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October 2018 Vol. 3, No. 6 FREE

Management style

Gerry Spates recalls 40 years on the job

Sharing a journey

Two people speak about immigrating to America

our campus is

our campus


that enrich the lives of adults and children. PLEASE JOIN US!

ART All events at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, 129 N. Main Street in Farmville LeUyen Pham, The Big Night, 2010, from Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace, watercolor and ink on paper, 8.5” x 11”







O C T.

OCT. 10

ART AFTER DARK: A Shared Legacy gallery talk with Dr. Terri Sabatos, 6 p.m. Exhibition runs through Nov 4.

OCT. 19

RECEPTION WITH THE ARTIST: LeUyen Pham: There’s No Such Thing as Little, 5:30-8 p.m. Exhibition runs through Nov. 25.


Ukulele Jam Group:


Open to anyone 18 and older who plays the ukulele or wants to learn.

OCT. 28

GRASSROOTS PHIL AND THE JEFFERSONS, presented by Classical Revolution RVA, 7:30 p.m. Wygal Auditorium.

6–7:15 p.m., Wygal Hall Room 106 Also Oct. 23; Nov. 13, 27 E:

NOV. 5

I can teach anyone to play this amazing little instrument. It’s easy—you can learn three chords and be playing hundreds of songs.” —Dr. Jackie Secoy, Longwood music professor

SPORTS All games at the athletics complex on Johnson Drive

OCT. 6

FIELD HOCKEY vs. Miami (Ohio), noon.

OCT. 20

WOMEN’S SOCCER vs. Winthrop, 2 p.m.


CHAMBER WINDS, 7:30 p.m. Wygal Auditorium.

NOV. 30, DEC. 1

HOLIDAY DINNER, 6:30 p.m. Dorrill Grand Dining Room. Tickets: $45.


VIRGINIA CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL: Times and locations of events:

OCT. 27

FREE FAMILY WORKSHOP: Dia de los Muertos. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Moton Museum, 900 Griffin Blvd.

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE unless otherwise indicated

and are open to the public. Times and locations are subject to cancellation/change. Check for additional events, updates and a campus map.

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Undebatably Henry Sixty years of hometown news

Familiar with Farmville Exhibit with an artist’s-eye view

Summ er 20 Vol. 1, No 16 .1 FREE FREE

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114 North Street, Farmville, VA 23901 434-392-4151


Farmville the Magazine

Feature Farmville Town Manager Gerry Spates has seen many changes during the 40 years he’s been on the job. Since 1978, Farmville’s grown from a town with only three stoplights and single-lane Main Street to a town that’s joined Virginia’s 29 historic and distinctive Main Street communities. “Infrastructure is key,” Spates says. “You have to have the infrastructure in place in order to accommodate growth.” During Spates’ tenure the water treatment plant was replaced and numerous road improvement projects were completed. More recent improvements to the town include the Barbara Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library and the Farmville Town Hall. From the second floor of the new town hall, Spates enjoys a birds-eye view of the town that’s grown up around him. “It’s a great place to live,” he says. “Farmville’s grown, but it’s still a small town.”

Publisher — Betty Ramsey Designer — Troy Cooper

EDITORIAL Marge Swayne


Emily Hollingsworth Titus Mohler

ADVERTISING Director — Jackie Newman Debbie Evans Kyla “Miss Kiki” Silver

CONTRIBUTORS: Walter Witschey, Jimmy Hurt, Mary Jo Stockton Cover photo by Marge Swayne On the web: To subscribe, contact Farmville the Magazine P.O. Box 307 Farmville, VA 23901 (434) 392-4151 Farmville the Magazine is published eight times annually by Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Copies are available free at businesses throughout the Heart of Virginia. For convenient mail delivery of each issue, cost is $30 per year.

Coming to America


Agnes Remembered


Also... Publisher’s Notebook Events Serving it Up From the Ground Up Where Am I?

5 6 8 10 13

Artist in Residence Party Pix Town and Gown Why I Love Farmville

14 32 50 51

Farmville the Magazine

Publisher’s Notebook

Enjoying fall in Farmville T

ime to spare? Have we got ideas for you! Kick back and relax with a copy of this month’s edition of Farmville the Magazine. You won’t be disappointed as inside these pages you’ll discover many of the unique shops, local artists and musicians, historical sights, museums, dining and attractions that make Farmville special. With the cool fall air this is the perfect time to reconnect with nature. Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll around town, spend lunch walking around Wilck’s lake or take a hike out to the High Bridge. Betty Ramsey, With an abundance of wildlife and beautiPublisher ful fauna, photo opportunities are plentiful, so be sure to bring your camera. In this edition get to know Farmville Town Manager Gerry Spates. With 40 years on the job, Spates has some stories to tell. Among these pages we’ll also share some recipes, gardening tips, upcoming events and more.

There are many more stories within these pages and we hope you will enjoy them. We welcome your ideas and invite you share with us what you would like to hear more about by sending us a note at P.O. Box 307, Farmville VA 23901, giving us a call at (434)392-4151 or sending me an email at We publish Farmville the Magazine March, April, May, summer, September, October, November and December. We invite you to pick up a copy the latest issue as there is sure to be someone you know, a neighbor, family member, a friend or perhaps even you! If you want Farmville the Magazine delivered to your home or office we offer subscriptions for $30 per year, just enough to cover the postage. To subscribe call us at (434) 392-4151. Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you next month. Betty Ramsey is publisher of Farmville the Magazine. Her email address is

Adventure Awaits In Farmville





A small, charming town with a abundance of things to see and do; unique shopping, history and outdoor fun. Plan your visit today! • (434) 392-5686



Farmville the Magazine


Virginia Children’s Book Festival

The fifth annual Virginia Children’s Book Festival is held at Longwood University. This free three-day event brings together authors and illustrators with the public to show appreciation for children’s literature. Oct. 17-19 For more information or to support this organization visit


Haunting on the Lake

The eighth annual Haunting on the Lake at Twin Lakes State Park. A real Halloween scream, this event is for those 13 and over. Bring your flashlights and prepare for a night of fright as you make your way down the trail. Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.dcr. Farmville Volunteer Fire Department 70th Anniversary

Free event, to celebrate 70 years. Enjoy an open house at the fire sta-

Farmville the Magazine

tion with all welcome. This is your chance to see and tour the firehouse, enjoy demonstrations, receive fire safety giveaways and more. Oct. 20, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pumpkins on the Plaza

A free event in beautiful downtown Farmville at the Main Street Plaza. Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, crafts, games, music and more. Refreshments are provided by Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park. The fun starts at 4:30 p.m. and lasts till 6:30 p.m. Halloween Costume Parade

Time to get your spooky on and don those costumes for the Farmville Halloween Costume Parade. Hosted by the Town of Farmville Recreation Department and Downtown Merchants, the event starts at 4 p.m. Oct. 31. The parade will begin at the Prince Edward Court House front lawn. Come early as Main Street will close at 3:15 p.m.

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Farmville the Magazine

Serving it Up

A family affair

From left, Sarai, Aurora and Adam Blincoe gather around the dinner table to eat the Seared Pork Tortas and Baked Squash that they worked together to prepare.

Story and photos by Titus Mohler


t is important for every family to have dedicated periods of time that it spends together, and one of those periods for the Blincoes is dinner preparation. The task is a three-person job, perfectly fitted to the size of the young Blincoe family, which consists of Adam, Sarai and their 1-year-old daughter, Aurora. Sarai and Adam Blincoe work at Longwood University, where Sarai is an associate professor of

psychology and an assistant dean, and Adam is an honors faculty scholar. They have been married for 11 years and have found that working in the kitchen to fix dinner together affords them great opportunities to ask about each other’s day. They can work through the highs and lows of what transpired at work so that sitting down to eat can be more of a relaxing experience. The Blincoes earned their undergraduate

degrees at Wake Forest University, got married right afterward and then went to the University of Kentucky (UK) for graduate school. Cooking together has been a part of their relationship since the early years of their marriage. “I think we really got into it in grad school, maybe our second or third year,” Sarai said. She noted the University of Kentucky has a huge agriculture school, along with something called the UK Community Supported Agriculture

Farmville the Magazine

project. “So we signed up for that, and every week we would get huge things of produce, a lot of stuff we’d never had before like kohlrabi and beets and kale …” Sarai said. “So we learned to cook what came each week. So I think that’s when we really started doing a lot of cooking together.” And neither of them had major histories in the kitchen when they were younger. Noting when he started cooking, Adam said, “For me, when I got married. Wasn’t much of a cooker in college.” Sarai said her family had traditions of baking things, “but really, it was not until married life that I really got into cooking.” And now Adam and Sarai have someone else to help them in the kitchen in the form of Aurora. “So now that she’s crawling, we kind of just let her roam, and we have things in certain cabinets that she can open up and play with,” Sarai said. “That way while we’re cooking, she can kind of be with us …” Aurora’s help doesn’t involve a hands-on approach to the food prep as of yet. “Not yet,” Sarai said. “Her assistance is more of a supervisory role, I’d say.”

Sarai Blincoe looks through the recipe box that contains recipes both she and her husband, Adam, agreed were good enough to warrant a permanent card. On a particular Sunday in September, the Blincoes were busy making Seared Pork Tortas and a Baked Squash side dish. Sarai, who noted that torta is Spanish for “sandwich,” said she has no idea where the recipe for the tortas came from. “It’s on a recipe card, which means it was one that we vetted and mutually agreed was good enough,” she said. “Long ago, it made the cut,” Adam added.

SEARED PORK TORTAS INGREDIENTS 1 baguette 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 (2 oz) boneless center-cut pork loin chops (~1/4 inch thick) 2 tablespoons salsa 1/2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup shredded cheese (like cheddar, Monterey Jack) toppings: avocado, onion, tomato, jalapeno PREPARATION Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat and preheat broiler.

“So our recipe box (is composed of) things that both of us have to agree was good enough to warrant a permanent card,” Sarai said. As for the side dish, “that is a go-to for us, this butternut squash recipe,” Sarai said. “Super easy,” Adam said. Sarai said they make it for themselves and others. “And we learned that one in grad school,” she said.


Slice baguette into desired size of sandwiches and cut segments in half. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Combine cumin and salt and sprinkle evenly over pork. Add pork to skillet and cook two minutes per side, or until done. Let stand five minutes, then cut into thin slices. While pork is resting, broil bread until golden brown. Mash beans and salsa together until smooth. Spoon bean mixture on bottom half of baguettes. Top with pork, cheese, tomato, etc. This makes 3-4 sandwiches. Prep and cook time is 10-15 minutes.

BAKED SQUASH SIDE DISH INGREDIENTS 1 butternut squash peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch squares olive oil 1 onion cut into 1-inch chunks 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup broth (vegetable or chicken) 1/4 cup parmesan

PREPARATION Heat oven to 425. Toss squash with ~2 tablespoons olive oil in a casserole dish. Spread evenly and bake 20 minutes. Add onions, sprinkle with pepper and 2 tablespoons oil. Toss to coat, spread into single layer. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until tender. Mix in broth and parmesan.

Sarai Blincoe puts the squash in with the bread near the end of the preparation process for Seared Pork Tortas and Baked Squash.


10 Farmville the Magazine

From the Ground Up

The ‘wrinkled old man’ in the garden Story and photos by Walter Witschey


rinkled Old Man” is not your gardener-author, but rather wrinkled green finger-sized Shishito sweet peppers. Easy to grow and prolific in the poor soils and heat of Prince Edward County, they are so irresistibly tasty. My wife, Joan, and I met Shishitos at a remote Maine restaurant, the Lost Kitchen, where they appeared unannounced as a predinner snack. We fell in love. Just this season plants appeared for purchase in Farmville. With their mild non-spicy flavor, they are perfect for backyard gardening. In Southside Virginia, bell peppers of various colors are very popular — spicy peppers, not so much. In New Orleans, sweet bell peppers form a part of the “holy trinity” with celery and onions. They are first into the skillet oil when the recipe begins, “First, make a roux.” Hot chili peppers are a part of Cajun and Creole cuisines. We love to grow them all. Bell peppers and chilies are both in genus Capsicum, part of the nightshade family, with potatoes and tomatoes. Their “spiciness”

Farmville the Magazine

Thai Dragons, in addition to flavoring the cooking oil for Asian dishes, are — like red chilies and finger peppers — dried, smoked and ground for chili powder.


12 Farmville the Magazine is determined by the length of the molecule, capsaicin. Capsaicins irritate our mucous membranes, and we experience chili peppers as a burning sensation on lips, eyes, nose, tongue, throat and more! Shishitos, like bell peppers, have virtually no capsaicin, so they don’t burn or irritate. On the subjective Scoville Heat Units scale, they rank near zero. By comparison, some of the other peppers we grow are quite hot. Sweet yellow banana peppers rate about 1,000 Scoville. Poblanos are about 1,500. Jalapeños reach 10,000. This is the limit of what we eat directly. In some quarters, we would be considered sissies for stopping there. We also grow some very hot peppers. Our

Above, these Habaneros will be cooked down, pureed with olive oil and made into Piri-Piri, a pastelike sauce, refrigerated, for adding to any soup or stews one tablespoon at a time. Far right, as these Thai Dragon peppers show, the Capsicums make great ornamentals. Simmered with vinegar and lemon grass, which is pictured, and lime juice, they make the best sauce for scallops ever. Right, poblanos grow fat, long and mild, easy to split to remove seeds and veins and perfect to stuff with meat and cheese as chiles rellenos.

Thai Dragons are 100,000 Scoville. The classic Habanero rates about 250,000. Ghost peppers are about 1,000,000. The Carolina Reaper (as in “grim reaper”) is a whopping 2,000,000. In the garden, peppers are set and forget. With a little early weeding and an occasional rain, they prosper. They are not just for the vegetable garden either. As they ripen from green to red, they make an eye-catching ornamental. They have no formality, however, and will sprawl wherever permitted. For cooking, Shishitos get olive oil all over and salt for an hour or more. A hot skillet will sear and pop the skins. Eat warm. Chop yellow banana peppers into any salad or main dish that takes bell peppers. Poblanos are our favorite

for stuffing (sausage and cheese, the classic Mexican chiles rellenos). Jalapeños get stuffed with cheese and cumin, chopped for omelets or sliced for nachos. We use ultra-hot peppers for seasoning. After drying and smoking, we grind to flakes (ala the jar at Italian restaurants) or to a chili powder. Two other great seasonings we love are Piri-Piri (chopped peppers cooked in olive oil and pureed; add 1-3 tablespoons to any dish), and hot sauces similar to Tabasco, which take chopped peppers, tomato, vinegar, salt and optionally sugar and garlic, and are cooked and strained. Whatever your preference, Capsicums are an ideal addition to the garden and table for a visual and tasty treat!

Farmville the Magazine LAST ISSUE’S WINNER Zeb Johnson, of Farmville, was correctly able to identify the “Where Am I?” photo from the September edition, which was from North Main Street, looking up at the Perini Pizza and Poplar Hall signs.

Where Am I? The Heart of Virginia offers beautiful scenery and architecture throughout downtown Farmville. “Where Am I?” offers residents a chance to identify one of our hidden gems across town. If you think you know where this photo was taken, email your answer to WhereAmI@FarmvilletheMag. com. We’ll draw one lucky name from among the correct answers for an annual subscription to Farmville the Magazine.


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With 300 students from 11 counties in grades PK3-12, Fuqua School has a reputation for helping each student realize their boundless individual potential. An exceptional education is an investment in your child's future. Renewable need-based scholarships are available. Plan a visit by contacting Admissions at (434) 392-4131. Fuqua School admits students of any race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the students at the school.


14 Farmville the Magazine

Artist in Residence

Longwood University Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography Jay Simple is an artist specializing in still photography, cinematography, 3D sculpture and performance art, including on-camera work. His work comments on and questions historical understandings of the past, specifically with regard to the U.S.

‘BE SKEPTICAL’ Story by Titus Mohler Photos by Jay Simple and Titus Mohler


ongwood University Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography Jay Simple just began his teaching career in August, but he has come in with a clear exhortation for his students that is echoed in the message of his work as an artist: be skeptical of the things that you see. “So when you go and open up a newspaper, and you see this beautifully composed image of something, be skeptical, because someone decided to make all of those intentional (moves) to make you have a very particular response to the images, and they have a very particular reason and way that they framed things,” he said. “Why is that? What is that thing? So when you look at an image, don’t take it for face value as that’s just

what it is, but be skeptical of it.” And he noted this skepticism shouldn’t disappear when the taker of the given photo is oneself. “Be skeptical of your own work, right?” he said. “When you’re going out and doing things, ‘Am I really doing the thing that I say that I’m doing?’ And I think that’s really important right now in a world where media is becoming — especially visual media — is becoming so proliferated that anyone can really create, they can do all the things that before you needed a lot of training to be able to do, and so (in) a lot of ways we’re being oversaturated with imagery in a way that it becomes so mundane and regular of seeing that we stop questioning things. We start to just let

things pass by us without having the same sort of emotional response to it. And what does that do to our psychology in the way that we think and everything? So be skeptical of everything.” Simple, 31, is an artist across a variety of media including still photography, cinematography, performance art, on-camera work and 3D sculptures. In some instances he will put together presentations that may combine almost all of these artforms, helping to provide an immersive experience. He first became seriously interested in photography and artistic pursuits in college as an undergraduate at Columbia College in Chicago, but the seeds for that focus were evident before then.

Farmville the Magazine

Simple said that in his creative work, “I’m always looking for things that happened in the past to be able to better prepare me for today and the future and things I do.�


16 Farmville the Magazine

This sculpture is intended to depict worn black bodies used to build the country without a thanks.

“I did stuff in high school,” he said. “I was always a pretty artsy kid who came from a really artsy kind of family. So my sister’s a painter and draws, my father plays classical piano, my mom, dad all do sort of art things, so it was sort of always around, but I had never really sort of knew that that was going to be sort of a thing until, I think, college.” At Columbia College, “I originally started out in film and video, and that’s something I still continue to do now,” he said. “I guess for whatever reason, I had decided that I didn’t want to do film (back then). … I was like, ‘This is more based in like directing and stuff like that,’ and I was more interested in just looking at images and lighting, and so I went into the photography department, and I really just ended up falling in love with it. I liked sort of the ability to story tell, but try to make it in these abstractions through a single frame was sort of what kind of originally got me into it.” He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in photography in 2009 and decided to stay in Chicago. “I worked on a photo documentary out there on sort of the effects of violence in inner-city communities,” he said. “It was around the time when all these things became really sensationalized in the news and social media and stuff like

that.” He noted the documentary dealt with “what happens to families and communities after the media frenzy sort of dies down. How do they still continue to reconcile and stuff like that? I was doing that and assisting in advertising studios, and I did that for maybe like two years or so.” Then he said he moved back to Philadelphia where he is originally from and went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. “I got a master’s in liberal arts, and I was studying mostly anthropology and sort of visual anthropology and the way that we visually understand images and learn from them,” he said. “And from there, I worked for about a good three or four years. I worked as a cinematographer and producer for short films, usually documentaries for people in the academics and

academia, to find ways to make their research visual and disseminate it that way. So I still kind of continue to do that kind of stuff within just recently the past couple of years.” Simple’s cinematography and still photography work has taken him to a wealth of places in the world. “I’ve actually been to every major continent,” he said. For an upcoming project, he indicated he will be traveling to Nigeria, Morocco and Ghana. After the recent three- to four-year stint as a cinematographer, he returned to school for another graduate degree, earning a master’s in fine art and photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in May 2018. After taking a breather this past summer to relax, he has entered the teaching profession, and while he said the job has been what he expected,

Farmville the Magazine

“I didn’t know that I’d like it so much.” “It works pretty well with my practice,” he said. “I’m not sort of like the artist that stays in the studio all the time. I kind of work in ebbs and flows. I have a week here, a month, that I work all the time, and then next month, I might not really work that much, and it sort of works that way. And so a lot of that downtime usually I spend doing research on whatever topic that I’m interested in or thinking about at that time. I like teaching because it’s kind of like this other side where I get to sort of focus in on some very basic technical skills and developmental skills of trying to help other young people become artists and formulate their ideas into artist statements and all this other stuff.” He cited that helping them also helps him as an artist to keep best creative practices ingrained. In summarizing the intended impact of his work across all of his chosen media, the focus comes back to skepticism. “My overall approach and desire for these projects is really for us to become hyper-aware of ourselves,” he said, “and how we have come to believe and be passionate and all these types of things about the things that we take for granted of being true, and just history, and the facts and to start to problematize what those things actually are,

especially in concerns with a lot of the things that are going on in the U.S. today, politically, socially — (they) warrant that we start to really question how easy it is for us to be swept up into a reality that someone else is building as the truth for what’s going on, when that might be very counter to any form of logic that we might believe in, but still somehow or another that can become a belief for someone, right?” “And so I really want people, no matter what your stance is, to really become skeptical about the ways in which culture, social norms, politics have informed within sort of these postcolonial places, places which were deeply engulfed in the act of domination, of enslavement, of brutality, of genocide unto people, right?” he said. “And then those same societies can somehow or another wash their hands clean through the national narratives that they told about the heroes who were simultaneously murderers, rapists and did horrible things …” He added that his work is designed to question why it is that societies can so easily forgive them but not remedy the horrors which they wrought. In terms of what inspires his work, Simple said, “I’m always looking for things that happened in the past to be able to better prepare me for today and the future and things I do.”

Jay Simple presents a photo entitled “Everything Built Will Never Be Enough.”


18 Farmville the Magazine

Farmville Town Manager Gerry Spates is especially proud of the new town hall completed in 2006. “What’s really nice is that we have everything in one location,” Spates says. Moseley Architects in Richmond, who designed the building, later received an award for the project.

Farmville the Magazine


Town manager leads the way Story and photos by Marge Swayne


steady drizzle frames the sky around Farmville on this Monday morning. There’s a major hurricane churning off the Carolina coast, and the whole town’s watching the weather. So is Farmville Town Manager Gerry Spates. During 40 years as town manager, he’s seen it all, and fair weather or foul, he’s ready to manage whatever comes along. The rainy day hasn’t stopped Spates from making his first stop of the morning. He’s at the Farmville Airport checking on a $1.5 million renovation project that’s just getting underway. He’s also keeping a watchful eye on the weather. “I’ve already checked with merchants on Main Street,” he says. “Some are already moving merchandise to higher ground. “The important thing is to be prepared,” Spates adds. “You get your equipment ready and hope for the best.”

Making Farmville a better place has been a recurring theme for this town manager. Farmville was a different town when Spates assumed the role of town manager in 1978. “Farmville only had three traffic lights back then,” he recalls. “Now we have 17 or 18 — I haven’t counted them lately. Accommodations for overnight visitors were minimal, Spates adds, and McDonald’s was the go-to place for dining out. “Back then, once you got a McDonald’s everybody thought the town would grow,” he adds with a smile. Farmville has grown, and Spates credits a sometimes-overlooked factor for that expansion. “Infrastructure is key,” he says. “You have to have the infrastructure in place in order to accommodate growth.”


20 Farmville the Magazine Spates, who has a background in engineering, was the right man for the job. Born in San Francisco, California, and later relocated to Washington D.C., he was drafted in June 1967. After graduating from Engineer Officer Candidate School as a 2nd lieutenant, he served as a combat engineer in Vietnam with the Army Corps of Engineers. After that tour of duty, Spates transferred to Fort Pickett where he served as an assistant post engineer until his discharge as a captain in 1973. His service awards included the Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Star. Spates began his civilian career as an engineer consultant at the Piedmont Planning Commission, currently known as the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC). Spates came to Farmville in 1975 when he took the job of assistant town manager. “I worked with W. T. Bloomfield for two and a half years, and when he retired, I took over as town manager,” Spates says. The first priorities for the new town manager were infrastructure-related. “The streets were in pretty bad shape,” Spates recalled. “Main Street was a singlelane road all the way out, and Ely Street (now Griffin Boulevard) was almost a dirt road.” The Jan. 4, 1978, The Farmville Herald related Spates’ concerns. “With an estimated 2,000 households within the town limits, Spates said the need for better streets and a sewage treatment facility are the most pressing but expensive items,” the Herald noted. Both of these issues were addressed, along with many more over the years. “Our infrastructure right now is topnotch,” Spates adds with a deserved note of pride. The town manager is especially proud of two recent additions to the town — the Barbara Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library and Farmville’s Town Hall. “We worked with the board of supervisors and the county to get the new library,”

Top, Gerry Spates and his wife Linda chat with Margaret Rice during a reception honoring her 100th birthday at the Farmville Train Station. Above, issuing proclamations is another facet of the town manager’s job. Here, Spates reads a proclamation honoring Margaret Rice, in foreground.

Farmville the Magazine

Right, Gerry Spates discusses the $1.5 million renovation project at the Farmville Airport with Megan Keadeney, project inspector for Delta Airport Consultants. Renovations include rebuilding the runway apron where Spates and Keadeney are standing. Below, the scope of Farmville’s town manager duties has no age limit. Here Spates reads “Chicken Little” to a group of Head Start students at the STEPS Head Start Center on Griffin Boulevard.


22 Farmville the Magazine

Spates adds. “That’s been a real nice addition — now it’s open seven days a week.” The Farmville Town Hall, completed in 2006, was a project of Moseley Architects in Richmond. Moseley’s website offered this description: The three-story town hall in Farmville houses facilities for town council and other public meetings and features space for the town manager and staff, treasurer, and police department. A tower marks the main entrance of the building and signifies its civic purpose. The town council chambers’ large windows facing Main Street symbolize the importance of transparency in government. “In planning that building, we worked with the Farmville Town Council and the engineers,” Spates explained. “What’s really nice is that we have everything in one location.” The architect, Spates added, later received an award for its Farmville project. Another success in recent Farmville history was the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. Spates help set up a logistics center for state police, FBI, Secret Service and town and county law enforcement at the Firemen’s Sports Arena. Spates and his wife Linda were among the volunteer servers who provided three meals a day for security forces during the debate.

Top, the Town of Farmville established a logistics center for security forces at Firemen’s Sports Arena during the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. Spates and his wife Linda were among the volunteers who served three meals a day to the security team. Above, Farmville’s town manager credits advanced planning for the success of the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate held in Farmville. According to Gerry Spates, “The event went off without a hitch.” Pictured at the center are Spates, Linda Spates, and K. C. Sehlhorst, with Central Virginia All Hazards Incident Management Team in charge of logistics.

Farmville the Magazine


A display showcasing some of Gerry Spates collection of Civil War memorabilia greets visitors at the entrance to his office.

K. C. Sehlhorst, who was in charge law enforcement and public safety, commented, “The town’s been fantastic in making everything work.” Spates conceded that the nationally televised event required meticulous planning. “The debate went off without any issues,” he recalls. “It really showcased the Town of Farmville.” For events both large and small, Spates is there to help. Whether it’s cutting down a tree to allow visitors to the Church of Christ’s Live Nativity event a better view or closing a street for outdoor movies in the summertime, Spates wants folks to know that the Town of Farmville is just a phone call away. “We’re always glad to help with events in town,” he says. “I think we need to provide opportunities for people to just enjoy the community.” On the list of future town projects is constructing in a handicap ramp for the High Bridge Railroad Club and assisting the Lions Club with a playground project on the upper end of Wilck’s Lake. “We’re also planning to help FACES (Food Pantry) get resituated next to the YMCA,” Spates adds.

Gerry Spates stands in the Farmville Town Council Chamber on the second floor of the Farmville Town Hall. Moseley Architects, designers of the town hall, built a civic message into the room’s design. “The town council chambers’ large windows facing Main Street symbolize the importance of transparency in government,” Moseley’s web page states.

24 Farmville the Magazine The Town already provides bus service to the Y, which will make it easier for food pantry patrons without transportation. In addition to the Farmville Area Bus, the Town of Farmville also oversees the Farmville Airport, Farmville Golf Course and Banquet Room, Crute Stage, Riverside Park, Grove Street Park, South Street Conference Center, Farmville Train Station, Wilck’s Lake Island, Firemen’s Sports Arena, and Farmville Community Market, as well as town cemeteries, water treatment and wastewater facilities, and trash and recycling programs. “I have 165 employees including the police department, public works, and bus system,” Spates says. “The town employees take a lot of pride in what they do, and they’re very talented. That makes my job easier.” Whether helping the town council work through a major budget issue of getting a cat out of a manhole (Spates has received some ribbing over his concern for local felines), Spates believes every issue that comes across his desk is important. “When people call they expect to talk to me,” he says. “I always call them back.” What’s does Spates see as the most important aspect of a town manager’s job? “A friendly face,” he says without hesitation. “I try to go out of my way to make new people feel welcome. That’s what I experienced when I first came here.” While Spates agrees that Farmville has changed since 1978, he believes it’s for the better. It’s a great place to live,” he concludes. “Farmville’s bigger, but it still feels like a small town.”

While times have changed and the ways we serve our customers have evolved, our fundamental commitment to serving you and your family through quality, local banking services endures. Thank you for 100 years. We look forward to serving you today. And tomorrow.

A Jan. 4, 1978, issue of The Farmville Herald reports the appointment of Gerald J. Spates as acting town manager. Spates assumed the town manager role in September of that year.

Farmville the Magazine





26 Farmville the Magazine

Coming to America Story by Emily Hollingsworth

Farmville the Magazine

Hilde Kastl was one among only four women who graduated from an all-male high school during WWII. The war forced the all-girls school to close.


he lives of two Farmville residents, like many, were changed enormously when they immigrated to the United States. Both are 90 years old. Both have lived in the Farmville area for some time and have made homes here, influencing countless people around them. Both immigrated to the United States during times of conflict and uncertainty in their countries of origin. Both have married and raised families in the U.S. Hilde Kastl Watson and Dr. Jorge Silveira share their stories here. HILDE KASTL WATSON

It was Aug. 30, 1952, that Hilde Kastl moved from her home in

Augsburg, Germany and flew 22 hours to New York. Augsburg, one of Germany’s oldest cities and Hilde’s home, was in shambles, as Hilde described it, following WWII. Hilde, born in 1928, said her family was poor growing up, but they made do. Hilde was the first in her family to graduate high school. During the war, the all-girls school she attended closed. She lived with her grandmother in another city and was only one of four girls who graduated from an all-boys high school. She remembers she and her friends would make treks down to a bomb cellar at night for shelter in case the school was destroyed.


28 Farmville the Magazine

Right, pictured are Hilde Kastl Watson, left and her son, Evan. Below, Hilde Kastl, fourth from left, stands with members of her family shortly before moving to the United States in 1952. She is pictured with her brother, Herman, her sister, Marianna, her grandmother, Oma Eset and her younger sister, Sieglinde (Siggy).

Hilde worked as a Teletype operator for the U.S. armed forces, helping American troops and their families stationed in Germany by sending messages between different Army offices and baby-sitting for American families. “We would do anything we could get peanut butter sandwiches for,” Hilde said. “We liked food. We didn’t have much.” She said the job taught her how to first speak English by observing American soldiers and picking up the language. Hilde said prospects for her were dwindling to nothing. Her town was devastated by WWII and had little to no opportunities for college or jobs. Culturally, women had fewer opportunities. She was expected to marry. Hilde said culturally, men were expected to be domineering. With the help of her family and an American family she met while working with the armed forces, Hilde was able to raise enough money to get a visa, and at 25 years old, fly 22 hours to the United States. While she has visited her family in Germany several times after moving to the U.S., and her parents came to visit her in the U.S., she said her decision had an impact. Her brother, Herman, was resentful of Hilde’s decision and refused to say goodbye to her when she left. He also wrote her a letter after she moved that cemented his anger toward Hilde for leaving the country. She said she has not been able to get in contact with him. Hilde first landed in New York and was transported by friends to Washington D.C. She fell asleep arriving in D.C., and said the Capitol was her first introduction to the U.S. She got a job working in a telephone company in Northern Virginia, where she used her Teletype experience she mastered in Germany. While in Northern Virginia, she lived in a family’s basement, baby-sitting their kids, and making $42 a week, barely enough to get by. “It was very difficult,” Watson said. “I would mostly be in touch with letters … I wouldn’t tell them half of what was going on.” Hilde said she continued to move through the ranks at the company. She said it was there that she met who would later be her husband, James Goodrich Watson. They dated in secret due to the company not allowing relationships between co-workers. Hilde and James married. James had children from a previous marriage, and he and Hilde had a son. Hilde received her citizenship at a courthouse in an intimate group in Alexandria. “When you’re an immigrant, it’s different because you really choose to come here to have a better life,” Hilde said. “If you were born here, you didn’t have much to say about it.” She continued her impeccable work ethic and love of

Farmville the Magazine

Dr. Jorge Silveira holds a postcard he received from members of the HampdenSydney College basketball team after they traveled to Tampa, Florida.

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education by going to college, studying at a community college and George Mason University to study nursing science, receiving her bachelor’s degree at 50. “I have always wanted to do something in medicine,” Hilde said. “That was always sort of an underlying desire of mine. I loved nursing but I loved school even more.” As Hilde created a career and family in the United States, she grappled with fear. Fear she said was instilled as a child and permeated through her culture from Adolf Hitler’s government and the trauma from WWII. Fear of doing something wrong in the United States, that one wrong action would deport her. “I did not jaywalk,” Hilde said. “I was scared to death,” Hilde said, “and that was one thing that I carried with me for a long time.” She said war created a culture of self-preservation, where the sole goal was to survive, to look out for oneself. “Hitler had managed with fear,” Hilde said. “His whole government was one of fear. If you did not do what was expected of you there, then the concentration (camps) were not only for the Jewish.” She said 5 million Jewish people were killed under Hitler’s orders. She said Augsburg was close to Dachau, a concentration camp and prison. “It was a terrible place I came out of,” Hilde said. “So fear was with me for a long time.” Hilde said she had the opportunity to heal over the years. She said she found faith in Christianity and was able to turn her priorities to her

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30 Farmville the Magazine

Dr. Jorge Silveira has extensively documented his life in the United States. Shown here are binders used to keep documents and letters.

loved ones here and abroad. Hilde and James moved to North Carolina, where they lived along a mountain in Asheville, in an area called High Vista. It was when she and James became older, when James became ill, that he wanted to move back to his family’s home in Darlington Heights. They moved there, and stayed there until James’ death. Hilde moved to another home but remains in Farmville. She attends Faith Bible Fellowship in Farmville, spends mornings at the Southside Family YMCA, takes care of her cat, Peter and teaches German to a few young people in the area. She said her younger sister sends her magazines in German so Hilde does not forget the language. DR. JORGE SILVEIRA

It was the wrong choice of words directed toward the secretary of Fidel Castro that prompted

Dr. Jorge Silveira to leave Cuba, where he was born, had a family and a successful career as a corporate lawyer, and move to Miami. Silveira was born June 12, 1928, in Santiago de Cuba. “Cuba was the best thing to me,” Silveira said about his home. He said the conflict began when Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba in 1959. At the height of Silveira’s career, when he resided in a penthouse, owned a car and had maids, he received a call from the personal secretary of Fidel Castro at the end of December, who insulted him. Silveira said in turn, he returned with a grievous insult of his own. His family and colleagues became afraid for Silveira’s life. He fled the country, and his family joined him later. “Why didn’t he hang me and kill me? I don’t know,” Silveira said. Silveira gave all of his money to his father-inlaw and left for the U.S. on Feb. 1, 1961, at 32 and a half years old with almost nothing.

He had the clothes he was wearing, $30-$40, cigars that he sold for money, and old rum that he and friends shared. Silveira earned a doctorate in Cuba, but his credentials would not apply to an American university. He did not speak English. Silveira said he worked in various odd jobs in Miami and New York that included washing dishes, working in car washes, working in airports and working in a Kraft factory making caramel candies. He said he worked night hours at the factory because night hours offered better pay. Silveira first became a professor of Spanish at Virginia State University, but without a degree from the United States, he could not advance. Silveira received some assistance from the U.S. government through a program that helped Cuban refugees, and returned to school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his master’s and doctorate degrees. He and his wife did not agree on the distance

Farmville the Magazine

Silveira would have to travel to go to Chapel Hill, and they separated. Silveira, after earning his doctorate, received a teaching position of Spanish and Spanish literature from Hampden-Sydney College and was a two-time chair of the Modern Languages Department. His teaching career spanned 28 years. “When I became a teacher, life changed completely,” Silveira said. Silveira read a statement written by a fellow professor, who described him as a professor who “educates, no, molds men with a passion seldom seen in parents for their children. He may become angry at a student, but only be-

cause that student does not find in himself the full potential that is there.” Silveira extensively documented his life in America, keeping packed binders that hold documents, letters, anything of value. Silveira has spent his time well following retirement. He lives close to the college, remains involved with students at the Hampden-Sydney basketball team. In 2017, numerous students and coaches nominated Silveira for the 6th Man of the Year Award. When basketball teammates traveled to Tampa, Florida, they gave him cigars and a postcard with all of the names of the teammates. Silveira is a brilliant woodworker, using

walnut, chestnut and oak to make clocks, tables, picture frames and other items in a workshop in his backyard. His frames are unique in that he uses wood for the photo matte in addition to the frame itself. A sign on the workshop door reads, “New Cuban Workshop.” He and fellow professor Dr. Ray Gaskins are also avid fans of computers. Silveira keeps several Macintosh computers in his garage, including one of the first models released. He gestured to the binders marked with numbers on white note cards, and the shelves that hold a full life when at one point he had almost nothing. “That’s my life,” Silveira said.


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32 Farmville the Magazine


PIEDMONT SINGERS VISIT H-SC The Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia, an a cappella group that contains members from throughout the Central Virginia region, including Hampden-Sydney College Elliott Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Director of Choral Activities Helena von Rueden performed at Crawley Forum for a free concert Sept. 8. The theme, “Love and Madness,” led to a electrifying variety of different genres that included renditions of songs that ranged from the modern “Bridge Over Troubled

Tricia Nielsen and Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia member Kyle Nielsen

Danielle Rauchwarg, Ted Gutches and Angel Ives

Breanna Phoenix, Abby Joyner, Katie Lucas and Ryan Flanagan

Shannon Lyons, Breanna Woodson, Andrew Harnois and Jacob Compton

Albert and Barbara Jenkins

Will Pierce, Mary Pierce and Jane Hohn

Farmville the Magazine

Water,” and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” to American folk song “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” and an arrangement of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, “ Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day.” PHOTOS BY EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH


Matt and Jane Griswold

Paula O’Buckley and Sheila Hite

Conner French and Elijah Edwards

Mary Prevo and Jim Munson

Abby Outlaw, Pam McDermott, Helena von Rueden, Sarah Frook Gallo, Scott Crissman, Daniel Stipe, Joel Shapiro and Kyle Nielsen


34 Farmville the Magazine


PARTY BEFORE THE BIG GAME Prince Edward County Public Schools students, faculty and parents held a daylong celebration to commemorate the school division’s homecoming Sept. 21 that included a parade, a tailgate party and a football game against Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte County, where the Prince Edward Eagles won 56-12. Students and families, during the tailgate party, had the opportunity to enjoy face

John Larkin and Deputy S. Mercer

Jaylen Rachels, Andrea Rachels, Aliyah Rachels, Tanya Rachels and Alivia Rachels

Front row, from left, Jamari Mitchell, CJ Berryman, Malik Jones, Javion Jackson; back row, from left, Mason Kinne, Tylic Vaughan, Abraham Sanchez, Aliq Walker, Louis Gould III, John Pride, Rodney Sprague, Miles Pride, Jose Garcia and Tavion Walker.

Pictured are, front row from left, Emily Dabbs, Marland Campbell, Maria Raia, Lisa Simon, Sarah Fulcher, Kristen Walker; back row, Dewey Ford, Gerry McKendry, Morgan Duncan, Rodney Kinne and Gary Lutz

Tegan Campbell, Marland Campbell and Riley Campbell

Jasmine Lee, Alanni Walters, Jada Hicks and J’Tae Hardy

Farmville the Magazine

painting, fare from Bojangles’ and The Fresh Boyz Club and numerous chances to demonstrate school spirit. PHOTOS BY EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH



Aiyanna Wilson, Trinity Rice, Inia Marshall, Tamara Smith, Victoria Fenton and Madison Smith

Kathy and Sydney Baldwin

Leann Marion, Madison Nachtigal, Josephine Henner, Avia Reeves, Eve Utzinger and Audrey Magill

Ariel Walker, Andrea Walker, Kristen Walker and Jayir Walker

Maria Raia, Birgit Dillms and Wolfgang Heisl

Front row, Dashya Scott; middle row, Alyson Lucas and D’Mya Harris; back row, Josh Simon, Victoria Cottrell, Cally Vogel, Jake Simon, Brett Purcer, Walkska Brito, Ines Brito and Ashton Giles

36 Farmville the Magazine


MOVING ON UP Hundreds of incoming freshmen students move into dormitories at Longwood University Aug. 16, while family members and friends offered helping hands and support. PHOTOS BY EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH

Monica Wilkins, Mckenzi Peterson, Jamiah Sutton and Michael Peterson

Dennis and Corey Coleman

Mike and Savannah Rinker

Sara and Robert Wilfong

Brenda and Michael Woodard

Marlene Bucsa, Lianne Booth, Elaine Bucsa, Sorin Bucsa and Christopher Bucsa

Farmville the Magazine


Residential & Commuter Life representatives Jamesha Watson, Jarrell Demiel and Tyreicq Wilson

Mirna Elam, Cole Elam and Jeff Elam

Sarah and Christine Schiavone

Allison Stewart, Sarah Stewart, Ed Stewart and Edward Stewart

Latiah Taylor and Imiir Carrington

William McCandlish


38 Farmville the Magazine


A NEW START Hampden-Sydney College freshmen were greeted with lovely weather and friendly staff as they moved into their dorms Thursday prior to the start of classes Aug. 27. Families and friends accompanied the students and helped them unpack. PHOTOS BY EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH

Jeff Wehring, Peyton Carneal and Francis Carneal

Hampden-Sydney College Residence Life and Housing representatives Chandler Foster and Griffin Salyer

Peter Orgain, Betsy Orgain, John Orgain and Marc Orgain

H.A. French, Sandra French, William French and Jennifer Norwood

Mark Falls Wes Fall, Fred Garrett and Rick Garrett

Daryl Taylor, James Wesley Taylor and Lorrie Sinclair

Farmville the Magazine


Daniel Dorsey and Davis Link

Kieran Conway and Andrew Roach

Paul Recchuiti and Nolan Recchuiti

Colin Penn

Rayquan Rogers and Jordan Fields

John Dunk, Jacob Dunk and Susan Dunk


40 Farmville the Magazine


ALDRICH GREETS COMMUNITY AT LCVA’S WINE & BREW New Longwood University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Griff Aldrich and his wife, Julie, hosted the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts’ (LCVA) Wine & Brew event Sept. 21. Joining Coach Aldrich, members of his staff and players on the team were people from the community. The sizable crowd that attended the event enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, beverages and fellowship. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER

Michael Smith, Lisa Tharpe, Abraham Deng and Joey Lipp

Deborah McWee, Brian Graves, Wayne McWee, Michelle Shular and Cody Anderson

Patricia Crute and Leigh Lunsford

Bev Roberts, Susan Jamison and Lisa Tharpe

Sheri McGuire and William McGuire

Trey Eggleston and Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez

Farmville the Magazine


Yvonne Mihailoff and Kennedy Mihailoff

Mr. Scott Simms, Rucker Snead, Griff Aldrich and Ms. Scott Simms

Sherry Swinson and Ryan Stouffer

Griff Aldrich, Julie Aldrich, Brad Watson, Virginia Watson and David Crute

Kerby Moore, Lynda Jefferson and Bob Jefferson

Kylie Dyer and Katherine Austin


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BARBELLS, BREWS, BEING TOGETHER Between 40 to 50 people gathered at the portion of the High Bridge Trail behind Merk’s Place and prepared to carry barbells, kettlebells and drag weight sleds for the nearly 2-mile distance to Third Street Brewing Sunday. The event, organized by CrossFit High Bridge in Farmville, looked to provide a somewhat different and somewhat fun way to introduce CrossFit to the wider community, while also dispelling some of the stereotypes related to the exercise program. PHOTOS BY EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH

Lisa, Jaren and Jeff Hollandsworth

CrossFit High Bridge Founder Kimberly Mina

Chase Brown and Logan, Addison and Jennifer Tobias

Chris and Aleana McClellan, and dog Annie

Terry Greene and Tara McDaniel

Farmville the Magazine


Carolyn Babb and Tonya Rowe

Carol Fauci and Chris McClellan

CrossFit High Bridge representative Lucas Martin

Sarah Wilkins, Jared Lineberry and Krystle Forlines

Devin Rogers and Irene Girgente


44 Farmville the Magazine


SECOND ANNUAL FARMVILLE AREA HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PIG ROAST Around 70 people attended the second annual Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity (FAHFH) Pig Roast on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Farmville Community Marketplace on North Street. The event, which featured good food, music and fellowship, has become FAHFH’s signature annual fundraiser. FAHFH Community Outreach Director

Lisa Shepherd, Cheryl Gee, Teresa Stewart and Brandon Clark

Jeff Kinne and Jenn Kinne

Rebecca Whitus, David Whitus and Wanda Whitus

Lee Woodruff, Beth Woodruff, Damien Fehrer and Deanna Fehrer

Jennifer Fraley and Karen Richardson

Charles Puckett and Penny Puckett

Farmville the Magazine

Sam Rabon said that a good bit of the proceeds from the event will help further fund what has been coined the “Birdhouse Build,” while the rest will help the organization meet some other needs. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER


Duane Benton and Marie Flowers

Carly Puckett and Brandy Puckett

David Smith and Helen Smith

Joe Hines and Gary Elder

Azikiwe Calhoun, Loretta Wood and the Rev. Pauline Stokes

Mato Saunders and Dexter Farrow


46 Farmville the Magazine

A Look into the Past

Flooding from Agnes remembered

Flooding and damaged roads along Third Street comes in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agnes in June of 1972.

Farmville the Magazine Story by Jimmy Hurt


eports of flooding have been in the news this past summer. Our area was spared as Hurricane Florence dipped to the south of us. Farmville has a history of flooding and has been devastated in the past. My family’s grocery business, Bob’s Supermarket, received heavy damage in June of 1972. The floodwaters rose to a depth of more than three feet inside of the grocery store. The store did later reopen and continued to operate another ten years. I never spoke about the shocking event publicly for the next 40 years. In 2012, The Farmville Herald invited me to share my memories of the 1972 Flood of Tropical Storm Agnes in a special 40th Anniversary supplement they produced in September 2012. The Farmville Herald and citizens of Farmville came forward and shared more than 200 old flood photos from 1972. One family shared a home movie of the tragic event. I started collecting any information and old photos I could find. The radio station WFLO provided recording of the live broadcast of the flood reports. I put together a PowerPoint show and starting showing it around the area in 2012 to remind local citizens the dangers of local flooding. The flooding in Farmville is a result of high water levels occurring in the Appomattox River, which flows through Farmville on the northern end of town. When the water level reaches the 16-foot level, it is considered to have reached the category of Flood Stage. The government has been tracking the water levels and keeping records on Farmville since 1926. In the last 90 plus years, the Appomattox River here in Farmville has reached the 16-foot stage, and higher, at least 75 times. The highest recorded level was 29.7 feet in June of 1972 during Tropical Storm Agnes. In my program titled “The History of Flooding in Farmville”, I focus on the four years of 1923, 1940, 1972 and 1996. These were the years of the highest water levels. It is not unusual during a prolonged heavy rainstorm to see flash flooding downtown along the Grosses Branch area near South Street. The flooding problem in our town is mainly due to the topography. The land is shaped liked a bowl. Downtown is located at the bottom of the bowl. All the roads coming into downtown run downhill. All the surrounding land sits on higher ground. When the rain falls, all the water naturally runs downhill to the Appomattox River. When the Appomattox River gets full of water, it backs up into the lower lying areas of downtown and west Farmville. Today I share my flood stories and memories in hope that should such an event occur again that the town’s people will be prepared. In 1972 when I heard


48 Farmville the Magazine

Pictured is a supplement from The Farmville Herald in 2012 detailing the dramatic flooding of 1972 in downtown Farmville as a result of Tropical Storm Agnes.

the warnings of possible flooding, I ignored the reports. I just could not believe such an event could happen in our town. I spent the night in our supermarket the night the flooding occurred. I watched the water rise foot by foot in our store. I still could not believe it was happening. I was in total shock. After the floodwaters receded in 1972 there were many homes and places of business without town water or electric service. Many of the businesses were wiped out and closed. Others could not open without water or electric service. It was very heartwarming to see the hundreds of people from Farmville and the surrounding counties that came to the rescue of the local flood victims. People that I had never known came right into the area and worked for days helping the town get back into operation. There were fire trucks from all over, hauling in water to help with the clean-up operations. I will never forget how everyone pulled together to get our area up and running again. Today as I travel around and share the history of the local floods I am here to tell you it can happen and it did happen to me and many other people in Farmville. Thanks to everyone that helped after the flood. Let us pray it never happens again.

Pictured is flooding along E. 2nd Street due to flooding from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.

Farmville the Magazine

Left, pictured is flooding along Buffalo Creek Bridge in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972. Above, pictured is flooding along E. 2nd Street due to flooding from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.

Pictured is flooding along several businesses in downtown Farmville, including the author’s family grocery business, Bob’s Supermarket.


50 Farmville the Magazine

Town and Gown When communities create together I

f you want to talk about a change of pace, try moving to Farmville from major metropolitan cities like Glasgow, Newcastle, and London— yes, that London! Add to that the culture shock of moving from Great Britain, where I spent the first 25 years of my life, to a small rural town in the USA, and you’re talking about a head-spinning move. The first eight years were spent living outside of town, but I really found my feet when we moved into a house adjacent to Farmville’s downtown. By then I was over most of the language barrier; I had learned to throw things in the trash can instead of the bin and change my son’s diaper instead of his nappy. That said, I’ve never been able to bring myself to change my pronunciation of tomato. Coincidentally, moving into town meant being closer to a more academic atmosphere, a realm I was used to. Before I moved to the U.S., I spent my time in academia, earning my engineering doctorate in 1998. Farmville has so much to offer thanks to the presence of both Longwood University and HampdenSydney College. A similar sized town without a college is unlikely to have an art museum on Main Street, a choice of coffee shops and even a selection of sushi restaurants. I remember in 2011 when the population of sushi restaurants in Farmville went from zero to three almost overnight. Everyone proclaimed we would be lucky if even one survived. Here we are three years later and all three still in business. My personal favorite, Shogun, has also moved to bigger premises. (Try the Sakura Heart!) In 2008, the company my husband and I had been running for years began winding down, but I was gaining a lot of work in website consulting. Around the same time, a job became available at Longwood in that same field. So, 10 years ago I entered back into the world of academia but on the staff side of the house. I am happy to have had this opportunity to work at Longwood and join the Lancer community. What I have really come to know is the incredible spirit of the Farmville community. The participation of the entrepreneurs who invest, especially in our downtown has created a unique shopping experience

that brings visitors to Farmville every weekend. The contribution of volunteers has improved life in the town providing assistance to those in need and organizing events that enrich our lives. And I’ve been lucky enough to find an outlet for my creative energy in the Waterworks Theatre. I’ve even been able to bring a wee bit of Britain to Farmville through Waterworks. The British holiday tradition of pantomime which brings families to the theatre in droves across the pond has become a tradition right here in Farmville; this December will be our 12th year. We take a big spoonful of a classic fairy tale, add a dash of local humor, MARY JO STOCKTON currently a big dollop of zany fun, and top it off with lashings of serves as the director of web audience participation. and social content for Longwood University. Stockton is also Another of those enriching events is the Virginia the assistant director for the Children’s Book Festival for which I serve as the assistant Virginia Children’s Book Festival director. The book festival is one of the best examples and has served on the board of directors for the Farmville-based of Longwood and the community coming together and Waterworks Players. creating something that enriches the lives of so many children. For five years now we’ve been bringing the top names in children’s literature to Farmville. It makes my heart happy to see those wee, excited faces as the kids get to interact with the minds behind their favorite literary heroes and heroines. We hear after the festival of kids inspired to read more, write and draw their own stories, and create their very own heroes and heroines. Those stories feed your soul and tell of the power we have when the Longwood and Farmville community work together.

Farmville the Magazine

Why I Love Farmville


A. My wife and I moved to Farmville March 4th of this year. I was hired to be the general manager of the Hotel Weyanoke.   Q: WHAT MIGHT OUR READERS BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WEYANOKE?

A: The community of Farmville was interested in drawing business to the area and knew the addition of a hotel would give people a reason to travel to the area. They purchased stocks to raise the monies to build the hotel; so literally the community had ownership in the property! Hotel Weyanoke is committed to supporting the community in that we utilize local businesses to support our business. Examples of this is many of our furnishings are from Green Front, our coffee mugs and water goblets are handmade at Mainly Clay on Main Street. We partner with other local businesses so our guests can enjoy other activities in the area such as — High Street Bridge and Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Park.   Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A WEEKEND HERE IN TOWN?

A: Going to Sassafras for morning coffee on the rooftop and having Sunday Brunch in Effingham’s!     Q.  TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE FARMVILLE MEMORY.

A: One of my favorite memories is walking down Main Street before we purchased a home here. Everyone I passed was so welcoming; total strangers. I would walk by them and I would not just get a nod signifying hello; I would get eye contact and a genuine feeling of engagement. A genuine, “Good Morning.” Seems silly writing it and reading it; but I truly got the feeling of hospitality in the community.   Q. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FARMVILLE COMMUNITY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN HERE? 

A: Small town; quaint; Mayberry! (A good thing)


L O N G W O O D A Shared Legacy: CENTER for the Folk Art in America V I S U A L A R T S August 18 – November 4, 2018



Join us this fall at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts for A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America - an exhibition that tells the story of the extraordinary art that emerged in the years following the nation’s founding. A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection, and organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.


This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Dominion Energy, The Atlantic Coast Pipeline Foundation, Green Front Furniture, Helton House, The Anne Carter and Walter R. Robbins, Jr. Foundation, The Outer You Salon and School, Tony Markland of Alcova Mortgage, and Joe Hines-Timmons Group.


(Pictured) Edward Hicks (1780–1849), The Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity, oil on canvas, 34 x 40.5 inches, 1835–1840, Collection of Barbara L. Gordon

Profile for The Farmville Herald

Farmville The Magazine - October 2018  

Farmville The Magazine - October 2018