Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

An Interesting Literary Day

Yesterday, Jim Morrison (Bedford goes to War), Marion Higgins (When men Move to the Basement), Jean Brobeck (Musings), and I had an enjoyable luncheon.

Jean Brobeck, me, Marion Higgins, and Jim Morrison.

We four Lake Writers did a reading at the last Miss Lettie’s Luncheon of the season at Avenel. Avenel—Bedford home of the Burwell family before, during, and after the Civil War—is reportedly haunted, though no one has seen the mysterious “lady in white” for a number of years. The lady in white is—er, was—possibly Letitia Burwell, a spinster who died there in 2005. The ghost appeared in 2006. I’ve heard that the ghost left with certain items of furniture.

Rosa Burwell's photo hangs in the room where we did our reading.

When I wrote about Avenel last year, I heard from Farrar Richardson, who lived in France and was writing about his ancestor who’d been a visitor at Avenel in 1862.

Mrs. Burwell on her horse in front of Avenel in its hey-day.

Avenel, which fell into ruin after Lettie’s death, has been restored. The interior was even prettier this year than last. I took some pictures, hoping to find signs of ghostly activity. Except for a few small orbs in the picture of the four of us, nothing appeared.

As I sat at lunch and looked out the windows, I noticed how the old glass distorted what I saw through it. I decided to take some pictures from outside to see if the distorted glass looked like ghostly visions through the window. In the picture below, a woman appears to look from the right side of a window (above the reflection of sky and trees), but it’s only the reflections in the distorted glass. Not a ghost at all.

Temperature in the house varied widely. However, the temperature changes I noticed were all near windows—windows which weren’t insulated. The open front door let a breeze through the house and contributed further to temperature changes while demonstrating how well-designed the old house was to take advantage of natural air currents.

June Goode, Bedford historian and author of Our War, an annotated version of Letitia Burwell’s diary, was among those at Avenel.

jim Morrison and June Goode at Avenel.

Yesterday evening, I attended Fred First’s reading and slide presentation at the Franklin County Library in Rocky Mount. His program was excellent. I’ve been a fan of Fred’s words since I read Slow Road Home nearly two years ago. Slow Road Home, which grew from his Fragments from Floyd blog, is one of the best self-published books I’ve ever read. Fred's photos are as good as—or maybe even better—than his words. He is a gifted individual and an inspiration to aspiring writers, aspiring naturalists, and people who love country living.

All in all, yesterday was a pretty interesting day.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

It sounds like a wonderful afternoon. You certainly have carved out an interesting life.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I am so glad you enjoyed Miss Lettie's luncheon! I enjoyed seeing Avenel so much and really felt transformed back into time when I was there.

I wish I could have been to meet Fred. He is such an artist with more talent than many well paid writers or photographers!

Thanks for sharing your day with us!

1:01 PM  

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