Category Archives: Historical Background

Early Gift from My Valentine

I never know what my wife is doing in her art studio. Occasionally I hear some clunks and rattles, but basically she paints in silent seclusion. Frequently, she emerges to share her progress on a painting. Studies it for a while and then scampers back upstairs to her studio. Today, she brought me an early Valentine’s gift with special meaning. The painting is from a scene at Orkney Springs, Virginia. In past articles, I have shared my love for this historic spot. In the 19th century, it was a resort for the wealthy in search of the healing powers of the […]

Why I Have So Many Names

Richard Weirich

My birth name is Richard Allen Weirich but I’m known by many other monikers. Everybody in my family, back in the day, called me Dickie or Dick. Every now and then, I hear from somebody who knew me in my younger days and they still call me by that name. But now it sounds so strange. Somewhere around my junior or senior year in high school, I had been scheduled as the featured soloist in a band concert. On the program, my name was misspelled. Richard Weinch. After that, many of my band buddies called me Wench. Then came my […]

Solve Your Family Mystery

What’s in your family’s past that you have never been able to explain? I would be willing to bet that there is, at least, one mystery that you would like to solve. So, hop in your Marty McFly (Back to the Future) DeLorean Time Machine, albeit an easy chair and laptop, and get to work. Why you may become so excited about your revelations that you’ll be motivated to write a book. Worked for me. In fact, my detective work led to two novels. Discovery is so cool, especially when you have a vested interest. One seemingly meaningless document took […]

The Valley of Hope

What inspired a series on the Valley of Hope?  What is it?  Where is it?  Why is it important? To be clear, the Valley of Hope is a real place but the concept is a state of mind.  The place is the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  It was where early settlers came, many of them immigrants, with hopes and dreams for a better life in a new land. I grew up in that beautiful Valley with its rich farmland and breathtaking landscape.  The opening words to America the Beautiful capture the pristine beauty of the countryside.: O beautiful for spacious skies, […]

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