Monday, September 25, 2006

Eastern Shore of Virginia

September 7-9, 2006

It has been a while since I posted to my blog. Of course I have traveled to several places this month. This blog entry is going to focus on the trip I took to Eastville, Virginia to spend some time with my mother and great aunt.

My great aunt is like a grandmother to me. Both my grandmothers and paternal grandfather were dead before I was born. My maternal grandfather, a widower, remarried when I was a little girl, but she and I were not close until recently. My great Aunt, Ida Jones Williams, is a remarkable woman. She is in her 90's, lives by herself, drives her car and travels all over. Aunt Ida was asked to write a book about African American education in Northampton County, Virginia as a part of the state's celebration of Jamestown being 400 years old in 2007.

My mother and I have been helping my great aunt with her manuscript. My mother types her text into the computer, I have been scanning photographs into the computer, taking pictures and assisting with layout. I have also been researching ways to publish the book. One of the things the committee that asked her to write the book did not make clear to her was that they expected her to self publish. My great aunt is going ahead with writing and publishing this book because she is an historian at heart.

My great aunt went to Virginia to attend Hampton University in the 1920's. She graduated with a degree in homemaking. She got married, remained in Virginia with her husband and the two of them taught in the segregated school system. I have been enjoying hearing about her experiences teaching in Virginia. She made sure that she took her class on a trip each year so that the children could get an opportunity to travel off the eastern shore. I was surprised to find out that the schools there were segregated until 1970. Many European American parents avoided desegregation by enrolling their children in private schools. I am learning a lot about African American education in Virginia from helping her with this book.

Before my mother and I drove back to Philadelphia we went to one of my favorite places on the Eastern Shore, Cape Charles. The ocean water there was still warm. We removed our shoes, rolled up our pants and skirt and walked along the shore in the water. Cape Charles has renovated their beach over the past year. They removed old pylons and parts of an old dock, brought in sand, expanded the beach and built a couple breaks off shore to reduce the waves during a storm. Most of the houses along the beach are for sale along with many other houses in the town. The town is changing from a small quaint lower to middle class town to an upper class retirement community. A community of expensive town houses have been built just slightly outside of town. Last year I took a couple photos of the dock and pylons because they were interesting. I wish I had taken more photos of the beach in general.

Here it is after they removed the wood and were placing the new sand.

This is what it looks like now. Here are photos I took this September.

1 comment:

Contemplative Scholar said...

Thank you for posting about your trip! I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland!