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Sue Henderson

ON THE PORCH Guest Porch Editorial

Contributing Writers & Artists Rita Allen Audra Bielke Kevin Brown Alison Carlin Renee Dunn Frank Fratoe Rich Gaudio Alexis Grogan Ralph “Tuffy”Hicks Karl Karch Jo Loving Pete Morelewicz Patrick Neustatter Owen Seely Casey Alan Shaw Meg Sneed

A.E. Bayne Laurie Black Nick Cadwallendar Collette Caprara Christina Ferber K. Jeanne Frazer Joan M. Geisler Sue Henderson Anita Holle David C. Kennedy Nancy Moore Vanessa Moncure M.L. Powers Suzanne Scherr Sue Stone Georgia Strentz James Kyle Synder

Christine Thompson Carolyn Van der Jagt Laura Westermeier Tina Will Suzy Woollam

Front Porch Fredericksburg is a free circulation magazine published monthly by Olde Towne Publishing Co. Virginia Bigenwald Grogan, Publisher. The mission of Front Porch Fredericksburg is to connect the diverse citizenry of Fredericksburg with lively features and informative columns of interest to our community’s greatest resource, its people.

Messages from our readers are welcome. All submissions must be received by e-mail by the 19th of the month preceding publication. Writers / Artists / Photographers are welcome to request Guidelines and query the Publisher by e-mail. Front Porch Fredericksburg PO Box 9203 Fredericksburg, VA 22403 Ad Sales: E-Mail: Web Site: Facebook: @Front Porch Fredericksburg The opinions expressed in Front Porch Fredericksburg are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Front Porch Fredericksburg or its advertisers. Copyright 2018 Olde Towne Publishing Co. All rights reserved.


Tanya Richey

March 2018

inspired, innovative, intrepid & indefatigable

celebrate me home

By collette caprara

by Sue Henderson I’m a come-here. Like an adopted child who understands how valuable being a part of the family can be, I appreciate everything about claiming Stafford as home. After a literal lifetime of military moves and never living anyplace longer than 4 years, my husband Rick and I chose to live here twenty-two years ago and have been rewarded in almost too many ways to enumerate. Over the years, I have been blessed to work as a Recreation Supervisor in King George meeting so many wonderful people and learning about life in a small county. I spent years working for Historic Fredericksburg Foundation learning the deep history of the region. Time spent on stage with Stage Door Productions and Riverside Performing Arts Center and in art galleries connected us deeply to the arts community. And working as the Program Manger to celebrating my adopted home’s 350+ years of history was a real joy. I have learned all sorts of tidbits and trivia which have created a solid foundation of who we are in our region today. So, in this quiet of winter before spring blasts in and we all start spilling out into gardens and river sports, I find myself reflecting on our collective community journey so far. So why am I celebrating our community? It’s the people I’ve met who have taught me about Wildcat Corner, Lake Anna, the hidden tunnels under Fredericksburg, the Judyville stretch, French and Indian War skirmishes and the journals of Jane Beale. It’s the passion they have brought to their little corner of the world and interests. It’s the quirky little inside jokes about famous people who have populated our region. It’s the talents of all these people eager to share what they love. It’s the facts I will use for the rest of my life to win at family trivia like Stafford was once the Pickle Capital of the country or what the heck is the Cornstalk & Beanpole Bridge? It’s meeting and getting to know truly inspirational people like Johnny Johnson and Mary Katherine Greenlaw and Frank White and Rob and Virginia Grogan. It’s how I have been informed and challenged to find new ways of respecting our native heritage and diversity. We can all use the politically correct buzzwords of creating a sense of community or celebrating our heritage. But literally hundreds of people have taught and shown me the actual definition of those phrases as I use my talents and

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have grown to know Rick and I are where we have always been meant to be. When I was leaving high school in Germany (as a military brat) and coming back to college in a country I barely remembered, Kenny Loggins was writing Celebrate Me Home. I was impressionable and lonely and missing everything about the home we’d left and the people we knew. It wasn’t just going away to college, it was never having that home to return to as my class scattered like dandelions in the wind. And while we stay in touch through modern technology, we can’t go back to a home that no longer exists. And along came Kenny singing about turning on “the love light in the place.” “Totally surrounded in your circles, whoa, my friends.” It remains an anthem in my soundtrack. And I’m regularly reminded, here in Fredericksburg, of the way to “sing me home” surrounded by the songs of friends and events and fundraisers and laughter in the place we call home. This community of wonderful people working together and sharing the best of us is so important to appreciate. Do we take enough time to pause, maybe on our own front porch, and meet the neighbors? It’s especially important to welcome newcomers, help them connect with your favorite plumber (because, goodness knows that’s the first thing they discover they need after they’ve moved into a new house) or the name of the mailperson. Bring them a cup of coffee and the next issue of Front Porch Magazine and help them get to know this

quirky, wonderful, historic neck of the woods we call home. Turns out I’m like another favorite lyricist, Nancy Griffith, who needs a “hometown street where a friend is still a friend. I need a hometown street where the love you're given surely comes back 'round again.” I see it walking down Caroline Street and running into friends or people I haven’t seen in a while and falling right into the conversation like we’d never left it. I hear it at open mic nights at new breweries and lectures about famous people at UMW. And I see it in every issue of Front Porch Magazine that we read cover to cover. That love you give surely comes back around again and again.

Sue Henderson sings, paints, writes, takes photos and still has time to volunteer in the city she calls home.

March 24 Washington, DC

Until 2016, the little gallery at 817 Caroline Street was a hub of creativity and exploration—the domain of Tanya Richey, world traveler and internationally acclaimed artist. Both Tanya’s interest in art and her resilience are rooted in childhood experiences. When she was just in elementary school, a picture of El Greco’s painting Toledo attracted her attention (quite an unusual source of inspiration for a little girl). “I don’t know what it was,” she muses, “but that image made me pay attention to art.” Tanya reminisces about growing up with her brother and their single-mom after her dad died when she was five, and she attributes her resilience and ability to bounce back and keep going from experiences in the days of her girlhood. “My mother was a free-spirit, long before it was ‘a thing’,” she said. “I would come back from school and she’d say ‘We’re going to Miami,’ and we’d get on a Greyhound Bus and head out.” Once there, (or wherever the destination of the time may have been) her mother would pull out a newspaper and find a place for them to stay and find a job. Then,

remarkably, Tanya recounts, “She would tell me and my brother to find a school!” “I learned that you had to take things as they came and make the best of it. I was always going to a new school in a new town.” Later, that ability to adapt, coupled with a natural sense of curiosity and observation, led Tanya to explore and embrace cultures across America and throughout the world. Throughout the years, she has painted and taught classes in China, Germany, Great Britain, Egypt, the former Soviet Union, and Japan. Tanya’s travels to Germany included serving in the role of a visiting cultural ambassador artist/ to Fredericksburg’s sister city Schwetzingen, at the mayor’s request. Experiences in China resulted in a series of Panda paintings that once graced the walls and windows of her Caroline Street gallery and delighted viewers near and far. Three years ago, her decision to move to Japan with her daughter’s family when her husband was stationed there, meant closing the door of her Fredericksburg gallery for the last time.

Tanya took some of her basic art supplies with her to Japan, and spent days touring the sites, reading about the art, history, and culture of the country, and taking in the “Spirit of Japan,” which became the title of the collection of her new works. In addition to paintings with Japanese paper and brushes, Tanya trained with a Japanese master and tried her hand at the culture’s revered calligraphy and the Kanji symbols that it incorporates. She was then inspired to write haiku’s, the Japanese poetry form that incorporates a 5-7-5 sequence of syllables. When someone told Tanya that it had once been said that women couldn’t write haikus because they were “too emotional,” she replied with her hallmark determination, “Well, these are MyKus!”

returned to the Fredericksburg area. Undaunted, Tanya has bounced back to pursue work on her book series. Her second book debuted in February with a book-signing at Manarc (a store dedicated to benefit veterans). Book Three will be released this month, with enchanting and transporting visual and poetic images on every page. With resilient humor, Tanya quips, “It seems I have a three-month shelf life, but that has been said again and again. I am thinking maybe I’ll get another three.” Her advice to others beginning on a new venture or facing a personal challenge, inspired by a quote attributed to Goethe, is “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in itself. Begin it now.”

That unique name not only made her poetry unassailable by critics but also became the title of a whole new venture of creations, including Kanji cards and a plan for a 12-part series of MyKu books that comprise all three of Tanya’s talents: calligraphy, painting, and poetry. With her son-in-law’s tour complete, the family headed to Germany. Then tragedy struck. Tanya was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and was medivacked back to the US. After spending five months receiving treatment at Walter Reed Hospital, she and her daughter’s family

Tanya’s MyKu series is available for purchase on Amazon, at, and on Facebook /mykubook.

Collette Caprara is a local writer & artist.

Accessorize Your Style 723 Caroline St


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front porch fredericksburg

March 2018


Profile for Virginia Grogan

Front Porch Fredericksburg - March 2018  

Front Porch Fredericksburg - March 2018