The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - June, 1996

Issue: Summer, 1996

Dear Mrs. Thigpen,
What a refreshing surprise to find a copy of The Mountain Laurel in my mailbox! I had become resigned to writing it off as another much-to-be missed relic of the past, and I thank you for your perseverance and consideration in sending me a copy of your renewed efforts.

Thank you for making The Mountain Laurel available again. We have all come a long way since I visited you in 1987 when you were living in Meadows of Dan. I too have aged a bit and have new grandchildren to enjoy. Thanks again for making this "letter from home" available to those of us who revere the past.

Marion Bowman

Dear Susan,
You can't imagine the thrill I got when my cousin from Farmville called to tell me she had received The Mountain Laurel again. After so long without knowing what had happened to that interesting little paper. I was afraid we would never see another one. She was so excited to get it again, she went to the phone to call me before she read any of it. I was the one who sent her first subscription, and she enjoyed it as much as I. The next day another cousin called and said very excitedly, "Violet, you'll never guess what I got today," (I subscribed for her too.) I said, "The Mountain Laurel." Naturally the only way I knew, as though I knew, was because of the call I got the day before.

Anyway we're all thrilled it's in publication again. Several more family members called to say they had gotten theirs also. I still didn't get one. Perhaps my subscription was about to expire when publication stopped. To make sure I get started again, I'm enclosing a check for a one year subscription.. It's a terrific little paper. I read again the article by my sister, Geneva Overby. We still miss her so much. The family gatherings are not the same, as she was so much a part of them.

Another bit of sad news since your last publication. My eldest sister, Mildred Saunders died one year after Geneva's death, the same month, February. Seems so strange, I've lost a brother and two sisters all in February.

I was happy to hear all is well with your family. I feared the worst when suddenly The Mountain Laurel stopped arriving.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year.


Violet Lester
Halifax, Virginia

Dear Readers,
A reader who wished to remain anonymous sent this story:

"Here's an interesting story my mother told. She lived close to Max Meadows, Virginia, a young mother with a baby girl. My mother had to carry water from a spring a good way from the house. What to do with the baby? No playpens or tall baby beds back then - 1908. The baby had to stay at home while Mama carried water. Well, my mom put syrup on the baby's little hands and gave her a feather to occupy herself while Mama was gone. Have you ever heard of such desperate enterprising activities in your time?"

Yes, believe it or not, I have heard of doing that to occupy babies in days gone by, only I heard of the person using molasses instead of syrup. Another method young mothers used to make sure the baby was safe when they had to leave the baby alone was to lift up the kitchen table leg and place the long skirt of the baby's gown under the table leg. The baby couldn't get away or harm itself. Yet another method was to sit the baby down on the floor and place a heavy flat iron on the baby's skirt, between the baby's legs. It was so close the baby couldn't fall on it and get hurt, and couldn't crawl away. Remember, in those days boy and girl babies were dressed alike in long cotton gowns, down to their feet.

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Mountain Laurel Staff,
What a wonderful surprise! We were delighted to receive the new winter edition of The Mountain Laurel.

We have missed you and we praise you for not giving up on what you knew was a great little publication.

Several years ago, on one of our frequent trips to Hopewell, Va., we spent the night in Wytheville. We were planning to visit you on our way out the next morning, but we missed you because we were too early; you were not open yet.

We'll try again as S.W. Virginia and the Blue Ridge is our favorite part of the country and we visit as often as possible.

Be sure to notify us when it is time to renew again.

Congratulations and best wishes,

Cleve & Kathy Shirley
Round Rock, Texas

Dear Sirs:
I was so excited to receive The Mountain Laurel again. You see I'm 84 years old and can relate to many of the stories. I want to say thank you for sending it to me and hope it can continue for the rest of my life at least.

Thanks again,

Ruby Cook
Culpeper, Virginia