Monthly Blog Archives: September 2015

The Love You May Be Missing

There is an old saying about “older and wiser.”  If that’s the case then I must be busting at the seams with wisdom. Actually, time is a great teacher.  There’s a wealth of knowledge to be learned from experience. When I was writing IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, I thought more about my grandfather, Charlie Polk, well, more than ever.  He always took a backseat in my affections mainly because I didn’t think he really loved me all that much. My grandmother was always demonstrating her love for me.  She cooked my favorite meals, bought me whatever I needed, and […]

Towns of the Valley

IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE mentions many towns in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but there are three that are key to the story, Mt. Jackson, Edinburg, and Woodstock.  Thankfully, these communities, nestled midst the mountains surrounding the Valley, have preserved much of their rich history.  Many of the historic buildings remain as a reminder of a storied past. Mt. Jackson This would have been the town most accessible to the Wisslers and the Showns.  Strathmore is only 2 miles from town and St. Mary’s Pine Church (the Showns lived next door) is 3 miles away. In the early 1900’s, the […]

Secrets from the Past

It’s amazing what you can learn about your past when you know where to look.  About a year ago I subscribed to and began to piece together my roots.  Yeah, I am the descendant of kings and queens…even the Vikings.  I’ll save you a few bucks by informing you that you, too, are related to royalty.  We all are in some way or another.  But I digress. More interesting to me was the more immediate past, those courageous ancestors who traveled to the New World and then helped establish this great nation.  I was also intrigued to find new […]

First Date

In Chapter VII of IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, Mable and Charlie go on their first date away from the watchful eye of Mable’s mother, Mary. Many of us have visited a cavern but what would it have been like to go on that adventure before electric lights?  In May of 1919, Endless Caverns, near New Market, Virginia was in it’s infancy and tours were conducted by candlelight. Legend has it that the cave was discovered in 1879 by two boys who were rabbit hunting on the Zirkle farm.  When the rabbit they were chasing disappeared into a hole they removed some limestone rocks […]

Landmarks in the Valley of Hope

IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE is based on real events, people and places.  In this post I wanted to show you some of the landmarks to be found in the book. When I was a young teen my grandparents took me, (more accurately, drug me) on a picnic to a place called Strathmore.  Like many young people, I wasn’t fond of hanging out with old people.  Now that I’m an old people myself, I can appreciate what they were trying to do.  They wanted to share a vital part of their past with me. Strathmore was a milestone in their […]

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