Washington column for Sept. 3

Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Buntin and William Archer "Bill" Buntin, on their wedding day in Martha's Vineyard.
Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Buntin and William Archer “Bill” Buntin, on their wedding day in Martha’s Vineyard. Otto Guenter

A stroll down Memory Lane

Nancy Buntin and her mom, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Buntin, left on Aug. 22 for a week-long journey down Memory Lane — Martha’s Vineyard, in this case.

Nancy, the daughter of Betty and the late Bill Buntin of Washington, told the story of how Martha’s Vineyard came to mean so much to her parents.

Betty’s family had been going to Martha’s Vineyard every summer since 1918, and Betty was staying with her family in the summer of 1943. One day while Betty was at the beach, which she loved, she met the love of her life, William Archer “Bill” Buntin.

Bill was in the Army, on maneuvers at Camp Edwards, on nearby Cape Cod.

According to Nancy, her mom was at the beach in her lovely white bathing suit and Bill saw her and thought that she was the most beautiful thing he ever saw. He knew he had to strike up a conversation with her somehow. For those that knew Bill, he could start a conversation with anyone he came in contact with, whether he knew them or not.

According to Nancy, it was love at first sight for both of them. They dated for six months and were married on Nov. 11, 1943, at Martha’s Vineyard.

The day of the wedding, Bill had to hitch a ride on the back of a military motorcycle to the ferry that took him over to the Vineyard. After they were married, they spent their honeymoon at Niagara Falls for a few days, but Bill had to return to Camp Edwards, and later to Camp Lee near Petersburg, Virginia.

Bill and Betty returned to Martha’s Vineyard every year until 2003, when Bill became ill. He passed away in October 2009. According to Nancy, until this year it was too painful for her mom to go back to visit. But Betty, who is 98, said she wanted to revisit the beautiful memories of Martha’s Vineyard, where she met her love of her life, one more time.

Betty worked for Rappahannock County Social Services for years. Bill had a long career in law enforcement, and was the sheriff of Rappahannock County for eight years. They both loved Rappahannock, and gave so much to the county.

Nancy and her mom thoroughly enjoyed the trip (although Nancy said she would never drive on Interstate 95 again, especially in the summer, when she said the traffic seemed to move only at about 40 miles an hour).

Thank you so much, Nancy, for this beautiful love story about your dad and mom. You both can keep those memories in your heart forever.


Belated birthday wishes go to Loring Anderson Jr., who celebrated his birthday last Friday (Aug. 28) and who still honks his horn at us when he drives by the newspaper office. Also belated birthday wishes go out to a dear friend of mine, Yvonne Darrel, who celebrated her special day on Sunday (Aug. 30).

Music at Gadino Cellars

Nothing to do this Saturday (Sept. 5)? Local folk trio Mandalele will be performing at Gadino Cellars (92 Schoolhouse Rd., Washington) from 2 to 5:30 p.m. No cover charge for the music. Come and bring a picnic and enjoy fine Gadino wines on the deck. For more information, call 540-987-9292.

Marker dedication

The Rappahannock Historical Society invites the public to the dedication of the Kitty Payne Civil War Trails Marker, and acceptance of the “Kitty Payne site, Rappahannock County Jail” into the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program. The dedication is on the Rappahannock County Courthouse grounds in Washington, at 1 p.m. Sept. 26. Be sure to bring a chair; refreshments will be served.

Garden Club meeting

Come out for the Rappahannock County Garden Club meeting and learn about the countywide Starfish Mentoring Program, sponsored by Headwaters, at the Washington fire hall on Wednesday, Sept. 16. Refreshments begin at 1 p.m.; Anne Simon, director of Starfish, speaks at 2 p.m. Club meetings and membership are open to the public. For more information, call 540-937-4279.

WVFR breakfast

Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue hosts an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 a.m. Sept. 19 at their station. Cost is $8 (ages 10 and younger eat free). All proceeds will be used to fund daily operations at the fire company. For more information, call 540-675-3615. Austin, looking forward to your fluffy scrambled eggs. Hope to see you there.

Candidate forum

A reminder that Friends of Liberty’s candidate forum for the upcoming Hampton District elections, moderated by former presidential debate moderator Jim Gannon, is 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 9) at Washington Town Hall. Expected are supervisor candidates John Lesinski, J. Newbill Miller Jr. and Keir Whitson, and sheriff candidates Anthony E. “Andy” Berry and (incumbent) Connie C. Smith. Write-in candidates for Hampton school board Demaris Miller and Pud Maeyer have been invited. Admission is free. For more information, call 540-937-6394.

Labor Day weekend

Just because kids are heading back to school, long summer days are coming to an end, and Christmas layaways are at Walmart doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the patio grill. Labor Day is the perfect time to throw a fantastic season-ending cookout. Invite your friends and family over and have a blast.

Just remember that the highway patrol will be out in force this weekend, making sure the roads are safe for us. Let’s make sure we keep our focus solely on the road while we are traveling to and from family and friends.

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend!