was the only visitor at that moment, so I
was treated to a fabulous "personal" guided tour, and found it fascinating to learn
all about the man and his history.
Mandy visiting the childhood home of Patsy Cline, who lived there from age 16 (about 1948) to 21 (about 1953.)
Afterward, I went directly to the house where Patsy Cline - born
Virginia (Ginny) Patterson Hensley in 1932 - lived from age 16 to about 21, hoping to
get there before it closed. But unfortunately,
with the late start, my timing was off - the last tour was finishing up as I arrived. Thus, I had to settle for taking some
pictures. But I vowed to return again…"maybe
Former G & M Music Shop, where Patsy made some recordings. Property is now part of the Grace Lutheran Church.
Handley Regional Library, old town Winchester...
Next, I detoured to the pedestrian mall in Old Town, parked the car, and walked
around, even as rain threatened. A
fascinating place to visit, with outside cafes, shops, etc. Next visit, I'd like to spend more time here, and perhaps if I'm feeling adventurous, try out one of the sidewalk cafe restaurants for dinner! Enroute back to the car, I walked past some colonial buildings (now law offices, et cetera), and couldn't miss the fabulous Handley Regional Library Building, built in
spectacular Beaux Arts style. The story behind it: Judge John Handley of
Scranton, Pennsylvania made his fortune in coal investments, and developed a
relationship with Winchester and its Scotch-Irish heritage. In 1895 he donated
a sum of money for construction of a library "for the free use of the
people of the city of Winchester." Designed by J. Stewart Barney and Henry
Otis Chapman of New York, work began in 1908 and was completed in 1913. The library
was a model for its time. And it is
still truly spectacular, with its "green" copper dome and roof.
Rain began to fall as I was about a half block from
my car, so I didn’t get too drenched. But that
was my clue to head for the motel to check in.
And the process was absolutely a non-issue in my skirt and blouse… they asked for
my ID, so they ‘knew the score” and just chose to ignore pronouns
completely. Once settled in, it was time to shave and
reapply my makeup for dinner…
By the time I was done and back on the road, clouds which had
been building since I arrived at the motel finally opened up - the rain came
down fast and heavy. Crowds
everywhere were taking all the close-to-the-door parking places at nicer
restaurants (it turned out to be graduation weekend at one of the local colleges),
and it was dark
enough from the clouds that you could see folks inside waiting. I finally elected to settle for a fast-food-drive-through-burger. It was still raining (but a bit less intensely) when I got
back to the room with my delicious (?) dinner.
What a disappointment! However,
I was too hungry to wait till later to eat, and - what if the rain was still
falling at that point in time?
Former B & O Passenger Station, Kent St., Winchester VA...
Saturday found me in capri pants, a sleeveless top and flats,
which I wore to the car show. I took a
few minutes before the show, to locate the former Baltimore and Ohio railroad
station in town. (These trips usually involve some sort of railroad theme, somewhere along the
line!) While the Winchester station still exists, there are no passenger trains in town, so it's used by the railroad as office and storage space.
There was off-and-on drizzle at the show all morning, then the sun came out
after lunch. However, as the temperature rose, cumulus clouds
started building in the humid air, and looking rather ominous.
Show sponsors ended the festivities a bit ahead of schedule, due to the likelihood
of impending rain. Since I had the
chance, I headed back to the room to shave and reapply makeup. Enroute, the heavens opened up again, though
only for about 5 minutes, ending before I reached the motel driveway.
Gaunt Drug Store, where Patsy Cline worked as a teenager, making soda treats for her customers.
At the motel, Mandy re-appeared, as I changed back into a skirt
and blouse for another try at getting into the Patsy Cline house. This time, my attempt was successful, but
just barely. The final tour of the day had
started a few minutes before my arrival. The
docent took pity on the lady in the old blue car, who arrived late! He mentioned that he recognized me from my
photographic adventures yesterday (how could he have missed me, with the tripod set up out front?) That apparently was his motivation in letting
me join. So, I got my tour, along with
about 8 other folks (mostly women) of middle age. I was the oldest one there…and was able to
get the senior discount…a big advantage to being retired!
He really enjoyed his job, telling us about the house, which
started out as a 2 room log cabin, and was added on to over the years. The visitors all enjoyed the part about his being alone in the house, and hearing noises,
including footsteps and interior room doors actually slamming shut on their own – could it be
It was interesting
to see where and how the family lived at that point in Patsy's life, and to hear
some of the stories he was able to relate. And since I got there late, he stayed a few
minutes after the tour to cover the points I missed before I arrived. If you ever get to town, you might want to
check it out…even if you're not a Patsy Cline fan, it's well worth the visit, just for the period furnishings and nostalgia about life in that era.
Afterward, he helped me with directions to locate Gaunt’s Drug
Store, where Patsy worked as a teenager, making soda treats for her customers at the fountain. While the drug store was closed for
the day when I arrived, the docent at the Patsy Cline mentioned that the soda
fountain was still there, unused, because it had become part of a closed-off storeroom due to a remodeling project.
Then it was off to dinner, which was actually at a real restaurant
this time. When I present as a woman, I
always enjoy being treated as one (even though I know I often don’t pass
well), and the server did a great job.
Which resulted in a big tip for her…hope that's an incentive to give the next girl she serves, good service, too!
Girls in skirts sometimes have to clean cars, too!
Then I went back to my room, to return to androgynous mode so I could listen in
on the awards presentation at a nearby hotel, and discover if my car earned a trophy…
Before I left, and while I was dusting off the car, I noticed nearby male
voices out in the parking lot. Turned
out it was a group of clean-cut-looking motorcyclists, all who knew each other
and were guests at the motel, sitting out on the sidewalk relaxing after their day on
the road. A few minutes later, when I emerged from my room, to
get into the car, they addressed me as “Ma’am,” apologized for the noise, and
asked me questions about the car, which I answered, but quickly, as I had to get
going. I guess they were more interested
in the car, than in me…that's a good thing.
At the end of the rainbow...in this case, was a trophy!
And, finally with no rain falling, I turned the corner in the motel
parking lot. And there it was, a beautiful rainbow...one of the brightest I’ve seen in years. By the time I stopped the car,
grabbed the camera and started taking pix, it had begun to fade, but it truly was
beautiful. The pictures I took really don't do it justice...
Incidentally, yes, the car received a trophy that night, which now joins the others on display…
Radio Station WiNC in Winchester, in whose studios Patsy Cline made her first radio appearance, and where she performed many times. Mandy's car is in front...
On the road for home the next morning, I made a short stop at radio station WINC, the station on which Patsy made her first radio appearance, as well as many subsequent performances. Somehow, I think it's changed its appearance a lot since then, but at least the station is still around...
Now for a little observation - something about myself that I’ve noticed from this trip (and I suspect it may be a big plus for Mandy,
I've finally progressed to where I can wander out amongst the public, with my
legs on display in a skirt, nylons and flats, and actually be concentrating on
whatever it is that I’m doing – instead of on what I’m wearing and staring into store windows at my own reflection, That’s a
refreshingly new attribute, and one that has sorely needed, to look a bit more like "just a girl out-and-about."
Women often seem friendlier (with smiles and occasionally light chat) when I’m in a
skirt, blouse and flats, than even when I’m in stirrup pants and a top. Maybe I’m “passing” more often than I think
I am (which I realize is extremely doubtful). Or, because I’m in a skirt, the ladies don’t feel
threatened, and just accept me as “one of them,” while men mostly ignore me. I tend to think it’s more likely the latter…
This summer should be a real treat, as I’m planning several more opportunities to be wearing skirts.