Washington column for June 26

The buzz in the town

The town has been buzzing the last couple of weeks over developer Jim Abdo buying up land and speculation about his plans for our town.

The Theatre at Washington was packed with concerned citizens last Thursday night (June 19) for the “Rapp Live” forum hosted by the newspaper. Everyone wanted to hear about the plans that Abdo had in store for our town. Some set out just to listen, some arrived with questions and some voiced their support of those plans.

With the Inn at Little Washington owning the front of the town and Abdo buying the back end, I can only wonder what they have in mind for Washington. So I attended the forum last Thursday evening, hoping to learn. Abdo gave a PowerPoint presentation showing buildings he has been involved in purchasing and the plans for their use, but said some haven’t been determined just yet. He said he wanted to save buildings that have been vacant and deteriorating that he loves this county and the town.

Whatever he has in mind for our town, I just hope that he, and all involved, keep in mind that we have some middle-class residents here — some of whom are on a low fixed income every month — and hope that his restoration of these buildings won’t make the taxes go up any higher than they are now. I am very much concerned; I hope that we can afford to live here and won’t be pushed out of our beautiful county.

As I look out across the fields with wild flowers and see the beautiful mountains all around me, I am so thankful that “Little” Washington is not like Middleburg or Washington, D.C.

Let’s keep it that way.

Happy wishes

Birthday wishes go out to a dear sister-in-law, Mary Gochenour, who will celebrate her special day on Monday (June 30). Happy birthday Mary!

Grand opening

Tomorrow (Friday, June 20), the Town of Washington, the Old Rag Master Naturalists, RLEP and RappFLOW invite everyone to a grand opening ceremony of the Natural Habitat and Restoration Area and Nature Trail at 11 a.m. at 564 Warren Ave. (Leggett Lane).

A special type of memories

“Seeing the June 12 photo of the linotype on the move brought back fond memories of my early days with the Rappahannock News,” says former editor Sarah Latham.

Former Rappahannock News editor (and jack-of-all-trades) Sarah Latham (right) and her daughter Sally Haynes stopped in last Friday to share their fond memories of the Linotype machine.
Former Rappahannock News editor (and jack-of-all-trades) Sarah Latham (right) and her daughter Sally Haynes stopped in last Friday to share their fond memories of the Linotype machine. | Rappahannock News

Sarah, along with her daughter, Sally Haynes, visiting this summer from Sun Lake, Ariz., stopped by Friday for a visit. They brought us homemade snickerdoodles (made by another of Sarah’s daughters, Susan). They were delicious!

Afterwards, we chatted about the newspaper in the old days — about which Sarah also wrote:

In March, 1956, Jack Barbour, who was helping to manage the newspaper, asked if I would be interested in coming to work there. My husband A.C. and I had four daughters, the youngest only three months old. I replied, “I need a job, but this little girl needs me more.” Fours months later, A.C. died in an auto accident and I was glad to find the job offer still open.

My first assignments were bookkeeping and selling ads. Soon, though, Jack was encouraging me to try my hand at setting type on the big, banging, clanking, hot-lead- spurting Linotype machines. I said, “I can’t manage that. I don’t know how. I just can’t do it.” His oft-repeated retort: “Just sit down and try it.” With his persistent prodding, finally, I did.

It was a fascinating machine, and one that required patience. There was no rushing the “hot metal” process that began with striking keys that caused corresponding metal letters to fall into a tray, gradually forming words and sentences. The machine applied molten lead to each line of type and a lead “slug” was created with impressions of the words. Finally, the metal letters returned to the top of the machine ready to produce the next line of type. I soon came to enjoy typesetting as much as my other duties and, though it is now a relic, I have a special affection for the Linotype.

Thank for stopping by, Sarah and Sally! Have a wonderful week everyone!