Welcome to The Mountain Laurel
By Bob Heafner © 2012
Online: Autumn, 2012
From the beginnings of The Mountain Laurel in 1983, it quickly became apparent that something almost magical was happening. People, young and elderly alike, who had never written before started sharing their stories and memories of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the early twentieth century. Eventually, stories were coming in from the Georgia foothills to the Ozarks and even as far away as Scotland. They all had a common thread, the sharing of a life's memories; or a funny story; or memories of a time and place, Brigadoon like, in the Blue Ridge of yesteryear.
Our special thanks to John D. Metz, Director of Collection Management Services, of the Library of Virginia for his invaluable assistance. The Library of Virginia scanned all of our past issues and provided us with digital (pdf) files which allowed us to create this archive. The Library also scanned over 2,200 photo negatives which will eventually find their way into this archive. Our heartfelt appreciation of John's assistance could not be overstated.
The three of us who founded The Mountain Laurel are all getting old now. Susan Thigpen is disabled and the survivor of multiple bouts of breast cancer and Charlotte Heafner has been disabled since 2001 when several major strokes left her legally blind; a subsequent stroke in 2010 left her requiring 24/7 care. I have been disabled since 2006 but, fortunately, I'm still able to take care of Charlotte.
Today, Susan lives in Wytheville, Virginia with her daughter, Deidre, and two granddaughters, Daisey and Rosie. Charlotte and I live in Greensboro, North Carolina with our son Billy.
Susan and I speak almost daily about the archive and events both past and current. She is still just as creative and knowledgeable as she was the first time I met her in the late 1970s. Today she often gives me tips on country cooking, a subject on which she is an expert; her Squash Pickles are a particular favorite of mine.
The three of us, like the readers of The Mountain Laurel, all share a common bond; the love of a good story; a love of the beauty found among these rolling Blue Ridges; and love of the mountain old folks who we got to know in person, and in the pages of The Mountain Laurel.
Welcome to the Heart of the Blue Ridge.