Sperryville column for March 9

Date set (in stone) for memorial dedication

Rappahannock Blue Ridge Heritage Project coordinator Missy Sutton places the final stone on the soon-to-be-dedicated chimney memorial. She will now work to finalize family names for the plaque and finish the landscaping around the memorial. Courtesy photo

Missy Sutton, the Rappahannock County Blue Ridge Heritage Project Chimney Memorial organizer, says: “It is my pleasure to announce that we are confirmed for the memorial dedication on Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. – rain or shine!”

She says it will be a “stand or bring-your-own-chair” event and “based on the things we need to accomplish during the ceremony, I anticipate the ceremony will last 20 to 30 minutes. Special thanks to the stone mason, Darryl Whidby, and his helpers, Jackie and David. Also special thanks to Wayne Pullen who visited the site daily to help in any way he could.

“Please join me in also thanking Lou Armentrout, Beverly Stickles and Doris Woodward-Eisel for recently making donations to the Rappahannock Memorial! Your funds will be utilized to finish the site with landscaping. Thank you!”

Special thanks also to John Pomeroy, who contributed so much of the stone, cleared and prepped collection sites on his lovely farm in Old Hollow, and directed the volunteers who arrived to select them with Darryl’s oversight and transport them to their final resting place.

“It’s also worth noting,” tells Missy in an email correspondence with me, “that additional stone came from elsewhere in Sperryville. For example, I spoke yesterday with Thaniel Dodson, a Pullen/Clark/Dodson descendant who lives in Sperryville, and he mentioned that he and a few others helped locate stones needed for corners on the chimney memorial.”

She further shares: “I’m also hearing that folks are already stopping by to see the memorial. The anticipation is high and I suspect we will have a great turnout on April 29!”

Yes you will have a great turnout Missy and as is indicative of one of the photos we share — a Shenandoah resident being dragged from his home by federal agents — the Chimney Memorial in Sperryville, now located on Russell Jenkin’s Thornton Orchard, across from the Hearthstone School, is a poignant reminder of human failings and the necessity of a designated place for quiet reflection and to memorialize all those who lost so much.

It was 1929 and Melancthon Cliser, 62, refused to budge from his general store, service station and house on 46 acres near Thornton Gap. So federal agents led him away in handcuffs. Courtesy image

Missy wishes to share her contact information so folks can get in touch if they have questions: missys150@yahoo.com and cell number is 703-307-3630; and her Facebook group is https://www.facebook.com/groups/RappahannockMemorialBRHP/

RappU returns

George Washington, a man of myriad talents, a military leader, a president, surveyor, a farmer who revolutionized agriculture and celebrated animal husbandry, practiced crop rotation, and loved all things quadruped including foxhunting, is I’m certain looking down upon Sperryville wishing he too could be a volunteer instructor for RappU’s upcoming Spring 2017 Course offerings.

For those unfamiliar, RappU, founded by Doug Schiffman, is a non-profit learning center offering lifelong learning and workforce training courses, and celebrates its second year in operation. It’s housed in Sperryville in a wing of the sprawling complex once known as the Emporium, now home to Janet and Eric Tollefson’s Trading Cafe and Market and the Briar Patch bookstore.The board of directors includes Matthew Black, Kathy Grove, Debbie Keyser, John Lesinski, Doug Schiffman, Suzanne Schiffman and Ken Thompson

In speaking with Kathy Grove, former Wakefield Country Day School headmistress and one- time interim county school superintendent — referred to by Doug Schiffman as the new “dean” of RappU — she shared her abundant enthusiasm about the organization’s mission and told of the courses being offered this semester.

One of the benefits she said with a smile surrounding non-certification courses, is that “there’s no homework, no pressure and no grades.” Hmmm . . . sounds good to me.

Last year almost 200 people signed up for courses and more are expected this year, especially as the curriculum has expanded not only in it’s Life-Long Learning curriculum but also Work-Force training programs that offer certificate-bearing courses in a variety of healthcare specialties, including Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Medication Technician, Home Health Aide and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic Life Support.

Kathy shares that many new instructors with expertise in the courses they have chosen to lead, have volunteered their time and classes include An Introduction to Fly-Fishing, Birding for Beginners, Golf Swing Basics, Landscape Architecture, The Art of Foot Massage to more eclectic intellectual sustenance such as The Algerian Microcosm: Understanding the Middle East, The Civil War in Rappahannock County, What do Philosophers Say about Ethics and so much more.

According to RappU’s website rappu.org, registration is now open, but start and end dates will vary depending upon the number of sessions. You can see the full class descriptions on their Facebook and website pages.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 158 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.