Sunday, August 13, 2017

#Charlottesville

If it wasn't personal before, it's personal now.

My first trip to Virginia took place in the fall of my junior year in high school. Visiting two campuses as part of a college-shopping tour, I ultimately chose William and Mary in Williamsburg. But it was a close call and I could have just as easily ended up at UVA in Charlottesville.

The 35 years I spent in Williamsburg, getting my degree, meeting and then marrying Don, forging a library career and raising two daughters, included many trips to Charlottesville. I well remember listening to Bonnie Raitt singing in the UVA arena, visiting Monticello with 3 year old Meg and tiny infant Melissa, eating "grillswith" (griddled Krispy Kreme donuts topped with ice cream) at the corner cafe and bagels from Bodo's. When we drove Meg home with two broken arms after her car accident at Smith Mountain Lake, we stopped in Charlottesville to pick up sandwiches. Wanting to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in style, we went to the Boar's Head Inn. We cheered from the sidelines as our local high school football team won the state championship in Charlottesville.

You get the idea.

So this past weekend hit home, or close to it. Raised a radical liberal New Yorker, I learned fast that many (not all) Virginians referred to the "War between the States" or "the recent unpleasantness" rather than the Civil War. The Commonwealth celebrated the birth of Jefferson Davis, but there was no observance of Lincoln's birthday. And when a professor waxed eloquent about the virtues of sorghum over maple syrup, I muttered under my breath "but we won the war," and then took a long drag on my cigarette and blew smoke. Tobacco. How ironic.

Virginia changed a lot 0ver the 35 years from 1974 to 2009, when we finally pulled up stakes and headed for Texas (I know, I know). It had moved from red to purple and was leaning blue. There was hope.

And the decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville was yet another step in the correct direction (I won't say "right"). Though it ended in tragedy, I dare to hope it galvanizes other localities to see the insanity of memorializing hatred and slavery.

So today I stitched, taking words written by Marti in New Mexico, in response to the Peace Pin Project that began last February ...

"Hope is standing up not standing aside ...
to connect in a way that helps to make us all one ...

There will be other peace patches for a cloth I'm thinking will be named It's all connected. Eventually, I hope to have enough to make a two-sided peace shawl, stitched together Pojagi-style.

And there will be more posts after Don and I finish up our month-long joyride taking care of Parker (who enters daycare next week) and return from our birthday season visit to Jackson and Jace in St Louis ...

Getting ready to roll ...

Because life goes on and I have much more to say.






6 comments:

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

"because life goes on and i have much more to say"

"because life goes on and i have much more to say"

"because life goes on and i have much more to say....................

Fiona Dempster said...

Thank you so much for this heart-breaking yet hope-creating post Liz. I had goosebumps all over as I read it - we need to stand together; to stand side by side and to speak out. Keep speaking for us and keep stitching for us in 'our beautiful broken world' (As Mo would say). Peace, Fiona

Mo Crow said...

(((Liz))) the thread running through your connections holds such deep heart

Dana said...

Thinking about the events in Charlottesville make me feel empty. It is hard to know what to say to the eruption of violence that will make it better. How much more disheartening it must be to have such long standing ties to that place and watch the poison infect it. Although, as you hint, it was always there under the surface. It is always everywhere and that is what makes dealing with it so daunting. Greed and fear are the perennial demons inside each of us that so easily curdle into hatred.
I love Marti's words in your beautiful embroidery. Your new project sounds as effective as anything as a an antidote to hate.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I Am Naive. I lived through the riots in the 60s. Seethed through my husband's own family condoning what David Duke was saying in the 70s. When Clinton came to office in the 80s, I mistakenly thought things were getting better. I always knew it was still there, simmering as my area was home to a Grand Dragon. Annual rallies on his property including the cross burning were never stopped or protested. The RED county said there was nothing they could do. I am appalled at today's politics and the politicians that look the other way. I am still reeling and feeling sick at my stomach and anxious. Plenty of words in my and more anger than I can quell.
xx, Carol

deemallon said...

well, no one can say that you only react when it's personal to you because you have been on this peace/stitching/healing path for years now. AND, I understand how our life connections can make us feel a tragedy in a different way. I was traveling home with my family from a college tour the day my neighborhood was on lock down following the Boston Marathon bombing. It was awful. It was my neighborhood.

We have to be visible. We have to give money to the right causes. We have to speak up (stitch down?). Today I, too, am sick to my stomach having just watched the MSNBC coverage of Trump's pardon of Arpaio.