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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
THIS VALENTINE’S DAY SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR HER TODAY... TOMORROW... FOREVER...
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Show your heart how much you care Free heart risk assessment in February A woman’s heart differs from a man’s in lots of ways – from nutritional needs at different stages in life to the types of symptoms that indicate heart disease. That’s why we’re offering a screening for a free heart risk assessment for every woman who calls and schedules an appointment at the Women’s Heart Center at Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center. Think of it as a special Valentine to yourself and your loved ones.
To schedule your free heart risk assessment or for more information, call 336-277-1880.
Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center 1750 Medical Parkway Kernersville, NC 27284
Your personal risk assessment will include the following key points: • Blood pressure check • Cholesterol check • Weight/BMI screening • A noninvasive test to check for cardiovascular disease in the legs • A personalized plan to improve your heart health
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Purchase a PANDORA “Sparkle of Love” gift set for $200. *Featuring one sterling silver clasp bracelet, one “sparkle of love” charm and two “love of my life” clips in a heart-shaped gift box (a retail value of $225). While supplies last. See store for details.
New Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement This technique offers a patient less pain and scarring as well as an anticipated shorter recovery time.
M A G A Z I N E Volume 4, No. 2
“I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090
1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director email@example.com David Claude Bailey, Senior Editor 336.617.0090 • firstname.lastname@example.org Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Judi Hewett, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser
Matthew D. Olin, MD
is a fellowship trained hip surgeon with extensive experience performing direct anterior total hip replacement surgery. To schedule an appointment with Matthew D. Olin, MD to determine if this surgery is for you. Call: 336.545.5030
Contributing Photographers Kevin Banker, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich Contributors Nancy Bartholomew, Jane Borden, Emily Frazier Brown, Susan Campbell, Brian Clarey, Edward Cone, Molly Sentell Haile, Alice Hodgkins, Sara King, Meredith Martens, Marty Novitsky, Nancy Oakley, Sandra Redding, Lee Rogers, Noah Salt, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Isabel Zuber
David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales & Circulation Director 336.707.6893, email@example.com Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 Advertising Graphic Design 910.693.2469, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Dr. Olin and surgery visit www.greensborohipandkneesurgeon.com
Marty Hefner 336.707.6893, email@example.com ©Copyright 2014. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORDINARY AND
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February 2014 departments
9 Hometown By Jim Dodson
12 Short Stories 15 The City Muse
17 Life’s Funny
19 Omnivorous Reader
23 N.C. Writer’s Notebook
24 Lunch with a Friend
29 Street Level
33 Artist at Work
41 Best Reader Memoirs 2014
42 Life Of Jane
By Emily Frazier Brown By Maria Johnson
45 Diet of Righteousness
58 My Father’s House
46 Warnerville’s Last Stand
66 Green Winter Dreams
Poetry by Isabel Zuber
A walking tour brings Greensboro’s oldest African-American community back to life. By Molly Sentell Haile
50 Soldier Unknown The misremembered legend of a Greensboro Buffalo Soldier By Edward Cone
A son restores his father’s architecture legacy By Nancy Oakley
Now’s the ideal time to add structure to your garden. By Lee Rogers
69 February Almanac By Noah Salt
54 My Bloody Valentine
It was a cold and stormy Valentine’s night By Nancy Bartholomew
By Stephen E. Smith By Sandra Redding By Brian Clarey
By Jim Schlosser By Maria Johnson
By Susan Campbell By Alice Hodgkins By Jane Borden
70 83 87 95
Arts & Entertainment Calendar Worth the Drive GreenScene Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova
96 O.Henry Ending By Sandra Redding
Photograph this page by Amy Freeman Cover Photograph by Kevin Banker On our cover: Our editor Jim Dodson, who always secretly hankered to be in a photo spread, finally got his chance — playing the “dead guy’ in talented novelist Nancy Bartholomew’s brilliant spoof of a noir gumshoe story. Naturally, the author herself got to play the gorgeous mystery dame in red, perfect type casting in both cases.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Love for your eyes.
Art for Eyes | Eye for Arts Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | TheViewOnElm.com Becky Causey, Licensed Optician
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
My Rubber Soul By Jim Dodson
It was a mo-
ment that would change America forever. A cute girl named Trudy McGivern in Miss Esther Christianson’s Sunday School class leaned over, bit her lower lip and whispered excitedly: “Are you going to watch them?”
She clearly wasn’t paying attention to Miss Esther’s Bible story. The date was February 9, 1964, a cold and rainy Sunday morning in Greensboro. Exactly one week before, on Groundhog’s Day, I turned 11. Cute girls were suddenly of great interest to me, Trudy in particular. “Who do you mean?” I whispered back. “The Beatles, silly . . .” she said, weirdly blushing. “Haven’t you heard? They’re on the Ed Sullivan Show tonight.” I remember wondering why just saying “the Beatles” could make Trudy McGivern blush. I’d heard of the Beatles, of course, had just read about how “Beatlemania” was sweeping Great Britain and soon headed to America. A couple of their hit songs — “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” — had zoomed to the top of the pop music charts and were suddenly all over my favorite radio station in town. I liked both songs, though they certainly wouldn’t make me blush. I liked the the Ed Sullivan Show, too, which I’d watched faithfully on our black and white Philco TV along with Walter Cronkite’s popular history documentary show, The Twentieth Century, for years. Sunday night, in fact, was America’s best night for TV, or at least my favorite, probably because it was the only night of the week I was permitted to watch our new RCA Colortrak TV past my usual 9 p.m. bedtime. Bonanza and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color never looked so good. Admittedly, I was mildly intrigued to hear that the Beatles were going to appear live on TV that very evening, but frankly still in the clouds from an even bigger event earlier that week. After receiving a new Stella Concertmaster guitar for my birthday on Groundhog’s Day, my father arranged for two friends and me to go backstage and meet Peter, Paul and Mary, America’s greatest folk singing trio, after their concert at the Greensboro Coliseum. As it worked out, Mary Travers vanished quickly, but Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow stuck around to chat with a cluster of wide-eyed kids and even allowed me to briefly play one of Paul’s guitars. He was amused when I strummed the chords of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” their own hit song on the charts that faraway winter half a century ago. He then took the guitar and played the song leaving us in silent awe. Peter, Paul and Mary had my heart. So the Beatles, as you might imagine, weren’t the top of my chart. Even so, out of simple curiosity, I plunked down cross-legged in front of our TV set at 8 p.m. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
that dreary February night and watched the Beatles impressively perform three different songs on the show amid orgiastic screams from hundreds of teenage girls packed into the CBS studio from which the show was broadcast. They were weeping and climbing out of the seats, pulling at their hair and even attempting to climb over balcony railings just to get at the “Fab Four,” making Trudy McGivern’s blush look like child’s play. “The thing is,” John Lennon reflected on Beatlemania some years later, “in America, it just seemed ridiculous — I mean, the idea of having a hit record over there. It was just something you could never do.” But somehow they did — registering nine songs, in fact, in the Billboard Top 100 for 1964, an unprecedented five hits alone in the top 20 for the year. Within weeks Beatlemania had hit America full force. Celebrities began wearing Beatles wigs and “The Beatles Are Coming” bumper stickers sprouted everywhere, including on my own mother’s Buick LeSabre. She loved the Beatles, particular Paul McCartney. Paul made every girl swoon, or so it seemed, from cute Trudy McGivern to my own Southern mama — who even purchased my bald-headed father his own Beatles wig for fun. He wore it to cocktail parties for years. The same Capital Records company that had rejected three Beatles songs in 1963 poured an unprecedented $50,00 into a national publicity blitz, resulting in a commercial avalanche of Beatles souvenirs. At my elementary school, Beatle magazines and bubble-gum filled Beatle cards proliferated almost overnight — and were promptly banned from playground commerce by our dark-hearted principal. Another British Invasion group was also pretty popular that Februrary, charting five pop hits in Billboard’s Top 100. Their name was the Dave Clark Five and they would have 17 Top 40 hits before they fizzled out three years later, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show a record 18 times. Truthfully, in the beginning, I liked them more than the Beatles, which explains why when the DC5 came to the Greensboro Coliseum during the first national tour of a British pop band, I once again snagged a backstage pass to meet the band before their performance. Sadly, I recall very little from the encounter save for exchanging a brief few words with a visibly bored Lenny, the lead guitarist, whose accent was so thick I didn’t understand a word he said. Their music quickly lost its appeal. Coming just three months on the heels of the tragic assassination of a president, more than one ’60s historian has concluded, the frenzied, landmark debut of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan proved to be perhaps the other most significant and far-reaching event of the decade. They argue, and I don’t disagree, that the Beatles were initially the lift America needed in order to get over the protracted nightmare of John Kennedy’s murder — a Valentine to America in the form of young mop-headed troubadours purveying February 2014
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catchy guitar tunes about love and holding hands — but in a broader context ultimately a powerful agent of transformation that reshaped American society and set the stage for the racial and anti-war tumults that soon followed, a vast cultural gestalt that woke up the nation from its sleepy suburban prosperity. By the time my guitar lessons at Moore Music Company allowed me to teach myself basically every song off Rubber Soul, the sixth studio album the Beatles released in late 1965, I was fully onboard with those who believed The Beatles were the musical voice of my generation. George Harrison’s introduction of the sitar in “Norwegian Wood” took popular music far out of its normal boundaries and established a new frontier for rock experimentation, while the band’s use of American R&B and soul influences matched wih conventional orchestral influences marked it as their most daring and influential album yet — shaping my own rubber soul. Not surprisingly, Harrison became my favorite Beatle. Over the span of just seven short years, the brilliance of McCartney and Lennon’s songwriting skills, Harrison’s extraordinary guitar, and the band’s revolutionary ever-changing musicality — evolving from the smiling lads who caused a near riot on Ed Sullivan to the existential flower-power poets and members of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band whose Magical Mystery Tour redefined pop culture before they finally “Let it Be” and broke apart in 1970 — would never be matched or equaled. That year I was a junior at Grimsley High, playing my gently weeping guitar in a popular quartet from the school choir called the “Queensmen” and teaching guitar at Lawndale Music Company — wooing my girlfriend Kristin with my favorite song from Rubber Soul, Lennon’s and McCartney’s incomparable “In My Life,” which I sang and played solo at a final choir performance for the year. Even today, when I hear this haunting song it stops me cold in my tracks, probably because my sweet girl Kristin died less than four years later in a manner every bit as senseless and world-changing as the deranged fan who shot and killed John Lennon. There are places I remember All my life, though some have changed Some forever not for better, Some have gone and some remain All these places have their moments, With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life I’ve loved them all. As illogical as it may sound, I never played the song again. But this month I fully expect to hear it and many others owing to the new wave of Beatlemania that will hit every conceivable TV, internet music and radio outlet within days — all in celebration of, and stemming from, that historic February night in 1964 when the Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan. There are even two documentaries and a film set too. For those of us who grew up with the Beatles and their music, much time has passed and healed many things, leaving only the bitterseet memories of people and places we loved, a world before now. Ironically, several years ago, a friend phoned me excitedly one afternoon and insisted I pick up USA Today, which had published a feature in its Thursday book section about the favorite books of celebrities. One of those listed was Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, a resident of Blue Hill, Maine, which was just up the highway from our village on the coast. The book he cited was Final Rounds, of all things, the book in which I told the tale of Kristin’s murder and how it changed my life. Save for that backstage encounter 50 years ago, I never got to meet Paul Stookey again. But if I ever get that privilege, I plan to thank him for his kind words about my book and — more important — being my first musical hero, even before The Beatles shook up the world and made Trudy McGivern blush. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at Jim@ohenrymag.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro
GREENSBORO COLLEGE THEATRE presents
February 26-March 2, 2014 For details, showtimes and tickets, call 336-217-7220 or visit theatre.greensboro.edu
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
ShortStories Spartan Games
Forty-seven years after its first game, you’d think UNCG’s men’s basketball squad would be Greensboro’s team by now. For sure, a loyal fan base has emerged, but plenty of seats without fannies stand out at the Coliseum, where the Spartans play home games. Athletic Director Kimberly Record says attendance has averaged 3,300 a game, with turnouts higher when the foe is an ACC school. More than 21,000 showed up when UNCG took on Duke in 2005. UNCG has endured mediocrity this season, winning about half its games. “Winning is so important,” says Greensboro endodontist Dr. Richard Beavers, who earned a master’s at UNCG and became hooked as a fan. “Winning is the spark that will produce more interest.” Another problem UNCG encounters is the area’s fanaticism with UNC, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest, although Record sees this not as an obstacle, but as recruiting tools. Talented high school stars are attracted to the Spartans, knowing they will play against the best. When UNCG plays an ACC team, chalk up a lost — but not always. The Spartans upset Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 2007. This season it beat its second ACC foe, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and nearly defeated N.C. State here before 5,000–7,000 spectators. If UNCG could win the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville in early March, it would mean an invitation to the post-season NCAA men’s tournament. Twice before, UNCG has qualified, losing both times. It gave highly ranked Cincinnati a scare in 2001, raining three point shots on the Bearcats in a five-point loss. Tom Martin of Greensboro, who played on the first UNCG men’s team in 1967, saw progress recently when UNCG played State. A State fan sided with UNCG. He told Martin he thought it was only right to root, root, root for the hometown team. “We are seeing more fans at our games who own season tickets to Wake Forest and UNC games,” he says. A big plus for UNCG basketball: no supersonic ticket prices. A ticket can range as low as $10, although higher when the opponent is an ACC team. So, get out to the Coliseum. The team has three more games there: Western Carolina, Sunday, February 16; Elon, Wednesday, February 19; Chattanooga, Sunday, February 23. JS
Butt out, Cupid. This Valentine’s Day, the Touring Theatre of North Carolina takes a look at the eros of our ways in Over The Edge, a sampler of short plays about failed relationships and lovers in need of therapy. Written by Quinn Dalton and Michael Parker of Greensboro and by Pamela Duncan of Graham, the works are seasoned with light and dark humor. They are adapted, directed and performed by the TTE’s core artists — Camilla Millican, John Kernodle and Kay Thomas — and will be staged February 13–15 at the Mack & Mack showroom, 220 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Pay what you can on February 13. Tickets: (336) 338-2004 or ttnc.org. MJ
“Our creativity reaches beyond the classroom,” says Katie Armistead, a teacher at Monicello-Brown Summit Elementary and the organizer of After Hours, an art show featuring Guilford County art teachers at Irving Park Art & Frame. “The art we create ourselves is a more intimate statement of who we are and what we want to say.” What Michaela Halfey of Mendenhall Middle School wants to help you say is “I love you” with her Valentines linoleum-blockprint Valentines, which start at $3.50. Steve Cozart at Weaver Academy wants to engage viewers of his mixed-media portraits (right) in a dialogue about racism and classism. Joy Hudson of Colfax Elementary wants to take you on a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also on display will be furniture, painted lamps, jewelry, fabric collages, vases made from wine glasses, hand-made soap and repurposed-silverware jewelry, with a fair number of items priced under $100. Irving Park Art & Frame, 2105-A West Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro, (336) 274-6717 or www. irvingparkartandframe.com. DCB
If music be the food of love, then Greensboro audiences can look forward to a lovefest of concerts surrounding Valentine’s Day. The New York Times called Alpin Hong “a pianistic firebrand.” On February 7, he’ll display his technical virtuosity during his Music for a Great Space Series’ appearance at Christ United Methodist Church: (336) 333-2605, carolinatheatre.com or musicforagreatspace.org. The Greensboro Symphony (www.Greensborosyphony.org ) has a smorgasbord of performances, beginning on February 14, when New York jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and his wife, singer and Broadway actress Jessica Molaskey, will serenade you from the Great American Songbook in a pops concert at Westover Church. On February 27 (and again on March 1), the Greensboro Symphony and clarinetist Kelly Burke play a Fantasia from Weber, a triple concerto from Beethoven and a symphony from Brahms, again, at Westover Chruch. The following day, Burke and David Shifrin will charm music lovers at UNCG with Glinka and Brahms. The day before Valentine’s Day, Violin virtuoso and four-time Grammy- and Emmy-Award winner Itzhak Perleman will take a bow before audiences at War Memorial Coliseum: (336) 373-7474 or bryanseries.guilford.edu. DCB
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Although it’s cold outside, the footlights on Greensboro’s stages are spotlighting some hot action, beginning with Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie. The 1922 play about a Swedish barge captain’s reunion with his wayward daughter runs from February 9 through March 2 at Triad Stage: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org. UNCG’s boards are getting a workout with an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice, from February 14 through the 23rd. Then beginning February 27 (through March 2) look for a play that focuses on a single mother and aspiring poet with no romantic prospects and interfering friends, This, by Melissa James Gibson: (336) 334-4392 or brownpapertickets.com. The Greensboro Coliseum is hosting two shows: Hell Hath No Fury like a Woman Scorned on February 7 and 8, the story of a lonely woman who meets a man in a manner that’s familiar enough these days — online on the internet: (336) 373-7474 or greensborocoliseum.com. On February 19, get ready for Rock of Ages, part of the Triad Best of Broadway Series, with songs from Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benetar, Twisted Sister, among others: (888) 418-2929 or triadbestofbroadway.com. DCB
Cream of the Beam
Having graduated from Jay Pierce’s Lucky 32 Beer School summa cum loudest, I’m ready for my post-graduate studies. On February 10, 6:30 p.m., I anticipate my matriculation into Jim Beam Whiskey School. Print Works’ chief mixologist Sarah Poole will be pouring a bacon old-fashioned cocktail, followed by a two-gingers Tom Collins, all be paired with whatever Jay hatches in accordance with seasonal and local ingredients. “I am contemplating a ramen-type broth with noodles for the first course,” he says, anticipating Jim Beam’s sale to Japanese spirits giant Suntory. “Something Irish-inspired for course two, maybe duck three ways for course three and probably old school apple dumplings for the dessert.” Look for a flight of Knob Creek whiskeys to flank the ducks, followed by a Boozy Milkshake made with Red Stag Hardcore Cider. Waddle home. Four courses, $50 per person, not including tax and gratuity. (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com DCB
Baby, it’s really not that cold outside where High Point’s favorite speed skater, Heather Richardson, is headed for the 2014 Winter Olympics. In February, the daytime highs in coastal Sochi, Russia, hover around 50 degrees Fahrenheit — the warmest February temps ever for a Winter Olympics site. That’s just a tad cooler than High Point’s average high of 56 degrees in February. Lucky for Heather — she’ll be skating inside icebergs. That is, winter sports arenas designed to look like icebergs, according to internet descriptions of the short- and long-track speed skating venues. Now, that’s cool stuff. To see 24-year-old-year old Heather, a graduate of High Point Central High School, blister the ice, tune in on February 11 (500 meters), February 13 (1,000 meters) and February 16 (1,500 meters). Check NBCOlympics.com for streaming and TV schedules. See Heather in the U.S. delegation at a viewing party on February 7 at Ham’s at Palladium Shopping Center, High Point at 6:30 p.m. MJ
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Sauce of the Month
“I’m Delwood, son of Delwood, but you can call me Woody,” Delwood Cavenaugh II says on his website, touting Delwood’s Barbecue Sauce and Marinade. Cavenaugh grew up just south of Havelock in Newport, home of the largest whole hog contest in the United States. Dellwood remembers his daddy, a sewing-machine mechanic, cooking whole hogs on weekends. “Whenever he lit coals I was there,” he says. When his dad died in 2008, Woody inherited Dellwood Sr.’s signature sauce, which he began experimenting with. It’s classic Eastern N.C-style, vinegar-based, but with a real measure of difference, whether from the fresh lemon juice, the garlic or the intriguing, slow burn of the blended peppers, with flakes floating in the bottle. “The photo on the label is my father in his natural habitat, ”Woody says. “He’s wearing his straw hat, smoking his pipe, and holding his hoe. Next to him is his pride and joy, a Farmall Cub tractor that he inherited from his father. In the background is his pig cooker, now mine.” Dellwood’s dad’s sauce can be yours from Design Archive, Easy Peasy or Local Honey. (336) 4968227or delwoodsbbq.com. DCB
A jewel-tone strapless dress with a bodice made of unwanted neckties. A sheath dress crafted from old lace curtains. A romper born of wedding dress that’s already been down the aisle. These are just a few of the repurposed pieces you’ll see at Rock The Runway, a Triad Goodwill fundraiser scheduled for February 21 at Elm Street Center in downtown Greensboro. Seven area fashion designers — Caroline Baxley, Carrie Coyle, Ayanna Harrison, John Lin, April Morgan, Nhi Tran and Rachel Wilson — were each given a $250 gift card to buy clothing and accessories at Triad Goodwill stores. The young designers were charged with creating collections to compete at Rock the Runway. Judges and audience members will cast votes, and the winner will get a prize package worth $1,000. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a mixer and silent auction. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar available. Elm Street Center, 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 275-9801 or goodwillrocktherunway.org. MJ February 2014
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The City Muse
The Soul of a Good Dive Bar Where the beer is cold and the reception warm
By Emily Fraser Brown
“You can’t keep doing this, Emily,”
Photograph by Sam Froelich
Mike mumbles, embarrassed. “That’s not beer.” I defiantly finish my Redd’s Strawberry Ale, a lower-end domestic near-beer that tastes like a child’s morning juice.
My friend Mike is a beer snob. He electronically catalogs new beverages on his smartphone, will drive to a neighboring town for a long-awaited, newly brewed batch of porter, and likes to swap brews with out-of-state friends whenever possible. The massive wall of available taps at the Pour House downtown is a place of worship for him, and he’s a devotee of Old Town Draught House on Spring Garden when they occasionally tap a keg of Tank Seven. But Mike is a wide-eyed kid in a candy shop when he’s let loose in Bestway Grocery, with a wall of beer to choose from. Give me an amaretto sour and the occasional glass of white wine. “Natty Greene’s Old Town Brown,” I’ll stammer out. Mike will sigh and find me a darker, richer ale made with coffee beans. Musing one night about our drinking preferences, I observe that I’d never, ever been disappointed in anything I’ve ever ordered in a bar, even dive bars. By contrast, if Mike couldn’t pick between an exotic Extra Special Bitter and a porter aged in a bourbon barrel, he’s bound to be let down. And this got us thinking: Which of Greensboro’s dive bars could a beer snob safely go to? Thus began our one-night pub crawl of Greensboro’s best hole-in-the-wall dive bars. First we had to define “dive bar.” We learned that asking friends for divebar suggestions means that you become the guinea pig for places they’re not brave enough to try. The first tip was an exotic dance club on Randleman Road that has a history of bar brawls. We declined. A lot of factors go into qualifying an establishment as a dive bar. Whether they permit dogs and darts. Cement floors are a plus. It’s best if regulars don’t consider the place a dive bar. Use of plastic cups is a sure sign. After any number of rounds of Russian imperial stout, Flemish sour ale and wheat beer, we narrowed down the candidates to include Wahoo’s and Walker’s on the corner of Walker Avenue and Elam; Lawndale Drive-In and Boo Radley’s on Lawndale; and Westerwood Tavern on Guilford Avenue. We astutely picked the coldest night of November. In another life, Wahoo’s was Hooray Harry’s, a popular hangout for UNCG students and young singles who rented along Walker Avenue. After years of living fifteen minutes away from one another, moving separately to Texas and then back to North Carolina in the same year as one another and working on several jobs mere days apart — my parents finally met at Harry’s in their 30s. Wahoo’s is as charming as it ever was, with an aged brown collie sleeping comfortably by the door, a leisurely game of Ping-Pong attracting an audience in the corner, and a beer selection that totally pleased Mike. Our first quaff is an Old Peculier, an English ale spelled in an eccentric fashion and brewed by Theakston in North Yorkshire. Next we finished an Elliot Ness, an amber lager named for an The Art & Soul of Greensboro
American prohibition agent, brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co. Walker’s is a more narrow space, and there isn’t the same outside seating area that Wahoo’s has, but they do have a live band — a group of veteran musicians with impressive mustaches picking at banjos and fiddles. I’m told it’s not unusual to find people dancing, but none of the patrons were particularly lively that night. Mike is overjoyed to find People’s Porter, a dark brown, robust English porter by Winston-Salem’s Foothills Brewing. Boo Radley’s is spacious, with large televisions displaying the evening’s sports highlights and regulars playing on coin-operated pool tables. Their seasonal selection is impressive, but I was advised not to embarrass myself by ordering pumpkin ale by Tim, a self-professed staple of the bar in an oversized Syracuse hoodie. He suggests Raging Bitch, a Belgian-style IPA by Flying Dog Brewery. We join him in a game of foosball and watch him score his third point before he explains that he’s been playing that particular game for several decades. Lawndale Drive-In is a membership-only bar, where it seems everyone is a regular. After we’d signed the guestbook, Mike ordered an imported-fromCalifornia Sierra Nevada. There’s definitely a local chemistry to the bar, and for those who value slots or smoking, the bar is divided into sections — with a middle room full of slot-machine-style games and a half-covered seating area that allows you to smoke in relative comfort. Westerwood Tavern proudly bills itself as a neighborhood bar, with a giant set of Jenga and a wall papered with customer portraits. The real attraction, though, is a chef standing outside by a glowing barbecue grill. Ben, a Tavern regular, explains that Greensboro’s best jerk chicken, nachos and hot dogs emerge from that grill. As patrons update the chef on recent accomplishments while waiting for their order, she encourages and coaches them as if they’re an extension of her family. Her plans include expanding into home delivery and setting up shop in the College Hill community. Ben, however, is deeply disappointed that each night she takes her famous (and secret) jerk chicken seasoning home with her. The emphasis is on domestics at Westerwood — Yuengling, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Budweiser — with a few microbrews on tap. Mike has a Yuengling, noting a scarcity of craft beers that evening. The liquor selection, he notes, is awesome — not what you’d expect in a dive bar. Then we learn about a recurring special where you can pick a domestic and one shot of the middle-shelf liquor of your choice for $5, which seems to us totally dive-worthy. OH Emily Frazier Brown, who can be reached at email@example.com, is a resident of Greensboro. February 2014
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
What Women Really Want In short, not what you want
By Maria Johnson
It has come to my attention that there is
some confusion about what constitutes an appropriate gift for a woman, especially on a holiday such as Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, or her birthday. What? You didn’t know she considers her birthday a holiday? Whoa, this is a dire situation. Tell you what: As a public service to the guys out there, I’m going to break down gift-giving in three easy chapters.
CHAPTER ONE: THE PERSONAL PROBLEM A successful gift does not have to be expensive, but it does have to be personal. The problem is, men do not define personal in the same way that women do. Here are some things that are not personal to women: 1. Anything having to do with weight loss. 2. Kitchen ware. 3. Anything with the name Craftsman attached. 4. A boxed set of Batman DVDs. 5. Ice scrapers, jumper cables, roadside flares and other car-related items. Here are some things that are personal: 1. Jewelry. 2. Clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves. 3. Perfume. 4. A family heirloom or something cool, like art, crafts or antiques, as long as it’s not an old version of something listed above. Also, it cannot be moldy. Women, in general, frown upon spores as gifts. 5. A car. “How,” you may ask, “are car-related items not personal, but a car is?” What a man question. And here’s the answer: “It just is.” “But Maria,” you say, “what if I give her a first-aid kit for her car? That would show that I’m concerned about her safety.” Thanks for bringing that up. It reminds me to add something to the list of notpersonal items: bandages. I never said this was going to be easy. At this point, I think it would be useful to tell a true story. It happened to a friend. We’ll call her A Woman Scorned. We’ll call her husband The Poor Bastard. Well, once upon a time, A Woman Scorned put a lot of effort into choosing a Valentine’s Day gift for The Poor Bastard. She bought him a handsome tie. She baked him cookies. She made him a wonderful dinner. He gave her a sweatshirt. Yes, he did. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
I’m sure it was a nice sweatshirt. But it was still a sweatshirt. There is nothing you can do to a sweatshirt to make it not-a-sweatshirt. You can gild it with gold. You can encrust it with diamonds. You can tape a Picasso to it. It doesn’t matter. It’s still a sweatshirt. Even though a sweatshirt is technically “clothes,” it is not the kind of clothes a woman wants as a gift. How do I know this? My friend told the story, didn’t she? And just for the record, gentlemen, it does not matter that you would be happy with a sweatshirt. Which brings us to the next section. CHAPTER TWO: THESE RULES DO NOT APPLY TO YOU. Guys, this is a critical concept. You cannot assume that just because you would be happy to receive a certain gift, she would be, too. In fact, the reverse is true. She probably would not be happy with anything that would make you happy. And just because she brings up an item doesn’t mean she wants it as a gift. Oh, she might want it. Just not as a gift. From you. Witness this recent conversation between my husband and myself: Me: “So-and-so has wireless speakers in her house. She can play music right from her phone. It’s pretty cool.” Jeff: “Maybe that could be a Christmas present for you.” Me: Silence. Me (regaining the ability to speak after being momentarily stunned by the offer): “Maybe I could get them for you.” Jeff: Silence. Jeff (regaining the ability to speak after being momentarily stunned by the offer): “OK!” See how that works? CHAPTER THREE: ALL BETS ARE OFF. All rules have exceptions. Here are three scenarios in which the above-mentioned rules do not apply. 1. She asks you for something that’s not personal. For example, kitchen ware is not personal if YOU decide she needs it. There is no good way to say, “I saw this potato ricer and thought of you.” On the other hand, if she asks for a potato ricer, you’re safe (though I think you have bigger problems because any woman who asks for a potato ricer is probably on drugs). 2. A relative or friend gives her a gift that’s not personal. Do not be puzzled or jealous if she swoons over gardening gloves from her mother. That’s different. 3. Her children give her something lame. They can give her anything, especially when they are young, and she will love it. Electrical tape. Bunion pads. Thread. Anything picked by their little hands is wonderful. Get over it. Well, that’s about it. Good luck. Happy shopping. And remember: Gift receipts exist for a reason. OH Maria Johnson feels bad now. She knows there’s a woman out there, somewhere, who would love to get a sweatshirt on Valentine’s Day. But not a potato ricer. Trust her on this. February 2014
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The Omnivorous Reader
How a legendary guitar company duped the War Production Board and a small army of female workers called Kalamazoo Gals made 25,000 banner instruments
By Stephen E. Smith
friend of mine is fond of saying, “You can go almost anywhere and there’ll be an [expletive deleted] with a guitar.” He’s right, at least about the guitar part. The American Fretted Musical Instrument Makers website, which is by no means a complete listing, identifies more than 1,800 American manufacturers that produced fretted instruments during the last 150 years (that’s a lot of stringed instruments stuffed under a lot of beds), so any book about guitars is a book about us. And John Thomas’ thoroughly researched The Kalamazoo Gals is surely an American tale, the convergence of big business, government and labor relations, all of it sweetened with a generous dose of sentiment.
The Gibson Guitar Corporation, founded in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Michigan (now located in Nashville, Tennessee), is almost as storied as the C.F. Martin Guitars, and the company has produced five of the ten most valuable collectable stringed instruments. At the height of the guitar bubble, a 1958–60 Les Paul could bring as much as $300,000, and among the thousands of collectible Gibson guitars, its “banner” models, all of which were produced during World War II, are much sought after (a banner Gibson features the usual Gibson logo at the top of headstock, but centered below the logo is a decal that reads “Only a Gibson is Good Enough,” a mysterious and slightly convoluted assertion). Thomas focuses on the circumstances surrounding the female work force The Art & Soul of Greensboro
whose tenure with the company came and went with World War II. Gibson, like most American manufacturers, was required to contribute to the war effort, so management hired a female labor force drawn from the Kalamazoo area, and without much training, they were put to work producing guitars and winding strings. Oddly enough, company histories state emphatically that no guitars, other than those already on order, were produced during the war, a hoax that was foisted on the War Production Board and perpetuated by the company’s personnel director, Julius Bellson, who claimed in his 1973 history The Gibson that the war “forced us to stop the manufacture of musical instruments.” Thomas researched Gibson’s ledgers and discovered that the company shipped almost 25,000 instruments from the beginning of 1942 through 1945, an astounding amount of non-military goods for a company that claimed to have produced none. All of the guitars shipped by Gibson during the period were banner guitars. As for the vague wording on the headstock, Gibson may have been offering a corporate apothegm, a rationalization for producing instruments that were not up to prewar standards. Moreover, the employment of an unskilled female work force — the Kalamazoo gals — may have been perceived as disadvantageous to the crafting of quality guitars. Whatever their reasoning, the slogan inspired the Epiphone Company to concoct its own advertising maxim: “When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough.” If Gibson’s management assumed its wartime instruments were in some way inferior — in addition to the female work force, there was a shortage of quality woods, and metal for tuners and truss rods was in short supply — the opposite has turned out to be true among the Gibson connoisseurs. Banner Gibsons are much sought after, and a 1943 maple banner J-45 in excellent condition might fetch $12,000. Moreover, there are those Gibson collectors who staunchly maintain that the tonal qualities of banner guitars are superior to the pre- and postwar models. In addition to searching Gibson’s records, Thomas interviewed surviving female employees who worked at the Kalamazoo plant from 1941 to February 2014
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Reader 1945, seeking details unavailable in written sources: What was the culture at the Gibson plant? With what tasks were the female employees entrusted? What training did they receive? What memories did they have of working for Gibson? Did the male luthiers do most of the detailed construction work? Did the women see themselves as having created objets de vertu? Thomas’ inquiries met with varying success. In the intervening years, an innate human reticence and the self-effacing attitude prevalent among informants limited the collection of useful information, and the reader may wonder if Thomas will ever discover the secret to the construction of the banner guitars. But he does, finally, eke out a feasible explanation, albeit a trifle obvious, that will satisfy the reader’s curiosity. More importantly, the reader comes to know and appreciate the women who helped craft some of the finest stringed instruments of the last century. Thomas also traces the history of a few of the banner guitars and notes that the first LG-3 was shipped on August 20, 1942, to “Pendleton’s Music and Furniture Store in Sanborn, North Carolina.” Tar Heel readers will wonder if Sanborn is a misspelling of Sanford, since no Sanborn has ever been listed among North Carolina place names. Apparently, Gibson’s disdain for federal law didn’t end with the dissolution of the War Production Board. In 2011 — about the time The Kalamazoo Gals went to print — federal agents converged on two Gibson factories and seized illegally procured wood, an act of government intrusion that became an instant cause célèbre for conservative media. In August 2012, the Justice Department reached a criminal enforcement “understanding” with Gibson for violating a federal law that makes it illegal to import plant products, in Gibson’s case Madagascar ebony for fingerboards, in violation of another country’s laws. While the case was being settled, Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitars, hit the talk show circuit and insisted that “the Obama Justice Department wants us to just shut our doors and go away,” and he vowed to continue to fight for the Gibson and its workers. It seems unlikely that the corporate culture that duped the War Production Board in the early ’40s was still in force when Gibson hoarded the illegal ebony, but this much is certain: What went ’round came ’round, even if it took 70 years. OH Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
ping account of his own life after the death of his son. • Anne Barnhill of Supply, who dresses in Tudor regalia on book tours, reports that her second Tudor novel, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I, will debut in March.
Words of Wisdom
By Sandra Redding Words, words, words . . . Chisel them; hammer them; stack them. Kaleidoscopic in color or Quaker gray, they become forms to touch, taste, bite into, love. — Anonymous February is for reading books by the fireplace. The following comfy North Carolina bookshops have oneupped Kindles and audio books by hosting authors in the flesh signing their books. Meet a writer. Be inspired. Buy a book! Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, www.flyleafbooks.com February 2, 11 a.m. — Wendy Webb’s The Vanishing; February 2, 4 p.m. — Wiley Cash’s This Dark Road to Mercy; February 6, 7 p.m. — Phillip Meyer’s The Sun Barnes & Noble, Greensboro, store-locator. barnesandnoble.com February 11, 7 p.m. — Angie Kratzer’s David Webb: The American Jeweler; February 20, 7 p.m. — Rob Bencini’s Pardon the Disruption The Next Chapter, New Bern, www.thenextchapternc.com February 1, Noon: Flora Ann Scearce’s The Village: Search for Answers in a Cotton Mill Town The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, www.thecountrybookshop.biz February 7, 5 p.m. — Wiley Cash’s This Dark Road to Mercy; February 11, 5 p.m. — Ed Williams’ Liberating Dixie; February 13, 5 p.m. — Barbara Claypool White’s The In-Between Hour; February 17, 4:30 p.m. — Kayla Williams’ Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, www.pombooks.net February 6, 7 p.m. — Wiley Cash’s This Dark Road to Mercy
• Advised to write about home by Ernest J. Gaines, admired humanitarian and author of A Lesson Before Dying, Wiley Cash sets his fiction in Gastonia. His first novel was a New York Times best-seller. His second, This Dark Road to Mercy, is a mesmerizing Southern Gothic. Novelist Jill McCorkle’s take? “A time capsule and at times an edgy thriller, but at its fine emotional center, it’s all about what it means to be a father.” • Roland Russoli of Greensboro has recently published The Little Boy in the Tree. A Vietnam vet and former Peace Corps volunteer, Russoli writes, “On October 20th, 2005, my world crashed down around me,” in this gripThe Art & Soul of Greensboro
As a creative writing teacher, my chief job is to brainwash students not with edicts, but with questions, to nag them into second-guessing themselves at every turn. To plant in them a pervasive neurosis — so they’ll return habitually to make sure the door is locked, the burners are OFF, the dog’s water dish is full. A repertoire of craft questions they can bombard themselves with once I and the workshop disappear, when the writerly waters of solitude clap shut over them. Writers must develop into their own inquisitors. A hard head is requisite and a dead aim for spitting in the eye of those who say you’re a fool for writing. — Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate and professor at Appalachian State University
Dates to Remember
February 1, National Freedom Day, commemorates Abraham Lincoln signing a resolution prohibiting slavery. The word lover once confessed, “My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” (Another Aquarius-born freedom fighter, Susan B. Anthony, humorously praised the liberating effects of bicycling: “It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride on a wheel.”) February 2, Groundhog Day. Or not? Get excited about groundhogs? If bored with the mammal’s predictive shadow, use the day to write about something that matters, advocates Dr. Shelby Stephenson, affable poet/musician from Johnston County. He has written of dead mules, hogs, tractors and a book on the Possum (opossum to city slickers). “I’m trying to give back to the possum,” Stephenson often explained, “something we took away by hunting and eating it when I was growing up.” February 14, Valentine’s Day. Take a cue from Maya Angelou, Winston-Salem’s revered author, and write poems celebrating those you most respect. Angelou wrote the poem “His Day is Done” in tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died last December. Writer’s block? Chocolate is never a cliché.
Consider two competitions endorsed by North Carolina Writers’ Network. The Doris Betts Fiction Prize honors Chapel Hill’s esteemed creative writing teacher. Deadline, February 15, with a $250 first place. The Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize honors the renowned poet and professor at Woman’s College, now UNCG. Deadline, March 1. The award: $200 and publication in storysouth. ncwriters.org The Burlington Writers Club 2014 award — dealine, March 8 — accepts entries from writers in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Randolph and Rockingham counties. Info: Send an SASE to Doris Caruso, 3015 Winston Drive, #110, Burlington, NC, 27215 or www.burlingtonwritersclub.org What do you want on this page? What writerly events are taking place in your neck of the woods? Let me know at email@example.com Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s first novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, has just been published. February 2014
Lunch with a Friend
A Different Table
By Brian Clarey
It’s not her usual table.
From the time she first took office in 2004, former Greensboro City Councilwoman T. Diane Bellamy-Small has used a five-booth quadrant of the dining room at Stephanie’s Home Style Restaurant as a sort of adjunct office, meeting constituents, plotting campaigns, breaking cornbread with visiting dignitaries and business people from a seat that faced the door, a trick she says she learned during her stint with the Greensboro Police Department in the 1970s. But she’s not calling the shots anymore. Bellamy-Small lost her sixth bid for office in November 2013 against challenger Sharon Hightower after an electionnight nail-biter that carried over to the next couple of days. When the smoke had cleared, Bellamy-Small had lost by a mere dozen votes. Today she slides into another booth, this one by the window. And for the first time in ten years, she’s here in the heart of District 1 — still her district, still her place — to talk about something other than economic development, land-use ordinances and municipal solid waste. She’s here to talk about herself — her artistic life as a classically trained singer, her coming of age in the twilight of segregation, a lifetime of stories that make her who she is. And she’s also here for a plate of fried fish. She notes that the opening of the restaurant coincided neatly with her first City Council campaign in 2003. “It became my place,” she says. “The food is good, the service is good. I felt like this was home.” But home for Bellamy-Small is down the road apiece, in Winston-Salem, where she grew up during the tail end of the Jim Crow Era. Segregation and inequality marked the time of her youth, and had she not raised her voice against it from the very beginning, she might be singing a very different song today.
It was music, she says, that set her apart from the rest of her small cohort of African-American students at R.J. Reynolds Senior High in the years before it was officially desegregated in 1971. “We were not welcome,” she remembers. “But there are two areas that transcend racial barriers: sports and music.” Bellamy-Small played volleyball and
basketball. But the chorus was where her light shined the brightest. Her music career started at Paisley Junior High School, where initially she played a clarinet that her father rented from the Camel Pawn Shop until he punished her for a childhood infraction by making her wait in the car as he took it back to the store. “I sat there crying.” By default she entered the chorus at Paisley and sang her first solo as a member of that group. The song: “The Littlest Month,” which explains why February, though it has fewer days than any other, is just as important as every other month. At Reynolds, she became the first president of the chorale. But when she wanted to pursue voice studies at the prestigious Governor’s School, a program for gifted youngsters begun just a few years earlier by Governor Terry Sanford and one of his staff, 38-year-old John Ehle, who was then on his way to becoming a notable author, she says no one at Reynolds would give her an application. “I got on a city bus and went to Salem College myself,” she says. “It would be like catching the bus from here and going out to Pisgah Church Road.” At the Governor’s School, Bellamy-Small became the first African-American to be elected class vice president. “That was something, back then,” she says. “There were 400 people in the class, and it wasn’t but twenty of them black.” Her horizons expanded by her experience at the Governor’s School, she knew she wanted to go to college. After a disastrous year at Randolph-Macon College near Richmond — “I prayed to God, ‘If you ever get me back to North Carolina, I ain’t gonna leave again,’” — she set her sights on Brevard College, but her father wouldn’t sign her financial aid form. Despondent, she found an unlikely ally in William Allred Jr. His family owned the K&W Cafeteria chain, and she says his father had a reputation as an ardent segregationist. “But William Jr. was a kind man,” she recalls. “He heard about me and reached out. He said, ‘I want to help you become an independent student.’” With Allred’s support, she became emancipated from her family and entered Brevard in the fall. “So that’s something,” she says. “The son of a segregationist helped me go to college.” After a couple of years at Brevard, her journey led to Chapel Hill, where she The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Photographs by Keven Banker
At Stephanie’s Home Style Restaurant, great fried fish — and tales of a life well-spent in public service
Lunch with a Friend
studied music, matriculating in 1974, and made a fateful decision one night on the steps of Hill Hall after listening to the song in her heart.
Bellamy-Small talks in stories. She’s a griot, a keeper of oral history in the West African tradition that goes back centuries, and
she can pull one from her pocket for any occasion — like now, as she deftly separates the spindly bones from her fried fish and lays them on the side of her plate. She brings everyone here, she says. Former Mayor Robbie Perkins. District 4 Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann. The city’s cultural maven, Betty Cone. Get the fish, she says, and don’t leave without trying the sweet-potato cobbler, a house specialty, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And she breaks down barriers even as she makes connections with other cultures and customs. She remembers the afternoon she brought a couple of German businessmen here for lunch and giggled when they tried to eat the fried fish with knives and forks. “I showed them how to break apart the fish with their hands and pull out the bones,” she says. “They loved it. When they came back into town they were like, ‘Can we go to Stephanie’s?’” The first Stephanie’s opened in 1999, a drive-through window located just down the street, where it is still giving McDonald’s a run for its money. Demand outpaced supply, and the big room opened in August 2002. In District 1, the restaurant has gained as strong a reputation as Bellamy-Small — though maybe not quite as contentious. Photos on the wall commemorate visits from Fantasia Barrino, Richard Petty, the actress Suzzanne Douglas, rapper DMX. Barack Obama stopped by unannounced in May 2008, right before the Democratic presidential primary. His picture’s on the wall right next to one of hip-hop notable Pretty Ricky. Tucked against the highway on Randleman Road, it’s the kind of place everyone wants to come back to, as much to bask in the neighborhood vibe as to sample from the vast menu. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
They’re known for wings — chicken and turkey, hot or barbecue. They’re famous for fish — flounder, croaker, salmon, whiting, catfish, trout and shrimp. They plate humongous pork chops and slabs of homemade meatloaf, with a list of side items that brings to mind church picnics and Sunday suppers: beans and greens, cream potatoes and corn, slaw, yams, fried okra and more. The broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole is almost a meal in itself. Mine comes in a substantial clump the size of a pair of hands clasped in prayer, plated with an herbed and baked chicken quarter that defies the standards of kitchens that put out so much food. The chicken is always falling off the bone at Stephanie’s, be it baked or fried or barbecued. But perhaps the most worthy of all the cuisine at Stephanie’s is the mac and cheese, that most pedestrian of dishes that in recent years has undergone a culinary upgrade. These days you can find incarnations of this childhood favorite invoking truffles, bleu cheese, smoked gouda, queso, vegetable blends and more. You can get lobster mac and cheese at any Red Lobster in the country. And in some cities, entire menus are devoted to variations on the theme. Stephanie’s recipe is old school — baked like a casserole, topped with a governing layer of melted cheddar, the noodles, nestled in the creamiest of sauces, barely able to maintain their form. Don’t let its innocence fool you: This dish is a vice. Bellamy-Small lets slip a piece of insider information: “You should try the sweet-potato cobbler,” she says. “It’s an old family recipe.”
Before dessert, there’s another story, this one about her maternal grandfather, who was living in South Carolina.
“He was light-skinned,” she says. “‘One of them ‘high yellas,’ that’s what the old folks used to call them. People probably find that offensive these days. “Anyway,” she continues, “he had gone to the Charleston solicitor’s office, to see about his land. “‘I’m here to see about my land,’ he said at the window. ‘My name’s February 2014
Lunch with a Friend Charlie. Charlie Bellamy.’” That day at the solicitor’s office, an old man, white, with a long beard, sat in a chair by the window. The man sized up Bellamy-Small’s grandfather from his seat. “Who’s your daddy, boy?” he asked. “Jimmy,” he said. “My daddy was Jimmy Bellamy.” “Boy,” the old man said, “you know that my daddy owned your granddaddy?” Here, Bellamy-Small says, her grandfather, Charlie Bellamy, gathered all the dignity he could muster. “Sir,” he said, “that might be true. But you don’t own me.” Charlie died forty years ago, in a car accident that also took his wife. BellamySmall sang at their funeral. She was 20.
Toward the end of her time at UNC, still in her 20s, Bellamy-Small was at a crossroads.
“I was a classically trained musician,” she says, “but [songs in] German, French and Italian don’t make it in the black church.” She could have moved to New York City to pursue opera or the stage — she was a mezzo soprano who at her peak had a range of four octaves — but a few trips to Manhattan proved daunting. “For a kid who grew up in Winston-Salem, going to New York was like going to another planet.” And then there was her family, her roots in the community and the church, her connection to the kind of music she had been making her whole life. “I sat on the steps at Hill Hall,” she says. “As an African-American musician, I had a decision to make.”
At lunch, Bellamy-Small pulls away from the pile of thin bones and smears of hot sauce, the remnants of her lunch, and breaks into “One of These Mornings (Walking Around Heaven),” a spiritual with roots in the church and a reach that goes back generations. “One of these mornings/ it won’t be long/ you’ll look for me/ and I’ll be gone.” A lyric from that song, “Just walk around Heaven all day long,” reminds Bellamy-Small of her grandmother. “She used to say that after a hard day’s work, when she was rubbing her knees at the kitchen table. ‘One of these mornings, I’m just gonna walk around Heaven all day long.’” She included the song in her June 2011 concert My Song’s Life Journey, held at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, the very first church in Greensboro where she sang a solo with the choir. That night she also sang “To a Brown Girl, Dead” in tribute to a fallen sister who died of an aneurysm at just 29 years old. From the song: “Her mother pawned her wedding ring/ to lay her out in white./ She’d be so proud she’d dance and sing/ to see herself tonight.” “Mom had to get a loan to pay for her funeral,” Bellamy-Small says now. “She laid her out in a white wedding dress, like in the song.” Another number, “Daddy’s Sweetheart,” gives a glimpse into her complicated relationship with her father. “It’s about the unrequited love of a daughter for her father,” Bellamy-Small says. “I love my father unconditionally, but he has not reciprocated that love.” Last year, as part of Greensboro’s 17 Days arts festival, Bellamy-Small per-
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Lunch with a Friend formed The Spirituals Speak, a selection of Negro spirituals paired with the photographs of Dr. A.H. Peeler, a Greensboro educator who as principal at Jonesboro School began documenting oral histories from African-American residents who had once been slaves. “I try to make programs teachable moments,” Bellamy-Small says. “History, culture, music, poetry — they all are a part of my work.” Peeler was a strong presence in Greensboro’s African-American community his whole life. When Bellamy-Small’s kids were young, she says, Peeler acted as neighborhood Santa Claus every Christmas. “Mr. Peeler was a skinny black man,” she recalls. “My children’s first Santa was a skinny black man, not a big, fat white man.” Though he’s better remembered as a presence at the J.C. Price School or as a member of the Greensboro Historical Society, or perhaps as the name behind the community center on Phillips Avenue, Peeler’s historical archives may be his most important work. “He had been dead for 22 years,” Bellamy-Small says now. “People forgot he was a photographer.” The Peeler collection dovetailed neatly with her program of spirituals, themselves cultural artifacts of a bygone era. “A lot of times, in these songs, they were poking fun at the master and he didn’t know it,” she says. “A lot of it was born out of some kind of protest.” The spirituals, she says, are the music of her life. “In just one song, you can get depressed,” she says. “‘Oh Lord, have mercy on me!’ Then you begin to progress, see how things can get better. “By the end,” she says, “you’re rejoicing.”
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comes heaped in a dish, with a separate scoop of vanilla ice cream as big as a baseball. The filling is warm, subtly spiced, steaming beneath a crust with the barest hint of graham. Bellamy-Small takes hers to go. She has a funeral in the district — her district, even though she no longer officially represents it on council — and then she’s going to the hospital to visit Sheryl McAdoo, her longtime accompanist. “You don’t know how hard it is to find the right accompanist,” she says. “It’s like finding a mate.” She’s no longer in office, but there’s plenty of work to do — she spends a lot of her time with at-risk youth and ex-offenders, helping them look for ways to make music of their own. At some point, she says, she’ll probably need to find a job. With the election, she says, “I lost half of my income and my health insurance.” But she’s no stranger to hardship. And she knows the end of the story has not yet been written. OH Brian Clarey, editor, journalist and author of The Anxious Hipster and Other Barflies I’ve Known, took a nap after his meal at Stephanie’s II. He lives in Greensboro with his family. Stephanie’s II Home Style Restaurant; 2507 Randleman Road, Greensboro; (336) 389-1008; stephaniesnc.com.
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Sparrows in Madison Square Park For aspiring writer O.Henry, they were either feast or famine
By Jim Schlosser
New York — We know that O.Henry and a
Photographs by Jim Schlosser
buddy ate two of them. But what happened to the rest of the birds that inhabited nearly seven acres of open space that the beloved author O.Henry made famous in several short stories, including “The Sparrows in Madison Square”?
Only a plump pigeon foraged in Madison Square Park recently, pecking the ground and the grass, just as the sparrows did in O.Henry’s time. The park, between 23rd and 26th streets, is bordered by Madison Avenue and Broadway. (Don’t confuse it with the Madison Square Garden sports arena many blocks away.) The park was one of O.Henry’s favorite haunts, from his arrival in New York in 1903 until his death there at 47 in 1910. The park was a key landmark of what could be called O.Henryland, in an area now called Midtown South. It extends from Madison Square Park over to Gramercy Park, down to Union Square, over to the Chelsea Hotel and back to Madison Square Park. In O.Henry’s day, the area served as the core of the Big Apple. More so than now, there were plenty of bars, some of which catered to the libation-loving writer. Plenty of local restaurants satisfied his ample appetite. The big department stores stood nearby. Young ladies who worked in them provided the writer with inspiration for stories that subtly revealed lives of low pay and long hours. While the Madison Square Park area remains popular with New Yorkers today, much of the retail and culinary activity has moved farther north to what is known as Upper Midtown Manhattan. From a bench in Madison Square Park, O.Henry could read faces of people hurrying by or killing time on a bench. One of his most famous characters, the lovable bum Soapy in the “The Cop and the Anthem,” slept and pondered life on his favorite bench near the park’s fountain. Benches still surround the fountain, which on the recent day I visited wasn’t spouting water. A woman on a ladder did maintenance and decorative work. In “The Sparrows in Madison Square,” O.Henry calls himself Mr. Henry. He says in the story he had heard many times that wannabe writers like himself arriving in New York could make easy money visiting the park, watching the sparrows and then writing a story about the birds. Someone at The New York Sun was a sparrow romantic. The paper paid $15 for a sparrow story. Mr. Henry went straight to the park upon arriving in New York. He sat on a bench early in the morning. The sparrows proved inspiring. “Their melodious chirping, the benignant spring foliage of the noble trees and the clean, fragrant grass reminded me so potently of the old
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
farm I had left . . .” he wrote. Never mind that O.Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, fudged facts. He grew up in a house on West Market Street in downtown Greensboro, not on a farm, although he did live a spell on a Texas ranch. “The brave, piercing notes of those cheerful small birds,” he continued, “formed a keynote to a wonderful, light, fanciful song of hope and joy and altruism. Like myself, they were creatures with hearts pitched to the tune of woods and fields; as I was, so were they captives by circumstance in the discordant, dull city — yet with how much grace and glee they bore the restraint.” Seated on a bench, he whipped out a story he thought so grand The Sun would not only pay him $15 but offer him a job at $80 a week, a grand sum in those times. The Sun rejected Mr. Henry’s story and offered no job. Suddenly, the sparrows lost their luster and romance. Mr. Henry sat with a friend on a park bench cursing the creatures. “The confounded pests of sparrows were making the square hideous with their idiotic ‘cheep, cheep,’” O.Henry wrote. “I never saw birds so persistently noisy, imprudent and disagreeable in all my life.” He picked up a dead branch from one of park’s “glorious” trees and hurled it at a passel of birds. The sparrows skedaddled, but two toppled over dead from the blow. O.Henry and his friend picked up the carcasses, took them to a vacant lot and built a fire with the manuscript of his rejected story. “In ten minutes each of us was holding a sparrow spitted upon a stick over the leaping flames,” he wrote. The park hasn’t changed too much since O.Henry’s time. It still has lots of grass, trees and benches and still offers a splendid view of the triangular-shaped Flatiron Building, one of Gotham’s first and still one of its most striking skyscrapers. At rush hours, hordes of people use the park as a cut-through to various destinations. But where are the sparrows, most of whom don’t migrate in the winter? In 1903, the streets by the park stayed noisy with horse-drawn carriages, newfangled autos, streetcars and other voices of the city. It was a wonderful place for O.Henry to bench sit, watch life go by and dream up ideas for what he called his popular “yarns.” Everything important to his life was in easy walking distance of the park. He strolled there daily from his apartment two blocks away on Irving Place, near another park, Gramercy, a private enclave off limits to O.Henry because he didn’t own one of the grand brownstones surrounding it. On nearby Irving Place, where he lived, was — and remains — Pete’s Tavern — which claims the title of New York’s oldest bar, founded in 1864. Down the street, O.Henry’s apartment building survives, with the big picture window that gave O.Henry a view of street life outside. A beauty salon cut women’s hair across the street. I once speculated in a long-ago newspaper story that perhaps a woman getting her locks cut gave O.Henry inspiration to write February 2014
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“The Gift of the Magi,” his most famous story and a universal Christmas classic. Long after O.Henry was gone, the apartment became Sal Anthony’s, an Italian restaurant. For years, Sal Anthony’s and Pete’s Tavern both claimed O.Henry wrote the “The Gift of the Magi” in their place. By default the honor goes to Pete’s. Sal Anthony’s has closed. It windows, including the picture windows, are boarded. A plaque beside the door remains, however, repeating the claim that “The Gift of the Magi” was written there. And it probably was. A copy boy for the New York Sunday World said he went to the apartment and baby-sat the deadline-busting O.Henry while he agonized writing the overdue Christmas story in December 1905. The plaque hasn’t stopped Pete’s Tavern, a dark, paneled, cozy place half a block away, from designating a booth where it insists O.Henry wrote “The Gift of the Magi.” Outside, the restaurant/bar has added signage to enhance its link to the writer, who was a regular customer. “The Bar That O.Henry Made Famous,” says one sign. Another says “O.Henry Way.” While O.Henry didn’t catch the Sun’s attention with his sparrow story, he later found more lucrative outlets for his writings. The New York Sunday World eventually paid him $100 a week for writing a story each Sunday starting in 1905. Maybe O.Henry should have passed on the sparrows as the subject for the story he tried to hawk to the Sun. Instead, he could have drawn inspiration from the park’s namesake, former President James Madison, father of the Constitution. He was married to — booming organ music, please — Dolley Madison, who, like O.Henry, was a native of Guilford County. She was born in a cabin in what’s now western Greensboro. O.Henry could have made prose of Dolley’s fashion fetish, including gowns and dresses from Paris. He could have extolled how she heroically saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington just before the British set fire to the White House during the War of 1812. He could have raved about her charm, her love of entertaining, her beauty. But the Sun probably would have rejected that piece, too. The story lacked sparrows. And that surely would have caused O.Henry, known to spew occasional profanity, to sit on a bench in Madison Square Park railing about what a %^$&*# Dolley had been and how he was ashamed of his geographical kinship with her. He might have liked to see, figuratively, Dolley, “spitted upon a stick over the leaping flames,” just like those two park sparrows he and a friend devoured. OH Jim Schlosser is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Artist at Work
Medium Well Done
For elusive and acclaimed filmmaker David Gatten — headlining a panel discussion at UNCG’s Carolina Film and Video Festival this month — a great film always takes its own sweet time.
David Gatten portrait taken on one of the world’s largest Polaroid cameras, kept at Lincoln Center and used to make portraits of visiting actors and directors. This was the first time they had ever tried an in-camera double exposure. By Maria Johnson
If I were making a movie of this
STILLS COURTESY OF DAVID GATTEN
story in the style of David Gatten — Greensboro native, UNCG alumnus and one of the world’s top avantegarde filmmakers — I might start by showing you a still picture of a washed-out canyon.
And I might follow that with one word: landline. I’d let the word hang on the screen for a while. I’d play with it. Magnify it. Obscure it. Maybe flash it on the screen. You’d get the idea that LANDLINE was important, and it would be, because back in December a landline was the only way I could talk to Gatten when he was at his miner’s cabin on the wall of Four Mile Canyon in Colorado. He checks email on Mondays and Thursdays. No cell. Well, actually, he does have a cell phone. A 2005 model. But he doesn’t know where it is. And it wouldn’t matter anyway because there is no cell service in the canyon. And even the landline service has been spotty since a flash flood scoured the canyon back in September. Plus, his mother, Florence, a former Greensboro city councilwoman, told me that even under the best circumstances he can be hard to reach when he’s in the canyon. A bit reclusive, she said.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
You can imagine my relief when a friendly voice answered the landline right away. I was surprised that Gatten — who is known for making experimental movies with lingering shots, no actors and little or no sound — expressed himself quickly and easily. I was expecting the voice of molasses. I got the voice of apple cider. Earthy, tangy, real. I thanked him for taking time to talk in advance of his February 28 appearance at a panel discussion during UNCG’s Carolina Film and Video Festival. I knew he had much work to do in the canyon. A wall of water had swept away the road, a retaining wall, a thousand trees, the Honda Element that belonged to him and his wife, filmmaker Erin Espelie. After the flood, they bought a 1995 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with high clearance. Restoring the other losses would be a multiyear affair, a marathon effort, he said. “That seems to fit your mode,” I said. He laughed. He knows that his movies — which are usually screened at universities, museums and film festivals — require patience. His most recent work — The Extravagant Shadows (Film Comment magazine proclaimed it one of the ten best undistributed films of 2012) — runs 175 minutes. It’s a love story, he said. And about watching paint dry. For real? I said. He said he knew it sounded crazy. But it works. There are long shots of his hand applying acrylic paint over oil-based paint. The paints fight. They move, dry, crack. Words appear. Clues to the story. Gatten is fascinated with text, with the line between word as image and word February 2014
Artist at Work as the carrier of meaning. When is a word just a symbol? When is it more? He prods the issue in his ongoing project, Secret History of the Dividing Line, a True Account in Nine Parts, a series about William Byrd II, who surveyed the North Carolina-Virginia line. Gatten started the cycle in 1996. Critics say the second installment, The Great Art of Knowing (2004), a 37-minute silent film in black-and-white, is his most important work. It focuses on Byrd’s library, part of which was later sold to Thomas Jefferson, whose collection was the foundation of the Library of Congress. Everything came together in that film, Gatten said. The story, the techniques he used, people’s understanding of his work. “It was firing on all cylinders,” he said. He’s working on the fifth and sixth parts of the series now. Simultaneously. And on a sequel to The Extravagant Shadows. And on a few other pieces. “I’m a big believer in having multiple pots on the stove,” he said. “I never really know which one is going to boil next. But when one starts to boil, I turn the other ones down to low, and that’s the dish I work on. When a film is ready to be made, it will speak to you.” Time. Gatten’s development as a filmmaker took it, too. He was 6 years old and living in Toledo, Ohio, when the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977. He saw it eight times in Toledo. The following year, the family moved to Greensboro, and Gatten continued watching Wookiees at the Terrace Theatre in Friendly Center. He saw the movie eleven more times. There was no tape or DVD to jump to. The film was in constant release for three years. Gatten watched that and more. Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Big Chill.
See a sandy-haired boy hanging out in one of the early computer labs at UNCG. Gatten’s father, Robert, a biology professor who later became associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, used the computers to chew data. David was interested in other applications. He took a computer class in a private home on Mendenhall Street. The teacher had eight Radioshack TRS-80s. Trash 80s, people called them. David learned to program them. He created video games. Images. Moving. “I know this sounds strange,” he said, recalling his formative years. “I got into break dancing.” No biggie. It was the ’80s. He was a dance kid. He did The Nutcracker with the Greensboro Ballet. The Russian Variation. You know the dancers: red tunics, squat-kick, squat-kick, mid-air splits. Acting followed. The Page High School Playmakers. Then an advanced drama class at Weaver Center, Greensboro’s public high school art academy where Gatten met experimental theater. Diploma. Handshake. Off to Chicago, to the Goodman School of Drama to be an actor. But wait. Watch this, a friend said. European art house films. Fellini, Bergman, Godard, Truffaut. Whoa. Those guys played with film, the medium. Forget acting. Gatten returned to Greensboro, to UNCG, to taste film studies in the spring of 1991. That’s when he encountered the newly revived Carolina Film and Video Festival. Cutting-edge work flowed in. It was a big reason Gatten stayed at UNCG. The following fall, he worked on the pre-screening committee. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen hours a weekend, they watched entries for the next festival. See TIME writ large. FastPass_Ohenry_ad.pdf 1 10/11/13 4:41 PM “I got this amazing education seeing brand new work from a wide range of
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Artist at Work
filmmakers — short work, animation, documentary, short narrative, experimental work. It was opening up the world of cinema in a way I had never experienced,” said Gatten. “I learned so much in such a short period of time.” He soaked up ideas from his teachers. “Joanna Hudson, Michael Frierson, Tony Fragola and John Jellicorse were tremendously important in exposing me to areas of cinema that I didn’t know existed before,” Gatten said. “The classroom was great, but also we were putting on this show.” The festival. Gatten ran it during his final two years as student. Other pots boiled. His senior project told the story of Craig Breedlove, a race car driver who set the land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1966. He went more than 600 miles an hour in his rocket car. Then his brakes melted. His parachute snapped off. It took 8.6 seconds, a blurred eternity, for him to shear off several telephone poles and land in a ditch. Rescue workers arrived expecting to find a body. They did. The body said, “For my next act, I will set myself on fire.” Gatten made a 16-millimeter collage for three screens. He used newsreels of Breedlove before and after the crash, locally shot images, and crash footage, which he slowed down and showed on different screens at different times. “I shot and handled the film myself,” Gatten said. “It went over well.” Gatten bundled up and headed north again, this time for a master of fine arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. time. Time. TIME. Success. Accolades. Here, have a Guggenheim Fellowship, said the foundation that hands out the hefty grants to mid-career stars. It was 2005. The Great Art of Knowing, not long out, had gotten a lot of attention. Gatten was 36 and teaching in Ithaca, New York. He used the Guggenheim to move to New York City. He went out to see films every day. It was a great place to absorb the nutrients a creative mind needs. But a bad place to metabolize them. For that, he and Erin needed space, silence. They found the 1890s cabin online — really two cabins, joined. It looked great on a small screen. It looked even better in person. It had space for two studios. That was five years ago. Every spring since then — and this past fall, an aberration — David and Erin have come back to North Carolina. They live in a four-room mill house in Durham. They teach film at Duke. They need to. Gatten makes some money from his films — from the honoraria he gets for appearances, and from selling and renting prints that are shown around the world. In theaters. Where people gather. And watch. And talk about what they’ve just seen. That’s what he wants. It’s what he insists on. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Over the past century many colleges have come and gone. So, making it to the ripe old age of 122 says a lot about an institution’s strength. Longevity, however, is just one of Meredith College’s assets. Since its founding, Meredith has helped strong, bright women become even brighter and stronger. Today, Meredith has grown into one of America’s Best Colleges (according to U.S. News, Forbes, and The Princeton Review) with undergraduate and graduate students from 31 states and 42 countries. In other words, we’re going strong. Go strong at meredith.edu.
Artist at Work Most of his work is on 16-millimeter film. No, not just on the film. In the film. He messes with it. Tears it. Dunks it. Transfers images picked up with cellophane tape. Whatever the film yields determines what he does next. He treats the film as an actor. He directs it, asks it to do certain things. Which it does. Or doesn’t. He goes from there. A 2012 poll of international critics by Cinemascope magazine ranked him one of the Fifty Best Filmmakers Under 50, a list that included big boxoffice artists like Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino. Millions of people have seen their movies. With an audience of about 10,000 people a year, Gatten says he has as much of a following as he can manage. He corresponds with many of his fans personally. The picture balances: the freedom, the following, the money, the mill house, the cabin where he and Erin heat with a wood stove and make yogurt from the goat milk they buy in town. “I don’t need a lot of things,” Gatten said. “The things I need are wine, good books and interesting whiskey.” Ah, whiskey. Here’s how Gatten cuts his hair. Once or twice a year, around midnight, he takes a bottle of whiskey and a pair of scissors out to beach at Seabrook Island, South Carolina, where the Edisto River kisses the Atlantic Ocean. His family has a one-bedroom place there. He takes three slugs of whiskey and starts cutting. He calls it the Three Whiskey Haircut. He says his wife approves. She thinks he looks twenty years younger when he returns. He’ll be 43 this month. He’s internationally known; his films usually premier at the New York Film Festival; and you’ll not find a snippet of his work, even the two digital
pieces, online or via Netflix. He has nothing against Netflix. He gets their DVDs by mail. Or did. Until the flood took his mailbox. He planted another post down the road. He goes out for movies, too. Sometimes, he and Erin drive a half mile to Salina, population forty-seven, where they helped to found the Four Mile Film Society. Showings on first and third Saturdays of every month at The Little Church in the Pines. Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock in a miner’s chapel. Sometimes, Gatten sees movies in Boulder, where he is just another bearded guy with a homemade haircut and overalls. Sometimes, he drives to Denver. There’s a nice art-film house there. He consumes all kinds of movies. But he makes only one kind. The kind that takes its time. Like a canyon. See the image of a tree. It’s leaning on a phone line. The call is crackling. The canyon is playing with the medium. It’s a good place to stop. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. The Carolina Film and Video Festival will be February 26 to March 1 at UNCG. Gatten is scheduled to appear at a panel discussion about experimental film on February 28 at the Elliot University Center. See carolinafilmandvideofestival.org for details. Gatten’s website, which he updates occasionally with upcoming screenings, is davidgattenfilm.com.
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An invader from the far North
By Susan Campbell
In the bird world, this winter will certainly be remembered for the largest invasion of snowy owls along the East Coast, ever. Although there are a few individuals observed in the Northeastern states each year, never before have there been dozens found as far south as the Carolinas. Reports have been rolling in from Maine to South Carolina since just before Thanksgiving. It does not take an experienced birdwatcher to spot and identify these massive owls.
Snowies are typically seen in northern Canada and, to varying degrees, into the extreme northern edge of the United States from October through March. Breeding, however, occurs in the high Arctic on the open tundra. Young birds are the ones most likely to disperse south following very productive summers. When prey such as lemmings are abundant, four or more hatchlings will survive and then face intense competition on the wintering grounds. Many juveniles will head southward in search of food. Second in size to only the great gray owl, snowy owls are large birds. Adults are almost completely white with scattered gray flecking, a smallish head and bright yellow eyes. Immature birds will be darkly barred except for the all-white face, through their second summer. As with all owls, they are feathered from the base of the bill to their powerful toes. Not only does this insulate them against the weather but whatâ€™s more important is how it muffles the sound of their movements as they dive on prey, often from an elevated perch. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
History tells us that the owls found south of the usual wintering range are often hungry and stressed. They are seen foraging during the daytime, which is not typical behavior. Although their preferred prey is, not surprisingly, rodents, they will settle for birds, fish and even aquatic invertebrates if need be. More than once, an emaciated owl has been taken in by a wildlife rehabilitator in the Lower 48. Since airfields mimic the open tundra with which they are so familiar, snowies are often found at large (and busy) airports, which present risk for bird and aircraft alike. Removal of these birds during the winter months may then be necessary. Because they are such charismatic birds whose activities are monitored by local birders, the authorities have been shying away from shooting so-called problem birds, choosing instead to use more humane methods. Trained falconers have been employed to trap and move snowy owls found in places such as Boston Logan International and, more recently, JFK. The first snowy owl located in North Carolina was a bird found in the dunes at Cape Point on the Outer Banks. Others have turned up in a variety of locations, from the mountains of Brevard to Charlotte and Raleigh and locations around Lake Mattamuskeet. An individual was even photographed on a tall stack of shipping containers at the Port of Wilmington. There could very well be more reports of the species around the state this winter than all historic reports combined. So if you are driving through agricultural fields, passing through an airport or even visiting a local high school with large playing fields, keep an eye out for a big white bird. Hungry snowy owls could be anywhere this winter. And if you spot one or talk to someone else who has, please let me know! OH Susan would love to hear from you. Send wildlife sightings and photos to susan@ ncaves.com or call (910) 949-3207. February 2014
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Best Reader Memoirs 2014
L i f e
T h o u s a n d
W o r d s
On the Swing
Smoke follows beauty, my mother always said. There, on the swing, I was beauty By Alice Hodgkins
here used to be a swing on a tree in my parents’ backyard. I like to pretend that my first memory was of my dad putting up that swing for us. That he stood in the backyard beneath the biggest oak with a piece of brick tied to the end of a rope and threw it again and again till it flew up and over the branch that hung forty feet up. That I sat on a blanket in the grass and watched, terrified that the brick would fall gracefully and smash his head in. But I was only a year old when my father put up the swing, so really, for me, it had no beginning. It simply was. A board painted blue with two looped ropes. The ropes stretched in the humidity and left prickles in our hands, and the blue of the board wore away under our mulberry-stained summer feet. We loved it because it made us fly. There were specialty ways of swinging: the basic Underdoggie, the thrilling and sickening Tornado, in which you tucked your feet in and spun, the painful but fortifying Tomato, in which we discovered centrifugal force long before we knew its name, and, most exhilarating of all, the soaring, graceful Merrygo-round. The swing on the big tree stood at the center of all play: a frightening game called Person, in which we’d creep out from behind the overgrowth toward the innocent swinger; Circuses, which we’d perform for any adult who would stand still long enough to watch, in which we’d balance five of us on the blue board at once, our toes gripping the edges; and games of daring in which friends would duck in and out and under the hurtling board. Every child who came to our home was introduced to the swing and I do not remember any who ever failed to show the proper awe, who did not take their given turn with complete seriousness. I might have taken it the most seriously, however. Long after neighbors moved away and the rest got too ungainly and preoccupied for regular flights on the swing, I still looked upon it with reverence. I was the middle child, not as quick and resilient as the others. I had more open spaces in my head. I spent a fair bit of girlhood in a quiet quest for a place of my own — a small place which fit only me, in which I could let those open plains in my head take over. On spring afternoons, I would sometimes wander out to the swing and climb on. I always stood, in the sweet smell of the grass and the bark, facing the parking lot, and nudged my hips side to side to side until I was gliding back and forth, back and forth. I sang and recited poems quite loudly; I had conversations with people who did not happen to be present; I leaned forward into the wind. When my father grilled steaks in hot, bright July, I would stand soaring in midair, and friendly smoke would wisp around me. “Smoke follows beauty,” my mother always said. There, on the swing, I was beauty. One weekend, the spring of my senior year of high school, my parents were
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
out of town and I had friends over. We started dinner, then abandoned it simmering on the stove, and took careful turns on the swing and gave each other pushes. We laughed a lot. A couple of weeks later I was sitting in the upstairs bath at about 11 when there was a long thunder in the clear April night. It went on and on and finished with stillness. I hauled myself out of the water, put on a robe and went outside to see. My parents stood in the driveway, staring. The big tree had laid itself down, filling our large backyard like a bowl. (That’s the way I described it to everyone for weeks — “like a bowl.”) It had been struck by lightning fifteen years before, and we’d had half of the top removed. Apparently the core had rotted out anyway. It was the quietest of nights. The fallen trunk, which was at least twenty feet around, led straight to our neighbor’s back fence, like a hundred feet of highway. The baby oak leaves that waved in the breeze, whose arrival meant spring at last, were already dying as I watched. And then I knew. My swing was gone. I began to cry. My parents hugged me and said, scary, wasn’t it? And I said not particularly, went upstairs and crawled into my sister’s empty bed. I pressed my face into the fan that propped the window open, and bawled myself to sleep. I would be 18 in only a few weeks and my world had ended when all I was trying to do was take a bath. The tree left behind a huge rotting stump the size of a dining room table, a bare spot where our feet had scuffed away the grass, and piles and piles of firewood. My mother put potted plants on the tree stump and planted bright wildflowers in the bare space, and my father and brother spent weekends chopping wood. My parents took a remnant and commissioned a friend to make a smooth, glowing wood inlay of a wide, full oak tree, with a little barefoot girl flying upward on a swing. Because, of course, the tree left us behind too: all of us who played there in the floodlight after Bible study, who skipped dessert for another Merry-go-round, all of us who had been intoxicated by the moment of weightlessness when the swing changed directions and the whole world let go of you for an instant. In falling, it left all of us with our feet on the ground, and nothing but grand blue sky where a tree used to be. And so my heart grows older. OH Alice Hodgkins is still searching for a new swing-tree, preferably one close to home. You can find more of her at alicewithpaper.wordpress.com. February 2014
Life of Jane
Music for the Journey Why I won’t stop believin’ it was the perfect wedding song
By Jane Borden
and I was in Brooklyn, we watched videos of wedding bands over Skype. After plugging earphones into our laptops, we counted down three-two-one, and pressed play simultaneously. There were bands with a dozen members, and others with three; some were instrumental only; some had horns; many promised multiple costume changes; several had names featuring a pun on the word groove. I was immediately drawn to one called Party on the Moon, because no one doesn’t want to get married on the moon. But this also raised concerns: What happens if a guest RSVPed “no” and then came anyway? Would there be enough oxygen tanks? I tossed the quandary aside, however, when we came to the band Sleeping Booty. “I don’t need to watch the video,” I said. “This is the one.” I wanted them — badly — and only because I desired to tell everyone I knew that my wedding band was Sleeping Booty. For the rest of my life, I could say it. It would never get old. I know one can’t pick a band just because it has a funny name, but whenever I considered that wisdom, I’d lose myself again in the magic: Would the musicians put our booties to sleep? Or do they mean that I am a snoozing princess and they’re about to wake my ass up? Ultimately, I didn’t choose, which was probably best, considering my proclivities. My mother picked the band. And I was happy to let her, having acquired decision fatigue from hearing too many versions of “Brick House” through tinny earbuds. Besides, any of the bands on the talent agent’s website would have been wonderful. They all promise to know just what you want on your special day. And I’m sure they do. My only preference was that we not hire a band that had frequented frat houses when I was a student at Chapel Hill. There are a lot of similarities between wedding receptions and Greek-system formals — fancy dress, too much alcohol, crying girls — so it’s no surprise that their band choices overlap too. Although I knew from experience that the bands I’d heard in college were great fun, I wanted this event to feel distinct
from those before. I wanted to paint this one with oil instead of watercolor. Still, I am not very Type A, so I wasn’t sure how to approach my scheduled phone call with the chosen band’s leader. My experience with live music: They play what they want, and you stand and listen. I wasn’t accustomed to being a monarch directing her courtiers. But, he’d asked me to make requests and exclusions, so I perused the set list, chose a few, and then, like a dictator with a blacklist, I called him from my desk at work. We wanted our first dance to be “Baby, I Love You” by Aretha Franklin. The parent-child dance was James Taylor’s “Whenever I See Your Smiling Face.” Then I requested “New York” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, because I was about to move away from the city, and also that is an awesome song. Then I threw in Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” because I saw it on their list; it’s a great song, and it struck me as unique to the wedding canon. Then he asked me to tell him what I didn’t want to hear. “I don’t know, maybe no KC and the Sunshine Band?” Again, it was a watercolor thing: KC was on heavy rotation in my college years, and no one wants a Phi-Delt “Late Night” to bleed into the day that God blessed. “Anything else?” He asked. I grew bold: “Maybe no disco at all?” He said OK. I said OK. We both said thanks and see you in a few months and the job was done. But then, right after hanging up, I thought of “Journey.” You know the song. Everyone knows it. Because it’s excellent. Which is why it’s egregiously The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Illustration by Meridith Martens
Since my fiancé was in Chapel Hill
Life of Jane overplayed: on radio stations, in sports bars, at karaoke parties, by high school marching bands. There’s probably a cover of it on some wellmeaning rock compilation for kids. Instead of “Generation X,” sociologists should have named us the “Don’t Stop Believin’ers.” That song is the kind of watercolor that contains hardly any pigment at all. I reached for the phone to call the band leader back. But then I wondered if I wanted to spend the rest of my life knowing I’d made a separate phone call simply to badmouth “Journey.” I didn’t want to be that girl, the one who has nothing better to do. I considered calling for another few seconds. And then I forgot about it. Because I had better things to do. In addition to playing our requests and hours of Motown and beach music favorites, the band also performed Katy Perry, which I hadn’t realized was already canonized. Everyone loved it. And now, whenever Nathan and I hear “Firework,” we get to adopt a haughty tone and say, “You know, they sang this at our wedding.” Then, when the dance floor was most crowded, the band played “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I laughed at the irony, but only for a second, because then I started jumping up and down, shouting the lyrics, in total rock-anthem ecstasy. In that moment, it was the best song I’d ever heard. And I didn’t want to miss any of it, but I did want Nathan, so, like a petulant monarch, I shouted his name into the air and didn’t stop until someone delivered him. I was totally that girl. And I was having a blast. My booty was not only awake but several feet in the air because I’d acted on a strange impulse to climb Nathan’s back. Although that song has featured prominently during many other moments in my life, this time was definitely distinct — and also preserved, as suddenly cameras were flashing everywhere. Apparently all of my friends simultaneously thought, “I will never let Jane live this down.” [click] The next day, our photographer delivered to my parents’ house a silver frame containing a picture of that moment: Nathan carrying me piggyback, my hand stuck so high in the air it’s out of the shot, both of us laughing. It now sits on the table by our front door, a constant reminder that you don’t always know what you want, and also that no one should ever badmouth “Journey.” I wonder what would have happened if I’d let them play KC. OH
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February 2014 Diet of Righteousness The devil may well be in a rutabaga and some of those other things that grow downward into the dirt and the dark toward hell — beets, parsnips, maybe yams and horseradish. To be sure to be pure avoid onions, carrots bad old garlic and potato, even peanuts. But not to worry, there is plenty that grows up into the light of the Lord that you can eat. You can have bagels, beans and beer, catsup, pickles, prunes, taffy and tofu and — stretching the requirements a bit — all that heavenly cheese.
— Isabel Zuber
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Greensboro’s oldest African-American neighborhood was once a proud and vibrant community. That vanished during the days of urban renewal. If you know where to look, it’s still there. by Molly Sentell Haile
eople tell me, ‘You know everybody, Butch!’” Spending an afternoon in Greensboro’s Warnersville neighborhood with Butch Poole is like experiencing Old Home Week compressed into a few hours. It’s a little dizzying. If Butch doesn’t know you already, it won’t take more than a minute or two for him to make a connection. Born and raised in Warnersville, Butch has met a lot of other people through the food industry; he’s worked at Waffle House, Libby Hill, New York Pizza, Food Lion, Lucky 32, Spring Garden Bar and Grill, and Catering by Ellyn. His grandfather knew the Koury family and often took young Butch with him to the Sunday buffet at Joseph’s Restaurant. Joseph Koury always stopped by the table to say hello to the Poole family and once told Butch to contact him about getting a job in the restaurant business when he got a little older. A few years later, when Butch was in high school, Koury hired him to work at the Holiday Inn at Koury Convention Center. Butch gets excited about good food and the connections he’s made to people over the years — some local and some world-famous, but it all goes back to the Warnersville community, which bred in him a love and respect for good food and good people. Randleman, Freeman Mill, South Eugene and Florida streets
are the boundaries of Warnersville today, but the community, founded two years after the end of the Civil War, is a subdued, smaller version of the sprawling, vibrant and close-knit community that existed before the city of Greensboro redeveloped it from 1969–71. According to the Warnersville Community Coalition, “Warnersville was a victim of the city’s urban renewal program in the 1960s. Its intent was to remove the perceived blight associated with the community and to build affordable housing. In doing so they destroyed the good with the bad. Lost was all of the beautiful architecture found in many of the old stately homes and especially the churches. Many black-owned businesses were demolished without giving them the opportunity to re-establish in the community.” At a traffic light, Butch sees an All Fresh Produce truck, and stops mid-sentence. “Hold on a minute. Is that my cousin Sonnyboy? No. Where were we?” Butch has more than a hundred cousins and most live close by. Half of his family came from South Carolina and Virginia to settle in Warnersville and, on the other side, the Rhineharts came from Germantown, Pennsylvania. Yardley Warner, who is the neighborhood’s namesake, also came from Germantown. Warner was a white Quaker lawyer and educator who moved to this area in 1867. He bought thirty-five-and-a-half acres, and sold it in one-acre parcels to recently The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Historical photographs, greensboro historical museum; current photos by molly haile
Warnersville’s Last Stand
freed slaves. Butch wonders if his family didn’t have a historical connection with the Warner family that goes all the way back to Pennsylvania. Although freed slaves had a right to own land after the Civil War, white landowners all over the South refused to sell to them. Warner was an itinerant activist of sorts, moving from place to place in the South, working for freed slaves’ rights and helping black communities set up schools. One biographer says the white people in Greensboro considered Warner a pariah because of his radical ideas. Warner worked with the curiously named Harmon Unthank, a carpenter and freed slave who managed the land sales, came up with the community’s name and became its first leader. Over the next century, Warnersville became a thriving community that brought up many professional athletes, prominent leaders and educators, not to mention spawning Bennett College, which began in the basement of St. Matthew’s Church. Butch says when he was growing up in Warnersville in the ’60s and early ’70s, “Everybody took care of everybody.” If he got in trouble two doors down, his mother would know before he got home, and he’d get it from both his friend’s mother and his own. He also knew somebody would look after the five Poole kids when things got hard, like the times his mother’s phlebitis acted up or the time his father moved out. Relatives, neighbors and teachers looked out for the Warnersville kids and for each other. “If we didn’t have food,” he says, “the next family over might have something.” The shop owners helped out, too. “You had Tom’s Take Home and Blanche’s on Old Ashe Street. Tom Fairley, he used to feed me all the time. And Mrs. Blanche. They would let me come in and just empty trash cans, dunk French fries, do a little dishwashing or sweep the store, things like that, and then give me two pieces of fried chicken.” In the 1950s and ’60s, Warnersville bustled with two dozen businesses, including the Jackson and Jeffries Optometrist Office, Moore’s Tailor Shop, Austin’s Shoe Shop, Anderson’s Grille, Butner’s Curb Market, Jolala’s Grocery, Gladys Beauty Nook, Sussman’s Grocery, Shamburger’s Corner Market, the Little Spot Club, a movie theater and the Poole family barber shop, where Butch’s aunt Carrie Poole became one of the first female African-American barbers in the state. Neighborhood families owned the majority of Warnersville businesses. Almost all of those buildings were razed during the urban renewal construction of 1969–71. America’s urban renewal movement of the ’60s and ’70s often entailed demolition and top-down, government-imposed changes rather than respectful and collaborative community renewal plans. The city of Greensboro and the federal government paid families to move out of the older wood-framed homes and into the new, government-subsidized Hampton Homes housing units; laid Randleman Road through the neighborhood; and expanded Freeman Mill, cutting off access to one section of Warnersville. While some families were grateful for more space in the newer homes, many felt bitter that the government demolished homes, churches and businesses, which separated extended families and congregations and altered much of the character and cohesiveness of Warnersville. On a walk around the neighborhood, Butch tries to point out where each business was, but his memory is understandably fuzzy. He was 7 when the The Art & Soul of Greensboro
construction began, and much of his sense of old Warnersville comes from stories that have been passed down. One of his father’s friends once told him how he remembers little Butch, about 5 years old, sitting on his daddy’s knee watching the National Guard march up and down Ashe Street the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. By Butch’s account, the two men had drunk a little too much vanilla extract from Mother Murphy’s, where they worked, and cursed the soldiers who had come into their neighborhood to impose a curfew to prevent riots. Butch says, “Let’s stop by Mrs. Jones’ house first. She’ll remember.” Mrs. Jones is in her 90s now. Butch grew up with her grandchildren. He says he was always, “kind of stuck up under her.” Instead of playing with the other kids, sometimes he’d help her in the garden with her turnip greens, mustard greens and the sunflower seeds she’d share with him. “I guess the way I loved old people goes back to my great-grandmother Rosa Rhinehart [who lived in Warnersville, too]. When I was old enough that I could just walk around every weekend, I wasn’t out playing with the kids. I was at Grandma Rosa’s house learning how to cook. She would teach me how to do snap beans and clean creasy greens — they were so dirty. She’s the one who made me who I am now as far as respecting women, cooking and getting a job.” Mrs. Jones isn’t home. Butch looks around and says, “I hope she’s doing OK.” He peeks around the side of the house and worries some more before we walk to the Warnersville Recreation Center. A muscled-up man in his 20s is in the parking lot. Butch introduces himself and, after reading the man’s ID tag, says, “Doug Brown. Are you the new director here? I know you. You used to play football at Ragsdale.” On the way inside, Butch stops where the sidewalk intersects and bushes are landscaped along the sides. “No. No. This used to be dirt. This is where we played marbles back in the day. I won the city championship one year.” The rec center hosted dances, an annual grandmothers’ contest, community celebrations and enrichment programs for adults and kids (and continues to provide sports and other programs for kids, after school and in the summer). The center also hosts a reunion celebration every summer called the Warnersville Heritage and Music Festival. Inside the rec center, Butch looks over the trophies and the photographs of past directors. He points outs out James Scales, Constance Griffin and Connie Raiford, people who strengthened the whole community by caring for and mentoring kids at the rec center. “Bill Bethea, too,” he adds. Those names come up again and again in a series of Warnersvillerelated interviews curator Jon Zachman and his interns at the Greensboro Historical Museum are collecting for an exhibit about the community that will open in September. Zachman is working closely with Warnersville advocate James Griffin and says he hopes the collaborative project will, “allow the community to share their stories and identify the topics they deem most meaningful.” One resident, Waymond Tuck, told an interviewer, “Warnersville [rec center] was our mainstay.” The rec center directors, “knew a lot of us didn’t have fathers in our lives and that was what they were there for and it worked out.” They taught February 2014
The Ensemble May Day celebration at J.C. Price School
J.C. Price School 1954-56 baton girls J.C. Price School
Shiloh Baptist Church
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
the kids to, “always have respect for other people . . . you’re not going to be in this world by yourself because everywhere you go, you’ll see somebody else. And that makes a whole lot of sense.” We drive down Ashe Street, past the multiunits of Hampton Homes’ public housing to the section where single-family brick homes line both sides of the street. Butch sees two men walking down the sidewalk. “Pull over! Pull over!” he shouts. We get out and I listen to Butch introduce himself and find the connection. One of the men says his name is Jerome Waterman. He looks a few years older than Butch and has a voice as deep as a bullfrog. Jerome smiles at Butch and says, “OK, then. You’re a Poole.” Jerome remembers a few of Butch’s uncles and cousins, including Marshall Wade Poole. Butch tells me Marshall Wade played basketball at Gillespie Junior High with Bob McAdoo, who was an NBA star and now coaches the Miami Heat. McAdoo’s ancestors were original landowners in Warnersville and respected educators in the community. Butch and Jerome talk about people they know — Peanut, Chub, Yogi, Rubin and Mr. Brown, the strict teacher who taught shop at Lindley Junior High. Jerome says William Brown still lives in Warnersville, and we should stop by. Pointing down the road to the big curve in Ashe Street, Butch asks Jerome to help him remember the way it looked before they closed off one end of Ashe in the redevelopment. Jerome points out where Little Spot and Jolala’s Grocery used to be, and Butch remembers Jolala would give you credit if you were short on cash. Jerome says a lot of the children and grandchildren of people Butch remembers still live in the neighborhood, but he misses the way everybody used to stop and speak to one another. We drive to the semicircle of houses on the back side of Hampton Homes that Butch says everybody called the old folks section. He tells me to stop in front of a house with pinwheels set in the front yard and spinning in the breeze. “That was Mrs. Bell’s house. She was a retired schoolteacher from Durham. Back then all those ladies dressed alike. They wore long skirts past their knees with black stockings pulled way up. She taught me how to cut roses.” Mrs. Bell also taught Butch how to plant cucumbers, collard greens, tomatoes and roses — “yellow roses, pink roses, purple roses. I’d never seen so many colors of roses in Hampton Homes. I would clip them for her. I never bought my mama nothing for Mother’s Day from the time I was maybe 10 until junior high.” On the way to J.C. Price School, we pass the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, where Butch and his brothers and sisters went on Sunday mornings. Along with St. Matthew’s, Shiloh Baptist and several other churches, Prince of Peace helped the Warnersville community thrive in the ’60s and early ’70s. Prince of Peace sponsored beach and mountain trips, dances and movie nights for youth in the neighborhood. Butch says in the last few decades, “this neighborhood became what they call a food desert.” Recently, the church has begun hosting a farmers market and plans are in the works for a greenhouse and large community garden through a partnership with A&T University. Up the hill by Whittington Street lies the old J.C. Price School, which is visible from Freeman Mill Road. The junior high, which became an elementary school when Greensboro public schools desegregated under federal court order in 1971, closed in 1983, but residents still regard J.C. Price as a Warnersville icon because of its central role in the community and its many successful graduates (including Ezell Blair Jr., one of the Greensboro Four at the Woolworth’s sit-ins). We drive across Eugene Street, and Butch stops in the Sky Mart beside Goodwill for a cigarette. He tells me, “All of this used to be woods. We built tree forts in here.” We park across from All State Restaurant Equipment on South Elm Street. Butch worked for one of the owners, Ellyn Steinhorn, and checks to see if she’s in today. He says she was one of his best bosses. She’s not in, but that’s OK. He really came to show me the storage area beside All State, the place where the winos hung out on old couches when Butch The Art & Soul of Greensboro
was a kid. Back then he would cross Eugene Street to get to Shamburger’s Curb Market on Elm. “Most of the winos were brick masons. They kept me in line, too.” He says if he tried to throw rocks their way or mess with them, they’d tear him up or his mother would — usually both. On the way back to the car, we see a tall, 40-something black man in a Tar Heels sweatshirt. He’s using a tripod to film himself in the cemetery across South Elm Street. After we ask him what he’s doing and he asks us what we’re up to, the man points to a house a couple of blocks away and down a hill. “That’s where I lived until I went to college,” he tells us. His name is Steve McGowan, and he has come back from Japan after two decades to make a documentary about where he grew up. His speech is stilted; he tells us he’s trying to get used to speaking English again. Steve says he never really stopped to look in the cemetery when he was kid. Butch says he never did either. Butch asks Steve about his family and tells him, “We’re probably kin.” Steve nods and says to Butch, “Yes, we probably are.” It’s warm outside for this time of year, and we find Mr. Brown doing
yard work in front of his beautifully landscaped house. Butch says he had Mr. Brown for shop class at Lindley Junior High. Mr. Brown meets us on the curb and speaks with the natural authority and confidence of a seasoned teacher. And he looks professional, even in his Friday afternoon sweats. When I ask to take his photo, he says, “No, thank you,” and adds, “Not today,” as he gestures towards his sweat suit. When I ask his first name, he tells me, “People know who I am.” Butch stands a little straighter than before and answers his teacher’s questions with, “Yes, sir.” He tells Mr. Brown he remembers the sign on his classroom wall: “If you aim at nothing, you will succeed.” Mr. Brown retired in 2002 after almost forty years teaching industrial arts and coordinating vocation programs in many Guilford County middle and high schools. Before retiring, he coordinated the vocational arts program at Northwest High School. His teaching philosophy was, “Take them where you find them and carry them as far as they will go.” Mr. Brown is happy to see Butch and tells us he still lives in Warnersville even though a lot of people have died or gone on. “I’m still here and that ought to be a testimony. I like the neighborhood. It’s family. It’s a little different now, though. There are a lot of rentals now. I see elders dying out, and I don’t see the families that used to be here.” He motions toward downtown and sweeps his hand across the horizon. “People ask why do you stay near the projects and I tell them, ‘Every neighborhood is a project . . . a place where people live for a common purpose.’” Back in the car, Butch tells me, “Mr. Brown was off the chain. We thought he was mean, but I knew he was right in the end.” OH Molly Sentell Haile, whose work has been published in the Oxford American, is an MFA student in UNCG’s creative writing program and coordinates free creative writing classes at local schools and nonprofits through the university’s Center for Creative Writing in the Arts. February 2014
The misremembered legend of a Greensboro man who went west to ride with the cavalry. By Edward Cone
century ago the southern border of the United States was in turmoil. Outlaws crossed the dusty line at will as rival armies squared off in revolutionary Mexico, where Pancho Villa, still on America’s friend list for the moment, had lately hijacked a trainload of silver bars to finance his División del Norte. It was time to call in the cavalry. The elite Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Regiment reached Fort Huachuca in Arizona by late 1913 and quickly took up station across the state’s bottom fringe. A lot had changed since the famous unit had last patrolled the border, back in the days of Geronimo. Naco, where Troop E encamped, had its own golf course, and there were plans to bridge the Colorado River for automobile traffic. (Indeed, there was now such a thing as automobile traffic.) For the troopers, though, much remained the same. The enemy was elusive, the terrain hard and dangerous.
Troop C headed for Yuma. In the ranks rode a 21-year-old private from Greensboro named Thomas Reese Alexander. With a year of rigorous training behind him and the Army’s finest mounted warriors at his side, he was as ready for trouble as an untested man could be. He did not last long. On May 11, 1914, a telegram arrived at the barbershop on South Elm Street owned by his father, Sandy: “Your son, Thomas R. Alexander, was shot and killed here today. Do you wish remains shipped to you? If so, where? Answer at once.” The next morning’s Greensboro Daily News ran a brief story: “Greensboro Negro Trooper is Killed.” Details were scarce, even as reports from Mexico filled the papers. The fate of writer Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared across the border to meet Villa just as the 10th arrived in Arizona, remains a celebrated mystery even today, but the death of Private Alexander inspired few questions. Reese, as people seem to have called him, was mourned as a fallen hero. His funeral, delayed for a day when the body was held up The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Union Cemetery. Photograph by Lisa Scheer
in transit, filled St. James Presbyterian Church on Forbis Street (now the downtown end of Church Street) to overflowing, with a crowd estimated at 1,000 standing in the aisles as those unable to squeeze into the building listened as best they could outside the doors and windows. The service featured a parade of speakers, including Captain David Gilmer, Greensboro’s most famous African-American solider. Fallen black patriots from Crispus Attucks onward were invoked. Cadets from The Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race, as North Carolina A&T was known at the time, served as pall-bearers for their former classmate; a silk flag draped the coffin and a bugler blew “Taps” at his burial. “The occasion was sad, but glorious,” said another paper, the Greensboro Daily Record. Tributes to the young man’s sacrifice did not end with the funeral. “Private Alexander, beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Alexander of this city, laid down his life in the line of duty in the service of his country,” wrote the Daily Record. “The name of Alexander will be enThe Art & Soul of Greensboro
shrined in grateful and everlasting remembrance by the American people.” His gravestone, a tall marker that stands at the northwest corner of Union Cemetery near McCulloch Street, is inscribed with the verse often reserved for fallen soldiers, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Yet little seems to have happened as Greensboro believed. The crowd waiting downtown for the Number 38 train to bring Reese Alexander on his last ride home held vigil for a fallen warrior, but sources closer to the front tell a different tale. One brief article, buried deep inside the Arizona Sentinel and Yuma Weekly Examiner newspaper, reports that Private Alexander was on his way back to camp from a routine Monday-morning drill when he was shot and killed by another private, Jesse Britton (“both colored”). A bulletin in the Coconino Sun — it spells the shooter’s name “Britten” — adds that “Alexander died before making any statement as to what caused the trouble.” The death certificate blames a single bullet from a February 2014
.45-caliber pistol, long a favorite among the troopers. It’s easy to empathize with hometown folks for lionizing one of their own, and you need think back no further than Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan to know that war stories get spun in convenient directions. But putting the bare facts of Private Alexander’s shooting in place still leaves many questions unanswered. What drove him to quit school and join the military? What sparked his killing? Some of the answers are still out there, and others may have eluded Alexander himself, or died with him. Sometimes the famous fog of war is just a precursor to the fog of history.
II. The 10th at peace Reese Alexander enlisted in late 1912 at Fort Slocum, near New York
City, signing up for a three-year hitch. He stood 5-feet-6 3/4-inches tall, according to his enlistment records, with brown eyes, black hair and dark skin. His occupation is recorded as “laborer,” but his education (including a brief stint at A&M, near the family home on East Market Street, and time studying art in New York) would have been attractive to an outfit that prided itself on having its pick of capable men. The regiment he joined was a storied fighting force. One of four black combat units created in the wake of the Civil War, the 10th Calvary saw action from the start. For twenty-five years the troopers battled their way across the Great Plains and mountain West, waging the bitter winter campaign against Black Kettle’s Cheyenne in Kansas, building Fort Sill in Oklahoma and engaging hostiles from Montana to Texas. Along the way the Indians gave them the nickname of Buffalo Soldiers, perhaps in honor of their strength and persistence. (Neither the respect of their foes nor our own admiration for their bravery obscures the horrors of the ethnic cleansing for which they were deployed.) When the Indian Wars ended, they took on the Spanish in Cuba — “When negro valor shone sublime,” declaimed Greensboro poet James Ephraim McGirt — and planted the flag of empire in the Philippines. They returned from the Pacific via the Suez Canal and, having circled the globe, came ashore as heroes in New York, where they were celebrated with a parade. By the time Reese Alexander showed up the 10th was three years into a life of unprecedented ease at Fort Ethan Allen near Burlington, Vermont. The frontier was long closed, its bloody history already repackaged as popular entertainment by the Wild West shows of Buffalo Bill Cody. The rout of Spain was old news. In The History of the Tenth Cavalry, 1866-1921, Major E.L.N. Glass chronicles decades of hard riding, impossible conditions and deadly firefights. In the section on Vermont, the action shifts to horse shows and races, and the prowess of the Machine Gun Platoon at baseball. The popular new sport of basketball brought African-American traveling teams known as “black fives” to the base, with the home side blown out on one occasion by a visiting all-star squad from New York.
They were still soldiers, though, with plenty of veterans to propagate regimental culture and plenty of orders to follow. The summer after Reese joined up, the 10th marched south for an extended run of drills in northwest Virginia. Something about this program, or Army life in general, disagreed with the young trooper, who went AWOL for a week in early June before being forcibly reunited with his unit. (This was unusual for the 10th, which had lower desertion rates than most regiments. Of course, the horsemen were susceptible to the same vices as other soldiers and civilians. Nearly everywhere they went were opportunities for them to find trouble, including The White City, a bawdyhouse near Fort Huachuca that was a locus of disciplinary violations.) The long trip culminated in October with a stunt-riding show for President Woodrow Wilson and assorted D.C. swells. Then came a train-ride back to Vermont, and, shortly afterward, orders to head to the Mexican border. The locals hated to see them go. Relations between the black troopers and white New Englanders were tense at the start — townspeople discussed instituting Jim Crow laws when the 10th first arrived — but warmed considerably over time. This pattern was repeated in other places AfricanAmerican units were stationed, including vales of homogeneity like Vernal, Utah. Unsurprisingly, large groups of armed black men were not universally welcomed across the United States, and the battle-hardened soldiers were unlikely to back down when confronted; violent incidents occurred, including some that involved the 10th. For the troopers, prejudice from the same people they protected was infuriating. Confronted in 1893 by a would-be lynch mob in Nebraska, members of the all-black 9th Cavalry distributed a pamphlet that concluded, “If you persist . . . we will reduce your homes and firesides to ashes and send your guilty souls to hell. Signed, 500 Men With the Bullet or the Torch.” Racial incidents persisted into the 20th Century, including a pair of deadly disputes in Texas that drew national attention. For all the unpleasantness, increasingly positive relations with white Americans, along with the pride and assertiveness of the soldiers, were part of a plan. The contradictions of black men fighting for the country that had enslaved them and still held them as second-class citizens were clear to African-Americans, all the more so when it came to campaigning against Indians, Filipinos and other people of color. One scholarly paper about the brutal Philippine war cites David Gilmer, the local hero who spoke at Alexander’s funeral: “Each black soldier resolved for himself the quandary caused by service against the insurrectos. Some, like . . . Gilmer, believed their unswerving dedication would ultimately improve the lot of all black people.” Military service was seen by many, up to and including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a path to securing civil rights. Young black men no doubt served for a variety of reasons, including economic need, patriotism and adventure. Like most soldiers, then and now, when the shooting started they probably fought for each other. (As an officer, Gilmer symbolizes another path to equality blazed by The Art & Soul of Greensboro
the Buffalo Soldiers. Black units had only white officers in their early years — the founding commander of the 10th was Civil War veteran Benjamin Grierson, who, if Union heroes were fetishized like their Southern counterparts, would be spoken of in the same breath as J.E.B. Stuart; John J. Pershing, eventually the highest-ranking general of the 20th Century, was known, not always kindly, as “Black Jack” because he had served with the 10th. Eventually, black officers took the stage, including the 10th’s own Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African-American graduate of West Point.) There is an irony to the embroidered legend of Reese Alexander, in that it involves a soldier of the 10th Cavalry being over-praised for valor. In reality the importance of the regiment has been chronically underplayed. The fame earned at San Juan Hill in Cuba by Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders belongs in some meaningful part to the troopers of the 10th. Think of every cavalry charge you’ve ever seen in a Western movie; now think of every time all the troopers in the scene were black. Our national myth-making machinery was programmed to elide the truth about the Buffalo Soldiers, but for some reason it reversed itself in the case of the art student from Greensboro.
III Boomtown, with shadows Sandy Alexander put on a stoic face when he got the news of his son’s
death. I am unsure how much he knew about the actual circumstances of the shooting, or what difference any such knowledge might make to a grieving father. “Sandy said yesterday upon receiving the message that although it was a great shock it was nothing more than he expected,” reported the Daily News. He fell ill after the funeral, returning several weeks later to his barbershop beneath the Greensboro Loan and Trust Company building at 311 1/2 South Elm Street. The shop was on a busy commercial strip in the heart of a fast-growing city. Greensboro as Reese Alexander left it was a New South boomtown, its swelling population fed by a great in-migration, black and white, from rural areas. A nascent black middle class had expanded past the borders of Warnersville, the city’s first African-American neighborhood, to build two colleges east of downtown. The insurance industry that would gush money into the local economy for decades to come was up and running, and street cars cruised past big new houses along Summit Avenue to the mill villages north of town; an upscale golf course community, Irving Park, was planned for land occupied by the old McAdoo farm. The Alexander family was very much a part of this epic shift in American life. Sandy and his wife, Maggie, moved north from Gaston County with Reese and his siblings around the turn of the century and assimilated quickly into the black bourgeoisie. She worked as a schoolteacher. He served as an officer of St. John’s Masonic lodge. Around them the pace of technological change was accelerating in ways we now take for granted. Humans could fly. Within a year of Reese’s enlistment the mechanized slaughter of Europe’s Great War would reveal the horse cavalry itself as an anachronism. One difference between that era and this one could be found in Sandy Alexander’s shop: white customers sitting in the chairs. The tonsorial color line is a given across much of the county even today, but for many years black barbers with white clientele were pillars of the African-American business community. (John Merrick of Durham, founder of an important black-owned insurance company and a bank, started out cutting hair.) The atmosphere began to change as Jim Crow marched across the South in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1896 ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson (argued, unsuccessfully, by sometime Greensboro resident Albion Tourgee), which en-
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
shrined “separate but equal” in the law. Decades of forced segregation were on the way. Spurred by newspaper editorials that painted Wilmington’s biracial government as a symbol of “Negro Domination,” including coverage by Josephus Daniels, the Raleigh newspaper publisher who later served as Wilson’s Secretary of the Navy, an armed mob overthrew the elected government. It was not until a decade after Sandy’s death in 1938 that Harry Truman finally integrated the armed forces, fulfilling an unspoken mission of the Buffalo Soldiers. Maybe the changing times made it easier for Reese to leave home. Maybe he was just ready to try something new. A century later, with his army records lost in a fire and family gravestones on Summit Avenue sinking into the clay, there remains much I don’t know about this young man. And without intimate knowledge of his thoughts I’m left to sketch him from the outside in — a course of action that raises questions of its own. Who deserves to tell another person’s history? How much do you need to know before it is decent to describe a life? Would it be best to let Private Alexander rest in misremembered glory? My answer to that last one — conveniently enough for me — is that imagining him as a man in full is the truest way of paying him respect. OH Greensboro writer Edward Cone is grateful for the help he received researching this story: from readers of his late News & Record column and personal blog, from Barbara Burt of Greensboro and from his wife, Lisa Scheer. Ed can be reached at email@example.com. February 2014
A stolen locket, a gorgeous dame with a past, a stiff in the graveyard. It all adds up to . . .
i t was
8 p.m. on a cold and stormy Valentine’s night when I pulled up in front of the Greensboro Historical Museum and relinquished my beat-to-death Toyota to a bored young valet. “These are dark days,” I muttered, “dark days indeed.” Instead of spending the night with my legs wrapped around something or someone special, I was working, hired to bodyguard an old man and his ruby-encrusted locket. It might not have been so bad had I not walked through the door and right into the arms of one Detective Boone Sharpe. Sharpe and I went way back — as in back to my days dancing at Christie’s Cabaret and Harper’s II Exotic Carwash. He’d been a handsome, blueeyed rookie, hungry to make a name for himself while I’d just been hungry. But back then he’d been unavailable, wrapped tight in a too-good, do-gooder attitude and hitched to a blonde, Irving Park debutante who called him “Sugar.” The chemistry between us was like matches and gasoline — volatile. We flirted and bickered like lovers, but there was never any way to release the tension. I knew it was only a matter of time before he looked to upgrade, but Velvetta Hart waits on no man and opportunity is not a lengthy visitor. So while young Boone was kissing all the right behinds and proving himself a worthy police officer, I left the entertainment business and became a private eye. Now, here I was, a good ten years later, staring up into those same electric blue eyes, thinking time had been good to Detective Sharpe, real good. “Oh, sorry,” he said, gripping my bare shoulders to keep me from falling. “I wasn’t looking where I was . . .” “Well, as I live and breathe,” I said, feigning surprise. “If it isn’t Detective Wonder Boy, all grown up.” I watched his eyes slowly travel the length of my body, stripping me out of my strapless, red velvet gown and taking a thorough inventory of the goods therein. “You haven’t changed a bit,” he said. A smile quirked the corner of his mouth, deepening the dimple I remembered. “Still dancing?”
Valentine Pulp Fiction by Nancy Bartholomew • Photograph by Kevin Banker
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
I caught sight of his left hand and grinned. The ring was gone. I started to say something brilliant, something with promise and passion thinly veiled, but before I could, a quartet of elderly men cut between us and enveloped me in a cloud of panic and Old Spice. My client, Benny Belkins, former mayor of Greensboro and current resident of the Peaceful Haven Retirement Community, pulled me away from my reunion and into a secluded corner beneath a circular staircase for a conference with three of his friends. “We’ve got trouble,” he said. “The necklace is gone. Those greedy little bastards! I told you they’d try something.” Indeed he had. Benny Belkins had arrived on my doorstep the day before wearing a brown tweed suit that looked six sizes too big and twenty years out of style. I’d figured him for somewhere between 85 and dead, so I was surprised when he told me he needed me to guard a necklace he intended to present to a “special” woman the following evening. “I got a little quartet I sing with,” he’d told me. “We’ve got a gig to raise money for the new geriatric cardiac wing at Moses Cone Hospital. They’re calling it the Heartbroke Ball. It’s a charity event my girlfriend Caroline’s been real involved in, so I thought, what better time to surprise her, you know?” I’d been sitting behind the desk, pretending to make careful notes but instead jotting down a to-do list for the rest of my life. The first item? Make enough money to pay this month’s rent. Belkins didn’t look like he could afford to buy a milkshake at Cook-Out. “You know,” I had said, “hiring a private detective to babysit a locket’s kind of expensive. Why don’t you just ask one of the museum staff to lock it in their safe until you’re ready to . . . ” Benny squirmed in his seat like his underwear was too tight. When he looked over his shoulder the third time, I thought I knew what he wanted. “The restroom’s down the hall, in case you’re wondering.” Benny scowled. “I wasn’t,” he said, offended. “That’s all people ever think — I’m over 65 so I must be about to wet my pants or shit myself. I’ll have you know my bowels and urinary tract are in excellent health and I have not worn a diaper since I was 2 years old. I was checking to make sure we were alone. But if you’re looking to take care of me, how about getting me a drink?” “Oh,” I said, hopping to my feet. “Sure, a glass of water or maybe some hot tea?” “Hell fire!” he sputtered. “Don’t you watch old detective movies? I don’t want a glass of water. I want a shot of liquor, bourbon if you have it.” I pulled open the bottom desk drawer and extracted the bottle I kept for just such occasions. It was labeled Wild Turkey but I’d filled it with the more affordable Old Grand-Dad, figuring my clients would usually be too upset to notice. So far, I’d been right and Benny was no exception. I poured us both a shot and waited. After the second shot, Benny opened a vein and told me all about his three conniving nephews. “So, one night I take the trash out, slip and fall off the back step and wind up in the hospital with a broken hip. They do surgery and there’s a couple of complications.” Benny shrugged. “I think, no big deal but the next thing I know, I’m in Peaceful Haven. My nephews somehow manage to get me declared incompetent and themselves appointed as my guardians. When I try to contest it, they summon up a bunch of doctors who testify I’m delusional because I think the greedy sons of bitches are out to rob me blind — which they were.” Benny stared down into his glass for a moment, shaking his head. “A psychiatrist gets on the stand and asks me to spell ‘world’ backward. So I tell him to kiss my ass. Next thing I know, I’m stuck on the locked side of the nursing home, wiping drool off my lower lip with a bib.” Benny’s eyes were red-rimmed and I could see he was working hard not to cry, so I poured more rotgut into his tumbler and waited for the rest. “The three of them sell my home, my cars, even my Jon boat. They donate my clothes and furniture to a consignment shop and siphon the money
into their own accounts. They called it a ‘family trust.’ But I’ll tell you what I call it — robbery, plain and simple.” I poured myself a third shot too, because now I was imagining myself one day, shuffled off to a nursing home when I least expected it. Forgotten and ignored, my belongings scattered to the wind, I’d die alone and forgotten. “Caroline’s my only hope,” he said. “My future’s in her hands.” What could I say? I’m a sap for a sob story. So I told him I’d take the case, knowing he probably couldn’t pay me and waving away his offer of a retainer. “Just give me what you can tomorrow night when it’s all over,” I said, kicking myself for being such a soft touch. When I arrived and Benny told me the necklace was already missing, I tried not to act rattled. “All right,” I said. “We need a plan.” Benny and his three friends hung on my every word, desperate to help. The tall, thin man introduced himself as Maurice, a former CPA. Hal, a short, round man with a fringe of white hair rimming his pink, cueball scalp, spoke up next and said he used to be a Boy Scout troop leader and could identify ninety-seven different animal tracks. I figured this skill would come in handy if one of the nephews turned out to be a tiger. Otherwise, it was useless information and I ignored it. The third guy’s name was Mel. He didn’t tell me anything about himself but Benny said Mel did magic tricks and could pull quarters out of people’s ears. Great to know, I thought. If the going got tough, the Three Geriatric Musketeers had my back. “First thing’s first,” I told them. “Let’s make sure the necklace didn’t just fall out of Benny’s pocket.” Benny opened his mouth to protest, but I ignored him and sent Benny’s companions off to retrace their steps from the time they arrived at the museum until they discovered the necklace was gone. Taking Benny’s arm, I led him back toward the main room. A band was playing Big Band music as couples dressed in evening gowns and tuxedos swirled around beneath a balloon-festooned ceiling. For a long moment I stood perfectly still, taking in the scene before me, inhaling the scent of good food and enjoying the warmth of the good life. Then I shook it off and reminded myself this wasn’t my world. I was just a working stiff with a job to do. But how in the world was I going to ferret out a thief without ruffling family feathers or asking direct questions? As if reading my mind, Benny tugged on my arm, beckoning me down closer so he could be heard. “I told them I hired you to locate the missing necklace and said I was sure they’d want to tell you anything they could to help you find it.” I jerked back in surprise. “You told them?” Benny grinned, pleased with himself. “Sure did. I figured that’d make ’em squirm. Now you wait right here. I’ll go lasso one of the rascals and bring him over.” Without a doubt, I thought, this was the stupidest job I’d ever taken on. What did Benny think, I’d just ask each one to hand the necklace over and the guilty party would capitulate? For all I knew, it hadn’t been stolen at all. Maybe the old guy had hidden it somewhere in his room and forgotten he’d done it. After all, didn’t a covey of psychiatrists say he had dementia with paranoid delusions? On the other hand, if Benny wasn’t nuts, if he did have the money to pay me, how could I walk away? A paycheck meant I’d have a roof over my head and maybe even be able to buy groceries. Hell, Benny might even funnel a stream of his buddies into my office, all of them looking for lost earrings or stolen eyeglasses. I was so amused by my little fantasy I didn’t even see the man slip up beside me. Wasn’t aware of him until he, extending his hand, bowed slightly The Art & Soul of Greensboro
and said, “Councilman Rusty Everett, at your service, Ms. Hart. May I have this dance?” When I stared at him, uncomprehending, the smile on his handsome face lost out to the bloom of impatience in his eyes. “Come on,” he murmured. “My uncle said I have to talk to you. Let’s not make it obvious. I assume you can dance and ask questions at the same time? I mean, you did do it for a living once, correct?” I let him lead me onto the floor, wondering how he knew I’d been a dancer. The councilman took me in his arms and pulled me close, too close. With a practiced move he slid his thigh between my legs as the band played the theme song from Dirty Dancing. He tightened his grip, pressing his hand into the small of my back and moving me around the floor. As we danced I had a growing awareness of something coming between us. He smiled like a mannequin, nodding to acquaintances we passed. “All right,” he murmured. “Let’s get this over with. Ask your questions.” “OK,” I said, leaning back and looking up at him. “Is that a locket in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” Just as I said this, Benny’s friends appeared, gesturing wildly from the edge of the dance floor. As we drew close, I stomped as hard as I could on the councilman’s instep. He swore, dropping my hand and giving me the opportunity to escape. “I’m so sorry,” I said, smiling. “I’m such a klutz. But please, do save me a samba. I’ll be back.” Benny’s friends swarmed me, white-faced. “Benny needs you,” the tall one said. “He said come to the cemetery out back.” If he’s in the graveyard he don’t need me, I thought. “What cemetery? Where?” “Go upstairs, past the exhibits to the gift shop. The cemetery’s out the back door,” Hal said. “Benny said tell you he’ll be waiting on the bench by the titi tree. He said come as fast as you can.” I hurried up the steps, through the tiny shop and out into the cold February night. Straight ahead a tall white obelisk stood gleaming in the moonlight. “Now that’s a pole I could work with,” I whispered. I walked slowly toward it, waiting for my eyes to adjust. As the small graveyard came into better focus I made out two figures standing beside a tall gravestone. In the still night air, their voices carried and while I couldn’t make out much of what they said, it was clear they were arguing. I crept closer, careful to stay in the shadows and listened. Benny stood facing me, holding what appeared to be a white rock in his hand. He was dwarfed by the tall, slim body of a man in the same black dress uniform I’d seen Detective Sharpe wearing earlier. But it wasn’t Wonder Boy. This cop was tall but thinner than Boone and his uniform had what appeared to be gold spangles attached to his shoulders. “I’ll say I saw you hit him,” the man said. His tone was even, almost pleasant, sending chills up my spine. “They’ll believe me because I’m the chief of police and your fingerprints are all over the murder weapon.” On the ground behind the two men the huddled form of a man dressed in a tuxedo lay motionless, his head resting in a pool of blood. His pretty white shirt was even spattered bright red. “You killed him, Slim,” Benny said, his voice shaking with anger. “You killed your own flesh and blood.” Raymond a.k.a “Rayban” Davidson, Greensboro’s chief of police, turned and nudged the body with the tip of his shiny, patent leather shoe. “So what? So I killed him? The way I see it, I just did the citizens of our fair city a favor. He was up to his ass in mob money and everybody in town knew it. Those clubs of his were little more than a laundry chute.” “I’m not going to let you get away with it, family or not,” Benny said. He raised the arm that held the chunk of bloody, white marble. The chief’s hand darted inside his suit coat pocket and I could see what was about to happen. I grabbed the Lady Smith out of my thigh holster, cocked the hammer and yelled, “Benny, don’t. I got this. It’s all right.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Rayban used my momentary focus on his uncle to pull a nasty looking Glock 9mm from the shoulder holster inside his jacket and level it at his uncle. “This is police business, Ms. Hart. This man’s mentally unbalanced. He’s killed a man tonight and if you don’t want me to charge you with aiding and abetting in a homicide, I suggest you leave.” “He didn’t do it. I heard you admit to it, Chief,” I shot back. “I’ll testify to that.” “Rayban” Davidson had a face like a wharf rat and when he got angry, his skin flushed a mottled shade of red and white. “No, you won’t because nobody would believe you either. It’s my word against that of a former stripper. Didn’t I hear you once tried to write your breast implants off on your taxes because you said they were part of your uniform?” “My boobs don’t have a dog in this fight, Chief, and what I did once upon a time don’t either. This is about right here and right now. You killed that man and . . .” The chief waggled the Glock back and forth between us. “Then maybe I’ll just have to shoot two suspects in self-defense,” he said coolly. “Make that three, Chief,” a familiar voice said. Boone Sharpe stepped out from the shadows, his gun held firmly in his left hand. “Make that four, five and six,” another voice said as Benny’s pals peeked around a large tombstone. “He killed his cousin,” I said. “And stole a gold and ruby locket from his uncle.” Sharpe nodded, as if he wasn’t surprised to hear this. “Chief, drop your weapon and put your hands in the air.” Rayban did as he was told but with a calm, unruffled air. “Surely you don’t believe an old man with dementia and a stripper over your own chief.” Sharpe smiled softly. “Just to be on the safe side, I recorded it all. Part of our ongoing investigation, sir.” He reached his hand into his shirt pocket and extracted a tiny, voice-activated tape recorder. Rayban shook his head in disgust. “Why I put you in Internal Affairs I’ll never know. You take that job too seriously. Why would I kill my own cousin?” I still had my gun trained on the chief but I was studying his uniform. “You killed your cousin because he took your uncle’s valuable gold and ruby locket. You wanted it for yourself.” Rayban scoffed. “If I stole the old man’s jewelry, where is it? Check my pockets. Pat me down. Hell, strip-search me. I don’t have his locket.” Sharpe had approached the chief, kicking his gun out of the way. Two other officers materialized to flank Wonder Boy as he studied his superior officer. “Look at the fancy gold braid on his right shoulder,” I told Sharpe. “See how it looks like a piece of it’s come unraveled?” Sharpe chuckled. “Well, look at that.” He tugged on the errant strand and watched as the gold and ruby locket tumbled into his hand. He turned to me and grinned. “That, Ma’am, would be a clue. His voice deepened to a slow, sexy rumble. “Very good work.” “Oh, Detective,” I purred. “You ain’t seen nothing yet. After all, opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.” “Words to live by, Ms. Hart.” Like gasoline and matches, I thought, smiling back at him. This Valentine’s Day might not be so bad after all.
the end Nancy Bartholomew is the author of eleven amateur sleuth mystery novels. A psychotherapist in private practice, she lives in Greensboro with her two psychotic dogs, Maggie and Mighty Mouse. February 2014
Story of a House
My Father’s House A son restores his father’s architectural legacy
The terraced back yard is ideal for entertaining; there’s even room for a small music combo to provide music.
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Amy and Peter enjoy quiet moments on the front stoop by the carport. “It’s my favorite little spot,” says Amy Freeman. “We sit out here all the time.”
By Nancy Oakley Photographs by Amy Freeman
n 2009, Amy Freeman was cleaning in preparation for the Christmas holidays when she heard a scream. It was her husband, Peter, who was clearing out some planters underneath the carport of their High Point home in Emerywood, where they’d lived for two years. “It’s pretty high up there,” Amy points out, “so I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! He’s fallen down!’” She rushed outside to find her husband holding several plastic army men that he and his two older brothers used to play with as children. “They were still set up in battle!” Peter recalls. “I remember us climbing up there and playing with those things.” He also remembers his father’s Studebaker coupe that once occupied the carport, days spent playing in the creek and woods on the large corner lot, Indian Guides meetings in the den, the model airplanes that used to hang from the ceiling of his eldest brother’s back bedroom, and the time his younger sister fell down the spiral staircase leading to the basement. “She hit her head on one of the vertical rails and has a dent in her head to this day . . . and her name happens to be Denton!” he laughs. He had shared these memories with Amy two years prior to finding the toy soldiers, after he had gotten a call from a couple of homeowners who were planning to sell the house. Only, this wasn’t just any house; it was the house that Peter’s father, architect William F. Freeman Jr., had designed — and where Peter spent the first eight years of his life. An architect like his father (and grandfather), and principal in his own firm, Freeman Kennett Architects, Peter had given the owners some advice for a kitchen remodeling about the time his dad’s health was failing. “As I left, I said, ‘If you ever think
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Two chairs on right compliments of Thayer Coggin Inc.
about selling the house, let me know; I would like somebody who really appreciates it to have an opportunity to be here,’” he recalls. An appreciative owner was key, because the house epitomizes the International Style, “an industrialist approach to architecture,” says Peter, initiated in the 1930s by the likes of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe of the German Bauhaus. “When it got to the United States it was still called International Style, but we’ve kind of dubbed it Mid-Century Modern, because it didn’t really get here until the middle of the 20th century,” Peter adds. “This house was designed in 1955, so it’s a true Mid-Century Modern. But what makes it so cool and important is that it represents this first wave of North Carolina architects, this generation that really changed the direction of North Carolina architecture for a long time.” So much so that the state has the third highest concentration of modernist houses in America, after Los Angeles and Chicago. How did the trend become so popular here? Answer: North Carolina State University. When NCSU got the green light to establish a School of Design in the late 1940s, Henry Kamphoefner, then head of the University of Oklahoma, was named dean. Insisting on near-total control, Kamphoefner cleared out eleven The Art & Soul of Greensboro
out of fifteen faculty members of the architectural engineering department, replacing them with disciples of the Bauhaus: Mathew Nowicki, chief designer of Raleigh’s iconic Dorton Arena; architectural critic Lewis Mumford; Buckminster Fuller, creator of the geodesic dome; and William Dietrick, whose firm constructed several buildings in Raleigh, including the Dorton Arena. With ties to Harvard University’s new graduate school of design (then headed by Gropius), Kamphoefner attracted not only Gropius but also other luminaries, such as van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, as guest lecturers. “So here are all these G.I.s coming in from World War II — these guys who are interested in architecture — and they’re this first-generation of North Carolina architects exposed to the most incredible theorists and practitioners that have ever been,” Peter notes. “They were changing the world.” Among them was Peter’s dad, young Bill Freeman, one of the first graduates of the NCSU’s School of Design in 1949, who, at 24, worked on the Dorton Arena as an employee of Dietrick’s firm. By age 26, he was back in High Point with a wife, Beverly, a baby on the way and a corner lot in a new subdivision of Emerywood, for which he envisioned his ubermodern dream February 2014
house. “He was fresh, energetic,” says Peter. And, adds Amy, “At 26, he said, ‘I am doing this exactly where my heart is, and where my theory is,’ and he went for it.” She credits Bev — raised in traditional Southern surroundings — for agreeing to the plan; Peter agrees that his mother “was able to give over to this new modern art in architecture.” But the house draws on tried-and-true tenets of architectural design. “Although it’s a modern house,” Peter explains, “there are very classical principles involved in the organizing of the house.” Its basis for construction is the “golden rectangle,” used as far back as antiquity, because the shape is inherently pleasing to the eye. Its proportions are such that when you cut a square out of it, a smaller rectangle of the same proportions remains. Perhaps only an architect would be able to identify this particular feature in the Freeman house, but the average visitor can appreciate its balance and harmony: Space flows in opposite directions from the front door, spreading, on one side, to the living room, and to the other, a bar and dining area (“It makes you want to drink a martini,” Peter jokes.) These two areas blend around the perilous spiral staircase to a den that offers a full view of the woods and creek in back, “a canvas of color,” in spring and fall, according to Amy, a professional photographer. In the center of the flow is the heart of the house, a narrow kitchen. Off the den is a hallway leading to the small bedrooms, including the one that served as a hangar for model airplanes. There is the architectural detailing, too, that contributes to the airiness of the house. Skylights set in a flat roof bring in light, while in the front of the house, stacked awning windows open outward over a set of inward-opening hoppers, allowing air to circulate. “They didn’t have air conditioning,” says Peter, “so they had to have something.” He points to another piece of genius, the seemingly continuous ceiling beams that run the length of the house. They consist of two
12-foot-long beams put together with a piece of plywood in the middle. “That’s how you get that length, by alternating beams,” Peter observes, “but the inner [piece of plywood] carries through, and the beam on the other side is alternated so that you, in fact, have a composite beam. So you can have this kind of span. It’s a neat little structural system.” What a pity, then, that after the Freeman family outgrew the house and moved out in 1969, subsequent owners failed to appreciate its aesthetic. A wing for a master bedroom was added to the back with heavy mahogany panels covering its exterior. The natural brick walls inside were painted white, while the ceiling beams were painted different colors. Linoleum covered one part of the floor space, carpet another. One owner was convinced that more slope should be added to the original flat roof. Another tried to conceal the outside of the house with cedar shakes and faux board-and-batten siding called T1-11, all painted a dreary dark gray. Amy, who had only ridden by the house on occasion, didn’t find it “very appealing.” Her opinion would change. When the house’s owners made the call to Peter, he told them, “I’d love to come by and take a peek just for old time’s sake,” thinking he would mention the house to interested friends or colleagues. So he and Amy took a trip down memory lane, which would prove to be a date with destiny. Once inside the house, Amy knew instinctively how “wrong” it was, but she also knew it could be great. As Peter wandered through it, reminiscing, he noticed Amy quietly examining drawer and closet space and knew she must be serious about buying the house. “I got emotional, because it reminded me of Peter’s dad,” she says. Bill Freeman had died earlier that year (2007), just three months after his wife, Bev. Amy turned to her husband and told him, “I love this place!” And Peter? “I got chills!” he recalls. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The kitchen used to be shorter, Peter remembers; the bar area was once a closet that concealed the washer and dryer.
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“And idiots that we were, we made an offer that night!” But what about the 1922 Cape Cod? Yup. As empty nesters, Peter and Amy had just renovated another house, complete with new kitchen and master bedroom, assuming it would be the home that would see them through their twilight years. “We hadn’t put it on the market or anything!” Amy says. “But that’s how we roll: ‘Oh let’s just buy this house. Uh-oh!’” And, adds Peter, “This was 2007. We didn’t know how bad the risk we were taking. If we’d done this a year later, we’d be in debtor’s prison!” But, as destiny would have it, the Cape Cod sold in a mere seven weeks — and Peter could begin the task of restoring his dad’s house to its former glory. Down came the T1-11, the cedar shakes and the deteriorating mahogany panels on the added wing, which were replaced with Brazilian cherry slats. Up came the patchwork flooring, and soft, blonded hardwood was installed throughout the house. All of the composite beams were painted a dark brown, and though he was heartbroken over the painted white brick, Peter knew sandblasting it would damage the aging mortar. So he used the wall to his advantage, returning to white, a key feature of the International Style. “I tried to think the way he would,” Peter says, referring to his dad. It wasn’t at all daunting to him, because he had begun his career under his father’s tutelage. By Thanksgiving, the Freemans moved in. Peter’s modernist pieces of artwork and furniture — Fernando Zobel paintings that his father collected when the family lived in Spain, a Nelson bench, cube-shaped end tables, a Saarinen womb chair — blended with Amy’s oriental rugs and Williamsburg antiques. They added some pieces, such as the requisite Eames chair and Nelson clock, a Noguchi lamp and a handcrafted table from Hickory artisans, Blue Ridge Woodworking, that’s made of reclaimed wood pallets and stained various shades of browns and reds. The house is still a work in progress, with the basement undergoing a remodeling, and the The Art & Soul of Greensboro
roof, says Peter, is an “ongoing chore.” The single rubber membrane of the slope addition came with tapered insulation and interior roof drains that clog easily and create problems with ponding. Additionally, the skylights and 1950s curb flashing have deteriorated over time and leak. Overhauling it is on Peter’s agenda, and perhaps adding a screened porch, cantilevered over the back of the creek and a master bath (the master bedroom currently shares a bath with the old master, now the guestroom). “It was like recommitting ourselves to the community when he renovated this house,” Amy muses. In fact, after renewing the house, Peter spearheaded a grassroots effort to initiate the city’s urban renewal plan, Ignite High Point. In the meantime, the Freemans are content in their abode, using “every inch of it,” according to Amy. “I’m in my office [the former model airplane room] 90 percent of the time,” she continues, “which gives me a great view.” The house is spacious enough for their son, Louis, to join them on visits home from college, and comfortable for their dog, Solie, to roam around. There is an inherently welcoming ambience to the place, conducive to entertaining friends and family; it has become the overnight stop for relatives traveling from out-of-state and a gathering place for the Freeman siblings at holidays. The year that Peter unearthed the toy army from the planters, he cleaned up the plastic figures and gave some to both of his brothers for Christmas. “And immediately,” says Amy, “they were in the biggest fight!” Peter laughs. “We were right back at it, fighting over whose army men were whose!” It’s extraordinary that a small house could mean so much, as an emblem of an aesthetic movement, a slice of North Carolina and American history, a family legacy. But that’s what happens when a house is built on imagination — and sustained with happy memories, hard work and love. OH A long-time contributor to Delta’s Sky and US Airways Magazine, Greensboro native Nancy Oakley keeps her eye on Winston-Salem and High Point for O.Henry. February 2014
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Green Winter Dreams
Now is a great time to plan a renovation of your garden. Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind
Photographs by Cassie Timpy
By Lee Rogers
very garden needs some kind of structure. I would argue that without any kind of unifying theme, a home landscape doesn’t deserve to be called a garden. And that’s fine for people who don’t care about gardens and rarely leave their hermetically sealed McMansions. But for anyone with a whit of personality and style who likes to spend time outdoors, it is imperative to have some guiding principles before starting in on your landscape. First, consider practical stuff like drainage, irrigation, vehicle parking, garbage can location, outdoor lighting. If you haven’t resolved these basic issues, you just won’t be happy with your garden no matter how beautiful your viburnums and hydrangeas are. These are generally the most expensive problems to solve, and unfortunately they must be tackled first. Drainage problems are the most common. These are best solved by proper grading of the surrounding property to channel water away from the house. We try to stay away from expensive solutions like installing subterranean French drains or catch basins and pipes. But there are situations when really good drainage is impossible to achieve, so you have to resort to the bog garden or dry creek bed. Get the bones right. The bones of a garden include both hardscape and permanent plantings of trees and shrubs, especially the evergreens that make such an enormous impact in the winter season. These obviously need to be selected and located with care because they are expensive and more or less permanent. Hardscape, by the way, is landscape jargon for permanent features like walkways, retaining walls, patios, fences, outbuildings, driveways, etc., and they should be planned out on paper. You wouldn’t expect a builder to add an addition onto your house without a plan, would you? Remember how carpenters say measure twice, cut once? Landscape contractors also know to lay out the plan carefully before they start in with their trucks and excavators. If you can’t hire a landscape designer, take a stab at doing it yourself. Start with a small project that will give you the most satisfaction. Make an accurate map of the area you are planning to work on and draw up different solutions to your problem. You can visit any of our local garden centers to look at the options in building and plant materials. If you still don’t feel confident, take a building workshop or attend the Master Gardeners course offered by our Agricultural Extension Service. There’s lots of help out there, and hands-on training by locals is preferable to Internet research. Once you gain confidence, focus on your frequently used entryways. If you find that there are shortcuts people always use, bow to the inevitable and incorporate them into your design. Sometimes you can even transform them into stunning landscape features. Get pathways and outdoor seating areas laid out, and the plant bed lines will naturally follow. Be bold with curves. If you’re going to put in a curvy walk, make it big and beautiful. Weak curves just look stupid, and they only save you a few paces. Who wouldn’t prefer to walk extra steps if they could pass by lusciously planted borders along the way or even just a healthy stand of turf? If not curves, stick with a linear geometric pattern and tart up the plant materials instead. There is nothing wrong with an honest straight line path to the front door. But at least pull it far enough away from the house that you have room to make the resulting planting space something interesting. In fact, I like to emphasize rectilinear spaces with a paved edge to make the lines stand out even more and to facilitate mowing and edging. The same concept applies to “natural areas.” You need to provide a distinct edge between natural areas and the rest of the property or it dissolves into an unstructured mess of turf vs. mulch or groundcover. The edge can be defined with a shallow trench, flexible steel edging, low stone wall, almost anything, but make the lines powerful or it’s no fun. For planting plans, it’s best to mix evergreen and deciduous materials with lots of interesting texture and foliage color. Floral color alone will not sustain you, The Art & Soul of Greensboro
and its selection depends entirely on your individual preference. If you want a lot of flower power, annuals are your friend. They are inexpensive, so you won’t feel guilty if you try a new look every year. My friend and mentor Chip Callaway has altered the look of his front landscape at least twice within my memory. I liked it with the picket fence and flower border of tulips in spring followed by zinnias and cleome in the summer. One year the bulb company sent the wrong color tulips, and they came up in a hideous two-tone shade of orange and red. We had to issue him a citation for vulgarity. And I think that was the year he decided to yank it out and start over with a parterre garden that was equally charming but has since undergone several transformations. This is what we garden designers do when we are bored and have extra cash. Pay attention to the ultimate size of your plant selections and give them room to grow. I once planted a Quince Toyo Nishiki, noted for its lovely tricolor winter flowers that make up for its thorny spurs. According to the literature, it was supposed to max out at 5–6 foot height and spread. Instead it grew to a magnificent 8 by 8 and poked the passersby. I had a gardener colleague prune it severely last year, and he practically had to wear body armor. Swore he would never do it again, or at least charge double if he did. Boy was he mad when he found out that I recently had it removed entirely. Discrimination and control are what a residential landscape is all about. Even though I am a certified tree hugger, I’m not afraid to reach for the ax if a plant is hampering the plan. Landscaping is not for sissies. You cannot be afraid to kill things. Neither can you be afraid to steal. While weeding the borders during my internship at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Georgetown, I once spotted world famous landscape architect James van Sweden sketching details of the barrelvaulted teak arbor on the wisteria terrace. So if he can do it, so can we! And we should . . . because he’s smarter than we are. Nowadays I blithely copy all kinds of design ideas from books, gardens, websites, whatever. You always have to tailor the plan to your site requirements anyway, and that’s where your creative powers can be brought to bear. Scouring magazines will also help you understand the kind of landscape that’s appropriate to the style of your house, so don’t be afraid to rip out those pages from doctors’ waiting room copies. Include your wishes and dreams in your landscape planning, no matter how fanciful. That’s what makes a garden authentic, and this is your home, not just a financial asset. If you secretly long for a swimming pool or a hybrid tea rose cutting garden, plan for it. Or as in the case of a recent client, you need the back garden to be user-friendly for two beloved families, human and chicken. Garden design is always a blend of several different ideas, and the fun challenge is trying to accommodate these sometimes conflicting needs in a beautiful but manageable way. The most interesting gardens are ones that shout personality. Once you have a plan, edit, edit, edit. Err on the side of less. I often have clients call me complaining that their property looks disorganized or just plain ugly and they can’t quite lay a finger on what’s wrong. Very often it’s the same problem as with interior design with visual clutter of dissimilar objects. Also, people frequently inherit bad plant material and are reluctant to get rid of it. My sister Edith once had an entire foundation planting of Mahonia bealei, probably planted by birds. People either love or hate this plant. I happen to like it, so I dug up a few, and the rest went to that great compost heap in the sky. If you want to know if your plan is working, an aerial view is most helpful. I like to go up to the attic when there’s snow on the ground and look down at my bed lines because I can see the patterns so clearly. Parts of my garden are geometric, and others have very sinuous free form curves. When I win the lottery, I will finish up the whole thing in one fell swoop. And then I will have to move because of boredom. Or work on somebody else’s! OH February 2014
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
By Noah Salt
New feet within my garden go, New fingers stir the sod; A troubadour upon the elm Betrays the solitude. New children play upon the green, New weary sleep below; And still the pensive spring returns, And still the punctual snow!
— Emily Dickinson, 1881
Modern Science’s St. Nicolaus
When you gaze up at the February night sky, take a moment to thank your lucky stars for Nicolaus Copernicus, the brilliant small town Polish polymath who was born on February 19, 1473, and grew up to become a devoted physician and church administrator who moonlighted as an amateur astronomer, making the most important discoveries of Renaissance cosmology — namely that the Earth rotates on an axis that explains the daily movement of heavenly bodies as well as the change of the seasons. Even more heretically, as he posited in On Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, his profoundly influential study of the heavens published at the time of his death in 1543, the Earth is not the center of the universe but, in fact, rotates around the sun — a heliocentric theory that turned both accepted Ptolemaic world view on its head and became the basis for mathematical astronomy for the next three hundred years, a major turning point in both science and religion. His mathematical calculations were also responsible for major revisions in the Gregorian calendar in 1582. Legend holds that he died at age 70 of apoplexy on the same day the final folio pages of his earth-shaking manuscript were presented to him by assistants. Reportedly his body was buried beneath Frombork Cathedral in the town on the edge of the Baltic Sea where he lived and worked and studied the stars for forty years. Archeologists searched for his remains for more than 200 years before locating them in a modest grave beneath the floor of the cathedral in 2010.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Growing camellias is an easy addiction — a sweet madness as our neighbor Max once observed. If anyone knows the power of camellias, it’s Max, whose property is home to upward of 400 mature camellia shrubs that bring forth blooms from late autumn to early spring. Much of the appeal of camellias, of course, is the lavish variety of color and bloom they provide on the drabbest winter days. This Asian import, named for the young botanist and pharmacist Georg Joseph Kamel, who discovered it in Japan — though it grows in the wild from the steppes of the Himalayas to the rainforests of Indonesia — was brought to America by ocean traders in the late 18th century and immediately caught on with gardeners for its adaptability, glorious flowerings and relative low maintenance. Sometimes called the “Japanese Rose,” with more than 200 known cultivars, camellias offer something for everyone, including a chance to compete for glory. Two of our favorite shows happen this month. First up is the venerable Tidewater Camellia Club’s annual show and competition in Wilmington from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, Walter Parsley Elementary School. For information on Show or membership: (910) 509-6792 or visit www.tidewatercamelliaclub.org. Another great show, the annual Fayetteville Camellia Club’s spring show, takes place on March 1 and 2 at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, 536 North Eastern Boulevard (NC 301), from noon to 4 p.m. For further info on show or membership: Fayetevillecamelliaclub.org
The Garden Writer
“There are some optimists who search eagerly for the skunk cabbage which in February sometimes pushes itself up through the ice, and who call it a sign of spring. I wish that I could feel that way about it, but I do not. The truth of the matter, to me, is simply that skunk cabbage blooms in the winter time. There is no more cold-blooded animal than your frog, and you will not catch him stirring now.” From Twelve Seasons by Joseph Krutch, 1949 February 2014
Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey
February 1–April 13
FOOD WAYS. UNCG’s Atlantic World Research Network is hosting a three-day conference exploring the foods of the Carolina Lowcountry, Africa, Italy and Latin America (including Spain). Scholars and leading chefs will talk about food while Print Works Bistro and Green Valley Grill offer tasting menus utilizing guest chefs. Click www. uncg.edu/eng/awrn for menus and to sign up for the meals as a conference guest.
ATELIER ART The African American Atelier’s Winter/Spring exhibit includes work by twentythree artists, including founding members James McMillan, Floyd Newkirk, Alma Adams, John Rogers, Vandorn Hinnant and the late Eva Hamlin Miller. African American Atelier, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro, (336) 333-6885, africanamericanatelier.org
MUCH EDO. A menagerie awaits at Bugs, Beasts and Blossoms: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Dr. Lenoir C. Wright Collection, a exhibit from Japan’s Edo period (1615–1858). David Phillips from Wake Forest will talk about the exhibit on Sunday, February 2, at 2 p.m. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770, weatherspoon.uncg.edu.
February 1–March 27
PRINTS CHARMING. See how four local printmakers approach themes of social change and the fragility of the natural environment at Imprint: Matthew Curran, April Flanders, Mark Iwinski and Indrani Nayar-Gall. Greenhill, 200 North Davie
A GRAPE PLACE 6 p.m. There are 10,000 reasons, each of them bound, to visit the newly opened Scuppernong Books, but on Sunday, they’re hosting a grand opening celebration. Whether you toast them with wine or beer, for goodness sake, buy a book. “We want to be an active component
TRASH ’N’ TREASURE. Rummage to your heart’s content among antiques, collectibles, clothing, jewelry and then some at Super Flea Market beginning 9 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. Sunday. Greensboro Coliseum Complex. 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com or superflea.com. Key:
• • Art
• • Film
• • Fun
Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar
T e a fo r T w o
Tea for Two
Bells Will Be Ringing
in the intellectual life of Greensboro, as well as a comfortable and kind place to land,” says co-owner Brian Lampkin. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. (336) 763-1919, www.scuppernongbooks.com
•DEAD BEATS. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Start truckin’ to hear Cosmic Charlie’s twist on
Grateful Dead tunes. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 2729888, theblindtiger.com.
BIG TOP OP. Step right up for clowns, elephants, acrobats, jugglers — even a unicorn, Pegasus, and a woolly mammoth — at Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Presents Legends, proof that there’s no show like the Greatest Show on Earth. Times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921
West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7433; tickets: (800) 745-3000, greensborocoliseum.com.
REDS. 11:30 a.m. The Circle of Red Society and Red Society gather for a luncheon to promote awareness of heart disease in women. Follow their example by sporting some rouge, maroon or fire-engine red in honor of the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day. For information on becoming a member of the Guilford County chapter of the organization, contact Ruth Darling Heyd at (336) 707-3134 or Ruth.Heyd@Heart.org.
WAMJAM 6 p.m. See Denis Côté’s Bestiaire, a film modeled after the medieval European bestiaries, catalogs of exotic animals and legendary beasts. And listen to the UNCG Women’s Glee Club performing a cappella. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770, wweatherspoon.uncg.edu
KEYED UP. 7:30 p.m. His emotional expression, technical virtuosity and humor have made pianist Alpin Hong a favorite among music-lovers. See him perform as a part of the Carolina Theatre’s Music for a Great Space Series. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 North Holden Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605, carolinatheatre.com or musicforagreatspace.org.
BOOK ’EM!. 12:15 p.m. The complexity of slavery is the focus of Edward P. Jones’ historical novel, The Known World, the featured tome for BookBreak: A Museum Book Club. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043, greensborohistory.org. Key:
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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February Arts Calendar •
RUBIN-ESQUE 6 p.m. Join artist Nancy Rubins at the opening of Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies, on view through May 4. Known for her large-scale sculptures, usually commissioned, and her graphite drawings, Rubins is one of the foremost sculptors working in America today. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770, wweatherspoon.uncg.edu
REVENGE COMEDY. (8 p.m., 3 p.m. respectively) Madea’s alter-ego, Tyler Perry, trades film for the stage with Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned. The title says it all. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com.
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BOING! BOING! Leaps, backflips, somersaults a-bound at the Atlantic Coast Trampoline and Tumbling Invitational. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Special Events Center, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com or atlanticoasttnt.com
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT! 10 a.m. If you cannot tell a lye, then get the dirt from costumed interpreters on 18th-century soapmaking techniques. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859, highpointmuseum.org.
THE PAST SPEAKS. Noon Meet some of the Gate City’s African-American movers and shakers as portrayed by costumed interpreters at Lifted Voices: Bringing African-American History Makers to Life. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043, greensborohistory.org.
BELLS WILL BE RINGING. 11 a.m. Gowns, caterers, cakes, photographers and DJs are unveiled at the Carolina Wedding Show. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Pavilion, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com, 33bride.com.
TWO FOR TEA. 1 p.m. Take your lumps — of sugar, that is — along with cream and scones for an English-style Valentine’s Tea, courtesy of the JH Adams Inn. High Point Museum, 1859 Lexington Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 885-1859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Key: Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/ Fun History Sports Speakers
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar
•BLING. 10 a.m. Jewelry and handbags are among the eye candy at the Greensboro Importers &
Wholesalers Jewelry &Accessories Expo. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Special Events Center, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com, gtshows.com
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? 4 p.m. You’ll be able to pick a peck of pickled peppers — after you plant them, of course. Learn the particulars of three-season vegetable gardening from Greensboro Beautiful. Arboretum Education Building, 401 Ashland Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 375-5876, greensborobeautiful.org.
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February 9–March 2
BITTERSWEDE. “Gimme a whisky! Ginger ale on the side and don’t be stingy, baby!” In 1930 film audiences came to hear Garbo could talk, but the words were Eugene O’Neill’s from his 1922 play Anna Christie. See Triad Stage’s rendering of the drama about a Swedish barge captain’s reunion with his wayward daughter. Times vary. Pyrle Theater, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160, triadstage.org.
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar February 11–23
PAINT-IFICATING. What is art? The philosophical question is theme of Red, John Logan’s Tony-Award-winning play about abstract painter Mark Rothko and his fictional assistant Ken, as they prepare murals for the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City in 1958. Times vary. Triad Stage. Hanesbrands Theater, 209 North Spruce Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 747-1414, triadstage.org.
STRINGS ATTACHED. 7:30 p.m. Violin virtuoso, four-time Grammy- and Emmy-Award winner, and recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Itzhak Perleman takes a bow as a part of the Bryan Series. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com or bryanseries.guilford.edu.
LUKE-IN’ GOOD. 7:30 p.m. It’ll be your kind of night if you go ahead and crash his party. Kick out the jams with country star Luke Bryan. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com or lukebryan.com.
February 13–15 We are committed to
Community Ministry & Missions First Baptist Church Greensboro
Welcome Kim Priddy!
Kim Priddy will be joining the staff at First Baptist Church Greensboro as the new Missions Minister in mid-February. “We are thrilled to have Kim join our staff and lead us in continued service to our community, locally and globally,” said Alan Sherouse, Senior Pastor. Join us as we serve and minister to those in need.
• Worship • Missions • Music • Bible Study • Recreation • fellowship • Schedule: Sundays - 9:15 am Bible Study & 10:30 am Worship Wednesdays - 5 pm Meal & 6:15 pm Activities for all ages 1000 West Friendly Ave, Greensboro, NC • 274-3286 • www.fbcgso.org 74 O.Henry
LOVE HURTS. 8 p.m. Over the Edge, the second installment of Touring Theater of North Carolina’s three-part chamber series reveals the darker side of Valentine’s Day with tales of dysfunctional relationships and personalities by area authors Quinn Dalton, Michael Parker and Pamela Duncan. Mack and Mack Clothing Design Studio, 220 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 338-2004, TTNC.org.
TRUFFLES AND WINE. Chocolate truffles from Greensboro pastry chef Jules Watson will be paired with three 2-ounce tastings of Grove’s estate-grown wine — just in time for your Valentine. Making a reservation saves you three bucks on the $12 tasting. (336) 584-4060 or www.grovewinery.com.
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Key: Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/ Fun History Sports Speakers The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar
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LADIES’ NIGHT. 8 p.m. Bryan Adams? Celine Dion? Forget ‘em! The Manitoba-based Wailin’ Jennys are among Canada’s best imports. Check out their brand of folk tunes for Valentine’s Day. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605, carolinatheatre.com.
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AND THE HEARTBEAT GOES ON. 8 p.m. New York jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and his wife, singer and Broadway actress Jessica Molaskey, have songs in their hearts in the revue For Sentimental Reasons, part of the Tanger Outlet’s pops series with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224; ticketmaster.com.
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SMILEY’S PEOPLE. 8 p.m. Get ready for some side-splitting laughs from radio DJ and comic Rickey Smiley and his Love 2 Laugh Valentine’s Comedy Show. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474, greensborocoliseum.com.
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February 14–16; 18–23
•PLEASE COME TO AUSTEN. Who doesn’t love the tension between saucy Elizabeth Bennett and haughty Mr. Darcy? Catch UNCG Theatre’s adaptation of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Times vary. Taylor Theater, 406 Tate Street. Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 334-4392 or brownpapertickets.com/onsite/event/412626.
JUST FOR LAUGHS. 7:30 p.m. •Take a dose of the best kind of medicine there is — laughter — as Rock 92’s Two Guys Named Chris present the All Stars Comedy Show, with Shaun Jones, Scott Angrave and Scotty Kavil. (Age minimum: 21). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3332605, carolinatheatre.com.
CHANSONS D’AUTOMNE. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Under the name Autumn Defense, indie rockers John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone of Wilco fame bring their multi-instrumental sound to town. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888, theblindtiger.com.
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Key: Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/ Fun History Sports Speakers The Art & Soul of Greensboro
1941 N E W GA R D EN R D
S T E 2 08
G R E EN S B O RO
N C 27410
336.9 07. 7536
D R I N K E AT L I S T E N .CO M
February Arts Calendar High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859, highpointmuseum.org.
NEWS AND RECORDS. 10 a.m. Family papers, maps, books, documents, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of images — print and negatives — are the playground of archivist Elise Allison, who tells all at a Museum Guild meeting. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043, greensborohistory.org.
BIG HAIR AFFAIR. 7 p.m. Boy meets girl — at rock club in L.A. and, well, you know the rest. The only twist to Rock of Ages, part of the Triad Best of Broadway Series, is the 1980s music by the likes of Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, among others. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (888) 418-2929, triadbestofbroadway. com.
LBD. 7 p.m. Don your little black dress and go lightly to see Audrey Hepburn steal the show (and sing “Moon River”) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, director Blake Edwards’ loose adaptation of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605, carolinatheatre.com.
STRUMMIN’. 8 p.m. Bluegrass , roots virtuoso and country songwriter Jim Lauderdale brings his strings — and tunes — to Triad Acoustic Stage. Mack and Mack Clothing Design Studios, 220 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 643-8643 or triadacousticstage.com.
•START YOUR ENGINES. 10 a.m. Find out how the rubber first met the road, as Barbara Taylor, director of the Heritage Museum of Matthews and author of When Racing Was Racing: The Early Years of Stock Car Racing discusses the quintessential North Carolina pastime, NASCAR Motor Sports. Key:
• • Art
• • Film
• • Fun
GREEN THUMBS UP. 9 a.m. A tree grows in Guilford — along with plants to suit just about every taste. See what’s sprouting at the Guilford Horticultural Society Symposium, with speakers Carol Reese, Jared Barnes and Stephanie Cohen and, er, petal pushers selling all manner of green things. Khalif Event Center, 2000 East Wendover Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 292-0227 or guilfordhorticulturalsociety.org.
ARTE ET LABORE Artists, music-makers, graphic designers, photographers, potters, glass blowers, writers, filmmakers and others working in the arts will gather at UNCG for a Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference. Network and make connections. Better yet, share tips on making money. Registration: (336) 256-8649 or seac.uncg.edu. TIME. 7:30 p.m. Shall •weSWING dance, or keep on moping? Shed
the wintertime blues for some swing dancing to the NCSA Jazz Band. Novices, fear not: A free jitterbug lesson precedes the show. Greensboro Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 508-9998 or piedmontswingdance.org.
Are you looking for a religious experience that makes a difference? Presbyterian Church of the Cross Diverse and Welcoming to All Missions to the Community, focusing on under-served youth with programs like B Natural Academy of Music and Arts NE Greensboro Soccer Outreach (GUSA)
Sunday Service 11:00 a.m. Dr M. Gray Clark, Pastor 1810 Phillips Avenue Greensboro, NC 27405 336.274.5467 Find us on Facebook and website - www.presccross.org A religious community dedicated to faithful involvement in ministries to the community.
Directory The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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Q Come Visit
• Shopping • Food • Art • Entertainment
Pick up the current issue of O.Henry magazine at one of these locations when you are shopping or dining in the Irving Park Area: 1618 Wine Lounge Benjamin Craig Carolyn Todd’s Cheveux Dolce Dimora Easy Peasy Irving Park Art & Frame The Lollipop Shop Main & Taylor
O.Henry magazine’s office The Pack-N-Post Pastabilities Polliwogs Randy McManus Designs Summerhouse Webster’s Frame & Art William Mangum Fine Art Gallery
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Visit Our Retail Shop At 1616 Battleground Avenue, Suite D-1
w w w. r a n d y m c m a n u s d e s i g n s . c o m The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar February 27–March 2
•BELLS STILL RINGING. 11:30 a.m. Taste the latest in wedding food and drink
MID-LIFE CRISIS. A single mother and aspiring poet with no romantic prospects and interfering friends are the focus of UNCG Theatre’s production of This, by Melissa James Gibson. Times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 334-4392, brownpapertickets.com/onsite/event/412648.
with a three-course lunch, dessert and wine prepared by Leigh Hesling, Green Valley Grill’s executive chef, and Laura Dominguez, pastry chef at a Southern Living Wedding Workshop at O.Henry Hotel. Reservations: (336) 544-9615 or www.ohenryhotel.com/ southern_living_weddings.htm
February 27, March 1
FLYING LEAPS. 7:30 p.m. Watch gravitydefying vaults and balletic grace from top Junior Olympic female gymnasts at the Natasia Liukin Cup, prelude to the 2014 AT&T American Cup (March 1). Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3737474, greensborocoliseum.com.
NOTE-IFICATION. (7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively) Catch Mozart’s Concerto in A minor, courtesy of superstar David Shifrin, who joins the Greensboro Symphony Orhcestra and its principal clarinetist Kelly Burke for a Classical Romantics concert, part of the Tanger Outlets Masterworks Series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224, ticketmaster.com.
Mussels, Wine & Music
MULLET OVER. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Run so far away to hear ’80s tribute band, The Breakfast Club, whose repertoire includes Reagan-era faves “Melt With You,” “Whip It” and many more. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2729888, theblindtiger.com.
Great things are happening at ...
“Quenching the thirst of students who learn differently”
Come see for yourself!
Sunday, February 9th 2:00—4:00 pm
Drop in tours every Friday! 9:00 am—11:00 815 Old Mill Road High Point NC 336-883-0992 www.thepiedmontschool.com
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February Arts Calendar WEEKLY HAPPENINGS
BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music, movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. PreRegistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com
CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Y’all come for Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Tuck into Chef Jay’s signature fried chicken and gravy, select beverage specials, including buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it, and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring on the 4th and 11th; Molly McGinn on the 18th; Martha Bassett and friends on the 25th — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm.
• • • • •
Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun
MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3790699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music.htm.
JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, fresh-brewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.
Fridays & Saturdays
NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.
COMEDY. 10 p.m. •on IMPROV Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show
OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8 — 9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.
off” kitchen reading experience at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Pre-Registration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com
FRESH READS. 10–11 a.m. Beginning January 13, cultivate your pint-sized chef’s culinary talents and literary tastes in Book & Cook, a “drop
appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. ibcomedy.com. OH
To add an event, email us at ohenrymagcalendar@ gmail.com by the first of the month prior to the event.
Performing arts Film History Sports
Arts & Culture
Saturday, April 26, 8:00 pm Monday, April 28, 7:30 pm A concert that trancends culture, time and genre and celebrates the diverse
Arts & C Paintings B y
Temple Emanuel - Greene St 713 N Greene St, Greensboro influences of Jewish literary, cultural $20 General Admission; $18 Seniors; and religious tradition on choral music $5 Students; Group Discounts Available
(336) 333-2220 OR www.belcantocompany.com Major funding for this concert provided by ArtsGreensboro and the North Carolina Arts Council.
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“Coffee Break” 30x40 original oil Original Oils, COmmissiOns, WOrkshOps, studiO Classes, Online Classes, painting parties
SAVE THE DATE
Arts & Culture
Creativity beyond the classroom “AFTER HOURS” is an eclectic exhibit featuring 31 of Guilford County Schools most talented Art Teachers
GREENSBORO’S LARGEST EVENT
home & garden
Creative Custom Join us at Framing Irving Park Art & Frame Original Art & on February 6th, Gifts 6-9pm for AFTER HOURS by Local and Exhibit Showing 3rd Annual Guilford County the Opening Reception. Regional Art Teachers Show Artists Monday-Friday | 9:30 - 5:30 • Saturday | 10 - 4
2105-A W. Cornwallis Drive Greensboro, NC
irvingparkartandframe.com (336) 274-6717
Greensboro Coliseum Complex
800.849.0248 | A Southern Shows Inc. Production
ART CLASSES FOR EVERYONE! Winter-Spring Session 2 Starts Week of March 2
Adult 8-Week Classes Youth 6-Week Classes • • • •
Pottery Drawing and Painting Sculpture And more!
• • • •
Pottery Drawing and Painting Comic Book Drawing Homeschool Classes
Workshops and Events
• Sketchbook Workshop, Feb. 8, 2014 • More being planned!
For a schedule of classes and to register, visit
Greensboro Cultural Center | 200 N Davie Street 336-373-2725 | email@example.com Art Alliance is co-sponsored by City Arts
Birthday Bash For GreensBoro Saturday, March 22 from 11 am - 5 pm
In March, 1808 Ralph Gorrell sold 42 acres of land for $98 to create the town of Greensborough and we’re celebrating!
Hear about the “Birth of a City,” learn about your neighborhood’s history, enjoy special tours and watch a demonstration by Jugtown Potter Travis Owens. There will be special activities for children and more! FREE Admission • Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am -5 pm, Sunday from 2 - 5 pm www.GreensboroHistory.org • 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro • 336-373-2043 80 O.Henry
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Salem College presents
UNCG Theatre presents
Arts & Culture
February 14 - 23 2014
Drawings by Ben Perini:
Random Thoughts and the Fictional Portrait Exhibition dates: February 17 -–March 21 Reception: Friday, February 21, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mary Davis Holt Gallery, Elberson Fine Arts Center This solo exhibit of fictional portraits by Brooklyn-raised Ben Perini consists of large-scale charcoal drawings that celebrate the simplicity of black charcoal and the beauty of charcoal markings as they are layered, blended, rubbed, brushed, erased and further manipulated by the imagination to portray expressions and thoughts. Scale is an important factor in Perini’s work, with some drawings in this show measuring up to seven feet tall, allowing the viewer to be absorbed and engulfed by the whole work of art, as he or she decides if the layers of imagery are part of a story or just abstract musings. An artist all of his life, Perini grew up among the great museums of New York City. His first educational art experience was at age eight, attending the Saturday art classes at the Brooklyn Museum. Inspired onward, he never looked back.
Elberson Fine Arts Center 500 East Salem Avenue at Rams Drive Winston-Salem, North Carolina Free Admission Gallery Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. 1-5 p.m., Sat. and Sun.
Free-thinking Elizabeth Bennet is pressured to find a husband... she meets arrogant Mr. Darcy
Adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan from the novel by Jane Austen Directed by John Gulley
Taylor Theatre, UNCG | 336-334-4392 or brownpapertickets.com for tickets Feb 14, 15, 21, 22 at 8 pm; Feb 16 & 23 at 2 pm; Feb 18-20 at 7:30 pm Theatre
salem.edu/culturalevents • 336-917-5493 The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Worth the Drive to High Point Grain-y Photographs It usually takes a fresh pair of eyes to cast the world in a new light, or in the case of High Point’s furniture industry, nine pairs of eyes peering through camera lenses. Winding up its run this month on February 28 at the High Point Museum is Out of the Woodwork, an exhibition of forty-five photographs by students from High Point University. It’s an unusual project for a number of reasons. As a part of HPU’s Service in Learning program and more specifically, a course called “Documenting the Community Through Photography,” it forced students out of their collegiate bubble and engaged them directly with the community. And certainly, the nine shutterbugs — Angelo Carpentier, Cynthia Chiofolo, Peter Dezzi, Brandon Hubschman, Brittany Hubschman, Kaitlyn Kiser, Jenna Myer, Molly O’Keefe and Julia Rivera — did just that, when they photographed people and places associated with the city’s furniture industry, as it is today. And, in the words of course instructor Benita VanWinkle, “what it means not only to High Point but to the world.” Rather than taking a long historical look back into the past, the emphasis on the present day is the key ingredient that makes the collection of photographs so striking. They eliminate the negative (no pun intended) of the furniture indus-
try narrative of the last twenty years — the closed factories, lost jobs and Asian imports — and accentuate the positive instead. What you see are people intent in their work. In Brandon Hubschman’s vivid tableau of train tracks, freight conductor Paul Nelson greets a train of product materials with the green station sign “High Point” occupying the foreground. It is a portrayal of optimism, for the train is pulling into the station, literally bringing work to the city. Other photographs show the particulars of that labor: a worker attaching fabric to a wooden frame, a pair of hands guiding the bit of an industrial drill into metal, a welder surrounded by a shower of sparks, the preparations of the final products for the High Point Market. Yet other images are abstract: The poster for the exhibit, a close-up of wood shavings, seems to echo the sinews of Edward Weston’s photographs of natural objects and shows the sheer beauty of the texture and color of the medium. Yes, the forty-five photographs are things of beauty, but, according to museum’s director, Edith Brady, they will serve a useful purpose as well, as future research tools. And perhaps that’s what we should take away from Out of the Woodwork: that there is a bright future for High Point’s furniture industry, and it starts here and now. Info: High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue; High Point (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. OH — Nancy Oakley
Yasmin Leonard Photography
Flowers Gifts Plants
Like us on Facebook! 336.883.6249 | 1313 N. Main Street High Point | email@example.com | www.justpriceless.net
Great Gifts for any Valentine… M A G A Z I N E Find it at these High Point Locations:
• Harris Teeter, 265 Eastchester Dr. • Harris Teeter, 1589 Skeet Club Rd. • J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 N. Main St. • Shores Fine Dry Cleaning, 804 Westchester Dr. • Tex & Shirley’s, 4005 Precision Way • Theodore Alexander Outlet, 416 S. Elm St. • Vintage Thrift and Antiques, 1100 N. Main St.
Gifts, Services and Packages available for Women and Men
Scarves Jewelry Gift Certificates
CH A NEL • Clarins • Bare Minerals • Eric Javits • Hobo
Voted the area’s best day spa! VISIT US ON FACEBOOK! 1107 N. Main Street, High Point • 336.889.0400 • aboutfacedayspa.com
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
u 26 Paths to Leisu o re – F Y 21 ind One For
43 Parks & Recreation Administration 43 Athletics Office
Ballfields & Concession Stands
9 Latham Park 11 Levette 10 Lewis 12 Old Peck 13 Pomona 14 Rankin 15 Revolution 16 Smith High School 7 Stoner-White Stadium 17 West Market
1 Allen Jr. High 3 Carolyn S. Allen Park & Athletic Complex
2 Barber Park 8 Joe Davis Park 18 Constance Griffin Field 4 I.C. Apple 5 Hampton 6 Hester Park 7 Jaycee Park Soccer/ Football Complex
27 51 7 10
19 Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden 46 The Bog Garden 20 Greensboro Arboretum 56 Gateway Gardens
43 Cemeteries Office 51 Forest Lawn Cemetery 52 Green Hill Cemetery
53 Maplewood Cemetery 54 Union Cemetery
Culture & Recreation
41 City Arts 38 Caldcleugh Multicultural
40 Greensboro Youth Council 24 Lake Brandt 25 Lake Higgins 26 Lake Townsend 43 MainStream Resources
Arts Center 43 City Beautiful 23 Gillespie Golf Course (Therapeutic Recreation) 33 Coach Al Lowe Boxing Center 40 Greensboro Farmers 39 Camp Joy Curb Market at Hagan-Stone Park 44 Greensboro Seniors 23 Specialized Park Services (Smith Senior Center) 40 Youth Programs 42 Greensboro Sportsplex
2 Barber Park 21 Bryan Park 27 Country Park 6 Hester Park
33 Lindley Center 34 Trotter Center 36 Peeler Center 18 Warnersville Center 37 Windsor Center
7 Jaycee Park 55 Keeley Park 29 Price Park
30 Brown Center 31 Craft Center 57 East White Oak Center 4 Glenwood Center 32 Leonard Center 10 Lewis Center
39 Camp Joy at Hagan-Stone Park 33 Lindley Outdoor Pool 34 Peeler Outdoor Pool 16 Smith High School Indoor Pool 44 Smith Senior Center Indoor Pool 18 Warnersville Center Outdoor Pool 37 Windsor Center Outdoor Pool
21 Bryan Park 6 Hester Park 7 Spencer Love Tennis Center 9 Latham Park 2 Simkins Indoor Sports Pavilion
Visit us online for directions and facility information.
• Afterschool programs, day camps, classes, special events, sports, parks, gardens, lakes and trails • City Arts - dance, drama, music, visual arts and Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center • Recreation centers, year-round programs for teens and seniors, MainStream Resources • Volunteer opportunities, social media sites and more!
ls ra i
P • s
48 Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway (paved) 10 Bicentennial Greenway (paved) 49 Lake Daniel Greenway (paved) 50 Latham Park Greenway (paved) 58 Downtown Greenway (paved)
Gardens c i l ub
PARKS, GARDENS, LAKES, TRAILS, SPORTS, RECREATION CENTERS & MORE! For a complete list of year-round leisure programs and activities for people of all ages and interests, visit Greensboro Parks & Recreation at:
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Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem The Other Moravians What do Greek Revival architecture, South Carolina pottery and beanless Pedernales River Chili have in common? They’re all elements related to the black experience highlighted at . . . Old Salem Museum and Gardens. While the 18th century Moravian restoration that would become Winston-Salem is associated with its Eastern European and German-speaking founders, AfricanAmericans were also part of the community’s population. In homage to Black History Month, Old Salem is highlighting the role African-Americans played in early Piedmont history in a variety of ways. Whet your appetite, literally, and reserve a place early (by February 3) at the February 15 lecture — and dinner — American Perspectives: Black Chefs in the White House. A nod to Presidents’ Day as well as Black History Month, the event is the brainchild of Adrian Miller, former deputy director of Bill Clinton’s One America initiative, certified barbecue judge and author of American Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. With recipes and anecdotes, Miller examines the relationships between the chefs and the commanders-in-chief. Many of them were the presidents’ family cooks, from Hercules, who accompanied George Washington to Philadelphia, to Zephyr Miller, chef to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson and creator of the beanless chili, the recipe that was reportedly the second-most requested piece of information from the federal government in 1964. Aside from soul food, Old Salem offers plenty to feast your eyes on as well. Every Friday and Saturday — or by appointment during the week throughout February — the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), presents
A Hidden Legacy: The African-American Influence in Southern Decorative Arts. These 45-minute tours delve into the stories behind some of the museum’s standout pieces in its collection, such as the oversized storage jar by David Drake, who established the first pottery style associated with Edgefield, South Carolina; or the painting of Benjamin Franklin Yoe by Baltimore blacksmith Joshua Johnson, who advertised himself as “a self-taught genius.” If anything was a stroke of genius, it was the 2003 restoration of St. Philips Church, the oldest surviving black church in North Carolina, and one of the earliest in the United States. Serving congregants from 1861 to 1952, St. Philips counted among its significant moments a Union cavalry chaplain’s announcement in 1865 that enslaved inhabitants of Salem and the surrounding area were free. Today the Greek Revival structure is the heart of the St. Philips Heritage Center, which also includes the African Moravian Log Church, reconstructed in 2004, according to building plans dating to 1823; the Strangers Graveyard (for non-Moravians); and the African American Graveyard (sometimes called “Negro-God’s Acre”), which has revealed artifacts such as pottery shards, scissors, mirrors and chalk, associated with Native African burial rites. Check out these slices of history and more — storytellers, puppets, crafts, music, food — at the Heritage Festival on February 22, the culmination of Old Salem’s celebration of its early inhabitants who, along with ginger cookies and pies, occupy a proud place in Moravian culture. Info: Old Salem Museum and Gardens, 900 Old Salem Road, (336) 779-6140, oldsalem.org. For reservations to the American Perspectives lecture, call (800) 441-5305. OH — Nancy Oakley
Gaia 45 Miller Street Winston-Salem (next to Whole Foods) 748-1114 Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
WINTER WHITE SALE February 10 th-19 th
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including special orders
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1826 Pembroke Road, Greensboro, NC 336-274-3307 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) Monday thru Friday 10:00–5:00 Saturday 10:00–4:00
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1832 PEMBROKE ROad • GREENSBORO • 336.275.6683 WWW.BENJaMINCRaIGSTaTIONERS.COM The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Bert Davis Jr, Janet Hendley
Greensboro Opera presents â€œMusic in Fashionâ€? at Mack and Mack Sunday, December 8, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
Bob Gingher, Susan McMullen Bob Gingher, Fritz Janschka
Tim Lindeman, Nancy Walker, Jack Jarrett Jason Barrios (baritone), Porter Aichele (model)
Susan Chappell, Pat Schweninger
Porter Aichele, Hisako Schneider
Doug & Jane Curtis, Anna Clare Allen
Woody Faulkner, David Holley (Opera Artistic Director) Elizabeth Strater, Jim Ingram
Joann Martinson (soprano) Leigh Ann Hall, Evelyn Richardson
Frank Orthel, Beth Barr, Lollie White
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Life & Home
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Personal Training That’s Truly Personal
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Where History and Commerce Meet
With 20 years in the field as a remodeling contractor, my perspective gives buyers and sellers a distinct advantage....we make good neighbors!
Discreet and Confidential Services such as: Inventory of Coins & Currency Finding the Right Market Obtaining Offers Negotiating Deals Payment to You
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Please call 336.207.9005 for an appointment.
Caroline Sparrow Gregorio, Owner Sparrow’s Rare Finds, LLC Licensed by the NC Auctioneer Licensing Board. NCAL# 9078 ©2013 An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity.
2013 recipient of the Piedmont Triad Business Ethics Award
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
GreenScene Piedmont Winterfest December 15 & 27, 2013
Photographs by Lynn Donovan Logan, Landon & Bobby Wright
Brandy & Griffin Gagliano
Haley Gullet, Logan Lester
Brennen Siele, Gianna Lucido
Porter, Meghan & Mcauley Davis
Xxxxx Nermina, Eseta, Edin & Damir Begovic
Nancy Kerrigan & Paul Wylie
Erin Hight, Olivia Militello
Briana, Maureen & Joe Siele, Kathy Lucido Cheyann, Brenda & Katie Brock, Mary Surratt
Kaela McClanahan, Ashley Knight, Sydney Doubt, Gabriella Gladius
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Jeannette Norwood, Maren Shaw
Make This Yours Teaching Studio Life & Home
We stand behind what we sell and install Serving Friends and Families for Generations
Loaves... Scones... Pizza.... even Gluten Free! Learn to bake your favorite breads at Make This Yours NC Teaching Studio
• Porcelain & Ceramic Tile • Marble & Granite • Cork • Brick & Stone • Hardwood • Luxury Vinyl Tile • Carpet
• Bathroom Remodeling • Kitchen floors & Backsplashes • Tile Repairs & Cleaning Service • Complete installation service by qualified craftsmen
M-F 9-5 and by appointment
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Carley Mann & Associates
Exclusive distributor of Jan Marini MD skincare. No cost, No obligation consultations. Over 30 years experience
Caring for you and your investment
602 Pasteur Dr. Greensboro, NC 336-938-0341
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Carley Mann Realtor/Broker 336.337.5672
Melissa Greer Realtor / Broker, GRI, CRS
Chairman’s Circle Gold Award 2010, 2011, 2012
336.337.5233 www.melissagreer.com email@example.com
Let Our Team Work For You! 90 O.Henry
©2013 An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Maeve & Brian Heagney
Scuppernong Books Opening Saturday, December 21, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
Renee & Isa Heagney Erin West
Brain Lampkin, Clara Lampkin, Cathryne Scmitz, Natalie Lampkin, Joshua Blyth, Susan Bennett
Erin Brownlee Dell, Sam Dell, Veronica Brownlee, Nick Brownlee, Kyle Dell
Brian Etling Allen & Sandra Jones
Richard Solari, Krisan Walker
Rita & Kate Hodgin
Christin McCuen, Brian Lampkin
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Bess Lewis, Phyllis Sharpe
Lee Ann Green, Lauren Hunter, Victor Green
Cole Smith, Kay Stolwyk
Triad Stageâ€™s Snow Queen at The Pyrle & Santaland Diaries at Upstage Cabaret Friday, December 20, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
Steve, Joe, Cassie & Debbi Causey
Xxxxx Eric Woollen, Kathy Sewell
Cailin & Steven Garfunkel
Ian, Namoi, Jay & Sam Jones
Marcia, Emily, Lee & Ellen Beverly
India Poteat, Carolyn McNeil, Jailen Robinson, Jaedon Barnett, Hector Aguilera, Susan Skinner Ruby McCollum, Maddie Barham, Bailey Redd, Bridget French, Elise McCollum
Denise Booe, Rebeca Stubbs
Marion & George Handshaw
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
First Nest – Dream Nest – Empty Nest – We Make Greensboro Home Old Irving Park
206 Sunset Drive
Stately & elegant classic home -- Golf course lot (14th Green of Greensboro Country Club) No expense spared in renovation and updating with attention to detail. Elegant architectural features, spacious rooms. Price upon request.
Old Irving Park
1810 Huntington Road
Golf course lot with best backyard view. Great home with updated kitchen and main level baths. Price upon request.
New Irving Park
Chesnutt - Tisdale Team
Xan Tisdale Kay Chesnutt 336-601-2337 336-202-9687
3803 Round Hill
This updated 2 story plus lower level home is meant for family living & entertaining. Covered porch, lower level rec room, garage and fenced back yard with gardens. Price upon request.
Treasures • Antiques Consignments
Xan.Tisdale@bhhsyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@bhhsyostandlittle.com ©2013 An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.
Business & Services
Fashioning Your Face for Excellence
Make-up & up-do stylist.... that comes to you! Amber Marlowe 336-772-4405
Organizing and Personal Assistant Services Alli McVann
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7360 Brooks Bridge Road Guilford County NC 27249 336.584.4060
Tastings, Tapas, Desserts… oh my! Offering over 800 Succulent Wines… Our Tapas Menu also features our Gourmet Grilled Cheese. And, don’t forget our Decadent Desserts!
336-412-0011 • 1603 D Battleground Ave., Greensboro, NC (Just north of downtown in the Starbucks shopping center)
Visit us online at riojawinebar.com for events and weekly specials
Wine Bar & Wine Shop
Single mingle every Thursday night with live music by Joey Barnes Open Tuesday thru Saturday 4:00 pm-until 901 South Chapman Street • Greensboro, NC 27403 • 336-676-5602 • www.tastingroomgso.com
UpCOmiNG EvENts 2/9 - NC Food Rodeo 2/14-16 - valentine Wine & Chocolate tasting 3/21 - Wine & song Concert w/Lauren Light
Open Daily Noon-6pm
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The Accidental Astrologer
One Super Month Best put FTD and Godiva on speed dial, honey
By Astrid Stellanova What is February good for? Beau says it’s good for the Super Bowl. Well, I’m fond of indoor plumbing, too, and remember when Daddy got ours installed. But if it’s so super, then why ain’t super bowls self-cleaning like ovens? It don’t take a fool-for-love psychic, like Astrid, to tell you that what is really good about the month of February is the 14th. Put Godiva and FTD on speed dial. And speaking of loving, I got me a new skyhigh hairdo I’m calling the hair way to heaven. You just oughta see it — makes Beau go crazy!
Aquarius (January 20–February 18) If you think last year’s birthday was a humdinger you don’t know nothing yet. There’s a transit in your sign coming up, which, combined with this being a nine year in numerology, means it’s your turn in the catbird’s seat. Don’t get tied up in knots over finances or love — if you’re tempted to tie knots, join the Scouts or finish that macramé pot holder you started in second grade. Or try bondage — ’cause lucky in love you are, and if you don’t have satin sheets you ought to. Satin’s good for your hair, too, and good hair can make the difference in a person’s destiny. Trust your intuition, ’cause things this month will happen faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.
Pisces (February 19–March 20) You are a no-means-maybe kind of person. But this month, you might want to put a little whoa there in your giddy-up. Somebody trolling MatchmakersForever.com might not be the special someone you thought. If he ain’t from around here, he might be from somewhere else where everybody with a brain cell has already dumped him. Just ask Astrid how she knows this. (Just because he claims a duck can pull a truck don’t mean it’s got a trailer hitch.) This month, you may get a visitation from somebody long dead. Don’t freak out. Happens to me all the time.
game changer, and won’t keep you from enjoying the party. But given the retrograde this month, don’t bend over backward for anybody unless you’ve got on new underwear and just want to show it off.
Leo (July 23–August 22) It’s a three year in numerology for Leo, which means you’re heading down life’s banister faster than a lizard on crack. Let’s hope all the splinters ain’t facing your way since Mercury is in retro on the 12th. If go you must, well, have some tweezers handy. But, hey, you romantic fool: The 14th is a good day for you, with plenty of romance with your partner. Bumpin’ uglies in the movies is fun, but don’t you just hate it when you spill your drink and popcorn, especially when it’s that jumbo bag? And it’s buttered?
Virgo (August 23 –September 22) You’ll have some cutting edge conversations with yourself this month. If anyone’s listening, they might get the wrong idea. Especially your partner. This is the kind of astral situation going on in February, with the first retrograde this year, causing things that would make a thinking person slow the heck down. Speaking of slow, somebody owes you money and you stand a good chance of getting it back by the first of March. Roll the dice slow, too, Honey, and you will probably roll snake eyes — the game is on.
Libra (September 23–October 22) If the boss hollers, or your assistant quits without working a notice, you can thank Mercury, which is retrograde in your sixth house. Back-up your files and run a scan. When you need a nice shoulder to sob on, be sure you get off on the shoulder of the road. At least your home life looks good, Honey. I always think when things are testing me, it’s a good time to wear power colors and a good lamé. Gold. Silver. Copper. Besides, at the end of the month your mojo comes back, and it’s the return of the nerds with a vengeance.
Aries (March 21–April 19) Your average February workday is like that cute, doe-eyed actress Sandra Bullock had acting in Gravity. You’re doing your job best you know how, and then, BAM — completely disconnected from the spaceship. I’m betting right now you feel low on oxygen. Come February 28th you have an exciting day, and a good one for hit-the-road time. But don’t take along somebody who has been sucking the oxygen out of the room, and you know who I mean. They are too poor to pay attention, and can’t help with directions nohow.
Taurus (April 20–May 20) There’s a reason Ford named a sedan after your sign. You ain’t a Ferrari, and sometimes you’re hard to start, but you’re built to last, and once you get cranking, you can go forever. However, with Venus in transit through your sign, I wouldn’t suggest road trips unless you like off-the-road adventure. If you go anyway, just like a Taurus would do despite all warning, you might have a hissy fit with a tail on it when the itinerary changes, and change it will. Trust Astrid, ’cause I have busted through a few stop signs myself, and what happened next wasn’t always pretty.
Gemini (May 21–June 20) To be so smart, you sure have got a stupid streak. Lately your mind has been working like lightning, with one bright flash, and then it’s all over. Complete darkness. Mercury is in retrograde, so don’t go signing any contracts — you got commitment issues anyhow, which might come in handy for once. Instead of buying vacuum cleaners and knives from door-to-door salesmen, get your groove on and enjoy your sexy self. This month is going to seem like a steering wheel on a mule; totally useless, unless you like circling and backing up.
Cancer (June 21–July 22) Intuition can tell you a lot this month. Like the only time the world is knocking at your door is when you’re in the toilet. You’ve been in a blue funk because you didn’t see something that shoulda been obvious, but hey, think of it as a pick in your pantyhose. It ain’t a
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Scorpio (October 23–November 21) Double-sided tape wasn’t invented by one of my hair clients at the beauty shop like she claimed. Turned out she just felt inferior because she wasn’t a natural redhead like yours truly. She was a mess, like we say in the South, and she sure did have me going for a while. With the retrograde situation, your work life may seem like a mess, too, so hang on, because, you got a good thing going when it comes to the love department. And at long last, you may get credit for what you have been doing behind the scenes all along that nobody noticed.
Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) Don’t let that career triumph you had last month turn tragic just because you can’t stop talking about it. All that nice cash is going to feather your nest. But with Mercury retrograde in Pisces, you might have a slip of the tongue or just forget something and have a big ole UH OH. Your social life is kicking up, so it’s tempting to share everything with everybody. Don’t. They don’t care and it don’t matter: It’s like you are a kleptomaniac at a nudist colony. Try and get a grip.
Capricorn (December 22–January 19) You feel flush, right? And it isn’t the thermostat. It’s your bank account. Yes, that bank statement is heating up, and it’s the sexiest thing going on for you this month — brothers and sisters, you are in the black. Or, maybe it’s your partner’s made a big deposit? Check it out, Sherlock. Speaking of checking, this February is creative. Different. You feel free, experimental. Kind of like the time you used Magic Marker for permanent makeup. But sometimes, your hunches work out. So, work it, Baby! OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. February 2014
For the Love of Pooh By Sandra Redding
During a visit with my grandmother,
Flossie Butler, I was introduced to A. A. Milne’s classic children’s story. Though only 8 years old, I fell for the main character at first read.
The sun warmed us that summer afternoon as Grandmother and I sat together in the front porch swing. Showing me the book, she said, “I think you should hear this. It’s about a bear called Winnie-the-Pooh.” The cover, illustrated with a picture of a boy and bear, won my heart. Holding the new book to my nose, I sniffed. It smelled sweet — like clean sheets blowing on a clothesline. The words on the first page amused me. By the time Grandmother reached the passage explaining why the bear’s name was often shortened to Pooh, both of us howled with delight. According to Milne, the bear could not raise his stiff arms to swat a fly from his nose, so he attempted to blow the critter away. His exhalations sounded as if he were saying, “Pooh, pooh.” Those words made me giggle. I repeated “Pooh, pooh” dozens of time that day. After my visit, Grandmother gave me the book so I could share it with my siblings in Randleman. I discovered that my sister, Teresa, then less than a year old, lacked the patience to remain quiet as I read to her, and my brother, Mick, preferred gory stories about sword-fighting pirates and guntoting cowboys. After the new school year began, I, too, abandoned the book. Heidi, about a little girl who lived in the Swiss Alps, became a favorite read. During my teen years, the elegant free-verse poetry in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman filled me with rapture. My senior year, Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, the thickest novel I had ever read, became a forever favorite. Secretly, I also perused a fair number of books my teachers didn’t approve. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger and Peyton Place by Grace Metalious topped my list of favorite banned books. Before marrying Joe, my high-school sweetheart, I rescued Milne’s cobweb-covered classic from a dark corner of my closet. It became one of the treasures transported to my new home. Less than a year later, while awaiting the birth of my firstborn, I revisited the adventurous bear tale. Still charming, I thought. A book any child would surely love. Wrong! My son, Joey, scrunched up his face and bawled every time I said Pooh. Though his pediatrician explained the problem was colic, not an aversion to cute bears, I never felt sure, for even at a very young age, he cooed and grinned at Dr. Seuss’ rhyming prose. Before reaching 5, he had memorized Green Eggs and Ham. How could my blood kin reject the charisma of Milne’s creation? I never
figured it out. Still, despite my eldest son’s disdain, Winnie-the-Pooh not only survived, he thrived. By the time our family moved to Greensboro during the mid-1960s, previously naked Pooh wore a spiffy red shirt. Transformed into a smiley bear, his fur was yellow as sunflower petals. Thanks to Walt Disney, who purchased rights to use his image, the bear, now bigger than life-size, cavorted across the silver screen. Though I still felt a deep affection for Milne’s bear, I accepted Disney’s version. Looking back, I do regret one change — Disney endowed the once trim Pooh with a pot belly. I wonder, did the mammal’s big gut contribute to the epidemic of childhood obesity? Then again, who was I to object? I no longer wore pleated skirts, fuzzy sweaters, not even penny-loafers. Changing with the times, my own favorite outfit became velvet hot pants worn with a Nehru jacket. Tight black boots encased my calves. Cool. That was me. And Pooh, even cooler, had songs written about him. Once he joined the Hollywood crowd, he held his bear nose high, even when sniffing honey. Becoming pregnant with my second child increased my Pooh obsession. Or perhaps I should blame Belk Department Store, then located in downtown Greensboro. There, every Winnie-the-Pooh item imaginable could be found. After one shopping spree, I decorated the nursery with a Pooh lamp as well as Pooh imprinted bumper pads, sheet, quilt, blankets and curtains. After kissing the stuffed animal made in the bear’s image, I placed him in a red rocking chair. Then, deciding he might be lonesome, I rushed back to Belk to purchase his pals, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. By the end of my eighth month of pregnancy, husband Joe finished placing Pooh decals on the nursery’s yellow walls. Finally we could relax, awaiting child number two. And wait we did. One week, then another. Remembering Milne’s book, I removed it from the closet. On the memorable night of September 18, 1968, I enjoyed every page. Drifting off to sleep was no problem, but a few hours later, I was awakened by my own screams. My husband took me in his arms. “Are you all right? Is it time to go to the hospital?” I shook my head. Reaching for a tissue, I wiped tears away, blew my nose. Despite the lump in my throat, I somehow managed to speak. “I dreamed I gave birth,” I said. Joe grinned broadly. “Really? Boy or girl?” “Winnie-the-Pooh,” I answered. Five days later, our second son was born. We named him Michael. Like me, he, too, loved Pooh bear. Indeed he loved him to pieces — literally. OH Greensboro writer Sandra Redding has just published her first novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, and pens the Writer’s Notebook column for O.Henry. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Illustration by Harry Blair
A famous bear who has followed me through life
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