Down Memory Lane for Jan. 7

Oct. 23, 1980

In Ginny’s kitchen you might find dozens of cupcakes decorated with little goblin faces, cheesecakes fresh from the oven, their fruit toppings sparkling like jewels; or pumpkin pies fragrant with nutmeg and cinnamon.

“Ginny’s Kitchen” is the name Geneva Pierson has given her home baking business. For the past four years Mrs. Pierson has been taking orders for all kinds of home-baked products which she fills from her home in Amissville.

Mrs. Pierson first started baking fancy pastries in order to have special treats for her children when they came home from school. Some friends and neighbors started asking for her creations for birthdays or showers and demand grew until Ginny’s Kitchen was born. The Piersons live at Oak Crest, a 65-year-old home in Amissville that was the first prefabricated house sold by Sears and Roebuck. They were featured in the Rappahannock News, along with their house, when the structure had to be moved back to make room for Route 211.

For 25 years, Edna and James P. Mills have operated their country store at Estes, a little community stuck back on Route 729 near the Culpeper County line.

“That’s too long,” Edna chuckled, beaming the wide smile she flashes to visitors and neighbors alike. “No, it’s really all in what we get used to. I’m used to it. I like it. I like working with furniture and I like keeping store.

Formerly Edna Cloud, she was born and raised in the county, growing up between the old Forest Grove School and the Forest Grove Baptist church.

“I used to walk across the fields to school,” she recalled, adding that her entire educational career took place in that old neighborhood school. “I was there some days when the teachers couldn’t  get to school because the snow was too deep for their horses.”

Back then, there was a livery stable at the crossroads where the stable at the crossroads where the teachers kept their mounts. “Miss Ida Brown rode when the weather was too bad for her Model-T, bringing J. T. Woodward behind her in the saddle,” Edna remembered. `

Hordes of motorists visited Rappahannock during the weekend for the house tour or just to enjoy the autumn splendor or pick up some apples or cider. Though they came in droves, there is still enough cider and apples, pumpkins and sorghum, for those expected this weekend. Emma Swindler tends her fruit stand near her home in Sperryville, and extends a cordial welcome to the area.

Oct. 27, 1988

Rappahannock County gained another celebrity business last week when that Sperryville Emporium was featured on the cover of “Washington Business,” the Washington Post’s weekly business magazine. That was followed on Monday by a visit from Channel 9’s Mike Buchanan, who did a feature on the store.

Ushering a visitor into the crowded corner which serves as his office, answering an occasional telephone call as he talked, owner Maurice O’Bannon was philosophical about all the fuss. He learned back in his well worn chair and smile, “It’s all too much.”

The Post called the Emporium “A Store With Character.” And if there’s any truth to that, there’s no doubt that Mr. O’Bannon is largely responsible for it.

He related part of the interview done by Buchanan on Monday when he asked a first-time customer what she thought of the store.

“It’s alright, but it’s kind of tacky,” she told the interviewer.

And Mr. O’Bannon quickly emphasized, “We’re not trying to imitate Tyson’s Corner in display — or prices either. As long as people buy it, that’s what counts.”

There’ve been few time-outs in the game of catch-up Beverly Bowen has been playing since assuming the post of welfare director last month. Not only does she have a new job in a new county, but she’s also had to fill in for the missing social worker whose slot has been vacant since June.

“It’s been very busy,” she acknowledged, taking a short break Monday for an interview. “I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get to know Rappahannock County.”

For the most part, welfare programs are mandated and controlled by the state and federal governments, but the director of social services can set a tone that encourages or discourages participation. The eligibility criteria don’t change — a client either meets or doesn’t meet the qualifications for programs such as food stamps and aid to dependent children — but an affable director can make it easier for the needy to ask for help. And with a warm smile and open, friendly manner, Bowen is approachable.

With only a couple of qualifications, the Rappahannock Planning Commissioners last week unanimously recommended issuance of a special exception permit for new county library near the Town of Washington.

The 5,000-square foot building would be constructed on two acres of agriculturally-zoned land given to the library’s Board of Trustees by Dean Morehouse.

April 17, 1996

On a 4 to 3 vote the Washington Town Council decided to continue the ban on serving alcohol at events held in the Town Hall.

A public hearing on the matter preceded the vote, and speakers were overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the ban.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Viguerie were represented by attorney Dan O’Connell who said the Comprehensive Plan and Historic District Ordinance “provide a delicate blend of residential and compatible commercial uses. The beautiful structure is in a residential neighborhood. What justifies changing this policy? Who benefits? This public building is almost church like. It seems almost blasphemous. You would have to have a tremendously good reason for changing the policy.”

He noted that the Vigueries own a house directly across the street from the Town Hall. “My clients are prepared to take legal action to protect their rights,” he said.

District Court clerk Pat Davis said that allowing alcohol to be served at events in Town Hall would lead to “disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, and people pissing on the grounds.”

Many people expressed concern about increased traffic and parking problems.

When Sheila Smith, a second-grade teacher at Rappahannock County Elementary School, began taking an Emergency Medical Technician course in January, her only intention was to be more active in the Amissville Fire Department.

Instead she became one of the first teachers in the school’s history to restore life to a lifeless child.

It happened on March 7, but just last Saturday the School Board formally commended the three teachers and one nurse involved in the momentous event.


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