The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - Winter, 1995

Issue: Winter, 1995

Dear Readers,
It's been a long time since the last issue of The Mountain Laurel, too long, but here it is! A brand new issue. The only thing different is that now it is quarterly, larger (32 pages) and has fewer ads. With ever increasing printing and postage rates, making it quarterly instead of monthly is our way of being able to hold down the amount of a yearly subscription (still $15.00).

Everyone who was on our subscriber list when publishing was suspended will still receive issues until that subscription is complete. No one will be billed for renewal until the old subscription is over, and then we will send a reminder card. The Mountain Laurel will only be sold by subscription, so if you know of anyone who would like it, send us their name and address and we will send a complimentary copy to them which will have a subscription form in it.

This first issue will probably have a hard time catching up with some people who have moved. "Address correction requested" is above the name and address when it is sent, but sometimes the United States Postal Service moves slowly about sending address corrections back to us. If you know of an address change of another subscriber, let us know and we will change it before the next issue is sent.

Bob and Charlotte Heafner and I, the original three who started The Mountain Laurel are still working with it, but we are now joined by my daughter Deidre (Deedee). Deedee and I will be conversing with old timers, writers and readers, putting the issues together. Bob is now very busy with a fast growing business, Computer SOS, but will contribute stories from time to time. Charlotte is still in charge of circulation. Computer SOS is sponsoring the publishing of The Mountain Laurel.

The last few years for us (as I suppose it has been for you) have been filled with both good and bad. We have collectively added two new grandchildren for a new grand total of six! Our health has not been the best at times, with a few operations thrown at us, but aside from the usual effects of aging, we are now back up to par.

The Mountain Laurel has been described by readers as being like a "letter from home." We have missed publishing The Mountain Laurel and hearing from our family of readers and are very happy indeed to be back among you. If you have requests for stories you would like to see in upcoming issues, let us know and we will try to make them happen.

Susan Thigpen

Dear Susan,
This communication has a threefold purpose.

Item 1 - To renew my enjoyment of a wonderfully and interestingly written newspaper. Practically all the area covered in the articles are where I have spent seven happy years surveying power ("Light Lines") for the good families living in farming areas of Southwest Virginia counties. They were so appreciative of what we were doing to bring greater comfort to their lives. That made it a very special job.

Item two - [a copy of a poem was enclosed by Pearl Johnson] A teacher, amateur poet, well into her 80s looks back on her life as a student and then much later, a look at her 45 years of teaching. Lots of us will remember those days when good teachers were highly respected and appreciated, even though we thought them strict.

Item three - A friend of mine who lives in Florida is making a tremendous effort to locate a "lost" sister and will be so appreciative of anyone will call or write any information that could help her locate her sister. I thought through your Genealogy Column word might reach her as this is the area and a bit of East Tennessee that she may be living in. My hope and prayer is someone may help find her.

J.F. Cooke
Princeton, West Virginia

Dear Readers,
Item one - When Mr. Cooke talks of bringing electricity to Southwest Virginia, it wasn't that long ago for many of the rural areas. Wytheville was lucky to get electricity early (around the turn of the century) because a nearby mill generated and sold it to the town. Other areas didn't get electricity until over a half century later. Some parts of Floyd County didn't have electricity until the 1950s. Because of something about running the lines across the federally owned Blue Ridge Parkway, the electricity had to approach many people from the other direction. These people without electricity, living on the wrong side of the Parkway, could look across the road at night and see electric lights burning in other houses.

Item two - The above mentioned poem was enclosed in Mr. Cooke's letter, but it did not have Pearl Johnson's address with it. We only print materials in The Mountain Laurel that have signed authorizations from the author/owner, except for public domain materials. Also, in the last year, due to reader response, we have been printing less poetry and more stories.

Item three - See the Genealogy Column for more information about the hunt for Mrs. Lee's sister. We are happy to offer this service and overjoyed if it helps in any way to reunite families. We invite all people searching for their roots in the Blue Ridge to use this column free of charge and we will print inquiries on a first come, first served, space available basis.

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Readers,
How many old fashioned romantic novels describe the heroine's perfume as Attar of Roses? In all probability, most of us have never known what that particular scent was like, but recently, while thumbing through old magazines, I came across the recipe for Attar of Roses. I am printing it to share with all.

The Recipe

Gather rose petals when flower is full-blown and when there is no moisture on them. Using large mouth stone jar, fill with rose petals to depth of about one inch. Sprinkle petals lightly with table salt (non-iodized), then cover with thin layer of fine absorbent cotton. With olive oil, wet cotton thoroughly. Continue with alternate layers of petals with salt and cotton with olive oil until jar is filled, with top layer being cotton. Cover jar tightly and set in sun for period of two weeks.

When "ripening" period is over, empty entire contents into fruit press, so mass can be pressed until every precious drop of attar is out. If fruit press is not available, squeeze handful at a time until you have obtained all of liquid. Then put the attar into glass stoppered bottles.