In 1999, the hubby’s company moved us to a strange new land. “Virginia” they called it…….I actually had to get out my trusty atlas to see exactly where Virginia was on the map. Yes, Geography was another subject in which I failed to excel. We were nonetheless excited about this new adventure in a new place. I had never lived outside the Great State of Texas, but Mike had lived in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and last, but not least, Oklahoma. His company flew us out to look for a place to live, and we leased a beautiful new 2 story townhouse; then we checked out local places and the scenery. All the Redbud trees were in bloom while we were there in late March, so we could hardly wait until we got properly moved, in less than a month.
Mike had driven his truck to Christiansburg to get to work, and left me behind to oversee the movers, then he flew back and we drove the car to Virginia, stopping on the way to see The Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville. We spent about a week in a hotel waiting for our belongings to arrive, and when they did, we started getting settled in the beautiful new home. Mike’s new store was to open in June, so he was busy hiring a crew, and I started looking for a job. Kroger was opening a new store in nearby Blacksburg, and due to my vast experience in the grocery business, they hired me right away. (Too bad the pay was not commensurate with my experience, but that’s a story for another day)
On the weekends, we drove all around, looking at the scenery, which was breathtaking. I loved the mountains, it seemed like you could literally see forever. We made friends with a couple who were happy to show us all the sights that we might never have known about. They took us on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs for 469 miles through the southern Appalachians of Virginia and North Carolina, linking Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
One of the most amazing places on the Parkway was Mabry Mill , a historic water-powered grist mill which was originally built in 1910. I snapped this photo below, and I swear, it looks just like a picture postcard. We visited there again when Mike’s folks came to visit us in September.
When my parents visited us in August, shortly after we had moved there, we took them to Natural Bridge:
We lived in Christiansburg for about 7 months, then were transferred again, and moved again….whew, to central Virginia, and Mike’s next new store was in Lexington, which is a wonderful historic place, however, we couldn’t find any place to live, so we rented a house in Stuarts Draft.
This was about 30 miles north, in the valley; there were a great number of beautiful Mennonite farms there, and the people were exceedingly friendly and polite.
Now, I say they were all polite and friendly, however, there was this teeny tiny misunderstanding about who actually had the southern accent….ME….or THEM! Of course, I have a Texas accent and Mike does not, since he was born in Alabama; so I’m not sure why they picked on me for MY “alleged” accent! The women didn’t carry “purses” they carried “pocketbooks” and I told them that if I came back to Texas and said “pocketbook”, I’d get laughed out of town! But, they still teased me about my accent…..and I had no choice but to take it in stride, hence my nickname “Texas Twang Debi”……see, if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em!
Just across the mountain to the east of us was Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia which he founded. We toured Jefferson’s home, Monticello twice while living in the state, and it was my favorite historical site. I learned so much about American history while living in Virginia because everywhere you turn, there’s another historic site.
While in Stuarts Draft, I worked at the Kroger on Lew DeWitt Boulevard in Waynesboro, and we were just a few miles from Staunton (pronounced Stanton for some reason!) home of The Statler Brothers! We toured their museum and I got very up close and personal with gold records and Grammy Awards! The closest I will ever get, no doubt!
After about 8 months in Lexington/Stuarts Draft, we moved again….sigh…..this time to the less idyllic locale of Warrenton, about 40 miles from Washington D.C. The people were less friendly, the cost of living was much higher, and the scenery was not as pretty, although, there were several horse farms that we saw that were nice.
The house we rented was stuck in a 1970s time warp, but the rent wasn’t too outrageous. Plus, we were only 40 miles from our nations capitol. We went twice to DC….Mike’s favorite site was Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
In November of 2000, we had enjoyed as much of Virginia as we could, because we learned that each time Mike’s company moved us, our two years started all over again…see, they had said “go there and open this store, and in two years we’ll move you back to Texas”. He opened two new stores and then moved again to take over the top store in the district.
That’s all I’m going to say about that.
I was quite homesick by this time, so we made a joint decision.
Like I said, I was homesick……lol…..
We had a MASSIVE garage sale, even sold the truck…..loaded up what was left and headed home to The Great State of Texas. We didn’t have jobs to come home to, nowhere to live, but my sweet and practical brother said “y’all can live with us while you get jobs and find a place to live, 90 days ought to do it”…..LOL…… That 90 days evolved into SIX months, because we built a new house, and it took that long. Good thing they lived in a huge house……we had a blast staying with them, though and felt a little lost when we had to move out! (Thanks PK and KK)
Our new house!
Like I said earlier, the lovely folks in Virginia made fun of my accent, but I loved the time we spent there, and I think about it every time I grab my PURSE, not my pocketbook, but my purse and leave the HOUSE, not my “hoose”…..lol
Virginia may be for lovers, but when I die, I want to STAY in Texas!