Down Memory Lane for Nov. 22

Aug. 3, 1978

Statistics compiled by the Department of Agriculture in a Rappahannock land use study and data gathered by the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection show that over 50 percent of the county’s property owners are absentee.

Many of these out-of-county folks have weekend vacation homes here that are used only a few times a year. For the most part, the houses are deserted — a tempting target for burglars.

Eric Forster took this information into account when he was investigating businesses that he could operate out of his home in Castleton.

Forster, who has owned property in Rappahannock for over 20 years and been a full-time resident for six, decided to start a home protection service. After two years of looking into protection devices, he settled on a radio controlled system and is now regional manager in an eight-county area for Sentinel Alarm, Inc.

Forster’s office adjacent to his Castleton home could serve as an advertisement for the protection business. A computerized unit that looks like a stereo speaker controls the system from a corner bookshelf. At a flip of a switch, sensor devices set around the room broadcast coded radio messages to the control unit.

Jim McGarvey, new director for the Rappahannock Mental Health Clinic, faces a challenging job in opening the county’s first full-time mental health facility.

However, his background and experience coupled with his attitude towards the community should smooth the path to acceptance in a rural area where many look with suspicion at anything connected to mental health.

McGarvey, with former Welfare Department Food Stamp Supervisor Becky Burke as office manager, will staff the clinic five days a week in remodeled quarters in the Clopton House. Renovation is expected to be completed by late August for the building that will be shared by the Clinic, the Health Department and Eileen Day’s real estate business.

While McGarvey and Burke will be the only personnel attached full-time to the clinic here, a traveling core team of substance abuse counselor Jim Rectenwald, extended care coordinator Bertha Neville and transitional living coordinator Leonard Tuchyner will supply services as needed.

March 15, 1979

Miss Mabel G. Holmes has travelled a long way since she left her native Rappahannock many years ago, and has just been named the Outstanding Alumna in Education for 1978 in the school system of Elizabeth N.J.

Mabel was born and raised in Smedley Hollow in Rappahannock, the daughter of the late Richard and Mildred Holmes and granddaughter of the late Robert and Alice Beckwith of Smedley.

Helping children to become good, useful and happy men and women has been the credo for Mabel throughout her career spanning 43 years in the Elizabeth school system. They were years of labor study and quiet achievement, during which her firm, but gentle discipline, her warmth and kindness influenced the lives of generations of pupils and teachers alike.

According to the citation, Mabel is a woman who won the esteem of her superiors, the loyalty of her subordinates, the love of countless children and the respect of the community. She spent 28 years as a teacher in the Continental School 3 and continued her service for 15 years as a principal. During her teaching career, she trained 20 student teachers from Newark and Trenton Teachers Colleges.

(Editor’s note: Today there is the Mabel G. Holmes Middle School in Elizabeth).

A vehicle belonging to the Rappahannock County School System was stolen from the school bus garage parking lot located on Route 211 west of Washington last Wednesday night, March 7.

The keys were also taken from several of the school busses parked there and from a bus parked at Sperryville Barber Shop. A vehicle belonging to Miss Ruth Blackwell in Jenkins Hollow was tampered with, according to investigating office Trooper R. A. Baines.

The vehicle, a 1972 Ford station wagon, was in Jenkins Hollow near Sperryville with serious damage to the undercarriage and is presumed to be a total loss.

Evidence indicates that the vandalism was done by a school student or students, said Baines.