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Volume 9 • Issue 2 October / November 2013

The

Autumn Drive

Mayor Clawson Autumn at Oz Gaylord Perry The Wine Maker

October / November 2013

High Country Magazine

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High Country Magazine

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C O N T E N T S

16 The Real Loretta Clawson

Meet the real Loretta Clawson, who tells her life story from childhood, to grade school, to marriage, the workplace, public office and everything in between. In this tell-all, get acquainted with the woman who has served as mayor of Boone for sixteen years, and who has been kept the community in her heart all her life.

Years of a 30 Forty Downtown Institution

16

The story of how four generations of a single Boone family have served their community, changed with the times, held fast to the traditions and preserved their place as the face of central downtown Boone.

40 A Lifetime of Viticultural Love

Linville Falls Winery is known for its delicious wines, beautiful scenery and comfortable atmosphere. What you may not known is that the wildly successful winery was in the beginning, and has been since, a labor of love and a realization of a dream forty years in the making.

Waves and 50 Making Learning Lifeskills

40

Children participating in the Watauga County Swim Team take away much more than a lifetime sport and exciting hobby. The Water Warriors swim away with skills and relationships that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

League Immortal 62 Major of Mineral City

72

The tiny town of Spruce Pine it Mitchell County is known for its tiny-village charm and beauty. However, its most famous resident, MLB pitcher Gaylord Perry, will remain for eternity a hometown hero who remains devoted to his sport, his religion and his family.

72 Off To See The Wizard

The year 1970 introduced the Land of OZ to the top of Beech Mountain. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Autumn at Oz and the 75th anniversary of the timeless classic film on which the park is based. Early October will bring thousands of visitors to meet Dorothy and friends in a magical autumn adventure.

on the cover Photo By

JIM MORTON Pictured on our cover is the Grandfather Roadway that leads up to the top of Grandfather Mountain photographed by Grandfather Mountain photographer and enthusiast Jim Morton.

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ABOUT US

The first High Country Press newspaper was published on May 5, 2005, and the first issue of High Country Magazine went to press in fall 2005. In March of 2012, the newspaper made the transformation to an online newspaper at our new website: www. HCPress.com. Our new “webpaper” is still packed with information that we present and package in easy-to-read formats with visually appealing layouts. Our magazine represents our shared love of our history, our landscape and our people. It celebrates our pioneers, our lifestyles, our differences and the remarkable advantages we enjoy living in the mountains. Our guiding principles are twofold: quality journalism makes a difference and customer care at every level is of the greatest importance. Our offices are located in downtown Boone, and our doors are always open to welcome visitors.

ADVERTISING & MARKETING

Our magazine is a wonderful way for businesses to advertise to our readers. Our magazines tend to stay around for a long time, on coffee tables and bed stands, and shared with family and friends. To find out about advertising, call our offices at 828-264-2262.

BACK ISSUES

Back issues of our magazines are available from our office for $5 per issue. Some issues are already sold out and are no longer available.

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High Country Magazine

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FRO M T HE PUB L ISH ER

A Publication Of High Country Press Publications Editor & Publisher Ken Ketchie Art Director Debbie Carter Graphic Designer Jacob Voigt Contributing Writers Jesse Wood Madison V. Fisler

It’s Election Time Again!

I

Ken Ketchie

t’s election time again! Coming the first Tuesday in November are the local municipal elections for towns across the High Country and beyond. If you live within the town limits of the 10 municipalities in Watauga and Avery counties, you’ll have a chance to vote for those who will govern your community for the next few years. There are four elections in Watauga – one for Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain – and six separate elections in Avery County for Banner Elk, Newland, Grandfather Village, Sugar Mountain, Crossnore and Elk Park. But chances are most folks in these municipalities, as well as those across the state, won’t make it to the polls to cast their ballot in these local elections. History shows that turnout for municipal elections can be as low as 10 to 20 percent, especially if these local elections are not held in conjunction with state and national elections, as is the case this year. I’ve find this ironic because I’ve heard it argued that those we elect to our town councils have perhaps more influence on our day-to-day lives than those we elect to govern us from Raleigh and Washington, D.C. When it comes right down to it, it’s the local government that makes sure our schools open on time – no matter what budget cuts or legislation is passed down from the state and federal levels. It’s the municipalities that make sure we have water for our morning shower. It’s our towns that make sure someone is picking up our garbage, repairing roads and adding sidewalks. Our local elected officials form policy and manage committees that tell us what we can do with our property, and they decide how to spend our property taxes. From a local newspaper’s perspective, these are the people with contacts in Raleigh who have contacts in Washington. But our local elected officials are the ones we have, for the most part, unfettered access to; they are the ones who speak to reporters on a daily basis. It isn’t difficult to have a conversation with them. They are neighbors, people we see walking on the street or in the aisles of the grocery store. Their names and quotes and opinions come up all the time in the local press. And often times these conversations involve controversial policies made before, after or during heated discussions. These local folks aren’t the “professional” politicians from Raleigh or Washington that we read about in the national press, occasionally filibustering through the night to block or save a bill. These are local folks who volunteer their time or serve as elected officials for a small stipend to keep our towns running – and depending on what they stand for, manage how our towns are run. The local political scene is full of interesting personalities – and lucky for us, they are stepping up to the plate this fall for the betterment of the community. And you know what they say if you don’t vote? Perhaps you shouldn’t complain if your garbage doesn’t get picked up!

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October / November 2013

Tim Gardner Bernadette Cahill Virginia Roseman Megan Hall Chelsea Purdue Megan Northcote Contributing Photographers Jim Morton Lonnie Webster Katie Warren Finance Manager Amanda Giles

High Country Magazine is produced by the staff and contributors of High Country Press Publications, which serves Watauga and Avery counties of North Carolina

www.HCPress.com HIGH COUNTRY MAGAZINE P.O. Box 152, Boone, NC 28607 828-264-2262 Follow our magazine online where each issue is presented in a flip-through format. Check it out at:

HighCountryMagazine.com Reproduction or use in whole or part of the contents of this magazine without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Issues are FREE throughout the High Country. © 2013 by High Country Press. All Rights Reserved.


October / November 2013

High Country Magazine

7


Calendarof Events Calendar # 1

OCTOBER 2013 9/2-11/2

Woolly Worm, Banner Elk, October 19-20

Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train Halloween Festival, Tweetsie Railroad, 800-526-5740

4

First Friday Art Crawl, Downtown Boone Galleries & Studios, 828-262-3017

4

Music on the Lawn: Supa Tight, The Best Cellar, Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703

5

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, North Wilkesboro, www.applefestival.net

5

Art in the Park, Downtown Blowing Rock, 828-295-7851

5

Mountain Home Music: The Voice of Time and Seasons, Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 828-964-3392

5

7th Annual Relay for Life Scarecrow 5K, Boone,

19

828-297-4876

19-20

Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk, www.woollyfarm.com

5-6

Autumn at Oz Festival, Beech Mountain, 828-387-9283

24-26

NC Dance Festival, ASU, 828-262-3063

8

Frank Warren: PostSecret, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

24-26

National Collegiate Downhill Championships,

11

Music on the Lawn: Smokey Breeze, The Best Cellar,

Mountain Home Music: I Know (Banjo) Joe and (Mandolin) Mike, Blowing Rock School Auditorium,

Sugar Mountain Resort, 828-898-4521 26

12

828-964-3392

12

appstate.edu

12

Boone Heritage Festival, Daniel Boone Park, Boone,

828-264-2120 12-13 13

16-17

18

Knee Injury and Rehab “Health Talk” with Dr. Bill Devault, Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic & Sports Music on the Lawn: Soul Benefactor, The Best Cellar,

Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703

19

1

Mountain Home Music: North Carolina Balladeer,

Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 828-964-3392 High Country Magazine

October / November 2013

Downtown Boone Boo, Boone, 828-262-4532

First Friday Art Crawl, Downtown Boone Galleries & Studios, 828-262-3017

9

Kids Mini Market at the Watauga County Farmers Market, Horn in the West, 828-355-4918

16

Peabody’s 35th Anniversary Charity Wine Tasting,

Blowing Rock Jazz Society Concert, Meadowbrook Inn,

Medicine Center, 828-386-2663

31

Sugar Mountain Resort’s Oktoberfest, Sugar Mountain

828-295-4300

Opening Reception for Amos Westmoreland,

NOVEMBER 2013

Resort, 828-898-4521

26

Alta Vista Gallery, 828-963-5247

ASU Football v. Samford, ASU, www.homecoming.

Beary Scary Halloween, Grandfather Mountain,

800-468-7325

Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703

8

Valle Country Fair, Valle Crucis, 828-963-4609

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, 828-262-4046 21-23

Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

29

Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town, Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, 828-295-5222

30

Thanksgiving Kiln Opening, Traditions Pottery Studio, 828-295-3862


DON’T FORGET

EVENTS

Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, are the dates for this year’s 23rd Annual Oktoberfest celebration at Sugar Mountain Resort. Celebrate the beautiful season of fall in the mountains at one of the area’s highest peaks. Enjoy scenic lift rides up the mountain, delicious Bavarian food, a live oom pah band, handmade arts and crafts and plenty of German beverages. Best of all, admission and parking are free.

OCTOBER 12 & 13

Ghost Train Halloween Festival The most thrilling train ride of your life awaits at Tweetsie Railroad’s annual Ghost Train Halloween Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday nights until November 2. Prepare for heart-racing, harrowing experiences if you dare to set foot in The Boneyard, the 3-D Maze, the Black Hole, the Freaky Forest and the Haunted House. There’s trick-or-treating and fall festival delights for the entire family, too!

SEPT. 27NOV. 2

October / November 2013

High Country Magazine

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High Country Magazine

October / November 2013


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October / November 2013

High Country Magazine

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mountain

echoes

Southerner’s Success with Heirloom Pimento Recipe

T

he financial collapse of 2008 ruined many people, but for Suzanne Augusta Lowe, 51, it became an opportunity to follow her dreams. When high-fashion sales dried up, her entrepreneurial spirit motivated her to dig into her mother’s index-card box full of recipes and start her own business. Lowe, an authority on Southern cooking and pimento cheese, in particular, is owner of Augusta’s Creations. Since starting-up the company in 2007, her sales have spread throughout the U.S. and will soon be exported to Canada. Born in Atlanta, Lowe moved to Orleans,

France because her father served there during the Korean War. In France, she enjoyed the cooking of the French countryside, but after three years abroad, Lowe moved back to the U.S. to Valdosta, Ga. As a child in Valdosta, Lowe remembers coming inside from playing and making meringue and Texas praline cookies with her mother, or hunting quail to be grilled and served over grits. She grew up on pimento cheese, too. “Pimento cheese is like milk, it’s not a ‘wow’ thing,” Lowe said. “Everyone is asking for low-fat pimento cheese. Take the fat out of cheese and its like putting rubber on crackers, the texture is yucky,”  She said the secret to good pimento cheese is the texture – it needs to be creamy almost like hummus. Lowe’s pimento cheese is only made with the best ingredients. She uses Cabot cheddar in her recipe; she chooses the award-winning cheese because it is made from dairy of family-owned farms in the Northeast. She also “loves the concept and culture of the company.” A year and a half ago, Lowe felt it was time to move to the mountains. Her two children were in college and she felt the need to get away from Charlotte. “Here in the High Country, it is easy to take a stroll.

That’s where creativity comes from,” Lowe said. “I love it up here. It is just amazing. Sometimes I feel like I could just touch the face of God.” Lowe considers herself a person of faith, which is why every tub of Augusta’s Creations features scripture under the lid. “It’s kind of like wearing lacy underwear, nobody but you knows, and it still makes you smile,” Lowe said. “With the scripture, I know it’s subtle, but it’s a blessing to every household it enters.” You can find Augusta’s Creations’ products at Earth Fare, Lowes Food, Harris Teeter, Blowing Rock Produce and Provisions, Maw’s Produce and other regional grocers. For more information, click to http:// augustascreations.com. By Mark S. Kenna

Alta Vista Gallery Introduces Autumnal Impressionism to the High Country

O

n October 26, Alta Vista Gallery will host an Opening Reception for Amos Westmoreland, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. As the gallery’s newest artist, it’s fitting that Westmoreland will be at the gallery to celebrate its 23rd anniversary. Westmoreland will show 12 new oils in his loose Impres-

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High Country Magazine

sionist style with a theme of “Autumn in the High Country.” Alta Vista Gallery shows over 100 artists in oils, watercolors, pastels, and prints, as well as stained glass, fused glass, jewelry, art tiles, and Mangum Pottery. The gallery is located 10 minutes

October / November 2013

from Boone or Banner Elk, in an historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis – between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. View map/directions at www.altavistagallery.com, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247, or visit the gallery’s page on Facebook.


mountain

echoes

The 20th Annual Holiday Scholarship Concert to Take Place in Schaefer Center for the First Time

S

ince 1993, High Country residents and visitors alike have been enjoying ASU’s Holiday Scholarship Concert at Farthing Auditorium, which raises money for scholarships for students in the Hayes School of Music. This year, for the first time ever, the Holiday Scholarship Concert will be held in the newly renovated Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on ASU’s campus. It has been 21 years since the performances first began, but Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. will mark the 20th show, since last year’s show was modified into a holiday concert series due to the renovation of the venue. But this year, the performers and the audience will get to enjoy the brand new facility which will help them to experience the show in a whole new way. “The acoustics in Farthing were not very friendly,” said Dr. Stephen Hopkins, who has coordinated and directed each concert since its conception in 1993. “We had to [put microphones] on everything! At the Schaefer Center, with the amazing acoustics in there I can’t imagine anyone needing a microphone.”

The improved acoustics in the Schaefer Center are expected to have a huge impact on how the show is performed and perceived this year. “It will be live, natural sound as opposed to microphones and speakers. The sound is going to just explode off of the stage.” said Hopkins. So far the Scholarship Concerts have raised more than $125,000 toward scholarships for students since the shows first began. Each year, close to 1,000 people attend the show as the kickoff to their holiday season. “Many times I have heard audience members say at the end, ‘now Christmas can offi-

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cially start!’ Many people see it as the start of the Christmas season for them,” Hopkins said. The show brings together many choirs and instrumental groups from the School who all work together to do their part to make the show a great one. Tickets go quick for this highly anticipated holiday show, so reserve your tickets now! Tickets to the 2013 Holiday Scholarship Concert are $10 per person and children under six get in for free. Tickets to the event can be purchased at the Schafer Center Box Office or by calling 800-841-2787. By Madison V. Fisler

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Born to Serve Loretta at 8 months old

4th grade

10th grade

Senior Year

Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson’s

Call to Public Service

J

ust a year ago, Boone Mayor Loretta said that she was born to it. Guy Clawson was at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in Old Beech Mountain Community downtown Boone to accept one of North An eighth-generation mountain girl, Carolina’s most prestigious honors. The Clawson grew up just west of Boone in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine counts among very small community of Old Beech Mounits recipients Andy Griffith, Charles Kuralt, tain. Her great, great, great, great, great Dale Earnhardt, Billy Graham and...Loretta -grandfather Cutliff Hermann (changed Carolyn Guy Clawson. The “Long” in Order of the Long Leaf Pine could very well describe Clawson’s résumé—offices, appointments, volunteer work and leadership positions—in school, church, community, regional and state organizations and committees. When Clawson’s term ends in late 2013, she will have served as mayor for eight years. Prior to her time as mayor, she worked as the assistant clerk for the Watauga County Clerk of Court’s office, had a long career with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and served eight years on Town Council, with six of those years as Mayor Pro-Tem. At the time of the ceremony, when called upon to make remarks, one simple statement from Clawson stood out: “It is Photo by Lonnie Webster just something that I have loved to do...I have loved the opportunity to serve.” The journey to that milestone honor Elaine Marshall, N.C. Secretary of State, presents was not an easy one, but based on Claw- Clawson with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in son’s roots and upbringing, it could be Summer 2012. 16

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October / November 2013

to Harmon when his father came to the colonies) and his young wife Suzan Fouts (Pfautz) settled in what is now known as Cove Creek in the 1760s. For reference, Daniel Boone lived in the Yadkin Valley at this time and is said to have traveled to this area of North Carolina on hunting expeditions. Daniel Boone would take his game and leave, but Harmon would call this area his permanent home. “Hermann is a Prussian-German name meaning ‘army man’ or ‘fearless man,’” said Clawson. “It was very appropriate for a person who was willing to set off to start a new life in an untamed frontier that only Cherokee claimed as a home.” Cutliff ’s wife Suzan and Daniel Boone’s wife Sarah were first cousins (and therefore Sarah and Daniel Boone are a part of Clawson’s lineage, as well). Cutliff worked as a trader for Daniel Boone, crossing the Appalachians to transport goods back and forth from the Yadkin Valley to Sycamore Shoals. During one of his trips, a wild path he chose to use took him through what is now Cove Creek. Declaring that it was one of the most beautiful spots on God’s earth, he traveled back to Rowan County to get his young bride and to make the Appalachians his home. The Harmon’s first home was at the huge rock overhang at the mouth of Phillips


“I learned to listen to the people that I serve. I represent the people in the Town of Boone. I fought for the things they wanted, answered their cries for help in making Boone a safe and beautiful place for them to live in. These things are important to the people, and I work for the people.”

Boone’s Mayor Loretta Clawson

Photo by Lonnie Webster

STORY BY VIRGINIA ROSEMAN Branch, and can be seen as one travels U.S. 321 towards Tennessee. It is now known as “Harmon’s Rockhouse.” In addition to Hermann and the Boones, other notable ancestors included Loretta’s mother Viola Ward Guy (“the strongest, most-loving and bravest woman ever”), father Enoch Guy (“a man who always thought of others”), and great, great, great-grandfather Duke Ward (“who came to Old Beech Mountain to marry cute-as-abutton Lucy Tester”). Duke Ward’s parents felt that the girl he had intended to marry was “not good enough” for their son. To

keep the marriage from happening, Duke was forced to move to Tennessee toward the Cumberland Gap. But distance did not stop true love. Duke hiked back all by himself to Old Beech Mountain to marry Lucy Tester, and they went on to raise their family on the Tester’s land. “I cherish the people of Old Beech Mountain, and the values they instilled in me growing up,” Clawson said. Clawson’s parents, Enoch Guy and Viola Ward Guy, were a big part of that. Enoch and Viola married and together they lived in Old Beech Mountain right next door to

Enoch’s parents, and raised two daughters. Clawson remembers her mom working so hard making clothes by hand. If her mother wasn’t sewing, she would be working on the family farm in the garden. This garden provided food for their family and very little needed to be bought from the store. Her mom canned a thousand cans each season, providing food for the entire winter. “My mom was a superwoman. She could do everything! And she did everything with a smile and love,” remembered Clawson. “When I was young, my mom had to do everything because my dad

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Loretta at her High School Prom

daughter needed responsibilities, as well as a friend. “Momma was upset because Daddy was supposed to be bringing back paychecks, not puppies!” said Clawson. “But Daddy told her to look at how happy I was, and Mom eventually agreed. Fozzie [the puppy] became a member of the Guy family.” Clawson is known by colleagues and the public as having a powerful speaking voice that projects well, and there’s a story among friends of Clawson that her voice was developed from training Fozzie. “Yes, it’s very true,” said Clawson. “Having Fozzie may seem like a small thing, but those were important, formative moments in my childhood. Becoming a big sister was another very crucial moment.” Less than two years after Fozzie joined, there was another addition to the Guy family with the birth of Clawson’s little sister, Freida. “Oh, she was so beautiful and perfect, her curly red hair and big green eyes...she just made your heart melt, and everyone wanted to hold her and baby her,” said Clawson. “I knew that on that day, no longer was I my parents’ baby. No longer would I be the one everyone was coming over to see. I was now a big sister. Being a big sister meant I had to watch out for her, Best friends Loretta, Tony and Evelyn visit the Beech protect her, teach her to read and help Mountain Elementary School teach her right from wrong. I had to

would travel daily off the mountain to Lenoir Saw Mill, bringing home $25 a week to pay for all the family’s necessities. “I have to give my parents a lot of credit for me becoming the person that I am today. My mother was a very hard working woman, where everything she did was for her family and our future. She would never complain about how hard a task was, as it had to be done. And my father worked so hard in the factories off the mountain, and brought back some of that progress back to Old Beech Mountain. While working, my father learned all he could about plumbing. He fixed ours—and my grandparent’s home—for complete indoor plumbing, and the next thing we knew, he had most every building in our area with plumbing. Why did he do that? Because he knew it was what the people of the area wanted and it would go on to make a better future for the next generation. Yes, hard work and thinking about the people and the future were instilled in me at a young age.”

Fozzie & Freida

One vivid childhood memory for Clawson was of her father coming home from work from Lenoir Saw Mill with a cocker spaniel puppy. Enoch Guy would do just about anything for four-year-old Loretta, at the time an only child. Enoch thought his 18

High Country Magazine

Loretta and L.D. on their Wedding Day

October / November 2013


make sure that I did my part to ensure that Freida would have a great life and future.” Loretta took her role as a big sister very seriously. As time went on, and the girls went to school, Loretta always knew in the back of her mind that everything she would do, her little sister would be watching, and most likely following in her footsteps.

Loretta and L.D. Clawson, September 2013

Church & School

Growing up in Old Beech Mountain meant that church and school were a major part of your community, and therefore your life. She attended Beech Mountain Elementary School, eventually becoming valedictorian for the graduating 8th grade class of 30 students. She was always eager to be involved, participating in activities and groups both at school and at Flat Springs Baptist Church. “At Cranberry High School, I was dependent on the school bus to get back and forth, and would have actually preferred to have been even more involved,” said Clawson. “It was close to a one-hour bus ride from Old Beech Mountain Community to Cranberry High School.” When it would snow, those bus rides basically doubled in riding time. Clawson recalled that back then, there was no such thing as a snow day because the school buses were how the snow got pushed. Loretta still got to spread her wings during high school,

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High Country Magazine

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where she was a member of the drill team, glee club, band and was part of the school’s business program—a program that prepared students to enter the workforce with typing, clerical and leadership skills. She was also the teacher for her church’s peers training union. When there was a need for a volunteer for a task, or a chairperson for a committee, Loretta was always quick to step up to the plate. “Teachers began to describe me as a leader, but ‘listener’ would also have been a great way to describe it,’ said Clawson. “Whether it was back in school or today, to me, a large part of leadership is about being willing to serve and willing to listen. It is amazing how much can get accomplished by taking the time to listen.”

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The year before Loretta graduated high school, a group of youths came up the mountain from Poga, Tennessee to visit Old Beech Mountain Community, and made friends with the some of the kids that attended Loretta’s church. At a church function, Loretta became smitten with one of the strangers, a dark-haired youth named L.D. Clawson. “There was a running joke in my family about how I wouldn’t be able to date anyone from Old Beech Mountain or the surrounding area, because odds were that they’d be my cousin!” Loretta said. “When kids and teens would get together, it would become sort of a game to see how long it would take to figure out how we were connected. When the Poga youths came visiting, the joke was that they were told the same thing back in their hometown!”


It was pretty much love at first sight for Loretta and the stranger with the strange name. His name was just “L.D.” He joked with Loretta that being from a big family of 11 kids, his parents just ran out of names. Courting in the mountains meant taking long drives, and on many spring and summer evenings, Loretta and L.D. would attend the Stateline Drive-In movie theater with several of their friends. Their long-distance relationship continued and following Loretta’s high school graduation in 1963, they decided to get married. At the time of their marriage, jobs in the mountains were hard to come by. Many young persons would move out of the mountains to seek work. Newlyweds Loretta and L.D. took this same path, moving to Lexington, North Carolina after their marriage. Both had good jobs in Lexington, with Loretta entering texOne of the nearly 6,000 delegates to attend the Democratic National Conventile manufacturing, working for Manhattan tion in Charlotte in summer 2012, Loretta is pictured here with the N.C. Shirt Company sewing on back collar buttons delegation as they are about to cast their vote for Barack Obama. (remember those?). While the job was good and so was the money, Loretta’s heart wasn’t in it. She was very homesick. She but please take me back to the mountains.” badly missed being able to walk out her front door and just be able to see trees and mountain slopes. L.D. and Loretta talked about Back to the Mountains the situation and both agreed that they would give Lexington two Within a month’s time, Lexington was in the Clawson’s car more years. True to his word, two years later, L.D. asked Loretta rearview mirror. Before departing Lexington, however, L.D. and if she was still homesick and unable to make a home of Lexington. Loretta had discussed that if they were going to have a family, then “I replied with zero hesitation,” said Loretta. “Yes. I love you, they wanted to move to a town where it would be desirable to raise

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Pictures from Loretta’s scrapbook show a family reunion from her mother’s side, where Loretta can be seen amongst the children (Left). (Right) Loretta is seen in her uniform, with Mike, from her days working at Ray’s King Burgers, located where Bojangles is now on N.C 321. At the time, Loretta was working mornings while her husband worked evenings to accommodate their growing family. children. Putting a lot of thought into it, the Clawsons felt the pull of Boone, and that’s where they decided to settle. Both were very happy about their decision. “We were back in the mountains, in a beautiful town that we both used to visit when we were younger,” said Loretta. “I remember coming to the ‘city’ at least once a year and seeing all the people. My family came to sell some tobacco and then we would go out to eat at one of the diners on King Street.” Coming back to the mountains was magical. Driving into the area, they saw Howard’s Knob, looking as if it was watching over the town. And, of course, Loretta saw trees. “Oh, how I loved all the trees in Boone—that was one of the major things I was missing at our place in Lexington. Boone was beautiful, and now it was to be my home!” said Clawson. Loretta and L.D. started their Boone life in a small singlewide trailer that was located on Straight Street, just past the courthouse. L.D. went to work for the college, working in building services. Loretta continued in textile manufacturing, taking a position at Shadowline Lingerie. Very soon after she started, she was promoted to a floor supervisor position, in large part because the owners recognized how outgoing Loretta was. Life was good in Boone for the Clawsons, and several years went by quickly at the single-wide on Straight Street. The young family had plans to have children and they had been saving to build a home. Their home on VFW Drive wasn’t quite finished, however, in time for their 22

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first child. Just as their time on Straight Street was coming to an end, son Larry Dean was born.

Motherhood & A New Chapter

Clawson noted that when she became a mother, she embarked on a very different chapter of her life. Major changes in her life included turning in her notice at Shadowline to stay home. Daughter Sheri Lea joined the family not too much farther down the road. Later, when she began to transition back to the workforce, her choices were made to accommodate being a parent. Since L.D. worked evenings, her first job back was breakfast management at Ray’s King Burgers located at what is now Bojangles. It was a hard job, and she had to rise extremely early to ensure the staff was at work getting ready for the breakfast crowd before 5:30 am. “I did not mind; I worked mornings and L.D. worked evenings and WE raised our kids!” said Clawson proudly. “L.D. and I wanted to do everything we could for our family and to be sure that we were the ones raising them.” There were sacrifices, but the Clawsons appreciated their life. Not only did they have their children, but a place to call home. Working hard at opposite hours for the children and family’s sake meant that there were times that they didn’t see as much of each other as they would have wished. “There were times when we hardly saw each other, but when we did have time together, it was always special,” said Clawson. “Who knows...maybe that sacrifice of

October / November 2013

being apart was a key to building a strong marriage.”

Entering Public Service

While Loretta was working mornings at Ray’s King Burgers, one of her regulars asked her if she would be interested in coming to work for him. Working for John T. Bingham, Clerk of Court for Watauga County, opened new opportunities for Loretta the working mother. Better hours and better pay made for a better-rested, better-focused matriarch, and the position helped Loretta blossom into an activist for her county and her town. Shortly after starting her new position at the office of the Clerk of Court, John T. Bingham was up for re-election. Loretta had always cared deeply for her community and had always been active in holding board memberships, offices and other positions for the many organizations that would enter her life, especially if her children’s future and well-being could be helped by her doing so. Joining Bingham’s campaign staff and participating in his run for office helped Loretta think more about her own personal philosophy. She realized that though she was a Republican by birth, her heart was more in line with Democratic views, and she switched her political affiliation during the summer of 1976. “I got a glimpse of what local government at its best could accomplish for a community, and I was hooked. To understand how public servants could help represent and share the viewpoints of all the various people in a community and enact changes for their benefit...I saw great po-


tential for good,” said Clawson. Clawson’s volunteerism increased. In an extension of being a mother and participating in programs at their school, such as Grade Mother, she realized that by being an active member in her community, she was going to make a better future for her children, Larry and Sheri. Armed with more knowledge about what it took to be part of change in a community, Loretta could not wait to find as many organizations as she could to help, including the local Democratic Party. Clawson also continued her own personal development and education, enrolling in college working towards a degree in business administration, doing paralegal work and earning a real estate/broker license. In 1981, Loretta was offered and accepted a position with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Like all of their big family decisions, Loretta and L.D. made it jointly, and the decision led to a long and rewarding career.

Town of Boone Service, Appalachian History & Mountain Life

Photo by Lonnie Webster

Loretta’s not shy about jumping into a political debate. Here she shows her support for Appalachian State University students opposing a state Republican plan that Democrats claim discriminated against student voters.

Among Clawson’s volunteer service, some of her major interests included preserving Appalachian history and mountain life. One committee she was very proud to serve on was the former Appearance Commission, which is now divided into two separate groups: Community Appearance Commission and Tree Board. Over decades of living in the mountains, like other longtime residents, Clawson has witnessed the environmental changes. On the Appearance Commission, Loretta and others fought

hard for protections to help preserve the natural beauty of the mountains. The topic of trees became such a prominent part of the committee’s work, that eventually it got its own board. “I love trees. They [trees] can provide us with so many things that people need...food, shade, shelter, and warmth, among other things,” said Clawson. “But the greatest thing is that they give hope. After a bad winter and a tree has taken a beating, it stands back up straight in the spring and stretches its limbs to

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the sun growing stronger, then through time Mayor Pro-Tem, once again stepped take the future into account, not just toits strength hold leaves, fruit and life in its up to the plate just as she always had. day. They have to take their neighbors into branches while providing shelter for those Boone was in need of a mayor that would account, also. Boone deserves the best. in need. Then the fall comes and the beau- understand the desires of the people. Peo- Boone deserves a future that will stand for ty of the mountainside fills with amazing ple that resided in Boone or that chose to beauty, history, preservation and integrity,” colors putting on its best performance of move to Boone wanted to preserve its her- said Clawson. the year, then rest again in the winter for itage and beauty while being one of North the next year’s encore. How could I not Carolina’s greatest communities. The Future On Tuesday, October 11, 2005, Loretta be passionate about saving and replenishClawson is not seeking a fourth term. ing the trees? I wanted my children to have was elected to the office of mayor. Since, For her past political wins, she gives credit that same love with God and nature as I she has gone on to accomplish this feat an to a skill she learned young in life during did, and without the trees, I just didn’t see additional three times. Of her 16 years in her leadership roles. office, Clawson has many achievements how that could be.” “I learned to listen to the people that I In 1996, Loretta entertained the idea that were dear to her heart (including the serve. I represent the people in the Town of running for Boone of Boone. I fought for Town Council. Her kids the things they wanted, were now off spreading answered their cries for their wings, and Loretta help in making Boone a was wanting to see if safe and beautiful place she could spread hers, for them to live in. These as well. Of course she things are important to the discussed this crucial depeople, and I work for the cision with L.D. and the people,” said Clawson. kids, and they all cheered “In my heart I am her on, because if anyone not ready to leave, but I could work for people know that at this point in and represent their views my life this is what I need and interests, it was Loto do,” said Clawson. “I retta. have loved everything When asked why about this office and beshe chose to run, the reing a part of Boone. This sponse was simple, “If I is where L.D. and I chose didn’t, then who would to call home, where we and would that person chose to raise our chilLoretta swears-in for her third and final mayoral term, alongside her represent the people of dren, and where together husband LD. Loretta decided not to run for a fourth term. Boone? Just as I love my we have always done family, I love my commuwhat we have believed to nity, and I will do everything within my Tree Board!). Among her favorite projects be the best for our community and for fupower for those I love,” said Clawson. and accomplishments were neighborhood ture generations to come. I am so honored In the 1997 municipal elections, Claw- preservation, the building of new commu- to have had the life I have lived.” son was the top vote-getter in the Town of nity parks, Historical Preservation Board, Asked about future pursuits, Loretta Boone. She was lucky enough to have been strengthening relations and communica- is quick to point out that their family elected to serve on the Town Council with tion with the university and the develop- is growing. She and L.D. have gained a Mayor Velma Burnley. The Democrats were ment of the 2030 plan. lovely daughter-in-law, Alicia, and are the minority on the Boone Town Council “The one thing that I am most proud grandparents to Alex (8) and Nick (4). that year, but the two Democrats worked of is the passing of the steep slope protec- Both Loretta and L.D. hope to be spoiling well with the Republicans for the most part, tions. The community was crying out with their grandkids and becoming very active and together began to solidify Boone’s place outrage at the careless developments,” said members in their lives for many years to as one of the most appealing cities in the Ap- Clawson. “It was a marathon...42 meet- come. “My family is my greatest achievepalachians. People began to flock to Boone, ings alone! But, it was a no-brainer and I ment in life!” said Clawson. “And I’ve not simply to visit but also to live there. The was going to fight to the end for the people never needed to leave the area to reach people relocating in the late 1990s and early of Boone.” my dreams because they were and are 2000s seemed to be coming because of how Clawson explained that the steep slope right here in front of me.” beautiful Boone was. The mountain way protections were not just about beauty. When asked specifically about political of life was important to them, as was the They were also about safety for both peo- pursuits, Clawson began her answer with a natural beauty of the mountains. The town ple living on the slopes and under slope smile and a shrug. “I never make family dewas progressive, but retained the charm of developments. Water quality, geological cisions without talking to L.D. first,” said a simpler way of life. impact, landslide prevention, and so much Clawson. “But you know me…if there is a more, they were all at stake. Preserving the need, I am the type of person who fills that beauty of Boone was a big part, but not the space. We will just have to wait and see. Mayor Right now, I am simply looking forward to In 2005, Mayor Velma Burnley decid- only part. “I am proud that now developers must spending more time with my family.”  ed not to seek re-election. Clawson, at the 24

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October / November 2013


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Your Local Elections: A Big Deal, Low Turnout

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hairdresser, a bartender and a Civil War re-enactor are standing in front of the courthouse and holding up signs. One looks to the other and says … No, this isn’t a joke. These are the candidates in the Town of Boone’s mayoral race in the upcoming municipal election. This isn’t to poke fun at the occupations of the candidates vying for the seat Loretta Clawson has held for the past eight years because these aren’t career politicians and each have been successful in their own right. Mayor candidate John Mena, stylist and owner of Haircut 101, has been a downtown business owner for more than 23 years. Andy Ball, who is an independent consultant and works in the local hospitality industry, became the second ASU student to serve on Boone Town Council in 2009 after his first election campaign. And Brad Harmon – he operates Harmon’s Dixie Pride on King Street and serves on the Downtown Boone Development Association. The sampling above just colors the fact that everyday people who want to make a difference in their community can run for office in local elections.

“That’s one thing about our great country. Regardless of who you are, as long as you have a clean record, you can throw your hat in the ring,” said Fred Pfohl, who served four terms as mayor of Beech Mountain. “The average guy who wants to become an elected official, the honest-to-goodness civic minded individual who wants to help his community, town, county or whatever needs to be somebody that is willing to work hard, think straight and have some knowledge of the inner workings.“ When Pfohl was first elected in the early 1980s, Beech Mountain was a brand new town and citizens and business owners were starting from scratch to form the town’s government, setup ordinances and improve dilapidated infrastructure. Pfohl and his fellow council members were faced with a straightforward task at hand and didn’t have time for politickin’. “It was fun back then because we had our work cut out for us, forming a new town and we had a job to do and we didn’t have time for any political problems within our own group much less anybody else’s group,” Pfohl said, adding that those times

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were much different than the current state of governmental affairs. “I guess every year that goes by everything becomes more complicated. I was lucky.” Whether Mena, Ball or Harmon are voted to sit in Clawson’s warm seat, they will walk into a situation that Pfohl never really encountered. Hot topics that elected Boone officials are to face include Watauga County’s redistribution of the sales tax that left the Town of Boone will roughly $1.7 million in less revenue and the controversial water intake project that has met hurdles at each step of the way. But that’s life on the hot seat.

Voter Turnout?

If history repeats, the importance of those two issues plus the many more that don’t make continual headlines will be decided by a small percentage of residents. As of mid August, precincts for the Town of Boone had more than 18,000 registered voters, but only a fraction will make it to the polls or send in absentee ballots. In 2009, 2,323 ballots were cast, representing nearly 15 percent of the nearly 16,000 registered voters – and that year featured three mayor candidates and seven Boone Town Council candidates. In 2011, the Town of Boone had 10 percent voter turnout, which wasn’t surprising considering the lack of contested races. In comparison, Blowing Rock had 37 percent turnout that same year. Historically, Watauga Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges estimates that the Town of Boone usually has 10 to 20 percent voter turnout, but she thinks this year may be different, considering the hoopla surrounding the Watauga County Board of Elections this past month. “I think we will be better than 10 percent definitely. If it takes this to get interest in the election process, so be it,” Hodges said. “We need the interest. We need people out voting and being concerned, but we need them to study the candidates and make sure they make the right choices.” Election Day is creeping upon us. By the time this magazine arrives off the presses, early voting will begin in less than three weeks. Check out important dates and names to be on the ballots on the following page, and click to HCPress.com for in-depth coverage of the 2013 Election. By Jesse Wood


✩✩✩✩Who To Vote For? ✩✩✩✩ Non Partisan Elections - No Party Affiliations Must Live in Town Limits • Incumbents marked ( I ) WATAUGA COUNTY

AVERY COUNTY

Town of Boone: Boone Mayor ❏❏ Andy Ball ❏❏ John Mena  ❏❏ Brad Harmon Boone Town Council  (You may vote for three) ❏❏ Rennie Brantz ( I ) ❏❏ Frank (Quint) David  ❏❏ Jennifer Pena  ❏❏ James Milner  ❏❏ Matthew C. Long ❏❏ Mark Templeton

Crossnore: Mayor ❏❏ Tudor Vance ( I ) Alderman (You may vote for three) ❏❏ Billy Howard ( I ) ❏❏ Jesse Smith ( I ) ❏❏ Nathan Smith ❏❏ Dan G. Vance ( I )

Town of Blowing Rock: Blowing Rock Mayor ❏❏ Dan Phillips  ❏❏ J. B. Lawrence ( I ) Blowing Rock Town Council  (You may vote for three) ❏❏ Doug Matheson ( I ) ❏❏ Ray Pickett ❏❏ Sue Sweeting  ❏❏ Tommy Klutz ( I ) ❏❏ Laurin Carter  ❏❏ David Barker  Town of Seven Devils:  Seven Devils Town Council  (You may vote for three) ❏❏ David Hooper ( I ) ❏❏ Kay Ehlinger ( I ) ❏❏ David Ehmig ( I ) Town of Beech Mountain:  Beech Mountain Town Council (You may vote for three) ❏❏ Edward (Eddie) Plante  ❏❏ Paul Piquet ( I ) ❏❏ E. (Rick) Miller ( I ) ❏❏ Cindy Keller ( I ) ❏❏ Barry Schorr 

Banner Elk: Mayor ❏❏ Brenda Lyerly ( I ) Banner Elk Town Council (You may vote for two) ❏❏ Ron DeFord ❏❏ Michael P. Dunn ❏❏ Robert E. Tufts ( I ) Village of Sugar Mountain: Sugar Mountain Town Council (You may vote for two) ❏❏ David P. Ammann ❏❏ Scott Brown

Town of Elk Park: Mayor ❏❏ John Boone ( I ) Elk Park Town Council (You may vote for five) ❏❏ Daniel Boone ( I ) ❏❏ Tony Eller ( I ) ❏❏ Tommy Norman ( I ) ❏❏ Michael Smith ( I ) ❏❏ Joel Whitley ( I ) Grandfather Village: Mayor ❏❏ Robert V. Donovan Grandfather Village Town Council (You may vote for two) ❏❏ David G. Jones ❏❏ Andre T. Tennille, Jr. Newland: Mayor ❏❏ Valerie Calloway Jaynes ( I ) Newland Town Council (You may vote for three) ❏❏ David P. Calvert ( I ) ❏❏ Stanley Hollifield ❏❏ Thomas Jackson ( I ) ❏❏ Roxanna Roberson ( I )

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Dates You Need To Know About the 2013 Municipal Elections October

Friday, Oct. 4 - Absentee voting by mail begins. Friday, Oct. 11 - Deadline to register to vote in the November 5th Municipal Elections.

Thursday, Oct. 17 - Early voting begins for November 5th Municipal Elections.

Tuesday, Oct. 29 - Deadline to request an absentee ballot for Municipal Elections on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.

November

Saturday, Nov. 2 - Early voting ends for Monday, Nov. 4 - Deadline to

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return voted absentee ballots for Municipal Election on Nov. 5, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5 - Municipal Elections. Tuesday, Nov. 5 - Municipal Elections, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 - Canvass for Municipal Elections at 11:00 a.m.

Candidate Forums in Watauga

Tuesday, Oct. 8 – Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Boone Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a candidate forum for mayoral and town council races at Council Chambers beside the Boone Police Department on Blowing Rock

October / November 2013

Road. Not deemed a debate, the forum is held in a round-robin format, and questions from the public may be submitted to Chamber in advance. Tuesday, Oct. 22 - Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce hosts a candidate forum for mayoral and town council races at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium from 6 to 9 p.m. Forum is open to all Blowing Rock voters.


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CROSSROADS STORY BY BERNADETTE CAHILL visitor returning to town today after many years might stand at the intersection of King and Depot Streets and conclude that everything in the center of Boone is more or less the same as it always was. There’s the newish bench, of course, with the bronze of Doc Watson who passed last year. But apart from that, a cursory glance would give the impression that, really, nothing much has changed over the years. Such an impression is a measure of the success of one of the most significant evolu-

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October / November 2013

tions in the last decade right in the heart of downtown: that of Farmers Hardware into the Shoppes at Farmers. This unique achievement is the story of how four generations of one local family have served the community, moved with the times, held onto tradition and preserved the face of Boone. Yet in the summer of 2004, there was a huge gap in downtown. That March, the four-score-years-old business of Farmers Hardware & Supply Company Inc. had announced its closure and nothing was in place


How four generations of one Boone family have served the community, moved with the times, held onto tradition and preserved the face of the center of Boone. to take its place. And the question, even if unspoken, reverberated around town: would the future tear down the venerable red-brick Watauga County Bank and the Farmers Hardware buildings, changing the face of Boone forever? Who knew?

Encountering a Ghost The Langdons, who owned Farmers Hardware, at that juncture couldn’t say what would happen. That disturbing scenario was hardly considered, but the family wasn’t sure which direction to take. “[After closing] we were at a standstill, really,” said Jason Langdon. “We didn’t reBrandon (Left) and Jason Langdon, owners of Shoppes at Farmers Hardware.


ally know what we were going to do with it, but we wanted to hang onto it.” It helped that some Boone businessmen were looking into renting. “There was some interest in it before we even closed the doors,” said Jason. “Some guys in town. We talked with them, got them in here, walked around, but nothing really came of it.” The nothing continued “for a few months” and with its doors locked, the building stood empty of the traditional inventory of guns, tools, cold shuts, sash pulleys, rope, washers, bolts, screws, nails by the half dozen or even singly if that’s what the customer wanted, while curious tourists who often dropped by to experience an authentic and rare old-fashioned momand-pop hardware store now encountered just a ghost. All the while, a huge question mark hung over the future of the oldest buildings at Boone’s central intersection. The former employees had also gone

and Jason, another of those who lost his job, was collecting unemployment and casting around for new work. Meanwhile, his younger brother Brandon Langdon was helping in sales at Farmers Rentals & Power Equipment. Yet, the Farmers Hardware downtown store still called to him. It was “like a home,” he said, for he and his brother had grown up in the store and always worked summers there.

Inspiration From Behind In the impasse, an enquiry about the building by an owner at the Wilcox Emporium on Howard Street helped to point the way. “We got the idea of doing what they were doing on the back street in the Emporium, renting out the building space by space,” said Jason. Once inspiration had struck, “We came to the decision pretty quickly to do it. “[But] I can’t remember the time frame.

We were at my mom and dad’s house and Brandon was there too,” he recalled. “We have a friend in construction and we knew we could get the remodel pretty cheaply and we just decided to do it. “My cousin helped. We were all in here cleaning and they were building walls and tearing downs walls at the same time. It was pretty light stuff, not real heavy-duty. It took a year, really to clean the place, to tear out the old carpeting on the stairs that was forty years old and stuff like that, but not too bad.” “Jason began tearing out the old fixtures,” said Brandon. “He drew the partitions, and my mother [Terri Langdon] picked out the paint and the replica lights. The store was empty when I came to help prepare. All the old seventies metal fixtures were sold or thrown away except for the wormy chestnut bolt bin cabinet that still stands today. With a few months of the remodel left, I came over and started help-

Farmers Hardware Supply Co., Inc Employees, 1949. Sitting Left to Right: Clark Storie, Kathleen W. Hodges, Mary Sue Greene, Greer C. Hodges. Standing Left to Right: Russell Hodges, Turner Storie, R.D. Hodges, Jr., Cecil Greene, Clyde R. Greene, Dean Hodges, W.C. Greer. Photo courtesy of Farmers Hardware archives.

Top: Center: Bottom:

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Cecil Greene became a joint owner of Farmers Hardware in 1963. His father, Clyde R. Greene founded the store in 1922. Here, sitting at his old desk in his former office once again, Cecil reviews the huge two-page newspaper ad commemorating Farmers Hardware’s 50th anniversary in 1972. Five years later, Clyde Greene retired from the business, where Cecil continued to work for many more years. Photo by Bernadette Cahill.

The Most Stable Business Farmers Hardware sold its first item of merchandise on December 24, 1924: a shotgun, retained for sentimental reasons after the original purchaser later traded it in, and today kept on display in the store. “This building was built in 1922 for

ing to paint and get the store ready.” “It all happened within a year,” said Jason. “We opened within a year of the decision to do it.” Today, brothers Jason and Brandon Langdon are owners of the Shoppes at Farmers, a business conceived it seems, in a flash. Yet their business model is a modern version of retailing which the family has operated now for nearly 90 years, and they are operating in the very same location where the family business has been based during most of that time.

Boone Hardware Company,” said Cecil Greene – grandfather of Jason and Brandon Langdon – while sitting once more at the desk that used to be his own in the office that oversees the main sales floor. “My father, Clyde Greene, got a job keeping books here in 1923, but he had a falling out with the owner and then he and Russell Hodges, Cicero Greer and Wade McGee went into partnership and formed Farmers Hardware, locating it in a wooden building where Boone Bagelry now sits. “It wasn’t a hard business to learn. He was raised on a farm and most everything they used on a farm was what the hardware store sold. They didn’t have much to sell back then except tools and plows and something to raise a crop with and hardware was the most stable business there was. Hardware stores rarely went out of business.”

After the Great Depression began in 1929 and credit got tight, in 1932 Boone Hardware failed, said Cecil. “My father and his partners were able to buy the real estate, inventory, everything. You couldn’t get loans from the bank, but they were able to buy because they had a good relationship with the hardware wholesaler, C.M. McClung & Company, of Knoxville, Tennessee, who gave them extended credit on inventory.”

The Role of the Wholesaler Cecil was born in 1927. After World War Two, during which he received radio and radar training in the Navy Air Corps but was not sent abroad to serve because the war ended, he worked at Farmers Hardware for several years. Then, in 1953, C.M. McClung & Company offered him a

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Farmers Hardware has been central in Boone life for decades. In the 1930s the store stayed open till 11 p.m. and townsfolk wandered in when they wanted something to do, while their purchases kept the business going during those hard times. In 1946 Farmers Hardware continued to be a main Boone destination – here for a crowd of customers, each eagerly awaiting to find out if they had won a washing machine in an in-store drawing. Photo courtesy of Farmers Hardware archives. job as a sales rep. He jumped at the chance and stayed with them until 1963. “Back in those days, the hardware stores all over the country bought their supplies from a wholesaler. I represented the wholesaler and I lived here and travelled all the way to Winston-Salem and back. The book I had weighed sixty pounds and it had all we had to offer, pictures and price tag, and when I retired the management let me keep the book here and kept it updated until it went out of business in 1970 because we bought [inventory] from them.”

The Start of Something Good

Meanwhile, a new opportunity had come his way. Two of the other shareholders had already bowed out of the operation, while “the majority stockholder, Mr. Hodges, passed away in 1960 and his fam34

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ily in 1963 offered me his shares, with no down payment and I could make payments on it. I jumped at the chance,” Cecil said. “I wasn’t risking anything. I took over as manager of Farmers Hardware in December, 1963 and bought the Hodges’ shares.” The deal ensured that both he and his father each owned half the total shares. This was the start of something good for him. “I was very fortunate,” Cecil said. “The town started really growing about that time, in the 1960s, with people coming up here to build summer homes, and ASU grew, so things picked up and I was able to pay off [the loan] in about 6 or 7 years. And my father, I bought his half in about 1977.” In charge, Cecil retained the same kind of merchandise, raising some prices and lowering others. He also expanded, installing the stairs through the middle of the store to open the basement up to re-

October / November 2013

tail and new stock. Later, he incorporated the former barber shop premises under the bank. In 1976 he had a ski shop on the balcony moved up to the third level of the building and installed a freight elevator, replacing the old-fashioned method of hauling supplies up by rope. In 1983, he acquired the old Watauga County Bank and soon “had the doorway cut out and closed up the front door.” Farmers now had gained its most unusual feature: the vault, a unique vendor booth today currently glittering with decorator lights. As a result of this acquisition, Farmers Hardware was able to expand the selection of housewares they had available for customers. Cecil’s daughter, Terri Langdon, worked on this project, and the increased inventory allowed the firm to make more high-end items available. Farmers Hardware also began to spawn


Farmers Hardware’s décor is now updated, but signs of the 1922 building’s history and heritage remain – from the wonderfully creaky wooden floor to the original pressed tin ceiling. Old fixtures still adorn the walls, while

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drawers stacked together and marked with the names of now-unknown pieces of hardware make funky display units. Around the store, bound volumes of sixty-year-old invoices hold the details of who bought what when at prices astoundingly low to 2013 eyes. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

new operations. In 1965 Cecil and his father established Watauga Building Supply and in 1967, Cecil bought the old Boone Town Hall at auction for $18,000. In the mid-1970s, his architect son David renovated and expanded the 1914 building on the corner of Depot and Howard and the ski department moved, opening up there in 1976 as Farmers Ski Shop. In 1988, Farmers Rentals and Power Equipment, another entity under the Farmers Hardware and Supply Company Inc. name, opened on Highway 105. Different branches of Cecil’s extended family own and operate these businesses today.

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With the acquisition of the old bank building, Farmers Hardware had reached the limits of potential expansion. At almost the same juncture, the anchor business of Boone’s central crossroads started to have to face up to a new hard business reality. Farmers Hardware had always had staff serve the customers: self-service and offering more items than the customer wanted secure in bubble packaging was not its way. But, in modern times, this was costly. Also, the store was always known for its customer service, but unfortunately by now that didn’t pay either. “Often people would come in with a faucet stem, needing a new washer. We’d put a new one on, but when they got to the cash register it was only 15 cents. When prices start to go up, you can’t do that anymore,” said Cecil.

Parking Challenges But, he said, “The biggest thing against us was we didn’t have enough room to give

October / November 2013

the people [a wide] selection. Also, the college grew and parking became just about impossible.” And even though Farmers Hardware always had its rear parking lot, it was always packed, contractors couldn’t load and consequently couldn’t trade with them. Business was trickling away. Yet another pressure was a new and increasing trend in the business. “I’d say ninety to ninety-five percent of manufacturers all over America began selling to the big box people,” said Cecil, explaining that bigger hardware stores provide a greater selection at lower prices. “It took the business away from the independent stores, so today, all the mom and pop hardware stores, like this used to be, are gone.” All Cecil’s children – Terri Langdon, David Greene, Jo Ann Phillips and Steven Greene – worked at Farmers Hardware from time to time. Terri and husband Bobby in particular enjoyed it, and they acquired it from Cecil in 1998. Cecil bowed out there in 2000, and several years later, with business falling off due to a combina-


Top Photo RIGHT: Today’s Shoppes at Farmers occupy two of Boone’s signature buildings dating to the early 1920s, when Boone began to thrive after the Tweetsie Railroad pushed through to the town in 1918. Photo by Ken Ketchie. Middle Photo RIGHT: The framework for last century’s hardware storage units serves as the background for 21st century merchandise, while bound ledgers detailing hardware purchases from a long-forgotten era preserve the history and nostalgia of the original building. Photo by Ken Ketchie. Bottom Photo RIGHT: Shoppes at Farmers’ most unique feature – the bank vault – frame retired and former owner Cecil Greene and his wife Hazel during a recent visit. Currently, the vault serves as a unique vendor booth glittering with decorator lights. Photo by Bernadette Cahill. October / November 2013

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tion of pressures such as national business trends and local parking problems, Terri and Bobby decided to close it down.

The Fourth Generation

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– Brandon Langdon October / November 2013

Nowadays, Terri and Bobby’s sons, Jason and Brandon Langdon are the fourth generation of the family to do business at the corner of Depot and King and they are proud of carrying on the tradition. Today, fifty vendors’ booths in the store display a variety of goods and gifts from housewares to furniture, with jewelry and fashion items in between. During the remodeling, many vendors heard about it through colleagues and acquaintances. Location, as always, matters. “The design of this business offers someone the opportunity to have a shop on King Street,” said Brandon. “A lot of Wilcox vendors heard what we were doing and they were actually in both places for two to three years before Wilcox finally closed.” The Langdons retained many details of the old times in the new decor. Old fixtures still adorn the walls, while drawers stacked together and marked with the names of now-unknown pieces of hardware make funky modular display units. On shelves high up near the original pressed tin ceiling, bound volumes of sixty-year-old invoices hold the details of who bought what when at prices astoundingly low to 2013 eyes. A couple of antiquated cash registers remind of yet another retail revolution, while a bookshelf of wholesalers’ volumes tucked in a corner holds pictures and prices of the nuts and bolts of the business as it was way back when. On the top floor, an exposed post that extends from the basement to the roof demonstrates not just the height, but the durability of the trees available for construction a century ago. And the pièce de resistance is something known only in an old building: a wonderfully loud, creaky, wooden floor.


An Ever-Changing Audience Brandon enjoys watching the everchanging customers at Shoppes at Farmers in this new era. “The seasonal thing is very interesting. The Floridians, the regional day trippers in the summer, the leaf lookers in October and students and more local people around the holidays. We have an ever-changing audience here.” “We are very happy with the results,” said Jason. “This spot couldn’t be any better to have this place. It was a good idea. The family owns the building. We don’t have any inventory to worry about. Just overhead and staff.” In sum, the business has been a success, living up to expectations and supporting their families and the two or three parttime employees, said Brandon. But there’s more satisfaction than reaping the financial rewards. “When the old business was closing down, it was sad,” Brandon said, “but to me it’s not about what we’re selling as much as retaining the building and still using it. That’s what I’m proud of too and proud that I’m a part of.” “I can’t imagine what would be here if this building wasn’t, if this wasn’t a retail building,” said Jason. Today, “it has a bright future. It’s kind of immune to the economy. We have cheap gifts, you can browse if you want. There’s hand-made stuff. We have new vendors and fresh products all the time. It’s going to snowball. It already has. So we’re going to keep on doing what we’re doing into the future.” 

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Wine at

Last By Megan Hall

I

n other areas of the country and the world, wineries mean towering Tuscan villas, sleek limousines, crowded tasting rooms and high prices. Not in Avery County. Wineries are a whole other animal in the High Country, and Jack Wiseman knows how to tame the beast. Jack, owner of Linville Falls Winery, was born and raised in the High Country, and always knew he would one day own his own winery. “My grandmother Ida taught me to make wine when I was eight years old and I’ve been passionate about grapes ever since!” said Jack, lounging in pair of slightly wrinkled khakis and a light blue button down on the elegant patio of the vineyard. Since opening in October 2012, the Linville Falls Winery has been the talk of the town. With 40 acres of rolling land planted with both grapes and Christmas trees, locals and visitors alike have found themselves at home on the property. Whether it is hiking to the top of the ridge for a beautiful view, picking out a Christmas tree, enjoying a few glasses of wine in front of the outdoor fireplace, or, most recently, supporting a fundraiser for the victims of the mudslide on Highway 194, there is something for everyone. Before he pursued his dream of opening a winery, Jack, who is now 80 years old, spent more than 40 years researching the wine industry, and, more specifically, the feasibility of growing grapes in Avery County. “From the time I was young, I wanted to try and grow grapes up here,” said Jack. “I spent time in the Korean War as an Army medic and after I finished my enlistment I lived in California working as a sheet metal mechanic at a shipyard. I spent most weekends in Napa and Sonoma. This was in the 1960s before vineyards were crowded. There weren’t many tourists at all. I paid attention to how they operated. It was great research!” During another of his weekend trips, Jack visited Oregon with a friend and helped harvest Frasier Firs. He immediately fell in love with Christmas trees as well. Many of Jack’s uncles graduated from North Carolina State University with 40

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October / November 2013

Photo By Megan Hall

degrees in agriculture, so he saw a very plausible opportunity to plant trees back home. “I moved back to North Carolina and told my uncles we should plant some trees,” Jack said. “It didn’t go over too well, so I moved down to Charlotte and started a janitorial business. When I lived in California, I used to pick up extra work cleaning buildings, so I had plenty of experience. I started the business in 1962 and when I sold the business fifteen years later, I had more than 300 employees cleaning buildings all over Charlotte.” Jack wasn’t just building a janitorial empire; he also eventually convinced one of his uncles to go into the Christmas tree business. In 1962, Jack and his uncle planted 5,000 Christmas Trees. After that, he split his time between Charlotte and the High Country. Any time Jack had extra money,


Jack Wiseman at the bar of his winery with his wine varietals.

Jack wiseman Fulfills his life long dream “This was a risky venture. I invested a lot of money and I’m just happy that my dream of having a vineyard and being successful at bringing fresh, local wine to the people of the High Country has come true!” October / November 2013

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“I knew I would like to open a vineyard someday, so we took samples from many of our farms. The results showed several locations had good viability for grapes.” These samples were done 26 years ago! he would pack up his wife and children and drive to his old bage and cattle farm that has a good slope for drainage and it faces southeast so it gets every drop of sun.” stomping grounds in Avery County and buy parcels of land. Linville Falls Winery is known for many of their wines, “People thought we were crazy when we planted the initial 5,000 seedlings,” said Jack. “And then two or three years but there are two or three that ring out as fan favorites including the Riesling, later, we planted 100,000 Cherry Bounce and, of – they really thought we course, Blueberry. were crazy then!” “Drinking Riesling Even after settling makes you a better into a life of Christperson!” said Jack. “I mas tree farming, Jack think it’s because there couldn’t get wine out of are at least nine differhis mind. He took sevent flavors of Riesling, eral samples of soil from everything from dry to his farms and had them sparkling. It makes it analyzed in Raleigh to valuable.” help determine if the soil The Riesling at Linwould produce a fruitful ville Falls is no excepvineyard. tion. Smooth with a “I knew I would like hint of pear and touch to open a vineyard someof acidity, this delecday, so we took samtable wine is heavily ples from many of our influenced by the Blue farms,” said Jack. “The Ridge soil from which results showed several it grows. These grapes locations had good viripen more slowly in the ability for grapes.” High Country because Twenty-six years after of the cool nights and those initials samples, warm days, which reand after watching the sults in a fresher, more success of Banner Elk complex taste. Winery, Jack felt confiIn addition to the dent that grapes would Riesling, the award-wingrow in Linville Falls. ning Cherry Bounce was “I knew if they could destined to be a crowd grow grapes in Banner pleaser. Elk, we could certainly Jack is pictured here with his mom, Louise Wiseman, around 1945 “I designed this grow grapes in Linville when he was 13 years old. Jack was born on February 28, 1932 in wine for women,” said Falls,” said Jack. “We are Crossnore and lived in Avery county thoughout his youth. Jack with a mischievous 800 feet lower in elevagrin. “It’s actually a twist on Martha tion and eight degrees warmer [than BanWashington’s recipe that was George ner Elk]. Linville Falls is already known as [Washington’s] favorite. We use apple garden and fruit country. After Banner Elk brandy made in Lenoir and combine it Winery’s success, I knew we could make with cherry wine made with fresh Avery something special happen down here.” County cherries and then add a hint of Soon construction began on a spacious cinnamon. It’s very easy to drink.” tasting room modeled after the winerLast, but certainly not least, one ies Jack once visited in the Sonoma and taste of the Blueberry wine will keep Napa Valleys. It’s Tuscan charm, bolstered you talking for weeks. This light fresh by vaulted ceiling with exposed wood wine is bursting with fresh High Counbeams, is most evident when relaxing on try blueberries. As Jack is known for the warm stone patio complete with an saying, “This would pair well with some outdoor fireplace and breathtaking view good stanky cheese.” of the vineyard and tree farm. Each and every wine on the tasting “I handpicked this particular piece of list offers its own unique flavor and pairland out of 22 other farms to be the vineing options, but none of these would be yard location,” said Jack. “It is an old cab42

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October / November 2013


Jack grew up on his grandparent’s farm pictured here in 1966. The farm was on the North Toe River and Jack recalls having to rebuild that bridge at least 20 times after flooding would wash it away.

J

Jack Growing Up

ack grew up in the nearby town of Spear, a place so small that a Google search barely renders so much as a population profile. Yet, in this small town, Jack was born and raised by his grandparents. “My mother was probably starved out of Spear,” said Jack. “My mother and father did not get married and my mother couldn’t provide for me while living in Spear, so she went out to California, to San Francisco, where she had relatives and got a job. Little Jack was looking for a place to stay, so my grandparents took me in and raised me. My mom and I stayed in touch and when I got out of the Army, I joined her in California where I worked as a sheet metal mechanic for about six years.” Growing up as a self-proclaimed Toe River Boy, Jack attended Riverside Elementary School, and then, later, Cranberry High School. In his teenage years he worked in a country store in Spear where he met “moonshiners and bootleggers,” many of whom were fresh from World War II. “Spear was a bootlegging town!” said Jack. “Those boys sure did love to fight, mostly over alcohol, but I was never much of a fighter.” Later, Crossnore High School coach, Asa Reese, and teacher, Walter “Pop” Jarvis, recruited Jack and several other boys for the Crossnore High School athletic department. According to Nancy Marrison during her introduction for Jack’s 2013 Hall of Legends Induction, Jack credits Pop Jarvis, a staunch Christian with a great love for kids, with turning his life around. Jack says he would have landed in a lot of trouble had it not been for Pop’s guidance. Wiseman was instrumental in establishing the Walter “Pop” Jarvis Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships of $1,000. More than 80 Avery High seniors have received these scholarships over the past 11 years.

Pictures provided by the Wiseman family, and archived and digitized by Danica S. Goodman

Jack’s grandparents Charlie and Ida Wiseman

Jack visits with his grandfather in June of 1963 October / November 2013

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Jack joined the army as an infantryman and medic in 1952 and was sent to Korea in 1953 where he was the only medic in his company. He was stationed very close to the site where the cease-fire treaty was signed in July of 1953. He returned home to Avery county and went to college in Asheville.

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possible without Jack’s vision and his right-hand man, Rick Donley, the wine maker for Linville Falls Winery since October 2011. Rick was previously the director of Appalachian State University’s enology and viticulture department. He also spent years as wine maker with Glen Ellen and Gundlach Bundschu wineries in Sonoma, California. His background includes a degree in enology and viticulture, a graduate degree in food chemistry and almost 30 years in the wine industry. As Jack will lament, Rick joined the winery family just in time to help pioneer some note-worthy High Country wines. “I’d known Rick for a couple years before I proposed he come on board,” said Jack. “I liked his demeanor. He was

very forthcoming. We’re both dedicated to proving that the High Country can produce unrivaled, world-class wine. And Rick has something few wine makers have – a great taster!” Rick isn’t the only person enjoying the tastes of Linville Fall Winery. On websites such as Tripadvisor and Yelp, visitors to the winery hail it as a “must-see” that has a “wonderful Tuscan feel.” One enthusiast who visited the winery in September left a review on Tripadvisor stating, “[It was a] beautiful Tuscan-like winery in the middle of the gorgeous Blue Ridge. We tasted the eight wines and enjoyed the flavors. Then we decided to explore the vineyards and surrounding landscape. Four of us tackled the high hills behind the winery where we found awesome views but the

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When Jack moved back East in 1960, he ended up in Charlotte. From his experiences of cleaning buildings in California, he started a janitorial business in Charlotte that he own for fifteen years and grew into a company with 300 employees. In 1962 he became reacquainted with a high school friend, Jo Ann Aldridge, at a chance meeting in Crossnore, and they married a year later.

October / November 2013


In 1962, Jack bought and planted his first 5,000 Christmas tree seedlings and by 1966 he was planting over 100,000 seedlings at various farms around Avery county. Today the Wisemans have 22 farms with a million and a half trees growing on them. in the beginning folks laughed at his idea of planting so many trees when he first got started.

Christmas Tree Pioneer

A

fter gaining a love for Christmas trees while on a trip to Oregon in the late 1950s to help a friend harvest Christmas trees, it inspired Jack to try to convince his family to go into the Christmas tree business in Avery county when he moved back to North Carolina. In 1962, Jack bought 5,000 seedlings. Two or three years later, he upped the ante to 100,000. “People thought it was a waste of money!” said Jack. At that time, most farmers in Avery County planted trees by the hundreds, not the thousands. However, Jack had faith in his plan. Slowly but surely, Jack turned his farm, and much of Avery County, into a major producer of Christmas trees in the United States. Jack started by selling his trees to big box stores. Then he progressed to selling trees to stores such as Lowe’s Home Improvement. Lowe’s began buying trees from Jack in the late 1980s and purchased 37,000 the first year. Today, the company purchases more than one million trees from Jack’s Christmas Greens business in Newland. With 22 farms grossing a million and a half Christmas trees, it’s safe to say that the Wiseman’s have revolutionized the industry. They may have been crazy to risk it all for Christmas trees, but, as Jack says, “For me, growing Christmas trees is true love.” October / November 2013

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Photos by Ken Ketchie

The Linville Falls Winery opened its doors in October of 2012 on US Highway 221, just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway. best part came when the owner pulled up in his ATV and offered us a ride to the top! Such a treat -- really made our trip. We could see for miles and loved the mix of Christmas trees with the vineyards. Don’t miss a visit here when you are in the area.” Evidenced by many such reviews, Linville Falls Winery is experiencing steady business despite being a relatively young vineyard. “We get a lot of business from the [Blue Ridge] Parkway,” said Jack. “Some people just go for a drive, get a little lost and end up here. Every time that happens, they always say, ‘What a great place to end up!’ That’s what we want. We want to focus on producing high-quality, award-winning wines that people will die for.” Linville Falls Winery is already hosting live music every Saturday from 3-6 p.m. through October 12, but they would like to expand into more events. “We’re planning to do landscaping and, I hope, refurbish the old barn on the property to be an event space,” said Jack. “I would love to host weddings and other events more often!” While broaching into the realm of event hosting, Jack has already opened the doors 46

High Country Magazine

“We get a lot of business from the [Blue Ridge] Parkway. Some people just go for a drive, get a little lost and end up here. Every time that happens, they always say, ‘What a great place to end up!’ That’s what we want. We want to focus on producing highquality, award-winning wines that people will die for.”

October / November 2013


In 2006, Jack planted his first 1,000 vines on the 40 acre site which now has more than 3,000 vines - and counting. of Linville Falls Winery for a fundraiser benefitting the victims of the recent mudslide on Highway 194. In a joint effort with Reaching Avery Ministry and WAMY, this past August, Jack offered live music by Graham Ferrell and Friends, tours and tasting, while also donating a percentage of all wine sales to the affected families. Philanthropic endeavors such as this, combined with his years of service to the community, garnered Jack’s entry into the Martha Guy Hall of Legends this past September. Sponsored by the Williams YMCA of Avery County, the event honored Jack, along with Dr. Bill Tate, for making a significant difference in the community through the course of many, many years. Hall of Legends committee member, Nancy Morrison, who introduced Jack at the ceremony, commented to High Country Press, “Both of these men have given back to the community and have served on almost every board imaginable, been members of every organization in the county and spent many, many years adding and contributing significantly to causes that have bettered Avery County citizens.” In his typical fashion, Jack said that

“I knew if they could grow grapes in Banner Elk, we could certainly grow grapes in Linville Falls. We are 800 feet lower in elevation and eight degrees warmer [than Banner Elk]. Linville Falls is already known as garden and fruit country. I knew we could make something special happen down here.” October / November 2013

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The winery features a state-of-the-art wine making facility where grapes are brought in, selected and then fermented, eventually ending with the finished wine bottled and labeled, all done on site. the induction came as a surprise and “a hell of an honor.” Among other accolades, Jack has also been recognized as Avery County Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year. After spending the better part of a century researching, planting, cultivating, harvesting and enjoying his dream of owning a vineyard, Jack is just thankful it all worked out. “This was a risky venture,” said Jack. “I invested a lot of money and I’m just happy that my dream of having a vineyard and being successful at bringing fresh, local wine to the people of the High Country has come true! My next feat will be to move to all estate-grown grapes. I’m hoping that will

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Photos by Ken Ketchie

happen in the very near future.” When Jack isn’t at the vineyard nurturing his love affair with grapes, he can often be found spending time with his wife of 51 years, Jo Ann, or his three children and six grandchildren. “My wife puts up with a lot from me,” said Jack with a chuckle. “The secret to a 51-year marriage is a Christian upbringing, communication and honesty. That’s it!” Jack and Jo Ann have an interesting story all their own. They are fifth cousins, both hailing from Aldridge bloodlines, who met at Crossnore High School.


Jack met his future wife Jo Ann Alridge while attending Crossnore High School, where Jack remembers telling her she would make a wonderful wife. But it would be a number of years later before they had the chance to fall in love and marry. Jack attributes their 51 year marriage to a good Christian upbringing, communication and honesty. “My wife’s parents travelled the country playing hillbilly music, which then became known as country music and is now known as bluegrass,” said Jack. “Her father was from Crossnore and her mother was a classic pianist from England. Jo Ann’s mother went to one of the hillbilly music shows, fell in love with it and met her future husband! They had Jo Ann in San Francisco and eventually moved back to Western North Carolina. “I met Jo Ann at Crossnore High School,” said Jack, “and one day I looked at her and said, ‘You know, you’d make a great wife someday.’ After the war, I found out where she was living.

Then when I moved back to Charlotte I ran into her and one year later we were married!” Jack Wiseman is a multi-faceted businessman with a heart of gold. He’s changed the landscape of Avery County with his revolutionary Christmas tree methodology and now, once more, he’s changing Avery County with the addition of delicious, unmatched wines. The Linville Falls Winery is located at 9557 Linville Falls Highway outside of Jack and Jo Ann have three children, Louie, Lana and Lance, and Newland. They are now have six grandchildren, all pictured above. They are from left open daily from 12 - 6 p.m. for tastings. to right: Lindsay, Matt, Maddy, Jessica, Jacob and Ginny Leuman. Their wine can also be The grandchildren were on hand for the induction of Jack into the purchased online. Please 2nd Annual Martha Guy Hall of Legends at the Hugh Chapman visit www.linvillefallsCenter in Linville on September 15, 2013, a benefit for the YMCA winery.com for more of Avery County. information.  October / November 2013

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WATAUGA SWIM TEAM A HOBBY FOR LIFE The Watauga County Swim Team is constantly growing and improving. While children compete, they learn skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives. STORY BY CHELSEA PURDUE PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATIE WARREN

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wimming isn’t just a sport. It is a lifetime hobby, a way of life and a passion. Jodi Cash, Nathan Fields, and Chris Conner can attest to the ways that swimming has impacted their lives. As children, each of them swam on teams. Cash swam for the Watauga County Swim Team, the same team that she grew up to coach until this summer. Fields and Conner swam for different teams, but both of them have played an integral part in shaping the Watauga County team. Everyone who works with the swim team agrees that swimming isn’t just another sport. For most football, soccer, basketball and baseball players, their participation in the sport will end once they finish high school or college at the latest. They may occasionally play a pickup game, but most of them won’t continue 50

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to play it like they did in their adolescence. But swimming is different. “Swimming is such a great sport,” commented Nathan Fields, the new head coach of the Watauga County Swim Team. “It’s something you can do from the time you’re 2 years old to the time you’re 100 years old.” Because it’s something that children learn at such a young age and can carry into adulthood, the coaches really focus on teaching great technique. The Watauga County Swim Team, known as the Water Warriors, is an averagesized team with more than 70 swimmers. When competing against teams of 200 The Watauga County Swim Team, known as the Water Warriors, is an average-sized team with more than 70 swimmers. When competing against teams consisting of 200 or more swimmers from metropolitan areas, the team can’t earn enough points to win the meet, but many of the swimmers

October / November 2013

often win individual awards and the team is continuing to grow.

THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP In July, the team took seven swimmers to the 2013 NC 14 and Under Long Course Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The competition was the culmination of an entire summer of practices beginning before most school-aged kids were even awake. While the swimmers practiced in the pool, they also did dry land workouts.

>>TOP IMAGE BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT

Jacob Woody, Ella Campbell, Juliana Silver, Caroline Forsyth, Anne Taylor, Reed Conner FRONT ROW

Alayna Arnholt, Barrett Conner, Kimberly Vines, Grace Temple


Coach Jodi Cash discusses race strategy >>

Swim Practice

Grace Temple, Anne Taylor

Alayna Arnholt, Caroline Forsyth, Ella Campbell, Reed Conner, Coach Nate Fields

Lindsay Scott, Ella Thompson, Topher Lowe October / November 2013

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At the championship, Ella Campbell, Barrett Conner, Reed Conner, Caroline Forsyth, Henryk Kosmala, Grace Temple and Isabelle Temple each posted their personal fastest times of the season. Ella Campbell posted a second place finish in all three of her breaststroke events, and Caroline Forsyth and Reed Conner made appearances in the finals. As school starts back, the team is preparing for their short course season, which means they will swim in a 25-meter pool rather than a 50-meter pool. This is the time that many newcomers get involved with the swim team, and those who have been doing it for years continue to encourage and help the new kids.

SWIMMING FAMILIES The swim team is a mix of children who have grown up in a legacy of swimming, some of them with parents who swam for the

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Watauga County team, and children who are the first swimmers in their family. Currently, there are more than 70 children on the team ranging in age from 5 to 16. Conner, who is the president of the board of directors for the swim team, has two sons who are on the team, and he enjoys using their skills to spend time with them. “I think it’s the one sport that the kid can invite the parent to do,” Conner said. “It’s a great way to spend time together. You rest in between laps, and it gives you time to sit there and talk.” Like many sports, the swim team feels like a family. But whereas most teams in other sports have a couple dozen teammates at most, the swim team has nearly 80. Still, the children become close-knit while traveling together, and many of them are friends both in and out of the pool. For Fields, the relationships he made on the team sometimes became lifelong memories. “I tend to remember not so much the times that I had or the


awards that I got,” he said. “I tend to remember more the friendships that I’ve made and the experiences that I got to have.”

A UNIQUE SPORT

CHALLENGES IN THE POOL

“It is a team sport, but swimming is also very much an individual sport...”

Sometimes those goals are hindered by the challenges that the team faces. They have to rent the pool from the Watauga County Parks and Recreation and they are slowly outgrowing their space. They practice without starting blocks and must overcome other challenges. But mostly, the team overcomes difficulties by making the most of the time they’re in the water. Cash said that when she was coach,

>>BELOW Coach Jodi Cash jokes with team members during a short break.

Although the children spend a lot of time together, they also spend a lot of time in the water alone. Unlike most other sports, swimming is unique because it’s both a team sport and an individual sport. The children compete as part of their team to win points as a whole, but they also receive individual awards and, unless on a relay team, are swimming solo in their events. That uniqueness often attracts children who don’t enjoy other team sports or those who are looking for something different. “It is a team sport, but swimming is also very much an individual sport,” Cash said. “You spend a lot of time looking at that black line on the bottom of the pool—lot of time for your mind to wander. We want that to be a positive time. One of the biggest things that I’ve always told the swimmers as long as I’ve coached is that I want this to be that safe place you can come to where we’re not going to tolerate bullying, nobody’s going to make fun of you, it’s going to be a supportive environment, and you can work as hard as you want and get the results that you want.” Conner also emphasized that the children are mostly supportive of each other. Although there is occasional bickering, the coaches quickly quell it and encourage the children to support each other. “They encourage one another very well,” Conner said. “Nothing means more to a 6-year-old little girl than for a 16-year-old girl to come up and go, ‘Awesome job. You did so well,’ because they look up to them. And I think that’s another unique difference is that in baseball, a team is comprised of 11 and 12 year olds. They’re all within a year apart. Well in swimming, they can go from 5 to 18. They become a role model.” Because swimming is a sport that requires a lot of selfdiscipline, children who swim tend to do better in school. Fields starts teaching even the youngest children to set goals for themselves. “Probably one of the biggest things for me is learning the ability to set goals for yourself and then make a game plan as far as how you’re going to achieve that goal and then do it,” he said.

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“I TEND TO REMEMBER NOT SO MUCH THE AWARDS THAT I GOT, BUT THE FRIENDSHIPS THAT I’VE MADE AND THE EXPERIENCES THAT I GOT TO HAVE.” she ensured that practice time was actually a time for practice and not just a play time. Fields agrees, but he also incorporates some fun games to help the kids learn. “It does help to have a little fun here and there,” he said. “We do some fun things. We like to mix it up a little bit. It can’t all just be about pounding laps.”

WANT TO JOIN? The team is always looking for new swimmers to join. Qualifying for the swim team is fairly simple. Children only need to be able to swim a length of the pool. Once they’ve done that, they can spend a week watching the other swimmers or practicing with no commitment. At the end of the week, they can make their decision about whether they would like to join the team. “Short, tall, heavy, skinny, it doesn’t matter for swimming,” Conner said. “It does for a lot of sports. With swimming, it gives everybody an opportunity.” Even children who can’t afford to pay the entire amount for the team still have options. The team has several corporate sponsors and is still looking for more. Those sponsors

>>TOP TOP TO BOTTOM

Hannah Marlett, Alayna Arnholt, Price St. Clair. Madie Darner, Grace Temple, Caroline Forsyth, Kimberly Vines, Joel Brown, Reed Conner >>BOTTOM LEFT TO RIGHT

Coaches Lindsay Kivett, Carlie Pendleton, Nate Fields, and Faye Kelly. >>OPPOSITE The Swim Team poses for the camera. 54

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help with operational expenses and they provide money for scholarships that go to any children who want to swim but may not have the financial means to do so. “We never want to tell a kid no, so when someone comes and says, ‘I’d love to do swimming, but I can’t afford it,’ then we’ll say, ‘Well, what are your needs?’” Conner said. “We’ve yet to not award a scholarship.” Swimming is a sport that’s easy for children to learn how to do, and some pediatricians even recommend it to help with focus and other areas where children may struggle. Most children know how to swim so taking up the sport is simply improving and becoming disciplined in the knowledge they already have. 

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“The North Carolina High Country holds a special place in our hearts and no matter where we’re at, this area remains not only a favorite for us to live, it’s actually become a passion to Deborah and me as we enjoy living here so much. We especially enjoy interacting with the many wonderful people who also live here and visit here. Our experiences here have been of the first order.” 62

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– Gaylord Perry


The High Country’s

Gaylord Perry9 A Major League Baseball Immortal Story by Tim Gardner Photos courtesy of Gaylord & Deborah Perry and various Internet Sources

T

ucked deep in the heart of the North Carolina High Country is Mitchell County and the town of Spruce Pine, approximately sixty miles North of Asheville and fifty miles Southeast of Boone. Spruce Pine is known as a mining mecca. A majority of the feldspar in the United States and almost all ultra-pure quartz in America and in the world comes from this area. Spruce Pine is also known by many as "The Mineral City” for its wide collection of various gems. And no doubt, Spruce Pine epitomizes the term "Blue Collar" town as well as any to which you'll travel. Please understand that is not a knock. Instead, it's a tribute to the tranquility of this tiny, charming village that has a population of just slightly more than 2,000. Everyone there seems to say, "Hi, y'all" whenever they come in contact with others whether they're an acquaintance or a stranger. Good folks live in Spruce Pine, including, perhaps, its most famous resident, former Major League Baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry, who ranks as one of the game’s all-time greatest players. Personable and outspoken, yet with an easy-going demeanor, Gaylord has devoted much of his life to sports and if there is anything besides his religion and his family that dominates his being, it's America’s Favorite Past-Time.

Gaylord at Limestone College.

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Game Statistics Few Pitchers Can Top

But now it’s a whole new ball game, a different story in a modern era of specialized pitching. Because of a pitch count limit (usually around 100 pitches), the starters rarely notch a complete game and the relief pitchers, such as the setup men and closers, will finish up. Still, Gaylord believes Major League Baseball’s current philosophy in pitching is desirable. “I kind of agree about what they do now,” he said. “I also was in the bullpen for 1962 and ‘63 and it’s not a very good place to be because your value with the team is not very much. Nowadays, with the change in pitching philosophy and rules, the bullpen a very important place. It makes you feel like you are a big part of the team if you’re in the bullpen.” He added that his playing career likely would not have lasted longer if the clubs in his playing heyday had adopted the current philosophy of using the pitch count

limit and specialized relievers. Gaylord credits the rigid physical conditioning routine he used as being a “significant factor” in helping lengthen his playing career. “During my career, I was always in good physical shape,” he proclaimed. “When spring training started, I was in the physical shape necessary to play the game and compete at the highest level when some players weren’t. I worked hard at maintaining it throughout my career. Good physical conditioning is all-important to any athlete and should be a priority for them to adhere to.”

Gaylord pitched for eight different teams in his 22-year (1962-’83) Major League playing career. His derring-do accomplishments are astounding. He registered 314 wins, struck out 3,534 batters, and compiled a 3.11 ERA (Earned Run Average). He was elected to the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. A five-time All-Star, Gaylord was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league (the American League in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and in the National League in 1978 with the San Diego Padres). He also is distinguished, along with his brother Jim, for being the Gaylord was accused of using the second-winningest brother combination spitball, or greaseball, which made the in professional baseball history—second ball harder to hit while defying batters, only to the knuckleballing Niekro brothhumiliating umpires, and infuriating ers, Phil and Joe. While pitchopposing managers. Throwing for the Seattle Mariners ing an effective spitball, one in 1982, Gaylord became the that approached the plate like fifteenth member of the 300a fastball, but suddenly sank win club. Additionally, Gaylord like a heavy stone, took skill and Jim are the only brothers and practice. But regardless of in major League baseball histhe accusations, Gaylord was tory to win Cy Young Awards a highly-accomplished craftsas Jim claimed the honor in man-- a right-handed hurler-1971. Ironically, Jim, like Gaywith many great pitches in his lord, played for the Cleveland repertoire. (including two stints and one During Gaylord’s career, when both were Indians’ teamthe rules governing the enmates) as well as for the Minneforcement of the spitball were sota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and changed twice, and the umpires Oakland Athletics. were given explicit directives Gaylord held the record for concerning the pitch several many years for most consecutive other times. He maintained 15-win seasons since 1900 with that when his pitching wasn’t 13 (1966–1978) and he was 2nd as good, he wasn’t accused of all-time to Cy Young, who had doctoring the ball as much. But 15 (1891–1905). when he was pitching well, he During the early days when was accused of it much more Gaylord pitched, the game of often. baseball didn’t pay that much Gaylord’s 1974 autobiogattention to pitch counts, and raphy was entitled Me and the the starting pitchers often went Spitter: An Autobiographical the entire nine-inning game on Confession, and in it he exthe mound. plained how he learned the “We were trained to do all pitch, and numerous tales of nine innings,” he explained. particular confrontations with “We were trained to pitch like angry batters. "Most of the that even in the minor league time, if I wanted to do someas I was coming up to the (San thing ‘funny’, I would do it in Gaylord was so well-known for throwing the “spitball” that Francisco) Giants. It was the the first inning,” Gaylord exway they played back then.” As far as complete games, Gaylord pitched 303 of them, registering 53 shutouts. 64

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A distinctive pitching style

he named his autobiography after the pitch. Currently outof-print, the book is considered a definite collector’s item for Gaylord’s fans and all baseball enthusiasts. October / November 2013

claimed. “Then, everybody's fussin' and gripin', and no matter what the pitcher throws he's already done his job."


(Top right): Gaylord’s baseball cards, like this 1968 Topps, remain in demand at card shows, on Internet auctions and any other source where they are available. (Bottom right): Gaylord graces the cover of Sports Illustrated after he won his 300th game on May 6, 1982 when he pitched a complete game 7-3 win for the Seattle Mariners over the New York Yankees in Seattle’s Kingdome. He figured out the psychology just by watching his own teammates when he was with the San Francisco Giants as they faced the Dodgers. "I never did anything with my cap or the back of my head or my eyebrow until I watched the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale pitch,” Gaylord recalled. "My teammates were coming back to the dugout, 'It's on his hat.' Then the next guy strikes out and says, 'Nah, I think it's on his belt.' Then the next guy says, 'He's got it on his pants leg.' "Now all they're worried about is what he's touchin', and he's got 'em." That's when Gaylord started his fidgeting routine on the mound, grabbing the bill of his cap, wiping his brow, scratching the back of his head, to psyche-out batters. Gaylord claims he was taught the spitball in 1964 by fellow-Major League pitcher Bob Shaw. Gaylord was inspected on the mound by umpires and monitored closely by opposing teams. American League umpire Bill Haller said of Gaylord during his playing heyday and his alleged Spitball, "I watched Gaylord like a hawk. He never goes to his mouth. I never see him get any foreign substance. When we umpire, we check balls as well as the catcher's glove. I've never found anything. I'll tell you what he's got: a good curve, a fine fastball, a good change and a fine sinker. His sinker is the suspicious one. It's excellent. But no better than (fellow major-league) Mel Stottlemyre's and they don't complain about his. I'll tell you what (Gaylord) Perry is: he's one helluva pitcher, a fantastic competitor." Gaylord quickly answered when asked who was the toughest batter he faced during his long career. “There’s a bunch of those,” Gaylord said. “Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs would hit home runs

off me, and he certainly was one of the toughest. Roberto Clemente was tough. Willie Stargell, Mike Schmidt and the whole (Cincinnati) Reds club in the late 1960s were especially tough to pitch against.”

Early Life and a Three-Sport Prep Blue-chipper Gaylord Jackson Perry was born September 15, 1938, to tenant farmers Evan and Ruby. Gaylord was named after a close friend of his father's, who died while having his teeth pulled. Gaylord's older brother James also had a long major league pitching career, and younger sister, Carolyn, completed the family. Evan Perry was a great athlete who played both baseball and football, and reportedly turned down a minor league contract because his family could not afford to have him leave their farm. Evan and Ruby had a 25-acre parcel of land, where they grew tobacco, corn and peanuts for money (sharing half the proceeds with the landowners), and raised animals and additional vegetables to feed their own family. Gaylord and Jim began plowing the fields with a mule at the age of seven, and Gaylord's earliest childhood memories were of working on the farm and wanting to be a cowboy. The Perry Boys were luckier than most-their father loved baseball and gave them as much free time as practical so that they could pursue the game. Jim and Gaylord both began playing ball with their father during their lunch break, and later all three played on the same local, semi-pro team. Gaylord attended Williamston High School, and starred in football, basketball and baseball. October / November 2013

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On the gridiron, he was All-State as an offensive and defensive end as a sophomore and junior, before giving up the sport because he did not want an injury to affect his baseball career. In basketball, Gaylord teamed with his brother Jim (both Perry’s were already 6-foot-3-inches tall) to reach the state finals in Gaylord's freshman year. In four years playing basketball, Gaylord averaged nearly 30 points and 20 rebounds per game, and led his team to a sterling 94-8 record. He turned down dozens of college scholarship offers. Jim, almost three years older than Gaylord, moved on to Campbell Junior College after his own junior year. Gaylord also attended Campbell after he graduated high school. But baseball remained his favorite pasttime. Gaylord began playing third base, affording him a great view of Jim's talents on the mound. Near the end of Gaylord's freshman year, the coach began swapping the Perry’s to give Jim's arm a rest. Williamston High won the state tournament, with the Perry brothers tossing back-toback shutouts to sweep the best-of-three series finals. After three more outstanding seasons, winning 33 of 38 decisions, Gaylord was ready to turn professional.

Gaylord was the total package as a pitcher. The right-handed hurler had many awesome pitches in his arsenal and he had equal prowess throwing them all.

Grooming for the Pros in the Minor Leagues Gaylord was nearly 20 years old when he graduated high school and local officials arranged an exhibition game against ex-big-leaguer Tommy Byrne and assorted local semi-pros, a contest designed to showcase Gaylord for major league scouts. He won the game, 5-1, at one point striking out 17 consecutive batters. Gaylord’s brother Jim was climbing up in the Cleveland Indians organization and Gaylord had hoped to sign with the rival Milwaukee Braves, which later relocated to Atlanta. Instead, he signed with the San Francisco Giants, and scout Tim Murchison, for a $90,000 bonus and three-year contract. Gaylord gave half the bonus money to his father, getting his parents out of debt for the first time in their lives, and he put the rest of the proceeds in the bank. Gaylord’s father actually signed the contract for him to make it legally binding since Gaylord was not the mandated age of 21 years old at the time. Gaylord then played briefly for the Alpine, TX Cowboys, before spending the rest of 1958 with the St. Cloud, Minne66

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sota team in Class A Northern League, compiling a 9–5 record and a 2.39 ERA. In 1959 he was promoted to the Class AA Corpus Christi Giants, where he posted a less impressive 10–11 record and 4.05 ERA. He remained with the team as they became the Rio Grande Valley Giants in 1960, and had an improved ERA of 2.83, earning him a promotion to the Class AAA Tacoma Giants for the 1961 season. At Tacoma, he led the Pacific Coast League in wins and innings pitched in 1961. Gaylord had a brief call-up to the Major League in 1962, making his debut on April 14 against the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in 13 games in 1962, but had a high 5.23 ERA and was sent back down to Tacoma for the remainder of the year. With the addition of Gaylord, the1962 Tacoma squad, which featured numerous future major league players, was generally considered the best minor league lineup of the 1960s.

The Hall of Famer’s autograph on a San Francisco Giants publicity picture.

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Major Consistency in the Major League

joked, "They'll put a man on the moon before he (Gaylord) hits a home run." There are various elements to the story, but ironically, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Gaylord hit the first home run of his playing career. Gaylord took over as the Giants' ace in 1970, and led the league both in wins (23) and innings pitched (328). Gaylord’s strong 1970 performance salvaged the Giants season, helping them finish above .500 but in third place. In 1971, the Giants finally won their division, with Gaylord posting a 2.76 ERA. In what would be his only two postseason appearances, Gaylord won one game and lost the other against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

San Francisco Giants (1962–71) Gaylord joined the Giants in 1963 to work mostly as a relief pitcher that year, posting a mediocre 4.03 ERA in 31 appearances. Nevertheless, in 1964 he was given the opportunity to join the starting rotation, finishing with a 2.75 ERA and a 12–11 record. Both were second best for the Giants that year behind Juan Marichal. In 1965 his record was 8–12, and with two full seasons as a starter, his 24–30 record attracted little national attention. Gaylord’s breakout season came in 1966 with a tremendous start, going 20–2 into August. Gaylord and Marichal became known as a "1–2 punch" to rival the famous Sandy Koufax-Don Drysdale combination of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gaylord played in his first All-Star game, but after August, he slumped the rest of the season, finishing 21–8, and the Giants finished second to the Dodgers. Marichal missed much of the 1967 season with a leg injury, and Gaylord was thrust into the role of team ace. While he finished the season with a disappointing 15–17 record, he had a low ERA and allowed only 7 hits per 9 innings pitched. Gaylord had similar numbers in 1968: he posted a 16-15 record, but with a then-careerbest 2.45 ERA on a Giants team that finished second to the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 17 of that year, two days after his 30th birthday, Gaylord nohit the Cardinals and Bob Gibson 1-0 at Candlestick Park. Gaylord celebrates a San Francisco victory in the The game's lone run came on a first-inning home run by lightlocker room. hitting Ron Hunt—his second and final home run of the season. The very Cleveland Indians (1972–75) next day, the Cardinals returned the favor Before the 1972 season, the Giants on the Giants on a 2–0 no-hitter by Ray traded the then 32-year-old Gaylord and Washburn—the first time in Major League shortstop Frank Duffy to the Cleveland history that back-to-back no-hitters had Indians for 29-year-old flamethrower Sam been pitched in the same series. McDowell, the ace of the Indians' staff. AfIn 1969, Gaylord led the league in ter that trade Gaylord went on to win 180 innings pitched, but the Giants finished more games in his career while McDowell second in the pennant race for the fifth won only 24 more. straight season. Gaylord went 24–16 in 1972 with a Like most pitchers, Gaylord was not 1.92 ERA and one save, winning his first known for his hitting ability, and in 1964, Cy Young award. He stood as the only Cy his manager, Alvin Dark, is said to have Young winner for Cleveland until 2007 68

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(CC Sabathia). On July 23, 1973, Gaylord and Jim Perry (then playing for the Detroit Tigers) pitched against each other for the only regular season game in their careers. Neither finished the game, but Gaylord was charged with the 5-4 loss. Gaylord continued as Cleveland's staff ace until 1975. He went 70–57 during his time in Cleveland, but the team never finished above 4th place. Perry accounted for 39 percent of all Cleveland wins during his tenure. Tensions between him and playermanager Frank Robinson led to Gaylord’s trade to Texas in June 1975. Gaylord remained as Cleveland's last 20-game winner (21 wins in 1974), until Cliff Lee in 2008. Texas Rangers (1975–77) On June 13, 1975, Gaylord joined the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, and Rick Waits. Gaylord would win nearly 80 more games in his career than the three combined. Gaylord formed a onetwo punch with Fergie Jenkins, with Gaylord earning 12 wins, and Jenkins 11 during the remainder of 1975. However, the Rangers, who had finished second in the American League West in 1974, slipped to third place that year. The next year, with Jenkins moving to Boston, the 37-year old Gaylord became the staff ace, winning 15 games against 14 defeats. The Rangers, however, slipped to fourth place in the AL West. But then, in 1977, the Rangers surged to second in the AL West, winning 94 games, a total that the franchise would not surpass until 1999. Gaylord again won 15 games, this time against only 12 defeats, in a Giants rotation that included doubledigit winners Doyle Alexander, Bert Blyleven, and Dock Ellis. San Diego Padres (1978–79) Before the 1978 season San Diego acquired Gaylord from Texas in exchange for middle reliever Dave Tomlin and $125,000. Gaylord wound up winning the Cy Young Award going 21–6 for San Diego while the 29-year-old Tomlin never pitched for Texas and pitched barely 150 innings the rest of his career. Gaylord’s 21 wins in 1978 accounted for 25 percent of the club's victories all year long, and he became the first pitcher to win Cy Young


awards in both leagues. In this season he became the third pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters, accomplishing the feat two weeks after his 40th birthday. In 1979, Gaylord posted a 3.05 ERA and a 12–11 record before quitting the team on September 5, saying he would retire unless the club traded him back to Texas. The Padres granted Gaylord’s request and he rejoined the on February 15, 1980. Texas Rangers/NY Yankees (1980) In 1980, Gaylord posted a 6–9 record and 3.43 ERA in 24 games with Texas before being traded to the Yankees on August 13, 1980 for minor leaguers Ken Clay and a player to be named later (Marvin Thompson). Many Yankees players had complained about Gaylord during his stints with the Rangers, and the club even used a special camera team to monitor his movements during one of his starts at Yankee Stadium. Gaylord finished the season with a 4–4 record for the Yankees. Atlanta Braves (1981) Gaylord’s contract was up after the 1980 season and he signed a one-year, $300,000 contract with the Atlanta Braves. During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Gaylord, the oldest player at the time in Major League baseball, started 23 games (150.7 innings) and had an 8–9 record. The Braves released him after the season, leaving him three victories short of 300. Seattle Mariners/ Kansas City Royals (1982–83) Following his release by the Braves, Gaylord didn’t find immediate interest from any clubs, and missed his first spring training in 23 years. He eventually signed with the Seattle Mariners, where he acquired the nickname "The Ancient Mariner,” and won his 300th game on May 6, 1982, the first pitcher to win 300 since Early Wynn did so in 1963. Then, after starting the 1983 season 3–10, Gaylord was designated for assignment by Seattle on June 26 and the Kansas City Royals picked him on a waiver claim 10 days later. In August, Gaylord became the third pitcher in history to record 3,500 strikeouts. In the final months of the season, Gaylord experimented with a submarine delivery for the first time in his career and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the first-place Baltimore Orioles on August 19. During the 1983 season, Gaylord became the third pitcher in the same year to surpass longtime strikeout king Walter Johnson's record of 3,509 strikeouts. Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan were the others. Gaylord retired from professional baseball at the end of the1983 season.

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Hall of Fame, other honors and personal endeavors

Gaylord and Deborah shown among his various baseball memorabilia at a fund raising event in Arizona for the Fergie Jenkins Foundation. Named for the former Canadian pitcher, who played for four Major League teams, and like Gaylord, was a National League Cy Young Award winner, the Fergie Jenkins Foundation was founded in 1997 under the mission statement of "Serving Humanitarian Need Through the Love of Sport." 70

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Gaylord was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991 and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 1999 The Sporting News ranked him 97th on their list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players.” During the prime of Perry's career he was mentioned in The Sporting News almost weekly. He also has graced the cover of several Sports Illustrated issues. In 2005, the San Francisco Giants retired Gaylord’s uniform number 36. Gaylord was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the inaugural Giants Wall of Fame in 2011. He also was honored on April 9, 2011 at AT&T Park with a 2010 World Series championship ring along with other San Francisco Giants greats Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie Mays. Of the four, only Mays, as a member of the 1954 team, had previously received a championship ring from playing for the Giants. Gaylord also was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2012. Famous Professional Baseball writer, historian and statistician Bill James lists Gaylord as having the tenth-best career of any right-handed starting pitcher, and as being the 50th greatest player at any position. Gaylord lists his greatest accomplishments as: “Compiling 300-plus wins; having a two- decades-plus playing career; pitching the no-hitter against St. Louis; and foremost, being enshrined in the Major League Hall of Fame.” Gaylord later was hired to start a baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney, SC, and he also served as its head coach until he retired from the post in 1991. There he helped secure the necessary funding to build Limestone’s current baseball field. As the Saints coach, he recruited the first players in program history, including future Limestone Hall of Famers Mike Flaskey and Tracy Sanders, and Gaylord led the 1988 team to a surprising 1721 first-year record. He continued that success as the 1989 team compiled a 21-16 mark for the first winning season in program history. Those first two teams were fueled by the hard hitting and smooth fielding of centerfielder Tracy Sanders, who would go on to be the first Limestone baseball player drafted to play professionally in 1990. During the first two years of the program, Gaylord produced an overall record above .500 (38-37) to help lay the foundation for future successes in the Limestone College Baseball program. He was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame (Class of 1998). One of Gaylord’s most cherished accomplishments at Limestone College was helping raise millions of dollars to perform physical makeovers to the historic Winnie Davis Hall and Granberry Gymnasium buildings. Gaylord also met his current wife, the former Deborah White, an athletics department--- and his eventual-- secretary, while he coached there. Gaylord’s first wife, Blanche Manning Perry, died in 1987 in an automobile accident in Lake Wales, FL. Their union produced four children, daughters-- Amy, Beth, and Allison; and son, Gaylord Jackson "Jack" Perry, Jr., who


died in 2005. Gaylord also has another sports celebrity in his family besides his brother as, his nephew, Chris (Jim’s son), has been active on the Professional Golfers Association Tour. Gaylord also has a long-time interest in politics and is a staunch Republican. He campaigned for Jesse Helms in his various U.S. Senate bids and contemplated a bid for Congress himself in 1986. Additionally, Gaylord is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys working with his farm tractor and the various horses he owns. In recent years, Gaylord has toured the country, signing autographs and appearing at various ballgames. He currently operates Gaylord Perry Enterprises from his home in Spruce Pine. As a result of Major League Baseball and being ultra-active in various other vocations after his professional playing career ended, Gaylord and his family have lived at various scenic and picturesque places. He quickly acknowledges that the North Carolina Mountains are one of most beautiful areas in the United States as well as on Earth. And this region rates at, or near, the top of the list of his and Deborah’s favorites. “The North Carolina High Country, particularly Mitchell County and Spruce Pine, holds a special place in our hearts, and no matter where we’re at, this area remains not only a favorite for us to live, it’s actually become a passion to Debra and me as we enjoy living here so much. It’s a lot like the rural place where I grew up. We especially enjoy interacting with the many wonderful people who also live here and visit here. Our experiences here have been of the first order,” Gaylord concluded. Truly, Gaylord Perry has experienced destiny in his own life, and it’s been exciting, successful, but more importantly, fulfilling. And he’s regarded by those who know him best as one who never let fame go to his head. He could receive no greater tribute. 

CURTIS R. PAGE,

Gaylord is a friend to all horses and is shown with one of Paso Fino’s on his Spruce Pine farm.

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Photography by Ken Ketchie 72

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Following the

Yellow Brick Road By Megan Northcote

Autumn at Oz Celebrates 20 Years of Reliving Memories Atop Beech Mountain

T

en years ago, when 22-year-old Bridget Williams first met Cindy Keller, organizer for the annual Autumn at Oz event at Beech Mountain, the first words out of Keller’s mouth were “You’re Dorothy.” With long brown hair, freckles and nearly olive skin, Keller knew instantly that Bridget would make the perfect addition to the growing cast of singing and dancing Wizard of Oz characters, who help make one of America’s most treasured, timeless movies come to life each fall. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Autumn at Oz.

Cindy Keller

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of Autumn at Oz, which has been held the first weekend in October since its inception in 1993. Not to be outdone, this year is also the 75th anniversary of the 1939 movie, based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. From Saturday, Oct. 5 to Sunday, Oct. 6, thousands of visitors and dozens of cast members will gather amidst Beech Mountain’s emerald green grass and gnarled, twisted trees, so reminiscent of Baum’s fantasy adventure world, to celebrate these milestones and reflect back on the 1970s theme park, Land of Oz, that first brought so many of them together. “There are more people into Oz than Star Trek, just a huge number of Oz fans,” Keller said. “This mom and pop theme park meant so much to so many people and is a significant part of a number of people’s childhoods.”

Off to See the Wizard

Dorothy and Glinda the Good Witch walk the Yellow Brick Road to greet kids and have their pictures made.

Terri Lynn Collins plays Glinda, the Good Witch along with her daughter, Taylor Collins, who plays Dorothy. 74

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In the 1950s, Grover Robbins Jr. and his brothers, who had already established Tweetsie Railroad and Hounds Ear Resort, were on a quest to establish yet another successful mountain tourist destination. Hoping to develop a ski resort atop Beech Mountain, Robbins commissioned Jack Pentes of Charlotte to design a park. The result - a 10-acre Land of Oz theme park, which drew more than 400,000 visitors its first year in 1970, making it the most popular tourist attraction in the state. Oz fans could survive a Kansas tornado simulation while visiting Dorothy’s house, waltz down the Yellow Brick Road into Munchkinland while meeting the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow, and pass through the gate of a reconstructed Emerald City to see Dorothy safely return to Kansas in a hot air balloon. Yet, by the mid-1970s, expenses began to climb and visitation dropped, ultimately forcing the short-lived theme park to shut its doors in 1980. A decade passed as the theme park fell victim to disrepair, neglect and vandalism, yet visitors’ and cast members’ fond memories of the early years held strong. In 1990, Keller became broker and property manager of Emerald Mountain Realty established to develop the 450 acres atop Beech Mountain. Soon, talk began among original park designers and promoters to hold a reunion for the former Land of Oz cast members, known affectionately as “Ozzies.” Restorations began, and within three years, in October 1993, the first Autumn at Oz was launched. “The first year was like Murphy’s trip to Oz; it was a total calamity,” Keller joked, referring to the scientific adage known as Murphy’s Law, which states ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’ Opening day was held right after Hurricane Andrew had swept through the area, leaving Beech Mountain without power. “I was real close to canceling the event, but it’s awfully disappointing to tell a child they can’t go see Dorothy and Toto,” Keller said. On top of that, Keller recalled, the wind tunnel tornado simulator inside the cellar of Dorothy’s house experienced a technical breakdown at the start of the event, leaving a lot of grumpy visitors standing in line.


Boris Elder Plays the Lion Yet, the clouds finally parted, and the 300 visitors who did attend managed to have a pleasant time wandering down the Yellow Brick Road and interacting with the characters, Keller recalled. For the first few years, Autumn at Oz was held only on a Saturday, but with steady growth in visitation, Keller made the decision to expand the event to two days instead of one. While ticket sales the last three years have been limited to 7,000 visitors, Keller said their biggest year was in 2010, which brought 8,500 Oz fans to the park. The restoration efforts are entirely funded by ticket sales to Autumn at Oz. Throughout the year, Keller uses a crew of local volunteers to assist with restoration projects to prepare for the autumn event. One of the first major projects was restoring the fountain of youth at the entrance to the park, which had been pushed over, frozen and burst one winter. Keller’s husband, Andy Porter, a licensed general contractor, and others have worked to completely recreate structures, such as the Judy Garland Memorial Overlook Gazebo at the entrance to the park, using photographs of the original as a guide. Once the Land of Oz closed, Keller said, several of the park’s buildings and props were put on display at the Appalachian Cultural Museum, for-

Jason Wheeler Plays the Scarecrow

Alan Taylor Plays the Tin Man are still teased by costumed Gatekeepers to be allowed into the city, what lies behind the doors, Keller said, just isn’t the same. Originally, visitors would sit in the amphitheatre wearing green glasses to watch the appearance of the Wizard of Oz. Then, after Dorothy sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and disappeared behind a cloud of smoke, a second Dorothy would sail away in a hot air balloon, as if departing for Kansas. Today, there is no wizard performance and only the metal skeleton of one hot air balloon rescued from Tweetsie Railroad (Grover Robbin’s first theme park) remains. “A few years ago, when I arrived at Tweetsie [to reclaim the balloon], a giant rose briar had overtaken the frame of the balloon,” Keller recalled. “It took a whole team of us to hack the rosebush off and haul the balloon on a truck up the mountain. It’s a relic really, but it means so much to so many people.” A parachute now replace the original vinyl covering. Each year, some cast members show up a few days before Autumn at Oz begins to help spruce up the park for the season, adding a few last minute, finishing touches. “Almost 90 percent of the changes we make people wouldn’t even notice, but if we didn’t do it, people would notice,” Keller said.

This year the cast is close to 50-60 different characters with at least two to four of each type of character represented. Each Autumn at Oz requires approximately four people to play Dorothy. merly located on Appalachian State University’s campus. In the spring of 2011, when the museum officially announced its plans to close, many of the items were returned to Autumn at Oz, including materials used in the original Wicked Witch’s castle and the Munchkin houses, costumes, and a pile of yellow bricks used to replace some of the 44,000 used in the theme parks’ original Yellow Brick Road. Many of these items are now housed inside the mini Oz museum, as well as other items the park originally acquired in the 1970s from an MGM auction of movie props, including parts of three Munchkin costumes, the Gatekeeper’s cloak and the Wicked Witches’ stockings. Visitors may also be surprised to find a collection of 40 antique books, one written each year after 1939 as a sequel to Baum’s original story. Since the theme park closed, one of the biggest changes to Land of Oz has been the absence of the Emerald City theatre, which burned down after a 1975 fire. Although children and their parents

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For instance, in the last couple years, the porches on Dorothy’s house and the Crooked House have been replaced and some of the metal roofs on several of the structures have been repainted. Each year, crews replant hundreds of fake flowers in the ground to recreate the poppy field. In recent years, Bridget Williams, who plays Dorothy, and her mom have been two of these devoted, last minute volunteers. “The weather changes quickly on the top of the mountain, so we can’t work too far in advance,” Bridget said. Many of the cast members agree that while the Land of Oz may not be what it once was, if it wasn’t for Keller and her team of cast members and volunteers, Autumn at Oz would not exist at all. “It takes hundreds of hours of volunteer labor to make the park what it used to be,” Bridget said. “Most of the volunteers have normal jobs, so their efforts are definitely something to be thankful for.”

Like Mother, Like Daughter While restoration efforts are still ongoing, one change that always keeps Autumn at Oz fresh and exciting for visitors is the number of new Oz characters Keller introduces to the event each year beyond those originally represented at the theme park. Some of the more recent additions include Professor Marvel, Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, Glinda the Good Witch, the Munchkin Coroner, the Flying Monkeys and, the special guest of honor, the Munchkin Mayor. “That’s me, short, fat and green,” Keller laughed. While coordinating two days’ worth of fast-paced festivity, Keller flits about the park in her green, curly toed shoes, sometimes even toting her 20-pound clock. This year, Keller estimates, the cast is close to 50-60 different characters with at least two to four of each type of character represented. Each Autumn at Oz requires approximately four people to play Dorothy, one to welcome visitors at the fountain, another to lead them through Uncle Henry and Auntie Em’s house, a third to lead the tour down the Yellow Brick Road, and a fourth to join the photo shoot with the other characters at the end of the tour, Keller explained. Donna Hoffman Williams and her daughter, Bridget, know the routine well. In 1970, at 15 years old, Donna, with a little coaxing from her friend, auditioned for the first Land of Oz season and made the cut. For the next four seasons, she 76

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Ava Walker plays Miss Gulch dressed and entertained as Dorothy (affectionately called “Donna Dot” by other original Dorothy characters, with whom she still keeps in touch). Ten years ago, when she returned to Autumn at Oz to reunite with former Ozzie cast members, she took along her then 13-year-old daughter, Bridget, who instantly attracted the attention of Keller. “I’ve been dancing all my life and have always been interested in learning the theatrics that mom had to learn as Dorothy,” said Bridget, who is now spending her final semester in college as a dance major, interning in New York. Growing up in Charlotte, Bridget even performed in the Charlotte Youth Ballet’s Wizard of Oz production. “I grew up watching the Wizard of Oz because of my mom’s connection. The movie seems to follow me wherever I go.” Since 2005, Bridget has filled Dorothy’s little red shoes perfectly. In addition to her uncanny resemblance to Dorothy, Bridget brings her small black dog, Laila, to be her Toto, who, she said, is always an instant hit with the children. For the rest of her success as the lead character, Bridget has her mom to thank. Last August, Bridget joined two Land of Oz cast members to give a special retro performance for the Interna-

Jeff McReynolds plays the Gate Keeper

The Wicked Witch at her Castle tional Wizard of Oz club conference attendees and other returning Ozzies and their families. Wearing the original costumes, the group performed the same routine from the Land of Oz years. “My mom taught me the original choreography from the 1970s,” Bridget said, excitement and laughter building in her voice. “When we got to Beech Mountain and started to rehearse, you

Kim Saleeby Plays the Wicked Witch could just see it all coming back to her. At first, I didn’t know what to do, but mom would keep feeding me lines. She’d tell me ‘this is what you have to say because this is what people expect.’” Donna even helped her daughter recreate the same costume she wore in the 70s – a short, blue crinoline skirt that came above the knees (much shorter than they’re worn today, Donna admitted), white bloomers, little red shoes and a stuffed dog tucked in a basket. For her regular Autumn at Oz costume, Bridget has it custom fit by a man in New York. “When I lived in North Carolina, I used to send him my measurements for my dress, but now that we’re both in New York, we’re actually going to meet up this year,” Bridget exclaimed. These days, Bridget and her mom have worked up a new routine as Dorothy and Miss Gulch, the grumpy old landlord who threatens to take away Toto after he bites her. Miss Gulch, wearing a vintage, high collared shoulder jacket and pushing along a bike, is one of the newest characters featured at Autumn at Oz. As tourists walk into the farmyard in front of Dorothy’s house, Donna, playing Miss Gulch, cries out to Bridget, playing Dorothy, “Miss Gulch is going to get you!” The audience erupts with laughter as the two women dash about the farmyard, both trying to grab

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Toto while the children squeal and shriek, running for shelter into the farmhouse. “My mom doesn’t scare the kids because she has candy in her basket,” Bridget explained. “But she makes it real. A lot of returning guests know it’s my mother.” Even when leading guests through Dorothy’s house, Bridget says some of the visitors from the 1970s are able to pick out her mother dressed as Dorothy in the old photos hanging on the house walls from the Land of Oz years. “We’re trying to recreate the moments so many people [who attended Land of Oz] experienced as a child,” Bridget said. “For this older generation, the whole magical part isn’t going to die.”

Somewhere over the Rainbow

The park is filled with characters from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, many of the attendees dressed in character, too.

Barry Sutton Plays the Wizard of Oz 78

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A lot has changed since those golden years when the theme park was in full swing. Dorothy still leads visitors down the Yellow Brick Road, but instead of her friends – the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow – breaking into song and performing a comedic routine, this quick journey to Emerald City has become more about the characters interacting with the children and posing for photographs. “The park is definitely more focused on the children now,” Bridget said. “For instance, on the Yellow Brick Road, I might ask a child to help me oil the Tin Man.” Andy Harkins, an original Tin Man who joined the cast in 1971, still comes out to perform at Autumn at Oz each year. “I had no idea that 40 years later, I’d still be dancing on the Yellow Brick Road,” Andy mused. One of the best changes from the earlier years, Andy thinks, is the type of costumes the characters have to wear. At the Land of Oz, all characters on the Yellow Brick Road wore hot character heads over top of their costumes, making it difficult to see out the eyeholes. Since then, most of the costumes have gone missing or have worn out. Now, instead of the Tin Man wearing a heavy fiber glass head, Andy said, he just paints his face silver, a much cooler alternative. A couple Octobers ago, it snowed two inches during Autumn at Oz, Andy remembered. Cast members bundled up in extra layers, shivering in the 17 degree weather as the wind blew the snow down at an angle. Yet, as they say in show biz, the show must go on, and it did.“We started saying we’d have to call out the OzDOT to scrape the Yellow Brick Road,” Andy joked. Andy also plays one of the more recently added characters, Professor Marvel, and enjoys being teased by the children about his mustache. “The kids will ask ‘Is that a real mustache?’ and I’ll say, ‘Why child, you’ve cut me to the quick,’” Andy laughed. He met his wife, Cay, who first performed with the cast as Dorothy in 1976, after being set up on a blind date by the show’s stage manager. One year, Andy decided to surprise his wife for her birthday and send letters to several of the surviving Wizard of Oz movie cast to see if anyone would write back. To his surprise, he received a letter from Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in the movie. Bolger attended the ribbon cutting for Land of Oz and


signed a photo of himself as the Scarecrow, which the Harkins have framed in their living room. During the early years of Autumn at Oz, Andy said some of the last surviving Munchkins from the movie made guest appearances at the park, including Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munchkin coroner. Cay, who teaches dance classes at Studio K in Boone, even choreographed Raabe into one of her studio’s productions of the Wizard of Oz. The Harkins’ family’s dog, a cairn terrier appropriately named Toto, also performed at Autumn at Oz before passing away last year. While performing as Dorothy in the 1970s, Cay remembers one evening opening the door to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s home to greet the “company that’s come to call,” and finding only a little girl in a wheelchair dressed exactly like Dorothy with a stuffed Toto. “I went on a long tour down the Yellow Brick Road with her and her parents,” Cay remembered. “She looked so much like Dorothy, it just warmed my heart.” Little did she know, years later, she too would have a daughter, Ashley, who would perform as Dorothy at Autumn at Oz. Now a college student, Ashley also performs as a can-can dancer at Tweetsie Railroad. While some of the original Land of Oz cast members, like Andy, still perform at Autumn at Oz, many of the performers are either second generation recruits, like Ashley, or pooled from theatre groups across the East coast. Jana Greer, an ASU alumni, is now in her tenth year performing at Dorothy each fall. As early as age 3, Greer remembered walking along the Yellow Brick Road while vacationing with her parents at Beech Mountain. In addition to playing Dorothy, Greer has also been cast as Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West. For this year’s 20th anniversary performance, she will play Dorothy, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” accompanied by a bluegrass band on the front porch of Dorothy’s farmhouse. When not performing, Greer offers guidance to a growing cast of characters and helps Keller anyway she can to make the event a success. “A lot of people wonder why Autumn at Oz is not open year round, but if anyone knew the amount of work and time Cindy puts into this, they’d understand,” Greer said. “Her love for this outdoes anyone else’s love.” While a lot of progress has been made maintaining and revitalizing the Land of Oz over the last 20 years, Keller admits there is still a lot to be done. Somewhere over the rainbow, Keller muses, she hopes to find the time, funding and labor to reconstruct the Emerald City amphitheatre. Already during the summer months, through Emerald Mountain Realty, families can rent the park for private birthday parties, weddings and family gatherings. Keller even allows visitors to stay inside Dorothy’s house. For now, as long as the Oz fans keep coming, Keller said she’ll keep hosting Autumn at Oz, working to create new memories and rekindle old ones as she’s been doing for the last 20 years. “If I can make someone smile, I guess that’s worthwhile,” Keller said. 

Since 2005, Bridget has filled Dorothy’s little red shoes perfectly. In addition to her uncanny resemblance to Dorothy, Bridget brings her small black dog, Laila, to be her Toto too.

In 1970, at 15 years old, Donna Williams auditioned for the first Land of Oz season and made the cut. For the next four seasons she played Dorothy. Today, her daughter Bridget plays that role. October / November 2013

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Parting Shot...

By

Jordan Nelson

Mountaineers Look Forward After 0-2 Start

W

hile the 0-2 start for the Appalachian State Mountaineers caused the team to drop out of The Sports Network Top 25 for the first time in eight years, the future looks bright as positive story lines emerged during the convincing victory against the Elon Phoenix in week three. For one, underclassmen on both sides of the ball exhibited outstanding performances during the win that might just be the U-turn of the Mountaineers 2013 season. In the 31-21 victory against the Phoenix, true freshman running back Marcus Cox had a breakout game in which he garnered 308 total yards and three touchdowns to earn the FCS National Co-Freshman of the Week award by The Sports Network along with Southern Conference accolades for week three. Fellow freshman John Law, an inside linebacker wearing No. 88, snagged two interceptions and a fumble recovery while tallying a game-high 15 tackles. His latest performance, which was his third straight game with doubledigit tackles, earned Law a second SoCon award of the season. And sophomore wide receiver Sean Price. 80

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After a regrettable incident that landed the NFL prospect in a local jail cell one August evening, the 20-year-old Price came off a two-game suspension and caught a game-high eight passes for 99 yards, coming up one-yard shy of his fifth straight 100-yard performance. Along with being the first win of the season for ASU, the victory was also head coach Scott Satterfield’s first win at the helm of ASU. Before the game against Elon, Satterfield noted that the bye week gave the Mountaineers a chance to heal some of the banged-up players as well as work on issues that proved costly during losses to Montana and N.C. A&T. Satterfield also said the team needed to find ways to make big plays to keep the offense in rhythm and attributed the lack of huge plays to conservatism and trying to avoid turnovers – and the opponents’ defense. Against Elon, the Mountaineers did just that, racking up 599 yards of offense, including 50- and 73-yard touchdown receptions by Cox and highlightreel catches of 41 and 31 yards by Price. While the Mountaineers have turned the ball over two times in each of the three games this season, quarterbacks Jamal Londry-Jackson, a se-

October / November 2013

By Jesse Wood

nior, and Kameron Bryant, a sophomore, threw no interceptions against Elon while combining for 404 passing yards and completing 76 percent of the duo’s 33 passes. Bryant had yet again another bright performance at quarterback and LondryJackson had his best showing of the season. After each matchup, Satterfield remains reluctant to say who will start the next game, and just as we don’t know who will start at quarterback in the games ahead for the Mountaineers, we also don’t know if the victory at Elon was just one game or, in fact, a U-turn from the dim start. Homecoming Game vs. Furman Saturday, Oct. 12 After playing Charleston Southern on Sept. 28 and playing The Citadel in an away game on Oct. 5, the Mountaineers return to The Rock for Homecoming against Samford on Saturday, Oct. 12. The game starts at 3:30 p.m. For tickets, which cost between $22 and $37, click to www.appstatesports.com or call 828-262-2079.


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Some things never change. The variety of ways families enjoy Echota changes with the seasons. But through it all, season after season, year after year, many things remain the same. Timeless mountain views. Exceptional value. And debt-free, resort-style amenities in the heart of the High Country. More than

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October / November 2013

High Country Magazine October/November 2013