Issue: May, 1984
The Mountain Laurel,
I wish to subscribe to The Mountain Laurel for one year. Enclosed please find my check for $6.00. I saw your paper while in Florida recently and I enjoyed it very much.
Deming, New Mexico
I can't tell you how much I appreciate The Mountain Laurel! It takes me back to a time and place that can never be again except in memories. How I wish the "now generation" could have pleasant memories of their youth when they're old as I am now. I have managed to instill a love for those mountains in at least one of my children and her own two. We spend a quiet week tent camping on the Parkway every summer and now they look forward to getting back to "God's Country" as much as I do. Enclosed is a check for a subscription for her. She'll appreciate it.
We'll surely stop in to say hello next time we're over your way!
Mrs. H.W. Williams
On reading your March 1984 issue, the Backroads brought back memories. I was in four C.C.C. camps for four years. I was at Dobson, N.C, for a period of two and one half years and covered all of North Carolina and most of Va. In fact, I put 110,000 miles on a 1935 Chevrolet in a short time of 18 months.
I met a girl from Woodlawn, Va. at the Carroll County Fair at Galax, Va. in 1935 and we got married on Saturday the 19th of June, 1937.
I hope they do not tear down the Grayson County Courthouse. That's where we got our marriage license.
I was in Patrick County last fall at a place called Critz and Ararat. We drove to Floyd, crossing the Parkway. We never did find Buffalo Mountain, only found Woolwine, where 40 leads off Route 8.
In your Backroads you mention the New River. We have a New River. Our river is much shorter. It begins and ends in the same county. It is 4 miles wide at its widest.
I was at Fort Brag, N.C. in 1933 and met a guy named Jim Scott from Mouth of Wilson, Va. He was 7 feet 1 inch tall and wore shoes size 18 EEE I believe he died before 1940, not sure about his death.
I didn't explain how I traveled so many miles on the Backroads in the 30's. The "3 C" boys didn't have ways to travel and they wanted to go home. I would get a load and carry them home, where ever they lived. Sometimes we had to park the car and walk three, four or five miles. This would be every weekend. I was single and had a swell time.
Very truly yours,
Editor's Note...We got out a map of North Carolina and sure enough, there is a New River Inlet that looks to be over four miles wide and it does start and end in the same county. And we thought we had some healthy springs up here in the mountains!
We would like for you to know how much we have enjoyed The Mountain Laurel. We have saved every copy and plan to tour the Backroads when we move to Lowgap, N.C. in June.
Thank you again,
In January I discovered your newspaper in a convenience store (Hop In) in Roanoke. Your newspaper was very enjoyable and since I have the January issue, I'm sending my check to begin my subscription with the February issue. Some of my ancestors helped settle the New River Valley area and I'm always interested in learning about the people from this area.
My daughter saw one of your papers in Eden, N.C. After she read it she brought it to me. She knew how much I loved those Blue Ridge Mountains. I never lived there, but my mother was born at the bottom of Lovers Leap. She told me so much about life there. My grandfather would tell us children about the years he lived up there and so many more stories. I often come up to the parkway[Blue Ridge Parkway]. My mother was a Cassell before she married. I had a great-uncle that lived up there near the parkway, his name was Shep Cassell. I am sending a 2 year subscription to your paper.
Dear Mountain Laurel,
I have just got through reading about Caleb and Henry's visit to The Mountain Laurel and did they get a surprise. They should have talked with yours truly. I could have told them what they would find for I have known those three people for a long time and I think they are the best. When they started this paper no one thought it would even get off the ground. Boy did we get a fooling. I am so glad I got in one of the first ones they put out. If you want to meet three of the best just look up these three editors and get to know them. You won't regret it.
Dear Mt. Laurel,
Thank you for your wonderful paper. I love reading about the area I grew up in. I attended Meadows of Dan High School grades 1-12, graduating in 1964. Your paper helps me teach my boys about their heritage.
Dear Mt. Laurel,
Enclosed is check for $11.00. $10.00 is for 2 year renewal. Couldn't do without The Mountain Laurel. The extra $1.00 is for a copy of the February 1984 issue to be sent to my aunt in Roanoke, Va.
Mrs. J. Conner
Ormond Beach, Fla.
I am enclosing a check for a renewal of your paper for another year. It is a very interesting paper and I look forward to reading each copy. I am a "native Virginian". I was born in Patrick County. However, I don't remember the names of the people you write about. I do enjoy the stories, It is almost like a visit to the Blue Ridge!
Just returned from Bob's News Stand here in Fort Lauderdale with my second copy of The Mountain Laurel. Your paper opens up memories of my childhood days in east Tennessee. Born in Knoxville, I was brought to Fort Lauderdale as an infant with yearly trips back to Johnson City, Tennessee to stay with my grandmother and relatives. The picture of the steam locomotive on page 17 of the Jan. issue hit a nerve and I wanted to share some of my memories with you.
My earliest recollection of the mountains was a visit to my great-grandmother's farm near Kingsport, Tennessee (circa 1950). I played in my first haystack and wandered around the vast acreage. Some how I got into the chicken coop and found a "magic egg". I took this unusual egg to Great-Grandmother Armstrong and she explained it helped the hens to lay real eggs. Ha-ha.
The weekends were memorable in Johnson City. Seems like everybody came into town. Here and there the hooves of old work horses would clip-clop as they pulled old green wooden wagons through the towering red brick buildings of Main Street. I remember a blind guitar player with a harmonica round his neck and the blind woman who held the cup. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was ole Doc Watson himself.
Primus Dees (Mr. Dees to me of course) gave the best flat top haircuts in town. He used alum to make the hair stand up, remember that guys? Then a splash of bay rum and some talcum powder and a long climb down from the board he put across the seat for us Peewees.
The train station stands out. A nasty spittoon in the corner. They spit on the wall, the wooden floor, sometimes the spittoon.
Old steam locomotives came down from Elizabethton, Tennessee and it would wail as it rounded the bend past my Grandfather Bolton's coal yard. In Elizabethton my cousins and I would put pennies on the tracks and the big black iron horse would click click and wow, a neat flattened penny.
Ah, yes sweet Blue Ridge memories. A few years ago I started collecting antique postcards. It's a marvelous way of preserving memories of days gone by. Anyone wanting any information about this hobby can write me of course. About genealogy, how can I find out about the various families such as Birdwell, Bolton, Cox, Armstrong of East Tennessee?
I'm sure lots of people would like to move to Fort Lauderdale but this boy has Blue Ridge Blood in him and I'm going to come home someday. God bless you all and take care,
Jesse W. Birdwell
1014 S.W. 19th St.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33315