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M A G A Z I N E Volume 5, No. 3 “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 jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director andie@ohenrymag.com

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March 2015

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2015

O.Henry 5


March 2015

Features

55 Traditional Music Poetry by Ann Deagon

56 Machine Dreams

These lovingly restored classic cars are an affair of the heart. By David Claude Bailey

68 The Great Fires

Is Greensboro burning? It has in the past. By Billy Ingram

72 The State of Filmmaking

A splendid new exhibit the N.C. Museum of History provides a colorful walk through Old North state movies By Gwenyfar Rohler

76 Life is a Glass House

The home of Mike and Liz Felsen is a highlight of this year’s Home Tour for Preservation Greensboro. Let the conversation begin. By Maria Johnson

82 Botanicus: Camillas

North Carolina’s beloved flowering shrub By Barbara Sullivan

85 March Almanac

Dream gardens and the March to-do list. By Noah Salt

Departments 9 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 12 Short Stories 15 Doodad By Maria Johnson 17 O.Harry By Harry Blair 19 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 21 Omnivorous Reader By Brian Lampkin 25 Scuppernong Bookshelf 29 Pleasures of Life By Cynthia Adams 31 Gate City Journal By C. Michael Briggs 38 Garden Life By Stan Gilliam 41 The Evolving Species By Cynthia Adams 44 Game On By Ogi Overman 47 Chasing Hornets By Wiley Cash 49 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 51 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 88 Arts & Entertainment March Calendar 99 Worth the Drive to High Point 103 N.C. Writer’s Notebook By Sandra Redding 105 GreenScene 111 Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 112 O.Henry Ending By Patricia G. Henson Cover Photograph by Sam Froelich Photograph this page Amy Freeman


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Simple Life

Stuff Happens By Jim Dodson

My wife, who feels about clutter

Illustration by Kira schoenfelder

more or less the way your average Sports Illustrated swimsuit model feels about an unexpected blizzard in July, recently joked that we should consider moving again in order to get rid of more “stuff.”

Except I’m pretty sure she wasn’t joking. Over the past decade, we’ve moved our household twice, and it’s amazing the stuff we managed to unload — unused furniture and clothes, old children’s toys, rugs, extra work tools, lawn furniture, out-of-date appliances, mismatched china and kitchenware, disabled lamps, horrible artwork, and a blue million — OK, at least several hundred — of my books and other stuff nobody in their right mind would ever want, but weirdly did, at the two yard sales the aforementioned anti-clutter activist conducted in our driveway in my enthusiastic absence. Somewhere I read that moving three times is the equivalent of having your house burn to the ground. If that’s the case, we should be living out of doors under the stars by now given all the stuff that’s disappeared from our lives. With the arrival of yet another March — the traditional start of baseball spring training to some sporting minds, spring cleaning season to Others Who Shall Not Be Named — I can see that familiar glint in her eye as she steely appraises the den where we innocently sit watching an episode of Outlander, taking a mental inventory of things that must soon go. With our nest officially empty and the urge to downsize and simplify taking an even stronger grip of her uncluttered mind, everything in our lives is suddenly up for review or is already being reduced before my eyes. This includes, but is not limited to, daily caloric intake, unworn articles of clothing, any household item that has not been used within the past nine months, and possibly even husbands. Call me crazy, but sometimes I secretly fear my very person could be next, deemed unessential and taken out one morning with the big green recycle bin and left to be picked up at the curb. Not long ago, after all, I heard a middle-aged female author on the radio talking with unfettered delight about how after “two marriages and one family and several houses full of incredible amounts of stuff,” she found herself a spare and cozy apartment in an upscale part of town, and decorated it with minimalist brio — “everything was simple and white, without a single piece of clutter.” When a group of her middle-aged friends dropped in to see the new place, and I quote, “They had a completely visceral reaction to it, an The Art & Soul of Greensboro

epiphany of sorts, an overwhelming urge to do the same in their lives — to liberate themselves from all the stuff in their lives! The problem, of course, is husbands and children. They collect stuff like human magnets. What a woman really wants is no clutter! At our age,” she added triumphantly, “it’s far better than sex!” On a similar distressing note, a colleague relates that a close friend of hers cleverly encouraged her outdoorsy husband to expand his domain to the man shed out back — then slowly began moving his personal “stuff” out there a little at a time until there was no trace of the poor fellow anywhere in his own house. In effect, she quietly erased him. My colleague laughed chillingly as she told me this story, casually letting drop that her own husband’s duck-hunting decoys, pipe racks, hunting magazines and other traditional material evidence of an average middle-aged male’s existence is quietly on its way out to the back forty, presumably without the unlucky sod even noticing. Soon there will be no trace that he was ever there. Do I not have a moral obligation as a fellow member of the male species, the Brotherhood of Ordinary Stuff Gatherers, to try to warn him? After all, stuff happens. On the other hand, when it comes to a determined wife with springtime decluttering on her mind, it may simply be each man for himself. Thus before I and my few remaining personal belongings get the same bum’s rush to the curb, this got me thinking about my own domestic situation, taking a hard look at the “stuff” that’s accumulated over the years in my modest home office, my sacred inner sanctum where I keep all sorts of things that speak of my presence on this planet and mean the world to nobody but me and quite possibly my dog Mulligan. One man’s keepsakes, in other words, may simply be his wife’s weekly Saturday morning run to the Habitat ReStore. Mind you, I’m not that much of a collector of anything, per se, unless you care to count the fifty or so crest-bearing golf caps I’ve picked up from a forty-odd-year walk through the noble and ancient game; maybe several hundred remaining essential books ranging from ancient mythology to modern gardening that I simply couldn’t bear to part with this side of a nuclear emergency; a rug admittedly only Mulligan the dog and I truly like; a comfortable if somewhat ratty reading chair rescued from a second-hand shop; a set of swell pirate bookends; several romantically themed reading lamps (a blue-coat soldier, another made from the shafts of vintage golf clubs, a third made of faux “classic” boyhood adventure books) nobody but a hacker of a certain seniority or a precocious 6-year-old boy weaned on R. Kipling could truly ever appreciate; various framed photographs of scorecards and old golf pals both living and departed; posters from my own long-forgotten book tours; a Hindu prayer goddess; a carved African fertility head; two large pincushion boards crammed with old tournament badges; beloved snapshots March 2015

O.Henry 9


Simple Life

of my young children and my first car; scraps of favorite quotes and verse collected at random; old train tickets; theater stubs, etc.; three full sets of golf clubs I can’t seem to let go; four rescued houseplants; and a large growler jug from a local brewery bearing the face of a Medieval Green Man where I’m secretly saving spare pocket change for a trip to Norway’s fabled fjords some summer in the distant future. In terms of personal “stuff,” that’s about all I’ve really got left — one small office oasis crammed to the gunwales with items that hold absolutely no value to the world at large, providing no offense to anyone except possibly someone who has delusional adult fantasies of a spotless white house. To the untrained eye, these things may appear to be nothing more than disorderly collection of pointless male clutter, but I assure you there is purpose under heaven to all this surviving stuff. Albert Einstein, the theoretical German physicist who inspired a generation of hair stylists and developed the Theory of Relativity, pointed out that if a cluttered desk is the sign of a busy mind at work, what then does a desk empty of anything say about its owner? All things being relative, I aspire to follow this path, yet I fear a new and bolder front in the household war against my remaining stuff may be about to open along with the windows for an infusion of fresh spring air. Item One: Last month’s issue of Real Simple seems to be worryingly displayed everywhere I look these days, bearing the telltale headline “De-Clutter Your Home and Life Now!” — a working manifesto if I’ve ever heard one for the average middle-aged woman who harbors secret dreams of a spotless and husband-free pad of her own. Item Two: In the interest of a serener inner self, Madame lights a tropicalscented candle and does deep yoga meditation every morning in the living room, which has been as thoroughly stripped of tchotchkes and as diligently scrubbed as a CIA safe house. Just the other morning as I shuffled past

the open door, making for coffee in my old L.L. Bean robe, I could swear I overheard her calmly chanting: “Those goofy pirate bookends must go . . . the Green Man jug, too. Those goofy pirate bookends must go . . .” Also, possibly on direct orders from the neat-niks at Real Simple, she took it upon herself at winter’s end to clean out the storage unit where decades of my work papers, extra books and copies of almost every magazine I’ve written for in forty years is safely archived and collecting dust. “It’s time we do something with all of this — get it organized into at least something resembling contained chaos,” she declared last Saturday morning (rather insensitively, I thought) from the doorway of my sacred inner sanctum, where I sat smoking one of my oldest pipes and musing on the face of my Hindu prayer goddess. I count at least thirty boxes now stacked in the mud room outside my office door, the only objects remaining between my wife and a better life. Naturally she has a plan of attack. She is a woman who could teach orderly behavior to a convention of anarchists. She would enjoy that beyond measure, too. “We’ll save only those papers that are essential and shred everything else. Then we’ll scan your magazine articles and get rid of all those unnecessary magazines. You probably don’t need a third of those old books, either, by the way.” It doesn’t take an Albert Einstein to see where this is headed. My inner sanctum lies directly in her path to a happier life, my stuff’s days are as numbered as the graying hairs on my head. I haven’t seen her this happy since Goodwill offered her a personalized donation parking spot. Perhaps I shall simply take my beloved Green Man coin jug and quietly head off to the curb to await the recycling man, getting an early jump on my long-dreamed journey to a Norwegian fjord. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson (and Mulligan) at jim@ohenrymag.com. THE MUSIC ACADEMY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESENTS

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March 2015

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Selina Price...

Meet

she’s

Greensboro Selina Price didn’t have to travel far to find a college that was small enough to be comfortable but challenging enough for her to grow. Growing up in Winston-Salem, NC, Selina came to Greensboro College looking for the environment and culture that a small, private school can offer. She has competed on the swim team, served as president of the college’s chapter of a national business honor society, and worked as an intern. Now, Selina is already looking to her first career after having been offered jobs by both a leading global audit firm and a Fortune 250 company even before she has walked across the graduation stage. As Selina is setting her sights on achieving a CFO position one day, she is shaping the kind of future you can count on ... one that began when she decided to become Uniquely Greensboro.

Uniquely Located, Uniquely Greensboro, Uniquely You! Greensboro.edu


Short Stories Our picks for what’s happening in Greensboro this month

Forget singing in the wilderness. How about thee and tea and a book of verse by the Poet Laureate of North Carolina in the atrium of the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center from 2–4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29? Newly named to the post, Shelby Stephenson is beginning to make his appointed rounds. Astutely, the Writers Group of the Triad talked the singing, storytelling bard to sip some Teahugger tea with them and talk about poesy, his life growing up near Benson in Eastern North Carolina and the process of putting that sort of thing on paper. Open to lovers of verse and free as the wind. (www.triadwriters.org).

Where We’re Drinking — and What If you don’t score some tickets for either the Women’s ACC Championship — cranking up on March 4, followed by the Men’s on March 10 — consider drowning your sorrows with a Southern Pale Ale at Natty Greene’s heated Tourney Town Tent right across from the Coliseum. Beginning on Wednesday, March 11, on 1918 West Lee Street, catch the action on a big screen TV and suck down some local brew. In fact, it would be hard to find beer more local: Natty’s ale and lager are brewed in the building right behind you. Open for every game — Wednesday through Thursday (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.); Friday (5-11 p.m.) and Saturday (6-11 p.m.), entrance is free. And if you really want to fire things up, order a carne asada taco from the nearby Taqueria El Azteca taco truck and ask for the extra hot sauce.

12 O.Henry

March 2015

Fun on the Runway

Fascinated by the latest fashions, the celebrities who wear them and the people who style and photograph them? Mark your calendar for 7 p.m., Saturday, March 21. “The Betty Creative Award is a celebrity fantasy-fashion design competition,” says Terry Melville, former VP of fashion at Macy’s and an executive in residence at UNCG’s department of consumer apparel and retail studies. Competing for over $3,000 in prizes, three design finalists, selected from twenty-five competitors, will present their creations to a panel of celebrity judges at the Empire Room. “The designs have been conceived with a specific celebrity in mind chosen by the student, such as Nicole Kidman, Rihanna or Audrey Tatou,” says Melville.  She developed the concept honoring her fashionforward mother, Betty Tonzak, with Rachel Wilson, president of THREADS, a UNCG-G student design organization. Judges include fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit, who published  Yves Saint Laurent, and Project Runway celebrity stylist Freddie Leiba. Tickets: triadstage.org

Dancing the Nights Away

On March 6, as part of downtown First Friday’s festivities, you’re invited to a concert of four dances performed by the Van Dyke Dance Group in Greenhill at 7 p.m. The Turtle Island String Quartet will fill the gallery with Stephen Sondheim’s music with performers dancing in the round (www.danceproject. org). For those who’d rather be dancing themselves, consider Tangos and Tutus presented by the Greensboro Ballet, also at 7 p.m. on the same date in the Ballet’s Studios on the third floor of the Cultural Arts Center. In addition to tango-inspired ballet performed by troupe members, ballroom instructor Tim Saunders will show couples how to trip the light fantastic Argentine-style (www.greensboroballet.org). Later in the month, on March 21 and 22 at 2 p.m. matinee performances, Snow White will take the stage in a comical rendition by Greensboro Ballet at the Carolina Theatre. Miss White will be joined by Fredrick Davis of the Dance Theatre of Harlem playing the Prince. Preceding what’s being billed as a family-friendly performance, the cast will be available for photo opportunities in the lobby (www. carolinatheatre.com).

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs top left John Gessner

Tea and Thee


Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40

I know. I know. On Ghassan’s 40th birthday, I’m supposed to rave about their gyros, kabobs, souvlaki or falafels. And the fresh hummus that May Fleihan makes daily is truly awesome. But trust Uncle Ogi: You gotta try their streak and cheese sub. Sometimes my wife and I have a craving so intense that we will make the 20-minute trek to either Battleground or Cornwallis just to satisfy it. The sub’s been on the menu since 1975, when Lebanese immigrants May and Khaled Fleihan and Khaled’s brother Ghassan opened for business. Surely you remember their funky old Pancake House location on High Point Road? Since then, they’ve moved and expanded, and, five years ago, launched a catering division run by Khaled and May’s daughter, Lina Urmos. But back to my favorite sandwich — grilled steak heaped on top of a toasted sub roll, amped up with provolone cheese, sauteed onions and a special dressing that takes it over the top. Nevermind that my wife orders the steak topped with mushrooms. Ogi sez try the steak and cheese, please. Info: www.ghassans.com — Ogi Overman

Photographs, top to bottom, by Mark Urmos, Chuck King, Piedmont Opera

Old Times Here Are Not Forgotten

It’s been 150 years since Union and Confederate troops laid down their arms after commanders in Greensboro decided it was all over. So it’s fitting that the city should be the scene of several commemorations, including a performance by Bobby Horton, the singer and songwriter who produced and performed music scores for Ken Burns’ PBS Civil War series. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Horton became obsessed with the songs of the Civil War in the 1980s while producing a score for a feature film. Dressed as a 19th century performer, the multi-instrumentalist, composer and music historian will explore the stories of both the North and South on Thursday, March 26, at 8 p.m. in the Revolution Mills Machine Shop (www.triadacousticstage.com). On March 28 and 29, the Greensboro Public Library is hosting panel discussions and programs on the war, its aftermath and its impact, to be followed by a guided tour of the Greensboro Historical Museum’s John and Isabelle Murphy Confederate Firearms Collection (greensborohistory.org).

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem

A prince on a quest, a princess in captivity, an evil queen, a menacing serpent, a lovelorn bird catcher . . . However bizarre, the elements of Mozart’s The Magic Flute never fail to hold audiences in its thrall. Yes, fairy tales are irresistible, and much has been made of the opera’s allusions to freemasonry, but the real pull in this flight of fancy is the depth of expression of love, and how far we as humans will go to attain and keep it, not to mention the ethereal musicmaking. Thanks to Piedmont Opera in Winston-Salem, you can step into this land of enchantment (March 13–17) with the sweet sounds of a flute to guide you. Tickets: piedmontopera.org.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman March Madness means more than hoops, my minions — there’s a mosaic of multitudinous music. Here’s my Final Four. OK, five. • March 12, O.Henry Hotel: The newest Thursday night happening in town continues in the O.Henry’s Algonquin-esque lobby. Called Cocktails and Jazz with Neill Clegg and Dave Fox, the featured vocalists for the 12th is Chris Murrell, whose main gig is with, um, the Count Basie Orchestra. • March 15, Cone Denim Entertainment Center: No need to beware the Ides of March when there’s a chance to see none other than the coolest crooner this side of Como, the classy Engelbert Humperdinck. I know, I couldn’t believe it, either. • March 17, Greensboro Coliseum: The ACC women and men will reign supreme the first two weeks, before relinquishing the crown to the true kings and queens of rock ’n’ roll, Fleetwood Mac. In this case, “once in a lifetime” is not hype or hyperbole. • March 19, Carolina Theatre: Hold on to your sombreros, amigos, because Los Lonely Boys are set to blaze into the ’borough. The Chicano power trio from San Angelo, Texas, might take the roof off the Carolina. • March 20, Blind Tiger: When is a concert not a concert? When it includes fire-spinning, burlesque, silk aerials, bellydance, trapeze, tap dance and more. It’s a Spring Equinox celebration of Andrew Eversole’s provocative new CD, Cumberland Ghost, and it’s out of this world. OO March 2015

O.Henry 13


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14 O.Henry

March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Doodad

A King Among Writers

A Step in the

Right Direction

Jim Schlosser finally takes a seat

By Maria Johnson

J

im Schlosser will hate this. He’ll hate the headline. He’ll hate being singled out and celebrated. He’ll say that he was only doing his job, first as a reporter for the News & Record for forty-one years, then in semi-retirement as a weekly columnist for two years, and most recently as the resident expert on Greensboro history for this magazine. He’ll say he was lucky to be at the table when Jim Dodson floated the idea of creating O.Henry a little more than three years ago. He’ll absorb your jokes about retiring again — at age 71 — and how it looks like every time he wants a party, he retires. He’ll fold his arms over his blue blazer and look down at his loafers and shake his head and look up with a slightly embarrassed smile. He’ll say he’s tired of deadlines. Finally. Then he’ll shift the conversation. He’ll call on his flypaper memory and talk about some delicious piece of Greensboro’s past, like Andrew Leopold Schlosser, his great-grandfather whose stone masonry made him famous around here in the 1920s and ’30s. A.L. Schlosser, a German who emigrated from what’s now Slovakia, was known for the distinctive grapevine mortar that he sandwiched between rocks. You can see it in the King’s Chair, a stone throne that A.L.’s grandson Norman Schlosser recently donated to the city of Greensboro. The city put the chair in Fisher Park’s west side, on the north lip of Fisher Park Circle. Last month, at its annual meeting, Preservation Greensboro Inc. cited the family, the city, the neighborhood and architect Carl Myatt, all of whom worked together to relocate the weighty chair, calling it a “whimsical piece designed by one of Greensboro’s earliest artists... surrounded by homes and bridges also by his hand.” Indeed, If you stand in front of the chair and look up the hill, you’ll see one of the houses that A.L. built. Down the path is one of his stone bridges. A.L. himself lived around the corner on North Eugene Street. If you tell Jim that you’re doing a story on A.L.’s chair, Jim will sit in the chair — and show you where A.L. pressed his initials into the mortar on the right side — and let you take his picture. But don’t make it about him, he’d say. Too bad. He’ll never know how much you hate to see him go. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

From left to right: Rob Mitchell Senior Vice President/Investments Portfolio Manager – Solutions Program Gregory E. Gonzales Senior Vice President/Investments Jacqueline T. Wieland First Vice President/Investments Paul A. Vidovich, AAMS® Branch Manager First Vice President/Investments Phillip H. Joyce Vice President/Investments

(336) 478-3700 | (844) 233-8608 629 Green Valley Road, Suite 211 | Greensboro, North Carolina 27408 Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated | Member SIPC & NYSE | www.stifel.com

March 2015

O.Henry 15


A Winning LegAcy Charles Decatur Cunningham Jr. loved golf. Decatur began playing golf when he was 5 and played on the UNC golf team. He was a Greensboro Country Club champion. He won many Carolina Yarn Association golf tournaments. And he played golf until just weeks before he died Jan. 12 at the age of 88. Decatur also loved Greensboro College.

To contribute, send your check payable to Greensboro College, with “Cunningham Endowment” in the memo line, to: Greensboro College Office of Institutional Advancement 815 W. Market St. Greensboro, NC 27401 If you would like more information, please contact: Michelle Davis, VP/Chief Advancement Officer 336-272-7102, ext. 5332 michelle.davis@greensboro.edu

www.greensboro.edu

He grew up just a hard 5-iron shot away from the campus. His grandmother, sister, aunt, and numerous other relatives attended there. He served on the college’s Board of Visitors from 1995 to 2009, and he was honorary chairman of the college’s 16th Annual Jim Locke Memorial Golf Tournament in 2005. Now, Decatur’s friends and family seek to honor his memory with a permanent endowment that encompasses those two great loves: the Charles Decatur Cunningham Jr. Golf Program Endowment at Greensboro College. Proceeds from the endowment will support the ongoing needs and activities of the college’s golf program. That program has shone not only on the course, with national titles for the men’s team in 2000 and 2011, but also academically, with an academic national championship in 2013 and 15 All-America Scholars since 1965. Through this opportunity to contribute, you can help keep the program strong on and off the field while honoring a man who loved his sport and his community.


O.Harry

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TheCH_CHMG Art & Soul of Greensboro HeartCare_O'Henry_9x5.25.indd

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MEDICAL GROUP March 2015

O.Henry 17 1/14/15 5:36 PM


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March 2015

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life’s Funny

The Lady is a Tramp Fan A few minutes with high-flying Stewart Pritchard

By Maria Johnson

Not many people

know this, but I started my journalism career as a sports columnist. OK, I was writing for my high school newspaper. But I did get a rare interview with the star of our state champion basketball team, and I think it’s totally irrelevant that he talked to me because his P.E. teacher made him.

The point is, I have sports chops. That’s why I was eager to interview a rising gymnastics star from Greensboro, 18-year-old Stewart Pritchard. Last year, Stewart was the national champion in the double mini-trampoline event, and he was a silver medalist in his age group at the Trampoline & Tumbling World Championships. For the uninitiated, the double mini-trampoline looks like a giant, broken, poolside chaise. One part is level, one part slants down. In gymnastics terms, here’s how Stewart competes: He runs like hell down a long runway, hits the slanted part of the mini-tramp, does flippy things in the air, hits the flat part of the mini-tramp, does more flippy things in the air, and lands on a big soft pad. Stewart also competes in the regular trampoline event. He catches about thirty feet of air in those routines. No joke. When I went to see him at a recent meet, he almost hit the lights in the Special Events Center at the Greensboro Coliseum. You’ll get to see these high-flying feats for yourself when Stewart goes for national titles again at USA Gymnastics Championships, June 24–28 at the Greensboro Coliseum. He’ll compete in both the double mini-tramp and the regular trampoline events. His goal is to qualify for the world championships again this year. Beyond that, he hopes to compete in trampoline at the 2016 Olympics. He’s also shooting for the 2017 World Games in double mini-tramp, which is not an Olympic event. “I have a long way to go,” says Stewart. “But I’m working hard on it.” Stewart reminds me of another hometown sports star, pro tennis player John Isner. Both are humble yet smoldering with competitive intensity, and both are funny and smart. Stewart graduated from the Early Middle College at GTCC. He’s now a freshman at High Point University, where he studies exercise science and biomechanics. Another similarity: Stewart and Isner come from families of all boys, Stewart being one of five brothers, Isner being one of three. Like Isner, Stewart followed an older brother into the sport, but unlike Isner, Stewart started his sport at age 2. Stewart made the competitive team at Tumblebees Ultimate Gym when he was 5. Since age 9, he has been working with Tumblebees coach Scott Lineberry, a former diver who knows a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

thing or two about flips. After a recent meet, Stewart took a few minutes to answer some tough questions. Me: What’s your best mini-tramp skill? Stewart: My favorite skill is called a full in, Randi out. It’s a double flip. My body is completely straight. I do a full twist in the first flip. It’s a complete 360. Then I do a two-and-ahalf twist in the second one, so that’s what? A 1080? M. (as if I know): Right. Do you ever imagine using your trampoline skills in everyday life? Like to dunk a basketball, or vault ahead in line, or rescue kittens stuck in trees? S.: Oh, definitely. I could jump to the top of a roof, do some construction work, maybe work as a fireman, jump up to the third floor. M.: You could make a lot of money hanging lighted Christmas balls in Sunset Hills. S.: There you go. M.: Do your routines scare the crap out of your parents? S.: Oh, yeah. My mom doesn’t watch. She always videos like this [Stewart mimics with one hand over his eyes, one hand holding imaginary phone]. She’s great though. She’s always supportive, even when I fall, and when I land, she’s my biggest fan. M.: How much do your friends at school know about your sport? S.: Most people know what I do, but when I go to school, I kinda keep it chill. Whenever I tell people about the trampoline, they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh! I had a trampoline in my backyard!’ and I’m like, ‘That’s awesome, but I kinda do a little more.’ Actually, my ethics teacher the other day was like, ‘One day, we’re just going to have a class where you come up here and flip.’ And I’m like, ‘Ummmm, OK.’ But then she was like, ‘Well, that might be unethical because I would be using you as a means to no end, so maybe we won’t do that.’ M.: Sometimes academics think too much. You just reminded me of something. I used to know a guy who jumped over cars as a party trick. Do you think you could do that? S.: With a mini-tramp, definitely. M.: How about without one? S.: Yeah, maybe a small car, like a Fiat. M.: Don’t tell your mother I said that. S.: Yeah, I know. M.: So at your high school, did you get any senior superlatives like Most Likely To Hit Your Head On The Ceiling? S.: I think I got Most Likely To Go To Harvard or something like that. I was dual valedictorian with my twin brother, Neil. M.: In trampoline, is there an age group for 53-year-old women? S.: You know, there is an open group. It’s 18 and above. And the guy who won the 2000 Olympics, he was like 33. M.: Yeah. That’s pretty old. OH Contact intrepid sports reporter Maria Johnson at maria@ohenrymag.com. March 2015

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The Omnivorous Reader

Last Tango in West Appleton Darkly comic, The Last Days of Video takes us deeply into the minds — and souls — of true film junkies

By Brian L ampkin

Technological ad-

vancement always leaves the crumbled remains of a culture it has decimated. “The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded,” Flaubert wrote, and surely he was presciently thinking of the death of the VHS video when he penned it. Writer Jeremy Hawkins lived through the demise of the video store — he spent ten years working at the much-loved VisArt Video in Carrboro — and survived to write the comic novel The Last Days of Video (Soft Skull Press, 2015, $15.95). Hawkins, like most video/bookstore/record clerks, is insanely knowledgeable about his chosen line of work. One of the great pleasures of the novel is the vast display of film arcana; the reader can enjoy the use of both popular and obscure film references with confidence in the writer’s command of his subject. When the characters in Last Days carry on about the relative worth of director John Cassavetes (“Pierce thinks Cassavetes is overrated. Not visually stimulating.”), or Night of the Living Dead (“That’s Romero’s first zombie movie. Dawn of the Dead is better.”), you know that their opinions, no matter how obnoxious, are well-earned. There is of course a cliché at work here: The too smart, too hip, too drunk social outcasts who populate cafes and cultural outlets like video stores are The Art & Soul of Greensboro

common comic fodder. Hawkins knows he’s working over well-worn ground, and he walks the fields with nods of respect for the genre. Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity is the most apparent reference, and Hawkins is up-front (an early chapter is called “Why Fidelity”) about the sampling. Every chapter is a clever reworking of a movie title, and sometimes the chapters splice the storylines and motifs from the movie into the narrative of the book. When that happens effectively, like in the chapter called “The Discreet Charm of Clarissa Wheat,” the novel deepens. More often, the chapters are simply clever and fun (“Y Tu Tabitha Tambien”) or sometimes uninspired (“Jeff and Waring’s Excellent Adventure”). But fun is not to be underrated! The Last Days of Video is never less than a joy to read, probably because Hawkins’ outsized love for movies infects every page. Could I list for you every film or actor mentioned in the novel? No, I would overwhelm my limited word count before I got through the third chapter. Let me just say that this is the only novel I know in which being called “Ed Begley Jr.” works as a withering insult. Still, Hawkins’ characters are full of life or, if you will, anti-life. We’re tempted to think of them as locked in the false reality of their film world, but really they are locked in the false reality of Hawkins’ fictional world. Novels are no more “real” than films, and it’s a subtle trick that Hawkins plays on us by playing off the unreal film world against the perceived real world of West Appleton, North Carolina — a fictionalized Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Waring Wax, the owner of Star Video in downtown West Appleton, is a misanthropic know-it-all who lacks a single social grace. He’s Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, except he adheres to classic film instead of classical philosophy. Waring makes pronouncements about film, but at least the films he hates are still loved for the fact that they are films. People he just hates, though there is something like happiness in Waring’s dressing down March 2015

O.Henry 21


Reader

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22 O.Henry

March 2015

of an entitled, pompous customer. “‘People like you amaze me . . . I’ve seen you skishing around on your bicycle, with all your bicycle buddies. Bragging at the Open Eye about your workouts, your four-by-four hundreds, your ten-by-ten millions, or whatever, in your tight sweaty shorts. . . . And thank you for this opportunity, because it’s been a while, but I think it’s time for our ‘firing a customer’ dance.” Another lost customer. But the book is really about Alaura Eden, the longtime Star Video manager and the reason the store has survived into the 21st century. Alaura is the center of the city — the person whose spirit and nature seem to personify the youthful hope for a college town’s everyday life. Everyone loves Alaura, even Waring in his own way. It’s only Alaura who is not satisfied with Alaura. She’s a seeker, always looking for a religious experience that will reveal a way to true happiness. Eventually she winds up in the cultish, money-obsessed “Reality Center” and must be saved by her low-rent, embarrassing video store family of choice. But these are the last days of video, so the end is preordained. Hawkins cares enough for his characters to help us see them through the dark room and back into the light. And like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, this is the story of how outsiders make an intentional community care about what the straight world might think of them. Other issues arise — gentrification, the perils of fame, the precipice of the creative mind — but they are handled lightly. Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue is a novel about a dying record store in Oakland, California, which expands the story into serious concerns of our times. Hawkins is more content with containing the story in its comic narrative of the lives of a few video store clerks. Jeremy Hawkins has moved on from video clerkdom and now works at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. I hope his co-workers understand that he is listening in, taking notes, preparing a new novel on another institution facing extinction, though he tells me he’s working on a novel about our drowning education system. Hawkins has an M.F.A. from UNC Wilmington, where he studied with Clyde Edgerton, whom Hawkins credits with being “singlehandedly responsible for anything good in this novel.” The book launch party for The Last Days of Video will be held on March 10 at Flyleaf Books, but look for Hawkins at bookstores across North Carolina as he tours the state throughout the spring. OH Brian Lampkin is an owner of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Scuppernong Bookshelf

March Books How Caesar met his end and good advice for friends

Beware, my friends, the Ides of

March. Dictators and autocrats across the globe fear March 15 with an irrational distrust of everyone within stabbing distance. For most of us run-of-the-mill citizens, the day merely passes us by with a barely recognizable longing for dramatic change at the top, or perhaps a metaphorical sideways glance at our best friends and their true intentions toward us. We think of it as the one day a year for an examination of trust with a healthy skeptical eye. The best book on the untimely end of Julius Caesar himself? Let’s make a case for Michael Parenti’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome (New Press, 2004, $17.95). Parenti reexamines the myths of Roman society and comes down heavily on the side of the people against the excesses of the wealthy and powerful, while also offering a detailed and entertaining account of Caesar’s death. Backstabbers unite! Ironic, isn’t it, that your unbearable backstabbing pain is best relieved by more backstabbing. Peter Mole’s Acupuncture for Body, Mind & Spirit (Singing Dragon, 2014, $18.95) is an excellent overview of the theory and practice of acupuncture. Mole is the dean of the College of Integrated Medicine in England, and this

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

book will go a long way toward convincing you to give the needle a try. Now if only your backstabbing friend could be treated so simply with a taste of his own medicine. Cheryl Strayed might be able to help with an unkind friend. She is a multifaceted writer who has published a novel, Torch; a memoir, Wild; and most recently a book that evades classification, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (Vintage, 2013, $15.95). Strayed, who inherited the online advice column that was published by the literary website The Rumpus, says with confidence that she was, “totally unqualified for this gig.” Yet she delivers the most gut-wrenching and beautiful responses to people whose letters can range from a sentence to pages of deep description on how their lives have run off the rails. There’s plenty of backstabbing, sorrow, loneliness, insecurity and doubt riddling the letters to Sugar, and often Sugar writes back with some amount of the same. That’s the thing . . . Sugar isn’t there to just tell people how to be better or make things better. She tells her readers about how she has also lived through the same types of things, a taboo among advice columnists. Dear Sugar will both make you cry and give you faith that we’ll all be OK again on the other side of whatever it is we are facing. Sarah Waters has a new novel: The Paying Guests (Riverhead Books, 2014, $28.95) and it’s filled with “shifting loyalties,” but we really know that means lots of backstabbing. In an earlier novel (that we recommend if you haven’t read it), Fingersmith (Riverhead Books, 2002, $16), not a single scene is brightly lit. Every part of the book takes place in the nether regions of 19th Century England, from the muddy, dank streets of London to a gloomy and damp estate in the March 2015

O.Henry 25


Bookshelf

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26 O.Henry

March 2015

countryside and an ancient, terrifying sanitarium. Everything is dim, a little dirty, and not to be trusted. Fingersmith concerns the plot of a “family” of swindlers intent on separating a young heiress from her money. It’s a complicated plan, a “long-con,” in which neither they, nor we as readers, can ever know if a person is who he seems. The overwhelming sense is one of wilting suffocation with only the faintest glimmers of hope in the gloom. At its heart, it’s the story of two young women struggling to overcome the pasts they’ve inherited and, perhaps, falling in love with each other in the meantime. Or, maybe not. We don’t mean to single out England for excessive skullduggery, but Peter Ackroyd’s latest novel, Three Brothers (Nan A. Talese, 2014, $26.95), dips us into the grittiness that is early-1960s London. Memories of wartime devastation compete with new freedoms in the pre-dawn of the Age of Aquarius. Ghosts of a more ancient London reach into the lives of three vastly different brothers whose stories lurch and weave through this novel. Ackroyd takes readers inside the crackling hustle of Fleet Street journalism and into the sordid backbiting schemes of London’s slumlords. It’s not the gleaming London of 2015, but another dig below the modern city’s surface by master author-archeologist Peter Ackroyd. Of course not every perception of backstabbing is based in reality. Paranoia is the conjoined twin of backstabbing, which is a terrible image of unending retribution. Our great American paranoid, Richard Nixon, is exposed in John Dean’s The Nixon Defense (Viking, 2014, $35). Dean’s Nixon was consistently sure everyone was out to get him, and Nixon’s enemies list was long and odd and eventually old friend John Dean was at the top of the list. Surely, Nixon must have uttered the words, “Et tu, John,” though the Nixon tapes reveal a rhyming and much more profane epitaph was probably used. And finally, if this is your first foray into the world of backbiting and double-crossing, it might behoove you to take a look at Michael Soussan’s memoir Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy (Nation Books, 2010, $16.99). Occupying an odd bit of shelf space somewhere between political coming-of-age memoir and guerilla-style takedown of an idealized institution, this account of one man’s experiences working with the U.N.’s Oil-For-Food program in the late 1990s will sell you down the river faster than you can say “kickbacks and subsidies.” There you have it, O.Henry readers. Walk carefully through the month with an eye out for what’s coming up behind you, and breathe a sigh of relief when the clock strikes midnight on the morning of March 16. OH Scuppernong Books Staff: Steve Mitchell, Brian Etling, Kira Larson, Brian Lampkin and Dave White. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 27


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28 O.Henry

March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Evolving Species

The Couple Next Door Vows that finally felt like coming home

By Cynthia Adams

We live on a street in

an old neighborhood and face a leafy park. Our neighbors, like us, tend to stay put. Like us, they like the view, the pleasantly quirky old houses, the old-growth trees that line the street.

This is what our neighborhood is like: We are a mix of working folks and retirees; not rich, not poor. Demographically we are middle class people who still subscribe to newspapers, mow our own lawns, keep the lights on at Halloween for trick-ortreaters, and deck the halls come the holidays. Some of us are demographically DINKS: double income, no kids. We wash our cars, mulch our roses, and thanks to those enormous trees, clean the gutters. There are no junk cars rotting in the drives, but it is true that my husband’s pickup was too old to qualify for the Cash for Clunker’s program, so we keep it running. On garbage day, most of us obediently fill our recycling cans; we pay our taxes, walk our dogs, and watch one another’s houses. We celebrate anniversaries at local restaurants and buy Hallmark cards. We are, almost always, a boring and predictable street. Lights blink off, house by house, before midnight. Come daylight, houses come to life and folks head to their jobs. Children grow up and move on; change finds us, but judging by the facades of our lives, not too often. Except, change did come. On October 11, a federal judge struck down North Carolina’s ban of same sex marriages. The Guilford County Register of Deeds’ office, which normally closes at 5 p.m., reopened at 5:30 after the ruling was announced and stayed open until 8 p.m. in order to oblige the couples waiting to marry. Two of our neighbors, Jim and Will, were among those waiting. They stood before a woman at the register of deeds’ office and said their vows. Will had a cancer scare last year; he was not going to wait. We learned about this by text while out of town. Their text was brief. It said the ban was overturned. Jim and Will, who had shared the neatly kept brick home down the street for years, were finally married! They drove to celebrate with family members in West Virginia a few weeks later. Two weeks later, former neighbors, Sam and Mickey, sent a message saying they had something important to tell us. When Sam called, his voice was serious. Were we free to come to Tanger Park on the following Wednesday afternoon? After thirty-two years to the day of their first meeting, they were getting married. We stood in the park as a gray-haired female minister from Charlotte beamed at the twenty-five of us gathered. Sam and Mickey stood with boutonnieres

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

on their suit lapels and nervous smiles as their dog happily stood by watching. “You will always remember their anniversary,” she said. “No one will forget.” This was true; we wouldn’t dare. We wiped our eyes and some of us held hands as vows were exchanged as a leaf blower whined at the edge of the park. Afterward, we went to their home for wedding cake and champagne. The newlyweds, like dozens of others I’ve known, cut the white wedding cake and posed for pictures. After a lifetime of going to other people’s weddings and buying untold wedding gifts, it was finally their day. “It’s good cake, isn’t it?” Mickey predictably asked, his hand trembling slightly as he cut generous wedges. It was, truly, an excellent cake, we all agreed. We toasted, smiled, joked and dabbed again at tears. “I didn’t know it would matter so much,” Sam said frankly. “But when I heard that we could legally marry, after all these years, I couldn’t stop crying.” Sam is the kind of guy who is a prankster, seldom serious, and no one could ever recall seeing him cry. Mickey is the shy one, reserved and quiet. But they both were effusive, eyes tear-filled, giddy with laughter. Since we first met them when they moved next door years ago, their hair had grown gray. So had ours. Sam’s son had grown up and moved out. He was there with his girlfriend, grinning and helping top up empty glasses as we celebrated the couple. Our friends — old loves. The couple had ordered white napkins with their names, “Sam and Mickey,” joined in swirling black script, the ubiquitous napkins that appear at every marriage reception. This time, I kept mine pristine. “It’s affirmation,” Sam said seriously, refilling glasses. “That’s what this is.” Of course, there were the same old tired jokes about the constraints of married life from the straight couples. “It’s finally time you suffered along with the rest of us,” someone quipped. But someone else said simply, “Isn’t it odd that people worry about anyone loving someone, when there is so much trouble with hate in this world?” I put the white napkin with the marriage announcement that had arrived earlier from Will and Jim. “Keepsakes—historic keepsakes,” I told my husband, as I tucked them into a drawer. They are more than mementos. They are as good a proof of love, actually, as I can ever keep. OH O.Henry contributing editor Cynthia Adams got married in the basement of the Blandwood carriage house while attending someone else’s wedding. But that is another story. March 2015

O.Henry 29


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Gate City Journal

Driving Through the Civil War You may be surprised how many crucial events from our nation’s greatest ordeal took place in Greensboro. Grab your car keys and come join the tour

By C. Michael Briggs

Beginning this April and con-

tinuing into May, the nation will mark the 150th anniversary of a number of important events associated with the close of the Civil War, including the fateful meeting between Generals Lee and Grant, which set forth the peace terms under which our divided nation began to reunite. You may be surprised to find out how many crucial events took place right here in Greensboro or in Guilford County. For the past decade, I have been doing research on my book, due out in April, that focuses on the city’s and the county’s role in the war, Guilford Under the Stars and Bars. I’ve put together a driving tour of some of the area’s key Civil War sites. Please note that many of these sites are on private property. Taking photos is fine. Trespassing is stepping over the line.

1. Confederate Statue at Green Hill Cemetery: (The entrance to Green Hill Cemetery is located north of downtown off Battleground on the 700 block of Wharton Street.) The bronze Confederate Statue in section 12 of Greensboro’s oldest cemetery looks out over the grave of 300 Unknown Confederate Soldiers. After being wounded in the battles of Averasboro and Bentonville, they were brought here by train and died in local homes and some in a hospital where the Greensboro Historical Museum is now located. The statue was erected in 1888 by the Ladies Memorial Association of Greensboro to honor the fallen. A forerunner of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the organization still holds annual Confederate Memorial Day services in Green Hill on May 10th. The statue has been extensively restored — twice following vandalism and once due to storm damage. From Green Hill Cemetery, turn right on Wharton Street, take the first right on West Fisher Avenue, then slight left onto North Spring Street, then follow to the YMCA on West Market Street. 2. Guilford Grays Flag Ceremony: Park at the YMCA on 501 West Market Street and find the historical sign on Edgeworth Street that marks the former site of the Edgeworth Female Seminary. Near this spot on May The Art & Soul of Greensboro

5th, 1860, the newly crowned May Queen of Edgeworth Female Seminary presented a handmade silk flag to the Guilford Grays, the first company of soldiers formed in Guilford County. Earlier, on March 15, students from the Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College) presented the officers of the Grays with dress swords. The roster of the Guilford Grays was made up of a Who’s Who of early Greensboro and included the Gorrell, Forbis, Lineberry and Weatherly families. After Appomattox, only a dozen survived from the original muster of 180. Turning left on Spring Street, drive one block and take a left on Washington Street. Drive three blocks to South Elm Street and park near Hamburger Square. 3. Confederate Cabinet Meetings and Monuments: Find the Jefferson Davis historical marker at the corner of Elm Street and McGee. You’re standing on ground where several crucial Civil War events took place. • On April 11, 1865, a train arrived in Greensboro carrying Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. Also traveling with Davis was his nephew, John Taylor Wood. Earlier, Wood’s family had sought refuge in Greensboro. President Davis spent the nights of April 11th and 12th at Wood’s apartment. It once stood where there’s now a parking lot, one block north next to Cheesecakes by Alex. On April 12th, President Davis summoned his cabinet and Generals Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard to the apartment. Apprised of the surrender of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, they discussed the fate of the remaining Confederate armies in the field. On the 12th, after the owner of the building threatened to evict the entire Wood family if Davis remained, Davis moved into the leaky boxcar where the rest of the cabinet was staying. • Find the nearby Tarpley-Garrett historical marker located in a small green space between East McGee and South Davie streets. In 1860, Guilford County was home to more gunsmiths than any other county in the March 2015

O.Henry 31


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Gate City Journal South. Over eighty men worked as longrifle makers in the county between 1760 and 1860. When the Civil War started, these men formed seven companies that made military arms for North Carolina and the Confederacy. Two Greensboro men would receive patents during the war from the Confederate government for breech-loading carbines. One of them, Jere Tarpley, formed a business with local entrepreneurs J. & F. Garrett. This firm would build and sell 420 breechloading Tarpley .52-caliber carbines in 1863 and 1864. • Walk under the railroad underpass and check out the two monuments and the Confederate cabinet historical marker. Look at the four-sided monument first. Though rarely visited, this marks the spot of one of the most fateful events of the Civil War. Near this location on April 13th, 1865, President Davis, his cabinet and Generals Johnston and Beauregard met for a second time. After a heated discussion ending in a voice vote of five-to-two, the cabinet voted to seek to end the Civil War. A letter was then written to General Sherman to start this process. • To the right of the four-sided monument stands the only memorial to the 2,247 Guilford County men who answered North Carolina’s call for troops and enlisted in the Confederate army. Of these, 598 died during the war. • Turning east and crossing Davie facing the railyard, you are looking out over what was once the war-time site of the home of Ralph Gorrell; this was the location of the final council of war

for the Army of Tennessee. On April 25, 1865, General Joseph Johnston gathered the generals of the Army of Tennessee under the elm trees in Gorrell’s yard to discuss the conflicting telegrams he had received from General Sherman and President Davis. The generals all agreed that the army would no longer fight. General Johnston would surrender the Army of Tennessee to General Sherman the next day at the Bennett house near Durham. In the distance you will see an orange building to the left of the railroad tracks. This was where the Tarpley-Garrett gun factory once stood. Returning to your car, turn left on Davie Street, drive one block, turn right on Washington Street, stop in front of the railroad depot, where you’ll see the historical marker for the Piedmont Railroad, which was created during the Civil War. Turning left on South Church Street, drive to Lindsay Street and park at the Greensboro Historical Museum. 3. Greensboro Historical Museum: Closed on Mondays, the Museum opens at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. There on the third floor, you will find the Murphy Confederate firearms exhibit, the largest display of Confederate-made weapons in the world. California psychiatrist Dr. John M. Murphy was an avid collector of Confederate manufactured weapons for over forty years. He donated 165 of his prized possessions to the Greensboro Historical Museum. Many rare locally made weapons are included in this display. And don’t miss the “Voices of Greensboro” exhibit on the second floor. Also check out the historical marker in front of the museum concerning the location of a Confederate hospital in the old First Presbyterian Church at this location. Many of Greensboro’s Civil War dead are buried in Green Hill and the cemetery behind the Museum, which is open to the public.

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Gate City Journal When you leave the museum, turn right on Summit Avenue and drive nine miles to Bryan Park Road, turning left. Drive 0.4 mile to the historical marker. 4. Cavalry Skirmish at Reedy Fork Trestle: Here in April of 1865 Confederate troops met the Pennsylvania Cavalry, who destroyed the trestle — unaware that a train carrying Jefferson Davis and cabinet members to Greensboro had crossed only one hour earlier. When you leave Bryan Park, turn left on Summit Avenue, drive 0.6 mile, turn on U.S. Highway 29 South, drive 6.8 miles, take West Wendover exit, drive 2.3 miles, take the Westover Terrace exit, turn left, drive one block and park in the International House of Pancakes’ parking lot. 5. Camp Stokes: Across Pembroke Road is the Camp Stokes historical marker. Camp Stokes was first a camp for instructing Confederate conscripts and later a prison for deserters. When the war ended, 200 Union prisoners were held here. Ten acres in size, the center of the camp was near the current location of the Coldwell Banker building on Westover Terrace. Turn left on Westover Terrace, drive one block and get on Wendover Avenue West, then turn right on Benjamin Parkway/Bryan Boulevard. Drive 10 miles, merging with N.C. Highway 68 south. Drive 0.2 mile, turn right on West Market Street. Drive 2.3 miles to intersection with Sandy Ridge Road, (Ridgeville). Turn around and drive east on Market Street. You are now following the route of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Turn right on Thatcher Road, drive 0.5 mile and turn left on Triad Center Drive. 6. Cavalry Skirmish between 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and 3rd South Carolina Cavalry: You are now in the area where the 3rd South Carolina Cavalry was camped. On the morning of April 11, 1865, a detachment of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry under the command of Lt. Col. Charles Betts was riding east on West Market Street when they discovered a servant of Lt. Col. Johnson, commander of the 3rd S.C. Cavalry. The servant was on his way to mail a letter. After he was forced to tell Col. Betts where his master and his men were camped, the 15th Pennsylvania attacked the camp site and captured Lt. Col. Johnson and approximately sixty of his men after a brief fight. This skirmish took place near the current location of Embassy Suites. Lt. Col. Charles Betts would later be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in this engagement. Turn right on N.C. Highway 68, drive 0.1 mile, get on I-40 East, drive 4.3 miles to Exit 214 B, Wendover Avenue East. Turn right at the light, drive 1.4 miles, turn right on Norwalk Street, drive 0.2 mile, turn left on Hewitt Street, go one block, turn right on West Barton Street and drive to dead end. The modern day trestle over South Buffalo creek is 50 yards to the south. 7. South Buffalo Creek Trestle: After the fight with the Third S.C. Cavalry, Lt. Col. Betts dispatched Sergeant Selden Wilson and ten men to burn the railroad trestle over South Buffalo creek. They were successful in this effort and returned to the command without any shots fired. Drive back to Wendover and turn left. Drive 2.9 miles and take the Guilford College Road exit. Turn right at the stop sign. Drive 2.9 miles, turn right on Guilford Road, drive 0.1 mile, and the historical marker will be on your right. If you want to see the site, turn around and drive back to Guilford College Road, turn left and drive 0.2 mile, turning left on Cedarwood Drive. Go 100 yards, turn right on Violet Lane, drive 100

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Gate City Journal yards, turn left on Tangle Drive, drive 0.3 mile, turning left on Nutwood Drive. Stop at the intersection with Nutwood Circle. 8. H.C. Lamb Gun Factory Marker and Site: H.C Lamb & Co. gun factory manufactured as many as 700 rifles nearby for the state of North Carolina. Some remains are located behind the houses at 302–304 Nutwood Circle. The remnants of the mill race for the water-powered barrel mill built by William Lamb in 1844 is still visible on the west bank of Deep River. I have spoken to the owners of these two houses and they know the importance of this location. You are welcome to knock on their door and request permission to walk to the river bank to take photographs. Please leave only footprints and take nothing other than pictures. Drive back to Guilford College Road, turn right, drive 0.2 mile, turn right on Guilford Road, drive 0.5 mile, turn right on East Fork Road. Drive about 1 mile, where the historical marker is located at the intersection of Penny Road.

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9. The North Carolina Armory at Florence: What was once called the Florence Armory opened in the fall of 1861. Their first mission was to take “country longrifles” and alter them for military use. Later in the war, they purchased parts from the other local manufacturers and assembled them into rifles. In April of 1865, the Pennsylvania Cavalry destroyed the armory, which had at that time an inventory of 800 completed guns and 2,500 partially assembled. A white cinder block private residence stands on the site of the former Armory. Drive North on Oakwood Road and after you cross the railroad tracks, you’ll arrive at the wartime location of the Railroad Depot that was burned by the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Turn left on U.S. Highway 29/70, drive 0.4 mile, turning left on Wade Street. Drive to SMI Services Inc. Behind this building is the current railroad trestle over Deep River. 10. The Raid of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry on Jamestown: Although there is no historic sign marking the site, this is the location of the Howe truss bridge that was burned on April 11, 1865. The 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Gate City Journal also burned the Mendenhall and McRae Woolen Mill located on the south bank of the dam at High Point City Lake. There’s controversy over whether the 15th Pennsylvania Calvary’s actions and Stoneman’s Raid shortened the war. It did help “Drive Old Dixie Down” and had a devastating local effect. Three railroad trestles in Guilford County were burned. The depot in Jamestown was set ablaze. The Woolen mill and the Florence Armory where fifty local men worked were destroyed. And all of this happened two days after Lee had surrendered to Grant. 12. Final Camp of the Corps of A.P. Stewart and S. D. Lee: When General Johnson ordered the Army of Tennessee into motion on April 25, 1865, the Corps of A.P. Stewart and S.D. Lee left their camp sites east of Greensboro and marched through the city with bands playing and flags waving. When they stopped, the head of the column was located at Five Points in High Point and the rear of the column was located miles away near the intersection of High Point Road and Merritt Drive in Greensboro. Along this twelve-mile stretch where they camped, many relics have been found. The two Corps would stay at this location until they stacked their arms and furled their flags for a final time. Each Confederate soldier also received a parole, stating that he could go home and live in peace. If he later signed an oath of allegiance to the United States, he would have his rights as a citizen restored, meaning he could also vote. Each man received a silver dollar for pay on May 3rd. The Third Corps of the Army under General Joseph Hardee would march from the Red Cross/New Salem Church area in Randolph County to the area around Archdale/Trinity, where they stacked their arms and received the paroles. OH A native of Greensboro and author of the forthcoming Guilford Under the Stars and Bars, C. Michael Briggs is a long-time student of local history. He led the effort to restore the vandalized Confederate Statue in Green Hill Cemetery and has erected many monuments and historical markers commemorating local Civil War events. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Garden Life

Home Sweet Grasslands

By Stan Gilliam

I didn’t know what to expect when I

drove up to Reidsville to see what a Piedmont Prairie was all about. Energetic at 78, Mike Vaughan leads me on a brisk walk around his 40-acre property, talking excitedly about his plans to recreate a kind of natural garden that no longer exists. “I belong to a loose-knit bunch of believers in the hypothesis that, before 1500, large parts of the land between the Appalachians and the seacoast were in grasslands,” he says, his eyes sparkling. As a boy, Vaughan dreamed of the vast treeless plains of the American West where bison and elk roamed free, hunted by Indian braves. At that time, almost no one realized that such a scene might have existed in ancient North Carolina. Removing his broad-brimmed hat and wiping his brow, Vaughan explains that once upon a time periodic controlled burns by the Indians and nature’s lightning strikes helped maintain vast Piedmont prairies. Then several years ago, Vaughan saw the paintings of Georgia artist Philip Juras, who had recreated scenes of presettlement savannas on canvas. “Philip provided a vision from the past for my planning of the future of Wolf Island

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Prairie,” Vaughan reflects. Anyone who has driven our rural roads knows we have thousands of acres of open, rolling country cleared for farms and pastures. But after centuries of alterations and the introduction of countless varieties of invasive species by European settlers and their modern descendants, the bison, elk and wolf and many of the plant species that supported the prairies have passed into the twilight of place names and mythology. As we walk along the pathways that Vaughan has blazed on his land, he points with pride to several species he has reintroduced: yellow Schweinitz’s sunflower, lavender Georgia aster and plume grasses towering twelve feet above the ground. A biology professor, Vaughan wants Wolf Island Prairie to be a sort of living botanical museum and classroom where people can come and experience for themselves a natural prehistoric habitat, though maybe not quite as dramatic as Jurassic Park. Although Vaughan didn’t know it twenty some years ago when he and his wife, Tucky, bought the property, it already had a sort of man-made prairie running across it in the form of the land under lofty Duke Energy power lines. In his blog, Vaughan writes about the day a few years ago when visiting State forester John Isenhour noticed a particular clump of grass. “He pointed to an attractive, thigh-tall seed stalk bearing white, fuzzy seed clusters and said: ‘This is a typical Piedmont prairie grass, Little Bluestem.’ I fixated on it right then, and it has been my prairie icon ever since. It is the grass I have chosen to be the dominant species in Wolf Island Prairie.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Stan Gilliam

Biology Professor Mike Vaughan is a man with a passion and a mission to bring back an ancient Piedmont Prairie one plant at a time


Garden Life Later, Greensboro biologist Moni Bates inventoried the plants on Vaughan’s land and discovered that he already had twenty-seven species on hand that were consistent with the old prairie habitat. “I was elated and surprised,” he writes. “Before we planted the first prairie plant ourselves, nature had begun to convert the right-of-way to a prairie.” After contacting the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Vaughan learned that his property was eligible for a conservation easement through the Habitat Restoration Program, an initiative designed to protect, enhance and restore wildlife, waterways and historical landscapes from the effects of rampant development. “So we are going to have a prairie, Wolf Island Prairie,” says Vaughan, “and we are going to live in it.” Working furiously over the past five years, he has daily been planting and setting out thousands of native prairie seeds and seedlings on his land. And with the use of carefully chosen chemical agents, he has made inroads into alien interlopers such as honeysuckle and lespedeza. However, there is even more to do. As Native Americans burned off vegetation to clear spaces for villages and farms and lightning did its work, some grasses became fire-resistant, others, fire-dependent. As Europeans settled, fire clearly became an enemy, a threat to their farms, livestock and wooden homes. They fought it aggressively. That meant that a new set of plants that were not fire-resistant were encouraged to grow in the settler’s clearings, eventually replacing many of the old native species. Recent generations have added imported grasses for their suburban lawns and popular ornamental plants, which have spread into fields and woods. So in order to recreate the prehistoric habitat, every couple of years Vaughan has to undertake a “prescribed burn” under the watchful eye of the Forest Service. This helps clear out undesirable plants and allows the fire-resistant plants to prosper. Vaughan hopes to conduct the first one early in 2015, weather permitting. Several of these burns have already been conducted on other properties in Guilford County. Studying, managing, planting, clearing, burning — clearly, these add up to a monumental task. But Vaughan is obsessed with bringing back what once was so splendid: “Yeah, I’m in love with old Piedmont prairie!” And he continues to prove it every day, one plant at a time. OH For more details, see Mike’s blog at www.ncprairie. com. Stan Gilliam, a member of the N.C. Native Plant Society, teaches English as a Second Language at GTCC and has exhibited his photos and paintings in a number of galleries, ranging from Greenhill to the Durham Arts Guild. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Pleasures of Life

Queen of the Auction For glamorous Donna Joyce, who can analyze a balance sheet with the best of them, a live auction is the Art of true Selling

By: Cynthia Adams

Donna Joyce is a UNCG accounting stu-

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

dent with a 3.7 grade point average. That’s right: Joyce can talk balance sheets, profit and loss statements and analyze the Sanskrit in an annual report. Becoming a CPA wouldn’t seem unusual if not for the fact that Joyce is a former beauty queen and professional auctioneer with a thousand auctions under her slender belt.

She is also a real estate broker with a GRI designation. On top of that, Joyce is an extroverted glamazon who loves designer clothes and still has the brunette good looks that won her a crown. She’s an empty-nester now, with the last of her three sons fresh out of college, just as she returned to her studies. Joyce is sharing a date with destiny: she is still following her father’s imperative to find some sort of art that is hers alone. I was about to observe one of the arts that Joyce has mastered — the art of auctioneering. Handbags for Hope is an annual United Way charity event that drew 250–300 eager bidders on October 9 and sold out early on. Donna Joyce, auctioneer, arrived wearing a chic black suit and black high heels during the silent auction at the Empire Room in downtown Greensboro. There were 150 purses bearing familiar logos — Cole Hahn, Nine West, Fossil and Coach — on display in the silent auction. The trophy purses, to be auctioned live later, were on preview. Bidders downright salivated as they evaluated the goods: Chanel, Ferragamo and other haute couture labels were there, soon for the taking. If Cinnabons are “frosted heroin” to sugar freaks, then the mere whiff of a good leather handbag makes my nose twitch like a prize hunting dog. For someone who has adored purses since her first Mattel-made, bubblegum pink vinyl Barbie bag, it was darned difficult to resist actually emptying my wallet just to buy another fetching bag. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Claudia Cannady, a senior vice president for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, was in attendance. She knows the value of a good purse. “Last year I bid on and won a large black, stamped-skin textured bag with brown plastic handles. I call it my suitcase. Holds everything, every day, everywhere — except for fancy dress up, then I use a small black bag.” She was there to buy, and snagged two purses, but was also interested to see a female auctioneer at work. Joyce took the stage at 7:30 p.m. just as the silent portion of the auction ended. She lay down the ground rules concerning bidding for the thirty-five prize purses to be auctioned. “If the handbag fits, then, for goodness sakes, buy it.” Well, that’s not exactly what the glamorous auctioneer said — soon pacing, gesturing, with microphone in hand — generally casting a goodwill spell over a crowd gathered to support Handbags for Hope, hosted by United Way of Greater Greensboro Women’s Leadership. She called, “Let the bidding begin,” and started the bidding off at an astromical $2,000 for a stunning designer handbag. Waiting a moment for the shock and amazement to have its effect, she promptly dropped the bid to $200 with a question mark after it. No takers. For the first item, bidding was normally sluggish if not tentative, so Joyce joked, “How about $100?” with a hint of irony in her voice. No takers. Earlier, Joyce had shared exactly what that moment is like for her as she stands before hundreds who are not taking the bait: “When there’s an auction going on, there is excitement in the air, or at least there should be if you have an effective auctioneer. When the bids are pouring in, I feel on top of the world, and when they’re not coming in, well, that’s when a keen auctioneer will assess the situation and try to persuade the audience to bid before the item is sold and it’s too late.” Then she deadpanned, “I’ll take anything but poison right now.” Laughter rippled through the audience and she was off and running. She gestured and strode across the stage in black high heels. “$250? Do I hear $275?” The gavel fell; the bag sold for $250. “Beautiful eye candy for you,” Joyce says approvingly. March 2015

O.Henry 41


Pleasures of Life “We’re going to crawl before we walk,” she told her audience, who laughed and relaxed into the evening with her. She started bidding for the next item at a less intimidating $50. (“That’s where we should have started in the first place,” she confided to the bidders.) Bids quickly reached $235. “I can count too,” she joked. “Don’t let it get away!” And as bidding intensified, Joyce asked sotto voce, “Wouldn’t you rather have a $260 handbag than a $250 handbag?” There was more laughter and nicely manicured hands shot up in the air. The room was warmed up and now dollars were rolling. “I thought this year’s event was more successful than last year because Donna Joyce was fabulous,” confided Cannaday. “Donna has a nice feminine, yet no-nonsense approach that is warm and engaging. She maintained audience attention and participation.” Did she ever. When a vintage Ferragamo black bag came up for auction, Joyce addressed “the folks in the right field,” calling for an opening bid of $400. Before the night was over, she auctioned bags for well over that price. A Michael Kors handbag rapidly sold for $450. In the siren call parlance of a professional auctioneer, what Joyce said sounded something like: “You want it. You know you deserve it. And you should have it.” And good golly Miss Molly, the bidding shot up and some kind of fever took hold — Joyce had us at “you want it.” But that was by the middle of the event, when the audience had lapsed into a sort of fugue state, fueled by wine, sugar, and — OMG — designer handbags. I kept my hand busy taking notes and away from my auction number, observing the petite brunette auctioneer working the room. She was (“God bless her!” someone murmured appreciatively) selling these bags for a guilt-free good cause. All proceeds from the auction benefit United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Joyce’s energy rose perceptibly along with the audience’s and by 7:45 she hit her stride. Tracy McCain, who works at WFMY-TV, came in behind Joyce, serving as the chorus and emcee. McCain wore a color-blocked shift in beige, red and black, but remained behind a podium as the black-clad Joyce strode down the runway, commenting on each model, styling and mugging with the handbags. A second Ferragamo bag sold for $375; a FEED bag autographed by FEED founder Lauren Bush Lauren sold for $200. By the time Joyce opened bids for a vintage leopard Valentino bag, she started the auction at $575, and sold it for $600. Afterward, a Chanel clutch netted $825. The audience’s eyes were glazed. Joyce’s performance was fascinating in and of itself — in a lifetime of tagging along with my father to dusty old auction barns, this was the first time I had seen a female auctioneer at work. She could have auctioned off old socks and it would have been interesting to watch. “The auctions I do are for March of Dimes, Foot Hills Art Auction and Canterbury School,” Joyce had told me earlier. “And the United Way.” She has conducted over 1,000 auctions. What is the feeling when she works? “It’s like a fever. I’m excited, and want to engage them in the purpose. And it’s for a good outcome.” Cannaday emailed later, “This was my first experience with a female auctioneer. I believe it is most appropriate to have an engaging yet competent female auctioneer at a women’s auction event. Hope this is repeated next year if United Way does it again in 2015.” Joyce, who has been an auctioneer since she was 19, is the daughter of Bob Cline. He owns Piedmont Auction and Realty, and worked as an auctioneer and real estate developer. She was an only child and pretty enough to win the Miss Iredell County pageant in 1979 when she was 16 years old. Singing was her pageant talent

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March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Pleasures of Life when she won the crown. “I sang a 1930s medley of show tunes, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Moonglow’ and ‘Sunny Side of the Street.’” But Cline did not want his daughter to rest upon her pretty laurels. “Dad said, ‘You need some kind of art to set yourself apart.’” Now approaching 80, Cline has since retired from auctioneering, but he urged his daughter to attend auction school at Missouri Auction School while she was just a kid. “I was 19,” she remembers, and she made the trek to the Midwest, where she did all the drills required. “They send you material to study at home. You practice by saying numbers backwards and forwards . . . then go by 5’s . . . you learn filler words.” Joyce remembers well the drills: “Do you want it?” “What about it?” “Can you buy it?” She didn’t like using the third phrase. “You pick a number that rolls off your tongue,” she says, and learn speed. “Auctioneering was fun, and still is fun.” But she was serious about improving and practiced. When opportunity called, she accepted. Joyce was fresh out of auction school and back home in Statesville. Her dad was out West on a hunting trip. She answered the phone. “A man wanted my dad to conduct an auction for Ducks Unlimited.” He asked Joyce if she knew another auctioneer. “Yes, Sir,” she told him. Joyce went to Elkin for the event, and brought two ladies with her for support. “In a large audience, they have what they call ‘ring men’ who help excite the crowd when bidding is sluggish and watch bidding,” she recalls. She described the nerve and confidence it called for, especially for an event “when it was all men.” There were “easily 300 men in the audience.” Despite her being brand new to auctioneering, the Ducks Unlimited event was a hit. “We raised over $50,000. A shotgun went for a historic price.” They invited her back, year after year.

In subsequent years, Joyce auctioned a Remington 870 Ducks Unlimited shotgun for $12,000, a figure, incidentally, which makes the price of a vintage handbag pale. “Somebody really wanted to prove he’d been to an auction sale,” Joyce cheekily noted. There were things that Joyce had absorbed easily as an attractive woman, especially working at male-dominated events. “I have to wear something sharp-looking and tasteful. I have to be astute.” There were also things auction school could not teach. “You need a high EQ [emotional intelligence]: you have to read people, to have them converse with you. They have to trust you and believe you have their best interests at heart.” Joyce met her husband, Don Joyce, on a blind date in Statesville. “He said he fell in love with my independence.” She smiles, growing reflective. “I have learned patience,” she says. In time, she learned a good deal about human nature: about the poker-faced and bid-savvy bidders. “Eventually their poker-faced bluff is called,” she says. “In fact they become so engrossed in the bidding that oftentimes they are trying to ‘up’ their own bids.” Joyce has learned about big bidders, who “keep their focus on me and are intent on winning the bid.” Her EQ grew. This May, Joyce graduates from UNCG. She then plans to continue in graduate school, and then to take the CPA examination. “I grew up in a business environment and want to continue down that path,” she says. “It’s a great way to keep my mind sharp instead of playing Sudoku!” What Joyce has really learned is the savvy of the art of setting herself apart. OH Fashionista and O.Henry contributing editor Cynthia Adams promises to quit buying handbags as soon as her husband, Don, stops buying espresso machines.

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March 2015

O.Henry 43


Game On

That Magical Season As controversy swirled around them, the 1989–90 Page Pirates refused to be distracted on their way to a perfect record and a star championship

By Ogi Overman

Alfred Hamilton could tell his old

friend Mac Morris needed a lift. He had seen the Page High School basketball coach through the highs and the lows — two state championships, in ’79 and ’83, but also more than a few dismal campaigns. But what neither of them could have possibly anticipated was that Morris was getting ready to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows — both in the same season. Page had finished the 1988–89 season with a perfectly mediocre 12­-12 record. But it wasn’t how many they lost that bothered Morris. It was how they lost them. “We lost ten of those twelve by five points or less,” he recalls. “We gave some away in the closing seconds, and I was seriously beginning to doubt my coaching ability. Alfred finally talked me out of it by telling me to look at what we had coming back the next year, not just the talent but the character of the team, from top to bottom.” Hamilton, a former managing editor for what is now the News & Record, felt he had a little inside information. It so happened that one of those kids coming back was a rising senior guard named Alfred Hamilton Jr. His son and several of the other kids from the Kirkwood neighborhood had been playing basketball and baseball together since elementary school. Three of them, point guard Pearce Landry, small forward Kevin Ryan and 6' 7" man-child Marc Lewis, were clearly college prospects. Add to that 6' 9" sophomore Billy Kretzer, and it did not take a coaching genius to realize that this 1989–90 edition had the potential to be something special. But even Morris — who, incidentally, is a coaching genius — did not realize exactly how special this unit would become. In more ways than one. You see, this team was an anomaly — all five starters were white, and six of the seven who received significant playing time were white. Only B.D. Frazier, the first guard off the bench, was black, although five out of the total fifteen team members were black. Yet, there was apparently little dissension about playing time on the team. Rather, the dissension came not from within but from forces in the community. Some leaders of the black community — to this day Morris refuses to name names — began raising the issue as being symptomatic of racial inequities at the school. Their contention was that Morris should be starting some of the black kids because they needed college scholarships more than the white kids from middle and upper-class families. Morris may not have been openly accused of being racist, but the inference was obviously there. And it hurt. More than he let on at the time, but it hurt. While he repeatedly, yet politely, refused comment on the issue at the time, last month from his office where he’s co-executive director of the N.C. Coaches Association, he says, “The

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The starting five for the 1990 state champion Page Pirates, (L-R) Kevin Ryan (front), Billy Kretzer, Pearce Landry, Marc Lewis, Alfred Hamilton. leadership of the school and the community didn’t do a very admirable job of downplaying it. Fortunately, it bothered me a whole lot more than the team. I was worried about my black players because they were under a tremendous amount of pressure. They knew why they weren’t playing, that the best five were out there, and none of this was their doing.” Plus, the argument was diffused by the fact that the Pirates were winning. Every game. By the time the controversy reared its head in late January, they were already 21-0. Not that Morris was surprised by that. Morris began to get his first inkling of this unit’s potential during the summer league. It was coached by his assistant Clayton Nance (head coaches were not allowed to coach in summer leagues), and they lost only one game. “They were playing Dudley in the first game, and Kretzer, our big center, was out there shooting 3’s,” recalled Morris with a smile. “Coach Nance and I made a rule that unless we were down 4 with under 10 seconds to play, he was to stay inside and not put up a 3. After that, they didn’t lose another game that summer.” Or that winter. At the end of the 1989–90 season, the North Carolina 4-A state championship banner hung in the Page High School gymnasium. The Pirates had compiled a perfect 31-0 record. Special indeed. The players may have sensed even earlier than their mentor that this was to be a unit to be reckoned with. Senior guard Alfred Hamilton Jr., whom Morris calls, “the leader, the glue that held the team together,” recollects fondly, “We grew up idolizing those Page teams with Danny Manning, and our life’s goal was to play basketball for Page High School. In my mind, Mac Morris was Dean Smith. After that summer league, it clicked, and we started getting together on our own, practicing and playing pickup games. So by the time the season started, we were ready.” Pearce Landry, of whom Morris says, “I’ve never had a player before or since that I thought was never going to miss a shot,” echoed those sentiments. “As soon as the (previous) season ended we were in the gym. We said this is what we want to do and we want to do it together. Many nights coach (Marion) Kirby would have to kick us out of the gym.” Hamilton recalls an early-season game against Dudley that they won 60-58 that may have been the spark. “That’s one we would clearly have lost the previous year,” he says. “We were starting to develop that ‘refuse to lose’ mentality, and by the end of the year we really were convinced that we were going to do whatever it takes to win every time.” Landry attributes the team’s success to its unselfishness and Morris’ coaching acumen. “Everyone was willing to play his role, there was never any selfishness,” he notes. “I really credit Kevin Ryan, who was a phenomenal athlete, clearly our best player. He more than anybody was willing to play second fiddle to Coach Morris’ inside-first offense. Marc Lewis was a beast inside, who put up huge numbers, and that was just the right game plan, whether we were going against man-to-man defense or zone. No one ever questioned Coach Morris’ authority; there was never any grumbling or dissension.” And if the brouhaha about who was starting, who was coming off the bench, The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Game On

and who was riding the pines had any effect on the team, it certainly was not evident on the court. In fact, ultimately, it was the players, black and white, who brought the controversy to a resolution. On January 26, the black students staged a walkout over a cartoon and article in the school newspaper, and the administration called for an assembly to try to settle the issue. But rather than a full student-body assembly, they called for the black students to meet in the auditorium and the white kids to meet in the gym. That’s when the principal, Robert A. Clendenin, asked Alfred Hamilton Jr., the senior class president, to meet with the black kids. “The principal said, ‘You’re somebody everybody likes and they’ll listen to you,’” Hamilton recalls. Hamilton then gets a bit choked up when recollecting what then transpired: “Coach Nance (who is black) said, ‘You’re not going in there alone. I’m going with you.’ That’s a pretty powerful thing; twenty-five years later you remember that kind of stuff. But that’s the kind of man Clayton Nance is.” Moreover, the black players — B.D. Frazier, Derrick Steele, James Bassett and Herb Connor — seemed to take it upon themselves to quietly but effectively talk to their friends and classmates and let them know that Coach Morris and Coach Nance were in complete agreement that the best five were on the floor at tip-off. And that they had no problem with it. So, rather than become a distraction or a wedge, the controversy seemed to strengthen the team’s familial bond even further. Not only did the undefeated streak remain intact, while it was brewing they won their next five games by an average margin of twenty-one points. Landry, who was elected student body president the following year, said that even though the team was unwittingly pulled into the controversy, some good did come out of it. “There were some just concerns about whether African-American students had an even playing field to participate in after-school activities. So the next year we lobbied and were able to get the school administration to put together some buses that didn’t leave until after extracurricular activities were over. You couldn’t stay for, say, Key Club, if your only ride home was the bus. So some positive things did come out of our taking an honest look at our school.” In retrospect, it seems that this magical year was but a precursor for the good things to come in many of these young student athletes’ lives. Marc Lewis got a full scholarship to N.C. State, where he enjoyed a very respectable career. Billy Kretzer also played for State, but a shoulder injury curtailed his career. Kevin “Opie” Ryan got a full ride to the College of Charleston, but never reached his potential because of an ankle injury. Alfred Hamilton went to UNC, playing jayvee ball and earning a journalism degree. Both he and Ryan are now successful bankers in Charlotte, and are the godfathers of each other’s sons. And Pearce Landry earned a Morehead Scholarship to UNC, where he walked on the Tar Heel basketball team. Morris said that Dean Smith told him he made a mistake by not recruiting Landry, who left a lucrative career in banking in Charlotte to move back to Greensboro to get involved as a teacher and counselor in Search Ministries. Even the parents, who dubbed themselves the “Dirty Dozen” and caravanned to the games and met at Fisher’s Grille afterward, still stay in touch with one another. Mac Morris retired from coaching in 1994 with 446 victories, and retired from teaching two years later. He was inducted into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. A quarter of a century later, Brian Tomlin, who was the preps editor of the News & Record at the time and covered the team, remembers the team fondly: “What stands out about them was how well they liked each other,” he says. “They were all really good kids who got along on and off the court. They ran a deliberate offense, waiting for the right pass, rebounded well, kind of like Virginia does now. They all just seemed to be winners.” In basketball and in life. OH Ogi Overman, a reporter, columnist and editor for a number of Triad publications, ended his basketball career as the last man off the bench for the 1963 Burlington Bulldogs’ J.V. team The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2015

O.Henry 45


CENTER for CONTINUING EDUCATION

I’ve never been too comfortable on the sidelines. That’s why I chose Well•Spring. From the basketball court to business and community, I believe the more you put into life, the more you get out of it. I’m happy to have found teammates at Well•Spring that share my passion for life.

Hayes Clement

Resident since 2011

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46 O.Henry

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PostBacc_HalfPg_OHenry_March2014_EdStudy.indd 1

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

2/9/2015 12:30:10 PM


Chasing Hornets

The All-Stars Cometh — Again This time, with a new father’s hand, the Big O just can’t refuse me

By Wiley Cash

On February 10, 1991, while Pa-

Photograph by Andrew D. Bernstein

triot missiles intercepted Scuds over the desert in Kuwait, I sat mid-court at the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. My buddy’s father worked at one of the downtown hotel chains, and that morning I learned some heart-stopping news: A hotel executive had a few extra tickets, and he’d given them to my friend’s father.

Operation Desert Storm, which had begun twenty-five days earlier, was in full swing. It was my generation’s first of many experiences with war in the Middle East, although it would be another decade before words like “terrorism” and “religious extremism” would become part of our cultural lexicon. On that afternoon in 1991, the only sign that the United States was at war were the metal detectors everyone was required to pass through before gaining entrance to the Charlotte Coliseum, home of the Hornets. If you’d never been to a basketball game at “The Hive,” perhaps you wouldn’t have thought anything of being asked to empty your pockets before being waved through the doors, but I’d been to several Hornets games, and the presence of metal detectors wasn’t the only noticeable difference. There was a palpable energy that made the game distinct from any sporting event I’ve ever attended; “magical” is the only word I can use to describe it. There have been many golden eras in American professional basketball, but I would argue there has never been a moment where more possibility was both promised and delivered upon than during the 1990–1991 NBA season. To look at the roster of the 1991 All-Star Game is to see 83 percent of the Dream Team that would dazzle the world at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, a team many consider to be the greatest sports team ever assembled: On the East were Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing; on the West were Magic Johnson, Chris Mullin, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson and John Stockton. A few notable players who were also on the 1991 All-Star roster: Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and James Worthy. To put this in perspective, twelve of the twenty-six players in Charlotte that day were named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1996, meaning they were considered among the fifty greatest to ever play the game. The 1991 All-Star Game also marked defining moments in three legendary NBA careers. In June, Michael Jordan’s Bulls would beat the Lakers to win the first of six championships that would single-out Jordan as the most prominent athlete of that decade and the next. In November, Magic Johnson, whose Showtime Lakers had signified both the style and excess of the 1980s, would hold a press conference to announce that he’d contracted HIV. An injury-addled Larry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Bird, who’d long been Magic’s rival and had recently become his dear friend, would retire at the end of the season before reluctantly joining the Dream Team that summer. I understood the power of the celebrity on the floor, but it hadn’t yet dawned on me that it would also attract celebrity to the game, at least “celebrity” as the term is understood by 13-year-old boys. In the middle of the first quarter, a Michael Jordan dunk brought the local crowd to its feet, and I immediately recognized a distinct voice intermingled with the cheers. I looked down my row and spotted Ed Lover from Yo! MTV Raps, and I did what all star-struck boys would do in that situation: I took my game program down to Mr. Lover and asked him to sign it, and then I took a moment and looked around me and wished I hadn’t spotted him. A few months earlier I’d taped an HBO documentary called History of the NBA, and the more I scanned the crowd the more I realized I was in the company of the very history I’d memorized after watching the tape a couple dozen times. Seated behind Ed Lover was Houston Rockets great Calvin Murphy, who at 5’9” is the shortest player ever to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. I asked him to sign my program, and he happily obliged. After that, I couldn’t stop scanning the stands and approaching NBA icons for autographs: legendary Celtics John Havlicek, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy; Bob Pettit, the only player aside from Kobe Bryant (who was 12 at the time) to be named MVP of four All-Star games; Dave Cowens, one of the shortest centers in NBA history and a man who’d go on to coach the Hornets for three seasons beginning in 1996; and many others. And then I looked across the coliseum and saw the man whose signature would become my Holy Grail: Oscar Robertson. I approached the notoriously prickly “Big O” with my hands shaking, my pen and the game program trembling as if the wind was attempting to blow them from my hands, and I asked if he’d give me his signature. His response? “Get out of the way, kid. I’m trying to watch the game.” As the 2014–2015 All-Star Weekend draws closer, Charlotte is looking forward to 2017 with the hopes that the city will be awarded its second AllStar Game. League Commissioner Adam Silver has stated with certainty that Charlotte will once again host the NBA’s big weekend; it’s just a matter of when. Like the city of Charlotte, I’ll spend the next two years looking forward to the 2017 All-Star Weekend. I plan to dust off my 1991 game program, stand in line to pass through the metal detectors, and, once inside, scan the stands for “Big O.” The only difference is that I won’t be the same nervous, pimply-faced 13-yearold boy. I’ll be a nervous, bearded 39-year-old man. But I’ll have my 2-year-old daughter there to back me up, and Mr. Robertson, I doubt you’ll be able to tell us both no. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. He lives in Wilmington. March 2015

O.Henry 47


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48 O.Henry

March 2015

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Return of the Ruby-throateds

Birdwatch

A true sign of spring

By Susan Campbell

The most wel-

Photograph by debra Regula

come herald of springtime might well be the sight of the first male ruby-throated hummingbird you catch out of the corner of your eye hovering around your yard in early April. No other bird can compare to these tiny dynamos when it comes to their brilliant plumage, belligerent attitude and playful antics. Their annual return from the wintering grounds as far south as Costa Rica signals that warm days and an abundance of flowering plants are just around the corner.

The shimmering ruby-throated is the only species of hummingbird that breeds east of the Appalachians. It is commonly found from late March through early October in our area and can also be spotted in a variety of habitats from the mountains to the coast. Males, who are easy to spot with their distinctive rubyred throat patches (called gorgets), return to set up territories about two weeks ahead of females, often coming back to the very same spot summer after summer. Not surpisingly, a significant percentage of ruby-throated adults breed within their natal area. Although generations may utilize the same general neighborhood, they are solitary creatures. Females, cryptically colored with iridescent green and white plumage, rear the young alone. The task requires approximately six weeks of dedicated work at the nest, tending first the eggs and then the nestlings until they are independent. Two young are typically produced from tiny white eggs the size of black-eyed peas. Some females may even produce two sets of young per season in the Carolinas. In the Piedmont, the first young ruby-throateds begin to leave the nest around mid-June The immature males lack the bright gorgets of their fathers, looking far more like their mothers until late winter. But nonetheless they are very feisty little birds. They seem ready to antagonize each other from the min-

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ute they leave the nest and will commonly pick fights with adults as well as larger species of birds. Why are they so aggressive? It may have to do with more limited food resources in the Eastern U.S., but until some grad student or ornithologist undertakes a big study, we simply won’t know. Female ruby-throateds can be just as aggressive as males. Given that they are actually some 20 percent larger in size, the females definitely have the advantage when a conflict arises. Hummingbirds’ way of life requires a high energy diet. Flight speeds upward of fifty miles per hour are not uncommon. They obviously need to consume an enormous amount of protein per day, which means gobbling down lots of tiny insects, spiders and mites. Despite their love for sugar-water feeders, ruby-throateds actually spend most of their time foraging in thick vegetation, scouring leaves and stems for a variety of arthropods. Invariably some prey items are swallowed right along with the nectar from the brightly colored blooms they visit. Optimum hummingbird habitat therefore includes not only a variety of colorful plants with tubular blooms, but minimal use of pesticides — ensuring good insect diversity. Of course now is the time to put out your sugar-water feeder to attract the attention of incoming local ruby-throateds. When hanging your feeder, consider not only whether you can see it but also whether it’s in a place where hummingbirds can easily spot it. And the more feeders you add, the more hummingbirds you will attract. Just be sure to clean and refill the feeders regularly. When daytime temperatures climb above 70, they will require attention every three to five days or the solution will begin to ferment. Simply empty, scrub with hot water and a bottle brush and then refill. Detergents are best avoided since they often leave residue on the plastic portions of the feeder that the birds can detect. Use of a periodic 10 percent bleach solution may be necessary. To read more about hummingbirds in the state, especially vagrant species, and for a cornucopia of links to other hummingbird sites, click on www.naturalsciences.org/nchummers. OH Susan would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to susan@ncaves.com

March 2015

O.Henry 49


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March 2015

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Life of Jane

Comedy Traffic School Life’s a cruel joke. Get your tickets early

By Jane Borden

Illustration by Meridith Martens

You may

wonder, since I am a comedian, why I chose to attend a Comedy Traffic School instead of a standard-issue Traffic School. You may also wonder why I faced this choice in the first place. The answer to the latter, of course, is because I received a ticket, which was similar to every vehicular citation ever issued in history, in that it wasn’t my fault. Then I was given the option of paying an additional $100 to the system, and contributing a day of my life to a traffic school; in exchange, the transgression would be expunged from my record rather than reported to my insurance provider. The choice is obvious. There are roughly 1,100 traffic schools in Los Angeles County alone.  Oh, the options! About 70 percent of them are either Internet or homestudy programs. But I couldn’t face the shame and injustice of this punishment alone. Of the remaining, roughly a third have the word comedy some-

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where in the title, and I immediately thought, Well, that’s for me. Perhaps it was curiosity that drew me, a compulsion to discern what Comedy Traffic School could possibly be. Was it simply a school that took place inside a comedy club, i.e. if I perused the list with a keener eye, would I also find Library Traffic Schools and Car Wash Traffic Schools? Or were they a way for comedy clubs, always on the brink of closing, to make cash because who in their right mind wouldn’t sign up for the comedic option of traffic school? Or perhaps this would actually be a comedy show, with a standup delivering jokes among instructions. If so, how funny is a traffic-school-comic required to be? Then, with terror, I imagined a fourth, esoteric option: All of life is a cruel joke, including this class, so thanks for the money.  Honestly, however, I know why I signed up for the class. Because I am eternally deluded by optimism. “I like comedy! Geez, I am a comic! Well, duh, this class is for me.” My rose-colored glasses fog my memories of almost never finding traditionally defined “comedy” funny, precisely because I’m a comic, who’s become completely desensitized from enjoying the art form she creates. But I like my optimism too much to complain of the persisting short-term memory it engenders, so I’ll just move forward with the story.  The moment I walked into the dark, dank chuckle hut, I realized the rashness of my classroom choice. There was a greater chance we’d hear the sound of Bill Cosby confessing than the sound of laughter inside this room today.  A chuckle hut, by the way, is what alternative comedians, improvisers March 2015

O.Henry 51


Life of Jane

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What did you come to the desert to find?

Lent 2 | March 1

Who do you say that I am?

Lent 3 | March 8

What sign can you show us?

Lent 4 | March 15

How can anyone be born again?

Lent 5 | March 22

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What should I say? Father, save me?

Palm Sunday | March 29 What are you doing?

Maundy Thursday | April 2

6:00 pm - Light meal and Service, 108

Tenebrae Service | April 3

7:30 pm, Sanctuary

Easter | April 5

Why are you weeping?

First Baptist Church Greensboro 1000 West Friendly Avenue 274-3286 | www.fbcgso.org

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and all purveyors of the independent-comedy scene call two-drink-minimum clubs, the venues that spread across the country in the 1980s during the standup boom. They have names like Giggles, The Laugh Factory, SplitSiders, Dr. Grins, the Funny Farm, and, of course, The Chuckle Hut. Many of these clubs — particularly in midmarket cities too small to also support an alternative scene — are excellent and successful venues, which bring in top nationally-touring talent. But it still feels like you’ve time traveled to 1983 just by walking through the door. Larger-thanlife caricature illustrations of Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld adorn the walls along with framed, autographed black-and-white headshots of middling comedians, many of whom are now dead.  Chuckle huts are shrines to standup, and something about that has always seemed anathema to the genre. As a fan and purveyor of comedy, I am torn between two impulses regarding its reception. On one hand, I want the art form to be recognized and praised. On the other hand I know that whenever comedy stops being the bastard child of theater, it will fail to achieve its goal of sucking the wind out of recognition and praise. The moment it’s not a sick monster, it loses the ability to point out that we’re all sick monsters. For this reason, chuckle huts make me uncomfortable. Mostly, though, this morning, it was the smell of stale beer.  The dim, smelly club did, however, seem a fitting environment for us students, a collection of petty criminals, trapped for eight hours on a weekend as punishment for misbehavior. We were the Breakfast Club of Pasadena. But before we had a chance to discern which of us was the brain, athlete, basket case or princess, our instructor whizzed into the room, full of verve and commiseration, full of energetic empathy. She called us her children and scanned the crowd for repeat customers and familiar faces, securing the detention analogy in my mind. She asked, when we left at day’s end, not to joke that, “I hope I never see you again,” because that hurts her feelings. Further, she explained she likely would see many of us again, that in fact she usually has at least one repeat customer per class. For her, this was a point of pride rather than a failure, an irony I found very funny. It was the only humor I enjoyed that day.   She was not, as it goes, funny, and neither was her instruction. But she was cool. And laid back. And brassy, one of my favorite character traits, as well as conspiratorial, another attribute always welcome at my table. She let us know that, for better or worse, we were all in this together.  First we went around the room introducing ourselves and explaining what we were in for. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life of Jane Whoever had spent the most money on his or her ticket would be announced the winner. The $360 I’d forked over was half of what some had paid. I felt better already. Then she dove into the instruction. And I actually learned a lot, including a few interesting and surprising tidbits. Apparently it is legal to turn left on red if both streets are one-way: fascinating. She even gave us an auto body shop suggestion. Hers was a full-service class.  But, again, I would not call it funny. I don’t remember anyone laughing, ever. Beyond her generally-joshing-around attitude, she delivered only one joke, which she announced in advance as her only joke. It was something about how you shouldn’t eat sushi at a stop sign, because you don’t wanna roll — get it?  I found myself desperate to know this woman’s history, if she had started as a comic and, failing, decided to run the club’s traffic school, or if she had come to the club as a civilian trafficlaw expert, or if it had always been her dream to mother misfits. One thing was certain: She loved her job and seemed happy.  Certainly we were at least less bored than we would have been in a standard-issue traffic school. Also, I definitely got a feel for her voice, which is something many comics never learn to convey. And she did command the room. I still think of her whenever I illegally pull into a turn lane early, “because if you wait until you reach the legal entrance, it’ll be full of all the cars behind you who broke the law and then whaddya gonna do? But it is illegal, it is, and you need to know.”  I think what I attended was not a Comedy Traffic School so much as a Commiseration Traffic School. But I’m also not sure those are different things. We were misfits who’d gathered to share in our collective screw ups, in a place where we knew we wouldn’t be judged, and furthermore we’d all paid to be there. How is that different from a comedy club? All of life is a cruel joke, including this show, so thanks for the money. Maybe our teacher’s love of repeat customers was merely an acknowledgement that, no matter how much we try to rehabilitate, we’re all sick monsters. Surely no one is more qualified to make such a grandiose assessment than the lowly instructor at a smelly, lame traffic school.  As it turns out, the only difference between Comedy Traffic School and a comedy show is that, during the former, I never laughed. So, if you think about it, it was very cutting edge. OH Jane Borden is a Greensboro native living in Los Angeles, and the author of the much acclaimed memoir I Totally Meant to Do That. Follow her at twitter. com/JaneBorden. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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March 2015 Traditional Music

Not so much hunched as swollen to the shape of his greatcoat, guitar case in his fist, the busker paces street lamp to shut shop door wall to light, light to wall the six feet — all he’ll ever get — of a cage he’s made himself, a cage he knows as well as the leopard and as little what he is doing in it. Marchmont Street. Midnight. Near Russell Square tube. Rain. Every now and again he stoops, plucks at the coinless pavement, paces. I pass on the other side. Two years I have paced between a dead man and a wall I cannot break, making what music I can. I gnaw myself like any leopard. I have sharp teeth. Tonight I try to remember old men at Galax, at Fiddler’s Grove: how they lay their boards on the grass a foot and a half square, how they clog, flat-foot, stomp, and hoe-down, how their arms flop like puppets jigging the wind, how their appledoll faces hang grinning year after year after year.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

— Ann Deagon

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Don’t call these classic American street cars Trailer Queens. They are living symbols of an enduring love affair with the cars of our youth By David Claude Bailey Photographs By Sam Froelich

E

arly in March, you’ll see them converging toward 301 Norwalk Street — Trailer Queens. That’s what automobile collectors call cars that are so perfect, so priceless, so collectible that the owners would never think of driving them on city streets. They’ll be headed to the GAA’s Classic Cars Auction at the Palace, which will run from March 5–7 (www.gaaclassiccars.com/ general-public/). For $15, the public can come come and ogle; maybe even buy the car of their dreams, though that will require registration. O.Henry tracked down six proud auto owners who have found and restored the cars of their youth that you’ll see being driven on the streets of Greensboro. Mike Moore has spent thousands acquiring and restoring a 1970 Oldsmoble 442, a car he fell in love with at the age of 22: “It was kind of a rebellious statement back then, but for guys my age, your car was your freedom, your car was your image,” he reflects. “And it was kind of a way of saying, ‘This is the kind of person I am.’” To Mike and others, the car you drove “was just as important as your social interactions at school or sports.” Let’s face it, the hottest date you ever had is now a grandparent. That game-winning 50yard sprint to the goal line is a distant memory. But all it takes to bring back the growling torque of a muscle car or the cheerful chirp of a VW bug’s whirring valves is an ignition key.

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Russ’ 1968 Mustang Coupe One afternoon, Russ Stellfox’s phone rang and a woman on the other end of the line said, “I’ve got two cars for you.” Without missing a beat, Stellfox said, “That’s great, I need two cars.” Never mind that he immediately recognized her voice and knew she’d dialed the wrong number. “Is this John?” she asked. “No,” Stellfox replied, “but does that mean I don’t get the cars?” The caller apologized for the wrong number, explained that she was trying to enter two cars into an Antique Automobile Club of America event — and then went on to make up for Russ’ disappointment by giving him the number of someone who did have a car for sale. It was a ’68 Mustang belonging to G.T. Campbell in Kernersville, says Stellfox, who, with his wife, Bonnie, started Greensboro Cars and Coffee, Greensboro’s classiest car show (www.facebook.com/ CarsAndCoffeeGreensboroNC). “And when I got there, it had been in his basement for years with quilts covering the car — and a car cover over that,” he recalls. “It was a one-owner with 56,000 original miles. Babied, never wrecked. His wife had always wanted a Mustang, and one day he went out and bought her one — lime-gold.” But what Stellfox, who’s president of high-tech filter maker Purolator in Greensboro, liked best is that it was the most basic Mustang you could buy, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a working man’s (or woman’s) sports car. “It was a plain Jane car, two-door, six cylinder, three speed, with the original owner’s manual and a radio delete plate.” Radio delete? “When he bought the car, he couldn’t afford $28 extra for the radio.” Instead there was a factory-installed plate covering the empty space where a radio would have been, which is just the sort of thing that makes car collectors swoon. Or details like being able to see traces of the Mustang’s red undercoating paint showing on the bottom of the hood and elsewhere. Or the ghosting of white primer showing through the Mustang’s paint, demonstrating that the car had never been repainted. Or the original, totally rust-free hubcaps Campbell kept locked in the trunk, afraid they’d be stolen. “He really didn’t want to sell the car,” recalls Stellfox, owner of Stray Cat Garage in Stokesdale. Stellfox and Campbell began a long negotiating dance that stretched for several months, with Campbell never budging from his price of $9,000. “I finally told him that after I had refreshened the car, I’d come and get him and take him to lunch in the car,” Stellfox says. “I’ve never had to work so hard to pay too much for a car in my whole life.”

1968 Mustang Coupe

Engine: 200 cubic-inch, 190 horsepower, six cylinder with a single-barrel carburetor Transmission: three-speed manual Factory price: $2,602 ($18,400 in today’s dollars) Total produced: 249,447 Top speed: 112 mph

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Alex’s 1966 VW Beetle

As a boy, Alex Melchert remembers walking down to the mailbox at the end of the drive to wait for his dad to come home from work in his VW bug. “I’d jump up on the running board, grab Daddy’s hand through the vent window and catch a ride.” Bernie, his German father, commuted from Rockingham County to Durham every day and was very partial to Dr. Porsche’s people’s wagon: “He’d get one bug, wear it out and get another,” Melchert says. “My first car was a VW Rabbit.” In his early 40s, Melchert decided, “I wanted to restore a muscle car and do all the work myself, but I didn’t have the money.” So he bought a bug with the idea of polishing up his welding, body work and painting skills. He scoured newspapers, magazines and penny shoppers before going onto Craigslist. “There were plenty of California bugs in good shape if you were willing to pay California prices,” he says. A Craigslist bug nearby was eaten up with rust and overpriced. Complaining about the price to a friend at Lorillard, where Melchert works as a production maintenance supervisor, the friend said, “Shoot, I’ll sell you mine for that price.” And so he became the proud owner of a 1966 Volkswagen “with Mexican blankets for seat covers, a shredded headliner and bathroom caulking around the windows.” Three and a half years later, and to his father’s surprise — “What the hell did you buy that thing for?” — he’s winning first and second place in VW shows. “I took the original engine apart and cleaned it and it runs pretty well. It’s got the same transmission and transaxle. I added four-wheel disk brakes and lowered the front and rear ends,” he says. What would Dr. Porsche says about that? “He’d definitely approve of the disc brakes,” Melchert says. Now, he’s looking for a distinctly nonmuscular VW convertible or van: “The bug has bitten me,” he says.

1966 VW Beetle

Engine: 78.4 cubic inch (1.3 liter) four cylinder, air-cooled, 50 horsepower Transmission: 4 speed Factory price: $1,640 ($11,624 in today’s dollars) Total produced: 1,168,146 Top speed: 82 mph

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Bob ’s 1954 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup

Don’t you dare accuse Bob Jones of stealing the first vehicle he fell in love with. As for the sow that Jones traded for the truck of his dreams, that’s a whole ’nother matter. Raised during the ’60s and ’70s on a California farm in Santa Ynez Valley decades before the movie Sideways helped turn the area into a wine-tour destination, Jones, at 14, fell head over heels in love with an abandoned 1954 Chevy half-ton pickup he saw on a neighbor’s farm. The neighbor, who had made his fortune working with the founder of Polaroid, Edwin Land, bought the truck to use in a landscaping business he’d kick-started. “Landscaping turned out to be hard work and when he decided to get out of it, he just parked the truck in his backyard,” Jones recalls. Twenty years later, Jones says, “I asked if he’d give me the truck that now had a tree growing up through the bed. He said, ‘No, but I’ll trade it for a bred gilt. I figured my dad would never miss just one pig, so I cut down the tree and hauled the truck off behind a tractor.” It’s no wonder GM’s 1954 Advanced Design series half-ton pickup, with its sweeping hood and fenders and one piece windshield, caught Jones’ eye. It’s used extensively in retro ads and music videos to recall an era when the times — and pickup trucks —were so much simpler. Jones has the five-window “deluxe” cab: “The iconic corner windows were only in the Deluxe cab,” he says proudly. He says his dad pretended not to notice the missing pig, but did tell him, “You’re going to have to pay for parts and do all the work yourself.” Which is what he spent the next three years doing. While some other kids got cars for Christmas, Jones got a 235 cubic-inch Thriftmaster block to replace the truck’s cracked block. He and a friend had it ready for Jones, at 17, to set off for Texas A&M in it, “sort of like the Grapes of Wrath in reverse, heading from California to East Texas.” It took four days with no breakdowns. Noticing rust after his freshman year, Jones left the truck with his dad, who rode happily around town in it for the next 20 years with a bicycle bell on the rear-view mirror. “Ten years ago when we moved here, I had it shipped to Bill Badger’s American Classic Restoration in Bethany,” says Jones, general manager for North America, Novartis Animal Health. “Every weekend, I’d go see it.” To give it an N.C. touch, Jones found some vintage tongue-and-groove heart pine salvaged from a mill built in the late 1800s for the bed: “It has that beautiful color with all the reds and oranges and yellows and whites.” Jones drives it on weekends and in parades. “My hope is to give it to one of my kids one day so they can tell the same old stories I do.”

1954 Chevrolet Series 3100 Half-Ton Pickup Engine: 235 cubic-inch, straight six, 105 horsepower Transmission: Four speed (with a “granny” gear) Price: $1,085 ($9,548 in today’s dollars) Number made: 1,151,486 Top speed: 55 mph

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Mike’s 1970 Oldsmobile 442

Mike Moore was 22 and single when he bought his first Olds 442 — originally named for its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed automatic transmission and dual exhaust. Though it had rust issues and needed engine work, it was his pride and joy. And unlike most muscle cars, it had some really luxurious touches — a plush interior, burl walnut trim and a tachometer disguised behind the dashboard clock. “It was the banker’s or executive’s muscle car,” say Moore. Mike Moore and cars go way back. After his father, who’s retired from Wrangler, moved the family to Greensboro, Mike bought his first car for $50 at the age of 14, a 1966 Buick that would only run in reverse. He remembers time and again driving his Buick to the top of his family’s sloped driveway for the seconds’ long but thrilling ride back to the bottom. His 442 followed a 1977 Camaro into which he dropped a 327 cubic-inch Corvette engine with a four-barrel carburetor. Was the 442 a chick magnet? “Let’s say I made a lot of new friends,” he says, one of whom he ultimately married, which led to the sale of his beloved 442 so he could put a down payment on a house. “I can remember feeling a lot of pain and regret selling that car,” he says. “I said, ‘One day, I’ll have another one.’” That came at an auction in 2000. “It was a 1970 442 big block Tribute W30 convertible,” he recalls. Translation: A top-of-the-line, custom factory-modified Oldsmobile with an awesome air scoop in the center of a fiberglass hood leading to a forced-air induction aluminum intake manifold on one of GM’s largest V8s — delivering nearly 400 horsepower that could turn zero into 60 mph in 5.7 adrenalin-fueled seconds. Front disc brakes, a special suspension package, sway bars and lightweight body insulation completed the package. “It’s a real storm burner,” says Moore, who, since retiring from R.J. Reynolds, works as a consultant for other consumer good companies — and restores cars: “Although my 442 was already painted and mostly restored, I knew I could make it better over time, which is what I’ve done over the last ten years.” What he loves most about his 442 is its comparative rarity. “I go to a lot of car shows and there will be a dozen Camaros and Chevelles, but maybe one 442, and usually not a convertible,” he says. Although he’s spent thousands restoring it, he’s not shy putting it on the road: “These cars were meant to be driven and I enjoy driving it,” he says. “It’s not a Trailer Queen.”

1970 Oldsmobile 442 Big Block Tribute W30 Engine: 455 cubic inch, 370 horsepower Transmission: Hurst Dual Gate automatic transmission Factory Price: $3,376 ($20,598 in today’s dollars) Total 1970 W30 produced: 1,540 Top speed: 116 mph

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Karl ’s 1969 Mach 1 Fastback Mustang When Karl Robinson restored his ’69 Mach 1, he says he had only one thing in mind, “I wanted it to where when I get in it, I can embarrass people. That’s me. I’ve got that need for speed.” But his wife, Cassie, who was his “design consultant” on the restoration, makes him look like a slow poke. A friend was out driving around one day when she streaked past him. Says Karl, “He told me, ‘She passed me so fast, it pulled all the paint off my car.’ She drives it like she stole it, and that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Like so many other auto enthusiasts, Robinson became interested in cars at an early age: like father, like son: “Dad had a ’68 Grand Sports Buick, white with burgundy interior.” No father/son baseball tossing out in the backyard for Robinson: “We used to pull motors and transmissions together,” he says. His first car was a ’65 Olds 88 that he got for $25. (“It was a two door with no front bumper.”) Next came a white ’65 Impala Super Sport. “I blew the engine in that car three times,” he says. Next was his beloved 1969 forest-green Mustang Mach 1 for which he paid $225 when he was 17. “It was running good till I got ahold of it,” he says. “I didn’t have it a month when I blew the 351 up in the car,” he says. How? “I used to take that car and jump speed bumps in parking lots.” People would bet him he couldn’t do it. “I’d rev it up to 4,000 rpm’s and drop the clutch and the front end would come right off the ground,” he recalls. And the occasional rod would fly through the side of the engine block. “It took me six months to find another engine.” Then a girlfriend commented that she didn’t like “that old loud car,” and he traded it in on a 1975 Chevy Malibu Classic. “Every day after that, I kicked myself in the butt.” That went on until he got married and raised children and put enough money aside, he thought, to restore a Mach 1. “I found one in Newark that was running but needed restoring,” he says. “My wife was supportive,” says president and owner of R&R Transportation Inc., a local and long-distance trucking company. In fact, she insisted on the cardinal-red metallic paint and the custom-made, offwhite leather interior with burgundy piping. “The only thing I put on the car was the motor and the wheels — Foose wheels,” he says. They proudly ride in it together in parades and to car shows, Robinson says. When he sees speed bumps in parking lots, is he ever tempted . . . ? “Not yet,” he says.

1969 Mach 1 Fastback Mustang

Engine: 351 cubic inch V-8, 290 horsepower Transmission: SelectShift 3-speed automatic Factory Price: $3,122 ($20,139 in today’s dollars) Total produced: 72,458 Top speed: 115 mph

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Bonnie’s 1963 “Fuelie” Corvet te Stingray “In the summer of 1963, songs by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean were on the radio,” Bonnie Stellfox recalls, “songs about the California sun, good times at the beach and, of course, fast cars.” At the time, though, Stellfox was living about 2,500 miles east of the Beach Boys’ Hawthorne, California stomping grounds — in Huntington, Pennsylvania, “a small town where everyone knew each other.” Stellfox remembers the occasional sight of a local businessman’s black 1963 Corvette Stingray with its predatory shark-nosed front and its sleek profile haunting her: “I loved the way the car sounded and the way it looked driving down the streets of our small town,” she recalls. “I’ve loved cars since I was very young,” she says. “Back then it was thought girls couldn’t drive very well. Silly boys!” Her dad had a ’40 Ford convertible, “and I used to love it when I was 9 or 10, and we’d go for ice cream, and he would say, ‘Hold on,’ and he’d step on it . . . even though we weren’t going all that fast, it felt like we were hitting a 100 mph.” Fast forward a few decades or so, and she’ll tell you about meeting the man whom she would one day marry, Russel Stellfox: “He was driving a 1971 LT1 Corvette, white with red interior, and I was driving a new Cougar. On our first date we talked about cars, ones we’ve had, ones we wanted someday.” The car Bonnie wanted most was the ’63 Stingray coupe that she’d seen as a child, which had become a cult car among collectors. With its sweeping aerodynamic lines and a unique-to-that-year split rear window, the body was European-inspired. The drive train, though, was pure American brawn with its 327 fuel-injected engine developing 360 neck-flexing horsepower, a real monster in that era. A friend had one that he swore he’d never sell. “Russ talked to him about buying the car for about eight or nine years, and, one day, out of the blue, we got a call asking if we wanted to buy the car. Russ happened to have the phone on speaker,  so I said, ‘Yes we do!’ There was not much negotiating room after that, but we did get the car.” Sebring Silver, the color Chevy used to introduce the car that year, with dark blue interior, the car is a “numbers matching” restoration, meaning that it has the original engine, transmission, drive train and other key elements. “We recently celebrated our thirty-sixth anniversary,” Bonnie says, “and we still talk about cars, ones we’ve had — and there have been a lot — and ones we still want. Of course we also talk about which ones the granddaughters like to ride in.”

1963 “Fuelie” Corvette Stingray

Engine: 327 cubic-inch, 360 horsepower V-8 with fuel injection Transmission: four-speed manual Factory price: $4,035 ($31, 217 in today’s dollars) Total “Fuelies” produced: 2,610 Top speed: 130 mph OH Senior editor David Claude Bailey intends to drive his totally unrestored 1981 CJ7 Jeep the rest of his life.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The

Great Fires

Owing to the bravery and consummate skills of Greensboro’s Firefighters, several of the Gate City’s finest neighborhoods avoided going up in smoke

T

he first explosion that muggy June night in 1971 rocketed debris across the rail spur adjacent to the intersection of Cridland and Wendover, a concussion felt underfoot throughout much of Fisher Park and Latham Park. Residents on Virginia Street ran from their homes moments before a second salvo sent ambulances sirening off to emergency rooms as flames and chunks of the mammoth factory flew through the air. Retired Greensboro Fire Department Captain James Goins was driving the lead truck with Engine Company No. 5. “Wendover wasn’t but a two-lane street then.” As his fire engine turned onto Wendover, he recalls, a car was pulling out of a side street onto Wendover, “and I didn’t have room to get in, and my captain is having a fit. Of course, he was the type to have a fit, anyway. He was stomping that siren, motioning to the woman, screaming and hollering. She was scared to come out and I couldn’t get in past her.” A crowd of curious bystanders on June 16, 1971, were certain that they were witnessing the shake and bake of Greensboro’s Vicks Chemical plant. But Vicks had vacated the premises four years earlier. Instead, five fire engine companies were racing “to put the wet stuff on the hot stuff,” as they’re fond of saying, at an even more combustible scenario than a chemical company.

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Guilford Mills had relocated their print division to the building, and firefighters were about to wade into a toxic soup of volatile dyes and solvents that were warehoused right alongside reams of fabric and paper. Greensboro’s firefighters, long considered among the best in the nation, were up to the task. Almost miraculously, damage was limited to the one building, despite near record withering temperatures and windy conditions. Since its founding in 1808, Greensboro has been scarred, reshaped and forever altered by spectacular fires. Were it not for the bravery and skill of those brave souls summoned by a siren’s call toward unknown disasters, Greensboro’s name might be more associated, as are Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore and Boston, with some historically great fire rather than being known for its superlative fire department. Here are just of few of Greensboro’s greatest blazes and the firefighters who risked their lives to contain them.

The Bonded Warehouse Blaze of 1970 Next time you’re at the Westerwood Tavern, raise a glass to those intrepid souls who fought the good fight across the street and just a few feet to your east, risking life and limb against catastrophic conditions. It was through their The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs Courtesy of Greensboro Fire Department

By Billy Ingram


stubborn and brave efforts that nearby houses, or the entire neighborhood for that matter, wasn’t matchsticked. It was on an unusually hot October evening in 1970 when every firefighting apparatus and able body was assembled off Friendly Avenue in flanking positions along the sloping sides of Guilford Street and down Hunt Street. They were engaged in what appeared to spectators watching from balconies at the Hilton Hotel to be a futile attempt at preventing the sprawling blocks-long Greensboro Bonded Warehouse, stocked with a confounding array of flammables, from spreading to the dozens of wooden structures and trees that make Westerwood so charming. “That was a three-alarmer,” recalls Pinecroft Sedgefield district volunteer Ken Karns. He was strafing the roof with 250 pounds of nozzle pressure from a groundmounted Luge Gun that may as well have been a 6-year old’s Super Soaker for all the good it did. “Greensboro had all their ladder trucks out there, everything they could get ahold of,” Karns recalls. “The city called for Mutual Aid from not only our fire department but Fire District 13, which used to cover the north end of town down Yanceyville Street and all out there.” He says McLeansville Fire Department also responded. “We sent our engines into the city stations to stand by in case there were other calls,” he says. “Some, like myself, went straight to the fire scene.” This was GFD’s 37th call of the day, and things were heating up much too quickly. An outer wall had crumbled near a parked truck loaded with explosives. In the first hour alone, two dozen blasts lit up the night. Washing-machine-sized misguided missiles sent fiery trails across the sky. Ken Karns was keenly aware of their trajectories: “That warehouse had 55-gallon drums with some kind of chemical stored in them. Those drums would get hot, explode and shoot 150 feet into the air, straight up like bottle rockets — of course, it’s not [just] the going up,” he says. “It’s the coming down. You had to watch those things to make sure they didn’t come down on top of you.” As blazing coals fell onto rooftops and into the dense tree cover, firemen darted down avenues dowsing spontaneous outbreaks.

Nightmares on Elm That same month (a bad few weeks in a fire year that broke all records), an acrid cloud a mile wide made breathing difficult for the phalanx of police officers pushing back thousands of onlookers in the second block of South Elm. They had assembled to witness the uncontrolled burn ravaging one of our first retail centers, the 1920s home to F.W. Woolworth. Erected in the 1890s and framed and floored with bone-dry hardwood lumber, the rock-solid edifice, which housed White Star Pharmacy at the time, soon turned into a multistory firepit with twelve blown out front windows and a compromised rear wall, belching flame and smoke for hours. Firewalls held and the devastation was confined to 218–220 South Elm. The framework could have been preserved, but retailers in 1970 were tiptoeing away from downtown for more modern digs. That’s why you’ll find a couple of modern storefronts sandwiched between Kress and the original home to Ellis-Stone. In July 2000 the Grissom Building at 310 South Elm met the very same fate. Downtown was on the cusp of a resurgence, but it was still a crap shoot for developer Milton Kern, who, to resurrect this architectural touchstone, had agreed to buy this impressive late-19th century Romanesque Revival only the day before. On the same block, in the early morning hours of a Friday in October 2003, residents awakened to yet another nightmare on Elm — police pounding on their doors, frantically telling them they had only seconds to flee for their lives from an inferno roaring from the back of the vacant Mantelworks Restaurant next door. A hip urban enclave from 1974–1986, 324 South Elm was also a former decorative fireplace factory known not just for magnificent interior flourishes but as the meeting place where the Old Greensborough Preservation Society got underway in 1975. (The Fun Fourth Festival was also organized there in 1975.) This three-story building was decaying after a quarter century of neglect. As firefighters crossed the threshold, flames lept forward to greet them, caressing the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“ ” “ ” When duty calls me, God, wherever flames may rage,

Give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age.

Enable me to be alert, hear the weakest shout,

And quickly and efficiently put that fire out.

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“ ” “ ” I want to fill my calling, to give the best in me.

To guard my every neighbor and protect their property.

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

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rafters, forcing everyone out. With tons of treated wood ablaze, it took more than a hundred workers two hours to gain control of a blaze that decimated the rear and upper floors. Shortly after this event, the Fire Department issued “Do Not Enter” orders on a dozen similarly decrepit sites downtown so as not to put crew members in harm’s way for uninhabited buildings.

The Downfall of Davie In April of 1985, minutes before 11 p.m., units were dispatched after they got reports of smoke seeping from an empty warehouse at 321 Davie Street. First responders encountered black plumes but no flame. As roof guys laddered up the front, windows beside them exploded after the back of the structure collapsed and oxygen flooded the zone. One firefighter and a gathering of lookie-loos attracted by the commotion missed by only seconds being buried beneath superheated brick. A routine call turned General Alarm, and within half an hour, three adjacent buildings were fueling a firenado towering above the city skyline, lighting up on the other side of Davie. By midnight emergency responders were dealing with six enormous complexes fully engulfed both to their east and west. Ten minutes later a northern assault was underway as flames cut across Washington Street after lumber and paint for the $20 million Greensborough Court development proved highly incendiary. Due to intense pressure, the distinctive arched face of Greensborough Court crumbled, exposing apartments under construction to the whirlwind. Firefighters were already dodging thousand-pound hunks meteoring off rapidly deteriorating mega-structures before fireballs started raining down on them. Turning what hoses they could spare on their own trucks to keep them from igniting, battalions were forced into retreat. “With the backdraft, it was kind of disorienting,” Current Deputy Fire Chief Bobby Nugent, a 36-year veteran recalls. “It blew a couple of people across the street.” Hose lines were messed up and Nugent says, “They had to regroup after that and start getting back into firefighting mode.” Ana Heroy and her family were living one block away. “When we were driving home, coming down Market Street, it looked like the whole city was ablaze so we just were freaking out. I’m thinking, ‘My God, what if our kids had been in there?’ Our babysitter cancelled at the last minute so we had to take our children with us. We weren’t allowed to go in our building. Thank God we had taken our children.” With a stinging layer of soot hanging in the air for miles in all directions, Greensboro’s finest were battling furiously to surround and drown an unrelenting enemy waging total war on three fronts. From blocks away worse news was arriving. The Rhinoceros Club, pelted with hot cinders, was hastily evacuated; teenagers attending a rave at the Depot were drawn like moths towards this goliath on Davie; officials ventured out to investigate whether a haze enveloping Northwestern Bank and Tucker Jones on South Elm was another potential blitzkrieg. Bobby Nugent was informed the fire zone would likely be expanded: “If it had gotten to Elm Street, the higher-ups had already made the decision we were going to move over to Greene Street in front of the Carolina Theater and confront it there. Because if it had already gotten into those old buildings, there was no way we were going to stop that fire.” Our Thin Red Line prevailed. Davie’s atmospherically ripe tinderboxes hung with wiring dating back to the 1920s couldn’t have been reclaimed once the torch was lit. Had it not been for the resolve and expertise of those on the job that night, Hamburger Square would be a charbroiled memory. The city awoke with a blistering hangover that Sunday morning, the near complete obliteration of a major portion of downtown’s business district coming just as wealthy suitors were glancing once again The Art & Soul of Greensboro


at the old gal. Rescued was a cluster of heirlooms on the east 300 block of Davie Street along with much of Greensborough Court’s brickwork. In the 200 block of Davie, there was a small single unit behind Schiffman’s left intact. It had once been a welding shop.

An Unwelcome Return Just last year flames again scorched South Elm, this time on the other side of Lee Street. A mechanic’s lamp at Import Knights Auto Repair set off a tragic chain of events. Captain Sterling Suddarth with Station No. 11 was first on the scene, followed closely by Station No. 7. As per protocol, Suddarth and three seasoned vets initiated an interior attack. Greensboro Fire Chief Greg Grayson presides over one of just 200 accredited departments in the country, the only one in North Carolina with a Class 1 rating. “Two critical things Captain Suddarth didn’t know when he entered that building,” says Grayson. “There had been a delay by the people in the business trying to put the fire out themselves. We always tell people, ‘Call us, don’t try to put it out yourself.’” The delay meant that the fire was much further advanced than expected. What’s more, he says, employees had been working on a gas tank and the vehicle was up on a lift almost at ceiling level. “That’s where the fire occurred,” he says. “And that wasn’t known at the time. You had a lot of fire and heat at the roof structure level that had progressed more than anticipated.” Thirty feet into the building the four men were flattened by the collapse of heavy infrastructure cascading down onto their heads. ‘Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!’ was transmitted, the only true Mayday call anyone serving in the GFD can recall. Everything department-wide almost ceased so all efforts could flow to their fallen comrades. Chief Grayson rode up on a worst-case scenario: “Suddarth went down on his back and a beam fell across him; he was completely out,” he recalls. “He didn’t know anything.” The beam on top of him was ablaze. “Luckily his protective clothing functioned well, his Air-Pak functioned correctly and we had enough people to lift the debris off him and get him out in time. We were just really blessed.” It also helped that the fire occurred around lunch time. “The admin staff was here. The Fire Marshall’s staff were working. We didn’t have another incident going on in the city, and everybody in the department from me to the newest person had just gone through this entrapment maze training.” It seemed beyond happenstance, he says. “Sometimes the good Lord has a plan and we don’t realize how things are coming together.” What’s more, a new emergency room had just opened up at Cone Hospital. “I’ll have this image in my mind till I die. There were fifteen people working on him and I focused on all the char on this white, pristine floor, all this char that was coming off him, his clothing and everything. We truly didn’t know if he was going to make it or not.” Others, of course, were injured, but none as seriously as Suddarth. “When people apply to be a firefighter, they know they’re stepping into an Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health [IDLH] environment. That’s what we do. When this happens so close to home or to another person here, it brings on a lot of, ‘I didn’t think it would happen to us.’” But it did: “We’re a very good fire department. It happened to us.” Following weeks being cared for by Wake Forest Baptist’s burn specialists, and after more than a year of continued therapy, Captain Suddarth is still recovering from his wounds. He’ll wear life-long scars for his service to our community. At present Suddarth is serving light duty. Temporarily, according to Chief Grayson. “We’re very blessed to have dedicated people who know their jobs well and do their jobs well,” he says. “That could have been any Greensboro firefighter just as easily as Captain Suddarth who’s very well respected here, tenured, a solid captain, well known, knowledgeable, a sharp guy, sterling. He has been on the high road since day one, taking it in stride, just an outstanding individual. And he’s going to be back on the truck. He wants to be.” OH

And if according to thy will I am to give my life,

Please bless with your protecting hand, my children and my wife. — Fireman’s Prayer, author unknown

Billy Ingram loves a good fire. Get him to tell you how he’s starring in the indy feature film Lake of Fire this year.

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The State of Filmmaking As a stunning new exhibition reveals, all 100 counties of North Carolina have starred in more than 3,000 films and TV shows shot in the Old North State since 1912

Photographs from the N.C. Museum of History

“Oh! A real story. Intrigue! Danger! New outfits! And it’s mine, mine, mine, all mine, a ha ha ha ha . . . (to camera) Oh, come on, please, you think Ted Koppel never gets excited?” Miss Piggy, Muppets From Space

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I

By Gwenyfar Rohler n one sentence, Camille Hunt, registrar at the North Carolina Museum of History, sums up the vast leaps of filmmaking technology in the last one hundred years: Once a special occasion that involved getting dressed up to go to the one theater in town, she points out, movie-going has evolved in such a way that it’s now possible to watch a movie anywhere — even through the display screen of your phone. Arguably, since the printing press, few other inventions have influenced as many lives as motion picture technology. We are standing in the Starring North Carolina! exhibit that opened at the Raleigh museum in November, which is located right next door to our historic State Capitol building. For two and a half years, Hunt and a team of nearly twenty others have worked to produce this ambitious exhibit, which celebrates our state’s rich history of filmmaking and spans over one hundred years. “We had an exhibit on Gone With the Wind,” says Hunt, recalling the genesis of the idea. “We had costumes, Vivien Leigh costumes, Clark Gable costumes, Vivien Leigh’s Oscar, costume sketches, production sketches . . . This was about the same time Iron Man 3 was being filmed; The Hunger Games had come out.” Hunt found herself asking colleagues, “What else might have happened? We should do an exhibit on North Carolina film.” Behind us on a big screen, a clip from Muppets From Space ends and part of the pilot episode of Sleepy Hollow cues up. There are a couple of rows of theater seats bolted to the floor from the old Galaxy Cinema in Cary. “It was interesting to work with the studios to get permission to use the clips,” Hunt says, grinning. “Oh, this is my favorite scene from Bull Durham!” I turn to her as the players circle the pitcher’s mound in the throes of crisis. “Nobody knows what to get Jimmy and Millie for the wedding!” We both laugh and nod. Hunt’s lovely dark hair frames a face that, at least when she talks about movies, smiles constantly all the way to her twinkling eyes. “We figure this is one of the most iconic North Carolina-made movies, and it is unique in that it was made in North Carolina and set in North Carolina. That’s kind of rare because a lot of the time North Carolina stands in for another place, so it’s neat when we get to be the star as well, you know?” The 1988 film, starring Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins, was produced by N.C. native Thom Mount and put North Carolina and a minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls, on the map. Hunt recalls that while researching the exhibit she and one of the curators, Katie Edwards, The Art & Soul of Greensboro


commented that it felt like “the more we found, the more we found. We would meet a person, and they would say, ‘Oh! You have to talk to soand-so!’ Everyone we talked to was passionate about the project. It’s clear that people in North Carolina are super proud of the industry.” And what’s not to be proud of? Our résumé includes: Iron Man 3, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Dirty Dancing, The Last of the Mohicans, Being There, Safe Haven, The Secret Life of Bees, Dawson’s Creek, Homeland, Matlock, Blue Velvet, Cat’s Eye . . . and 2,988 more films currently celebrated in the exhibit. Like many North Carolinians, and specifically Wilmingtonians, I am well-versed in the litany: Dino De Laurentiis came here for Firestarter with Drew Barrymore in 1983. He so enjoyed burning Orton Plantation for the film and was taken with our low cost of business and the possibilities that a right-to-work state (as opposed to a state where unions were strong) offered a movie producer — that he built a studio here. The rest, as they say, is history. But according to Hunt, filmmaking in N.C. actually began in 1912. “We found that productions had gone back over one-hundred years — the earliest we found was a 1912 production called The Heart of Esmeralda, which was filmed in the mountains.” It was at The Esmeralda Inn, near Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. The Inn has had quite a strong film connection since then: apparently it became a hide-away spot for silent film stars like Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks and Clark Gable. Screenwriters went there for retreats, and Lew Wallace claimed to have finished the script for Ben-Hur in room No. 9. After a lull that lasted a couple of decades, the film industry rediscovered the Inn and, among other films in the area, Dirty Dancing, the coming of age classic with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, landed here. When the Inn was restored following a fire in 1997, the dance floor from the film was installed in the lobby. (Am I the only woman in the world who quivers at the thought of twirling my way across Johnny Castle’s dance floor? I can’t be.) Behind us a black-and-white silent movie clip is playing on a continuous loop. “We get into the N.C. connection to filmmaking [with] silent films in 1921.” Hunt gestures to The Lost Colony film made in Manteo. This film was the foundation and inspiration for The Lost Colony play that Paul Green would write and produce in 1937. “Part of what I find interesting about this is that the writer and director were both women, and at the time that was unusual —”

In Starring North Carolina!, see a mask from the 1990 movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was filmed in North Carolina. Loan courtesy of the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, Wilmington, N.C.

Actor Kevin Costner wore this bomber jacket in the 1988 movie Bull Durham, which was filmed in North Carolina. Loan courtesy of Thom Mount.

Ricky Bobby’s No. 26 Wonder Bread race car from the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The 2006 Chevrolet, currently on view in the museum lobby, is on loan from International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama, and from Shell Oil. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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I interrupt Hunt. “It still is.” “No, you’re right,” she nods. “It still is.” We turn another corner and are greeted by the black-and-white screen movie clip of two men talking at a piano. “This is Pitch a Boogie Woogie, which was made in Greenville in the 1940s.” Featuring an all-African-American cast that includes a lot of Greenville locals and some big name touring dancers and musicians of the era, Hunt explains that, originally, “the movie was mostly shown in African-American theaters in the Greenville area.” It was lost and almost forgotten until a print was discovered while restoring the Roxy Theatre in Greenville. “A professor at ECU, Alex Albright, had rediscovered the film and took charge of getting it resurrected. They did a re-release in 1986,” Hunt elaborates. Watching the clips run I feel as if I’m at an early screening from Cine Noir, the AfricanAmerican Independent Film Festival (now renamed the North Carolina Black Film Festival). That same excitement and verve of independent storytelling comes through on the screen. But before I can get too proud of the strong heritage of African-American art in our state, I am reminded of the flip side of our history by a copy of The Clansman, a novel by Thomas F. Dixon, in a display case. It was turned into a film by D.W. Griffith titled The Birth of a Nation. “The author was from here,” Hunt reminds me. “Yeah, Thomas F. Dixon . . .” I trail off thinking about Birth of a Nation (which he co-wrote the screenplay for) and the sequel, The Fall of a Nation, which he wrote and directed. Two sides of the early N.C. filmmaking coin jingle in my head. “Here we enter the heart of the exhibit: modern movies!” Hunt almost squeals with delight. Again, expecting to start with Firestarter or Cat’s Eye, I am surprised that instead we are at the 1956 Grace Kelly film The Swan, as part of an interactive display on Biltmore Estate’s many uses as a filming location. “It was the last movie she made before she became a princess,” Hunt smiles as she lifts a section of the 2-D Biltmore House to reveal the information. Apparently one of Elvis’ last movies was also made in N.C.: Speedway (1968), co-starring Nancy Sinatra. Speaking of Elvis, the costume Earl Owensby wore in his tribute film Living Legend: The King of Rock and Roll (1980) is on display on a mannequin in a glass case. The film also co-stared Ginger Alden, Elvis’ fiancée at the time of his death. “I’m so glad to see you included Earl Owensby,” I comment to Hunt. “We love him!” She gushes. “Everyone we talked to . . . the film commissioner at the time . . . Bill Vassar at Screen Gems . . . everyone said, ‘You have to include Earl Owensby. He was the pioneer of movie-making in North Carolina. He was just a guy who wanted to make movies and he did.’” That’s probably the simplest description of Owensby possible. He wasn’t just a kid with a camera and a dream. Known as the “Dixie DeMille” in the 1970s, he built a 200-acre studio facility with eight sound stages, a water tank for filming, an airport runway, and now an on-site hotel for housing cast and crew. He didn’t come from an old movie-making family in California. He was a North Carolina boy who came home from the Marine Corps and decided he wanted to make movies. In the next few decades, he would write, direct, act in and produce over forty feature films through Earl Owensby Studios, just outside the small town of Shelby, North Carolina. Behind us is the display commemorating the De Laurentiis and Capra connection to Wilmington. “This was Frank Capra’s desk, which is housed at Screen Gems.” Hunt points out the magazine on the desk with a cover shot of Orton Plantation, noting that it was the inspiration for bringing Capra, Jr. and De Laurentiis to the area for Firestarter. Ahh, here we are on familiar ground, I think. Cocktail napkins with dark blue writing commemorate the union of Betty and Jake . . . I look up to see Alan Alda’s picture smiling at me. “Oh my gosh! It’s party favors from the wedding in Betsy’s Wedding!” I exclaim. “Yeah, and to me that’s another interesting thing about movie-making,” says Hunt. “Some company had to make these — and that’s another industry that feeds into the filmmaking companies.” She is preaching to the choir on this one. All I can think about is the number of times book rentals to film productions have paid the mortgage or payroll for the bookstore I own. “This is the desk from Crimes of the Heart . . .” Hunt begins to explain another

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artifact to me. “Madeline’s desk!” I interrupt, again, searching the signage for explanation. “Yes, there, it’s from John Bankson.” Bankson is local props master in the film industry, and after the film this desk had gone to live in his teenage daughter’s room. Hunt gives me a surprised look and nods. “We had to wait until she went to college before we could pick up the desk.” I had warned Hunt at the beginning that part of this was going to feel like old home week for me. But as we wind our way through various Wilmingtonians featured in the exhibit, Jeff McKay, Jayme Bednarczyk and Jeff Goodwin, I just swell with pride at their recognition. Hunt steers us into a part of the exhibit about how the movie-going experience has changed over the years. “These are seats from a segregated theater in Carrboro,” she begins, adding that the exhibit also talks about “tri-racial segregation, which a lot of people don’t know about.” She points to a picture of the exterior of a movie theater in Robeson County. “Whites, blacks and American Indians . . . this is the one where you can see the three doors.” It starts to feel like every time I get lost in the adulation of the glamour of the film world, something here snaps me back to reality and the darker side of our history. We pass out of that room and into the final room of the exhibit with more recent films, and I am startled that the only nod to The Crow (1994) is a framed promotional poster on the wall. I ask, because it was one of our darker moments when Brandon Lee lost his life on the set. Hunt explains that they had trouble finding artifacts from it, and that there are so many films to celebrate it would difficult to do large displays of all of them. She’s right. We haven’t even begun the Nicholas Sparks era of filming or any of the days of Capeside or Tree Hill High. Large display cases filled with costumes, props and signed memorabilia fill the center of the room. As we move forward, another case with Sleepy Hollow materials looms ahead. “Have you seen it?” Hunt asks me. “Actually, they were filming an episode in my bookstore yesterday.” “Really?” she asks. I nod. “Well, it’s a very book-oriented show.” “Who was there?” she inquires. “The leads,” I answer, ready to leave it there. But I cave and give in to her pleading look. “Tom Mison was there. He’s very charming and very smart and very generous in real life.” She grins and ducks her head a bit. Then we get back to the serious work looking at the overwhelming number of films and TV shows that have flooded the state since 1984. “And we didn’t even have room to include made-for-TV movies” she points out. I had almost forgotten about the genre that dominated the entertainment industry in my childhood and is now virtually extinct. But the coup de grâce is an interactive screen at the end. “We have found films made in every one of the one hundred counties in the state,” Hunt informs me with pride. It’s really impressive; you touch a county on the state map and a screen pops up with a list of films made there. “Have any of our state legislators seen this?” I ask. After all, the museum is located right next door to the North Carolina General Assembly. “Because the myth is that film money only goes to Wilmington and Charlotte . . . but this blows that out of the water.” “Well, we don’t have any way of tracking if they’ve been here or not,” Hunt replies diplomatically. “I hope they do come see this. Everyone should see this. What a way to show the real impact that film has here.” “And has for one hundred years. It’s still going,” Hunt agrees. “We wanted to celebrate it — all of it.” OH

Starring North Carolina! highlights films, television shows, and actors from the state. Andy Griffith is best known for his roles in The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. The last three seasons of Matlock were filmed in Wilmington.

Starring North Carolina! is on display now through September 7. The North Carolina Museum of History is located at 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh. Information: (919) 807-7900 or ncmuseumofhistory.org. Gwenyfar Rohler spends her days managing her family’s bookstore on Front Street in Wilmington. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Story of a House

Life is a

Glass House

The modernist ruin that Liz and Mike Felsen ambitiously took on and lovingly restored — featured on this year’s Historic Home Tour for Preservation Greensboro — is bound to be a conversation starter. That’s just the way the former and new owners want it By Maria Johnson • Photographs By Amy Freeman

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Story of a House

E

mbedded in her High French Regency home in Southern California, Liz Felsen was curious when her husband, Mike, called from Greensboro, where they were moving because of Mike’s furniture business. It was early summer 2013, and the couple was house hunting. That’s why Mike was calling. He wanted Liz to look up an interesting house he’d seen for sale in the Hamilton Lakes neighborhood, near the home of his business partners, Ron and Kelly Hahn. Liz hopped online and looked up the house, which lay in a bend of Henderson Road, right across from Lake Hamilton. Built in 1955, the house was classic mid-century Modernist. Low. Boxy. Flat roof. One story. The wood siding was painted white. The place was charming. And dilapidated. “Home needs a lot of work,” the listing warned. “To be sold as is.” Liz clicked around and found out that the house had been designed by a wellknown North Carolina architect. She was intrigued, but she was too late. The house, part of a court-ordered bankruptcy sale, was under contract.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

She kept an eye on the listing. By August, the Felsens and their two daughters had moved into a rental home in Greensboro’s Sunset Hills, and the house on Henderson Road was back on the market. Liz and Mike made an appointment to see it. The real estate agent offered them dust masks at the door. Liz passed on a mask. She stepped through the front door and around the coat closet that split the foyer. She liked what she saw. A dining room with exposed beams and, just beyond it, a living area anchored by a low and broad brick fireplace that was topped with bands of copper cladding and crowned with planter boxes. Light squeezed through dirty plate-glass and clerestory windows all around. The place was tired and dingy, but Liz, who holds degrees in interior design and history, could feel the hand of architect Thomas Hayes, who had designed the home for his college roommate and fraternity brother Will Howard and his wife, Diane. Just a few years out of N.C. State, Will Howard, a civil engineer who owned a water-and-sewer system construction company with his brothers, was doing well

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in those baby-booming post-war days. His buddy Tom Hayes, an Army veteran who’d attended State on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree from the school’s forward-thinking school of architecture, was thriving, too. He’d worked briefly for Greensboro master Modernist architect Edward Loewenstein, who sent him to Southern Pines to work on three homes. Soon, Hayes had his own firm, Hayes Marshall and Associates. That’s when Howard called on him. Would Hayes design a lake view home for him and his family? Hayes got busy on an H-shaped, 2,800-square-foot plan that was compact and open at the same time. As in most Modernist homes, the divide between indoors and outdoors would be minimized with lots of windows. Visitors would enter the foyer, be drawn into a rather formal but cozy combination dining/living area, then step to the left into a great room with kitchen and family room. Nearly sixty years later, Liz Felsen was following the path that Hayes had laid out. She was pulled into the dining and living area, which hooked her, then she stepped into the kitchen and family room. Uh-oh. Water pooled on the salt-and-pepper terrazzo floor. The water-stained ceiling was shedding plaster. The home’s sixth owner had left behind pots, pans and other pieces of life. Golf clubs, paintings, an old sofa. Liz pressed on. Beyond the great room, on a short hallway with four bedrooms, she peeked into the master. One corner of the ceiling was caved in. Black mold covered the walls. She reached for the protective mask and checked out the other three bedrooms down the hall. Ugh, ugh and ugh. Dark, dank, depressing. I gotta have it, Liz thought. I gotta bring this house back. “It’s going to be done,” she said. Liz Felsen, willowy, sophisticated, forthright and happy, keeps repeating this.

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“It’s going to be done.” After a while, you realize she’s preaching to herself. And to Benjamin Briggs, the executive director of Preservation Greensboro Inc. Briggs went ahead and put the home — which is in the middle of a massive renovation — on the roster for an upcoming tour of historic homes and gardens in Hamilton Lakes. The tour, scheduled for May 16–17, will be the latest edition of the nonprofit’s annual showcase that spotlights a Greensboro neighborhood. Liz Felsen promised Briggs that the house would be ready. Every once in a while, Briggs rides by the house and calls her. “Liiiiiiz . . .” he says. Just a few weeks ago, it was easy to see why Briggs was nervous. It was a warm and radiant January day. The sky was blue. The leaves on the trees around Lake Hamilton were down, affording a great view of the winking water and the giant orange forklift atop the mud and gravel that was the Felsen’s front yard. Cardboard and scrap wood pathways led across the mud to the house, which was partially cloaked in thin white Tyvek, like someone who had just stepped from the shower and hastily wrapped herself in a towel. Inside, the house shivered in the shade. The walls were bare studs, wooden ribs on 16-inch centers. The ceilings were open to the rafters and snaked with new silver accordion air ducts, plastic coated wires and dull silver boxes that one day would glow with bright-eyed can lights. Huge pieces of oriented strand board, with their pressed, variegated wood flakes, covered the gaps where windows would go. Hammers banged. Top 40 radio played. A McDonald’s cup held a worker’s drink. Mike Felsen walked around with a cup of Bruegger’s coffee, conferring with general contractor Rick Burge, whose cousin Gary Jobe’s construction company is doing the work. “Does this door really have to be here?” Mike says to Liz, as he stands in one of two doorways leading to the bedroom hallway. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“Yes, it has to be there,” Liz said. “For balance.” “It does?” “Yes,” she said. “The door will be there.” Mike shrugged and ambled on. Believe it or not, this house is for him. A native of the nation’s capital, Mike Felsen has long been a fan of Modernist architecture. “I’ve always felt the open plan was a better use of space,” he says. Still, he has never lived in a Modernist home before. Not as a kid. Not when he and Liz lived in D.C. Or when they lived in California the first time. Or in Tennessee. Or in Mississippi. Or in Maryland. Or in California the second time. The closest they got was drooling over Modernist homes while vacationing in Palm Springs. Then came Greensboro. Mike loved California, and Liz thought that finding a Modernist house here might make the transition easier. Mike trusted her instincts on the Howard home. “I don’t have any ability to visualize space and what things are going to look like,” he says. “I don’t have any taste. But I married well. My wife has an immense amount of taste.” Two-twenty-five. That’s what they laid down for the Howard house. Twotwenty-five for the opportunity to spend almost five times as much fixing a house that was riddled with asbestos, termites, water damage and mold. When they stripped away everything that was rotten, all that remained were the studs of the interior walls. They would rebuild from the floor up, preserving almost everything in the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

original plan while indulging in some updates. “Whatever we spend, we’re never gonna get out, so you gotta love it,” says Mike. Liz tracked down the original plans from the architect who’d bought Tom Hayes’ practice in Southern Pines. She shipped the plans to Mike’s brother Martin, a Chicago architect who changed precious little. He pitched the roof a little to shed water. Liz wanted a new window at the front of the home. She wanted to extend a hallway outside the bedrooms. She wanted a two-story addition, with a ground-level apartment for her parents when they visit. She wanted a bigger master bathroom for herself and Mike, and she wanted to turn the bedroom on the other side of the wall into a closet. I know, she says. Very California. She tracked down interior photos of the house taken in its prime. In the kitchen, the Howards had a floating luncheon counter with shelves suspended overhead. It looked like something a kid of the ’50s might have made with a Girder and Panel Building Set. The module had been ripped out at some point, but Liz wanted to recreate it. Mike nixed the idea. He wanted clear sight lines between the kitchen and family room. A new island would go in that space. “I lost that one,” Liz says, with the ire of a golfer who has just shot a 65 instead of a 64. It was a fun house. That’s what the Howards wanted when they built the house at 3905 Henderson Road. They had been living near downtown, in an apartment off Fisher Avenue, with their two young daughters, Thea and Paula. They wanted more room for their young family to blossom. Hamilton Lakes of the 1950s fit the bill. Started in the 1920s, the neighborhood was a rural satellite of Greensboro for years, but the area experienced a March 2015

O.Henry 79


resurgence after the gap was filled in by the Starmount neighborhoods. Among the Hamilton Lakes brick ranches and Colonials, many of them built as spec houses, a sprinkling of Modernist homes sprang up, some designed by local architects including Loewenstein, Jack Pickens Coble, Wesley Doggett, and Jaroslav Jan “J.J.” Kabatnik. The Howard’s oldest child, Paula Kabello of Fairhope, Alabama, says her parents gave Hayes a lot of leeway in designing their new home. “They pretty much said, ‘Run with it,’ but knowing my mother, I’m sure she had to put her two cents’ worth in,” says Kabello, now 64. The daughter of a well-to-do family, Diane Howard had grown up in an eyecatching log cottage on White Oak Road in Raleigh. “She was no stranger to unusual homes,” says Kabello. Her mother had attended art school and traveled. She loved fashion, design, textiles and being different. The house on Henderson Road was the perfect canvas for her. “She was so into the decorating,” says Kabello, who was 5 years old when the family moved in. “That was her favorite part.” Diane Howard grew orchids in a planter inside the front door. In the formal living area, where the children were not allowed, she put white sofas and chairs. A Japanese sword hung over the fireplace. A glass-and-iron coffee table provided a conversation piece. Under the table’s glass top was a clear dish that Diane Howard filled with water and fan-tailed goldfish. Years later, she liked to tell the story of a visitor who, out of habit, went to put her pocketbook on the table and realized too late that the top was missing. The Howards — both were tall, dark-haired and striking — entertained often. Sometimes, Diane sent invitations with a rendering of the house on front. Inside, she used a fountain pen to fill in blanks for time, date and occasion. Their parties ran the gamut, from hot-dog-and-hamburger affairs to fancier Mad Men-style gatherings. The children were banished to the bedrooms with a babysitter as the house filled with men in dark suits and skinny ties, and women

80 O.Henry

March 2015

in party dresses, pumps and cat-eye glasses. They drank from highball and martini glasses. They noshed on molded pâté, veggies on toast points, meatballs and cocktail sausages skewered with Spanish olives. Will Howard relished having his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers over, and the guys often broke into fraternity anthems. Diane played the ukulele and sang. “She couldn’t play or sing too well, but she enjoyed herself, and nobody seemed to mind,” says Kabello. One of Diane’s standbys involved Sally sitting by the seashore, sifting sand. If you think the song got interesting after a few drinks, you’re right. “That was her point,” says the Howard’s second child, Thea Gardner of Apex. An artistic free spirit, Diane Howard expressed herself at every turn. She knitted fashionable sweaters from exotic yarns. Some of her works are on permanent display at N.C. State. One year, she decided to build a model ship. Pieces of the Cutty Sark, a British clipper, covered the family dining room table for months. “That’s how she was,” says Kabello. “She’d get into something, and go to the top.” The Howard children pursued their passions, too. The four of them (a younger sister, Libby, and a brother, Bill, eventually joined Paula and Thea) roller-skated on the patio. They turned loose chameleons in the indoor planters. They swam in Lake Hamilton, which then included a small beach, bathhouse, diving platform and pier. Sometimes, their mother, who liked to fish, took the kids across the street to the lake. When the youngest child, Bill, was little and prone to dashing off, Diane was known to tie one end of a rope around his waist and the other end to a tree. When daughter Paula found out that she could climb from a tree onto the flat roof of the Howard’s house, where she liked to roam around, her mother had this to say: “Be careful.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“It was a different time,” says Kabello, laughing. Once in a while, a stranger would knock on the orange-red front door and ask about the history of the house. Diane Howard greeted them cordially. “She was glad to talk to people,” says Kabello. “She was a chatty person.” The Howards moved out in 1967, after a dozen years on Henderson Road. Space was tight with four children, and the girls had gotten into riding horses. The family moved to an existing split-level house off New Garden Road. They had a barn, a basement recreation room, pastures and a swimming pool. Kabello says she never got the idea that her parents regretted leaving their first house. When Will Howard died in 1996, Diane Howard rented half of N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium for a memorial service. Pork barbecue, fried chicken, beer and iced tea were served. At the end of the service, Will Howard’s children walked the length of the football field, scattering his ashes as they went. “We each got 25 yards,” says Kabello. “That was Diane’s idea.” Diane Howard died in a Greensboro retirement community in 2009, at age 80. Kabello says her mother would be overjoyed at the Felsen’s plans to restore the Henderson Road home to its former glory. “She’d say, ‘It’s about time someone loved it as much as we did.’ Then she’d be all up in their Kool-Aid to see what they were doing and definitely contribute her ideas and opinions. Kinda a good thing for the Felsens that she’s not here. Yes, you can quote me.”

I

f there’s anything harder than living in a glass house, it’s living in a glass house with no trees around, though not for the reasons you might think. Mike and friends were walking around Lake Hamilton one day last year when they encountered a woman who was upset that Mike and Liz had cleared eight trees from their yard. The woman gave Mike a piece of her mind. Later, someone planted “Save Our Canopy” signs in the front yard. Liz responded to the gripes by taping the landscape plan to a window at the front of the house, so the curious could see what was coming. “It’s gonna be great,” says Felsen. The plan, by Greensboro designer Brent Skelton, shows a lot dotted with river birches and ginkgo trees, refashioned built-in planters, and a vanishing edge fountain between the house and the lake. It also shows a detached two-story casita instead of an attached addition. The Felsens dropped the attached version to preserve the lake view for their neighbors. The city quashed the Felsen’s plans for an underground garage, so the couple will park their cars in a driveway flanked by a private courtyard, also original to the home. Another nod to history: The renovated home will wear vertical wood siding painted white, and the trim will be dark, but the entrance will have a new look with wider concrete steps leading to an orange — “screaming orange” in Liz’s words — front door. Liz predicts that the neighbors will either love or hate the finished product. She’s fine with that. “If everything’s the same, there’s nothing to start a conversation, and that’s the thing about this. We will start a conversation about what can be done, and what can be saved in Greensboro.” OH Maria Johnson, contributing editor of O.Henry, wants to paint her boring brown front door orange. She can be reached at maria@ohenrymag.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The place was tired and dingy, but Liz, could feel the hand of architect Thomas Hayes, who had designed the home for his college roommate and fraternity brother Will Howard and his wife, Diane.

March 2015

O.Henry 81


Camellias

— Botanicus —

The beloved plants of North Carolina By Barbara Sullivan

I

f Lord Grantham’s grandfather had invited a Japanese Samurai warrior to Downton Abbey in, say, 1840, they might have found they had a lot in common — contrary to what the historical stereotypes would suggest. It wouldn’t be just that they both shared an exalted social status, a heap of accumulated wealth and an almost religious reverence for tea drinking. (They both certainly would have enjoyed sipping a hot cup of lapsang souchong.) It turns out the Japanese warrior class and the British fox-hunting class of that particular period shared a delight and obsession with the growing of that most beautiful and formally elegant of evergreens, the camellia. The plant, which in the wild grows to a height of about sixty feet as an understory forest tree, used to be called the Chinese rose. It is a native of both China and Japan although its Latin name, Camellia japonica, gives credit to only one country. Whether in its original species form or one of its thousands of cultivars, it’s now grown throughout the American South and in many other temperate parts of the world for its showy winter blooms and handsome evergreen form. But until the 1600s no Westerner had ever laid eyes on it. And it wasn’t until the late 1700s that the British were finally able to import a viable specimen that didn’t immediately up and die. From that point on the Western plant world never looked back. Camellias became more and more popular and continued their reign as “queens of the winter garden” until the turn of the twentieth century. Cargo ships and tea drinking factor heavily into the story of how the camellia came to grow so happily and abundantly in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, California and many parts of the American South. During the years when the British East India Company carried out its lucrative trade in imports from the Far East, tea was among its most prized cargo. The tea, then as now,

82 O.Henry

March 2015

was made from the tender new leaves of another kind of camellia native to China, C. sinensis. The story goes that the East India Company bribed Chinese officials to obtain a living specimen of C. sinensis to bring back to England so that they could grow the plants directly themselves, eliminate the middle man and eventually make a killing. When the plant arrived, however, botanists realized it was the ornamental C. japonica, not its cousin, C. sinensis. The flowers of C. japonica were much bigger and more colorful, but the leaves were not so tasty. In any case, sometime soon after the first European gardeners set eyes on the first C. japonica in full bloom, the craving set in. In the late 1700s, both British and American gardeners were obsessed with reports of newly discovered plants from China and Japan. Novelties arrived regularly on cargo ships; plants were traded among friends; nurseries sprang up to meet the demand for the new imports; the rarer the plant the greater the bragging rights. Gentlemen farmers on both sides of the Atlantic became amateur botanists, keeping detailed records of their prize acquisitions. Camellias were among the most prized of all. Because camellias were considered exotic and rare, and because of their exorbitant cost, the standard procedure was to protect them from the elements in stove-heated greenhouses or sun-warmed conservatories and to coddle them like babies. Only later did westerners learn that the plants weren’t as fragile as they’d imagined and would thrive outdoors with minimum care as long as they were grown in mild-winter climates. For the next hundred years camellias took pride of place in the collections of wealthy families on both sides of the ocean. The cultivation and study of the plant became a gentleman’s hobby; male-only camellia societies sprang up; camellia aficionados named new cultivars after their wives and daughters. By the mid-1800s every European princess or duchess worth her salt had a The Art & Soul of Greensboro


camellia named after her. At the height of the craze, Alexander Dumas wrote his famous novel, La Dame aux Camellias, and a few years later Giuseppe Verdi turned it into the opera La Traviata. By the middle of the nineteenth century the camellia craze in Britain had spread to France and Germany. Prices came down far enough that suburban gardeners with small plots were able to participate in what became an everexpanding cultivation of new varieties. Professional and amateur breeders introduced hundreds of new cultivars of C. japonica and the earlier-blooming relative the sasanqua. Not to be outdone, the Americans installed a camellia conservatory at the White House. Along with a rose house, orchid houses and other conservatories, it showcased the choicest plants from around the world. At the turn of the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt tore the whole plant complex down so he could build what is now the West Wing. This happened to coincide with the public’s waning interest in camellias. It’s not clear what lay behind this sudden fall from grace, although we do know that plants, like hemlines and hairdos, fall victim to fashion trends. Possibly the camellia was too much a symbol of the Victorian sensibilities which were being overthrown on a wholesale basis by all things modern. In any case, it wasn’t until after World War II that the plant began to grab the imagination of gardeners on anything resembling the scale of the initial camellia mania. At around this time, in the early 1950s, Bill Howell was working as an Agricultural Extension agent for New Hanover County, helping farmers primarily with tobacco and cotton cultivation. He’d grown up working on his parents’ tobacco farm in Wayne County and then gotten a degree in agronomy from N.C. State. While raising a family and working in the Extension office, he found time to develop a hobby that turned into a passion. Like so many others before him, when he fell in love with his first camellia blossom he became hooked. At that time in Wilmington, he says, “it was all azaleas, azaleas, azaleas. I thought the camellias were much prettier flowers.” He met a group of fellow enthusiasts at the Tidewater Camellia Club, an organization founded in 1952 by the noted plantsman Henry Rehder. At that time club membership was only open to men. They met downtown at St. James Episcopal Church to talk about all things camellia. Over time, Bill gained an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the differences that made one bloom stand out from another. The petals might be ruffled at the edges, swirled or fluted. They might overlap in concentric layers completely hiding the stamens (a “formal double”) or they might spread out into one cup-like layer (a “single”). Somewhere in between was the “semi-double.” Blooms might be peony shaped, anemone shaped or rose shaped. Stamens might be fused at the bottom, standing up almost cylindrically, or they might each be separate and spill out into an exuberant sunburst. If you looked closely enough, you might see that the leaves were covered in a network of fine veins or cut in the shape of fish tails. An almost infinite gradation in shades of pink, red and white could set one variety apart from another in a way only a true connoisseur could appreciate, let alone identify. Over the years, Bill Howell learned all this and more. He ended up growing over 200 varieties in his backyard, trading cuttings with fellow camellia lovers throughout the South and propagating new plants whenever he got a free moment. He entered camellia shows up and down the East Coast from Norfolk, Virginia, to Jacksonville, Florida. Whenever one of his shrubs set out a “sport,” that is a bloom unlike all the other blooms on the shrub, he would remove it and create a new cultivar from it, the ultimate pleasure of the camellia grower. And when his blooms competed in shows, they won prizes. The process of presenting an award-winning bloom is not a quick one. It starts with the painstaking grafting of The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a scion onto rootstock, which involves lining up the millimeters-wide cambium layers as precisely as possible, wrapping it all in plastic until the graft “takes” and then growing the new shrub to a flowering size. In the meantime there’s watering and fertilizing to be done. In late summer and fall every year, a serious grower will disbud a certain number of growth buds each week and apply gibberellic acid to encourage larger blossoms. Finally, the large, perfectly formed flower is presented on a bed of cotton in a specially prepared box like the treasure it is. This takes a lot of love. Camellia mania seems to be going through another waning stage at the moment. The kind of devotion Bill Howell and his fellow Carolina camellia buffs lavished on their plants may not be trending, as they say. But the plant will always have a certain magnetism that defies fashion and fads. The plant has been revered, from what we can tell, for thousands of years. One camellia tree growing near a temple in Yunnan province in China has been around for 600 years. People still come to marvel at the hundreds of ruffled crimson blossoms it puts out. A plant like this — and all its thousands of beautifully varied cousins — is a plant which speaks so directly to people’s hearts. Surely it will never lose its power of seduction. OH

March 2015

O.Henry 83


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A L M A N A C

March n

By Noah Salt

March’s Garden To-Do List

The garden awaits, and there’s plenty to do. Let’s get to it, people. • This is the last good time to trim off dead wood from shrubs and perennials. • Rake out over-wintered flower and vegetable beds, weed and add composted material to improve the soil. If you haven’t done so in the past, send soil samples for testing. Check your local garden center for recommended resources. • This is a great time to visit public gardens to see elements of early spring and to gain useful insights on planting schemes and design. • Feed roses with organic blend of cottonseed meal and composted manure. • Time to plan cold-loving vegetables such as radishes, spinach, Asian greens, lettuce, broccoli, parsley and early peas. • Harden off tomatoes, peppers and eggplant by moving outdoors to a cold frame. You may safely plant them in the garden after final frost, which generally happens in most of the state between April 10–20. • Early March is really the last good time to transplant perennials and plant trees and shrubs before autumn. • Do an inventory of your garden shed, repair tools and organize equipment. Now’s the time to get your lawn mower tuned up, even as you apply an early spring organic fertilizer.

Imagination, new and strange In every age, can turn the year; Can shift the poles and lightly change The mood of men, the world’s career. The lovely lines above constitute the final stanza of one of our favorite poems — Imagination — by the Scottish playwright and poet John Davidson, who drowned at age 51 in the ocean off England’s Land’s End on March 23, 1909, allegedly a suicide. Though he was greatly admired by the likes of William Butler Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, Davidson’s life was turbulent and wracked by poverty and frustration. After failing as a playwright he turned to light verse and found his voice, becoming an admired balladeer and eventually inspiring a younger generation of poets belonging to the so-called modern age, like Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot. The month of March is famous for its own brand of turbulence — our biggest snowstorms often come, violent rains that herald a change of season, the mythical Ides of March, and so forth — yet strikes us as a month when the human imagination yearns to be freed from its winter quarters and turned loose in a dozen directions at once. The gardener sees new life exploding from the Earth and is suddenly brimming with ideas that can “change the year” and lighten the “mood of men.” House sales rise with the mercury, birdsong sets loose raptures of anticipation, young men’s hearts turn to love, and — well, we could go on and on. The possibilities are only as limited as one’s imagination. As John Davidson reminds us with his elegy: There is a dish to hold the sea, A brazier to contain the Sun, A compass for the galaxy, A voice to wake the dead and done! So welcome, Spring. Welcome indeed.

Dream Gardens

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

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

To see a garden in your dreams, filled with evergreen and flowers, according to experts on the subject, denotes great peace of mind and comfort. If you dream of walking on a well-kept lawn, you are in for an occasion of joy and prosperity. Raking and weeding suggests work still to be done, while to dream of using a lawn mower means you may soon be engaged in a tedious social function — after you finish up the lawn first, of course. To dream of seeing flowers in bloom and full color signifies pleasure and gain, while dreaming of walking through a park with your lover simply means you will be happily married for a very long time. March 2015

O.Henry 85


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O.Henry 87


March 2015 First Friday

Fleetwood Mac

3/

3/

6

17

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet poet • Laurence Avery, author of Mountain Gravity.

Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

March 1–8

BOUNCERS. 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. You’ll • be Flubber-gasted at the gymnasts competing at

the Atlantic Coast Tumbling and Trampoline Invitational. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com.

WATER WORLD. 10 a.m. Whatever boat • you’d like to float, it’s likely on display at the Central Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com.

ROTSA RUV. 2 p.m. Last chance to see • UNCG’s productions of The Lover by Harold

Pinter and The Marriage Proposal by Anton Chekov.

• • Art

Music/Concerts

88 O.Henry

March 2015

Performing arts

20

3/

Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

March 1

Key:

Nature Boy

GRAND DRAWING(S). Vive la différence . . . between charcoal, ink, crayon and other media at Line, Touch, Trace. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

March 1–10

THE ART OF TRAVEL. For $20 and lunch, • learn how the artist Brenda Behr creates magic on canvas. Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or tylerwhitegallery.com.

March 1–April 18

SCREEN GEMS. Feel the ambiance of vintage • movie theaters in Benita Van Winkle’s exhibition of

photos, Please Remain Standing. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

March 1–April 19

SKY-HIGH. Four artists look up for inspiration • in Skyward to help celebrate the births of Shakespeare and Galileo 450 years ago. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

March 1–April 2

MAN AND NATURE. Humans and landscapes • inform Craig Hood: Visiting Falk Artist. Weatherspoon

and Self-Portraits by NC Artists. Submit a selfie: hashtag #1512selfportrait to @greenhillnc. Greenhill,

March 1­–May 3

WHO DAT? Fifty portraits and thirty-three Tar • Heel faces comprise Fritz Janschka’s Portrait Museum

• • Film

200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3337460 or greenhillnc.org.

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

History

Sports

Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

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March Arts Calendar American Buffalo. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Info: 888-663-1194 or reynoldahouse.org.

March 1–June 14

LENS CRAFTERS. Innovation is the hallmark • of mid-20th century photographers such as Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander, in Observed/ Examined/Fabricated: Recent Acquisitions in Photography. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

March 4–8

CUVÉE FOR A CAUSE. 7–11 p.m. Corks for • Kids Path features wines chosen by Zeto, craft beers

and more. All to benefit Hospice’s program for ailing or grieving children. Empire Room, Elm Street Center, 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: corksforkidspath.org.

PAS DE TUTU. 7 p.m. Watch a mix of ball• room and ballet at “Tangos and Tutus.” Studio of

the Greensboro Ballet, Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7480 or email greensboroballet@yahoo.com.

HOOP-LA! The 2015 ACC Women’s Basketball SAME OLD SONGS. 8 p.m. It’s just too good • • Championship rings in March Madness. Game times to be true: The Hit Men, former members of acts vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster. com.

March 5

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet authors • Steve Lindahl, Ray Morrison and Matthew Peters. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

CUT TO THE CHASE. 8 p.m. Tap your toes to • the music of country singer/songwriter Chase Bryant. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

March 6

OK, N.C. Noon. Todd Lasseigne, CEO of Tulsa • Botanic Garden revisits his, er, roots with “Livin’

on Tulsa Time with Carolina on My Mind.” Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. To register: (336) 996-7888 or cienterbotanicalgarden.org.

TWO-DA-LOO! 5–8 p.m. Celebrate First Friday • with a $2 admission fee, sponsored by Wells Fargo. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

• FROSTY FRIDAY. 6 p.m. Check www.facebook. com/beerco.greensboro to see what’s on tap First

such as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondelles perform a night of beloved tunes. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

March 6–8; 13–15

LAMP-OON. It’s a whole new world, with genies • and magic carpet rides in Disney’s Aladdin JR. Times vary. Community Theatre of Greensboro, 520 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-7470 or ctgso.org.

March 7

SHAKE IT OFF. 10 a.m. Dueling monologues • are the stuff of the Student Shakespeare Competition, sponsored by the Greensboro chapter of the English Speaking Union of the United States. Room 120, Education Building, UNCG. Info: esuus.org/ greensboro.

CITY DWELLERS. 10:30 a.m. African• Americans’ contributions are the focus of the

documentary, High Point: A Memoir of the African American Community. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

THE PHILADELPHIA SOUND. 8 p.m. OCD: • Moosh & Twist bring their Philly-based Hip Hop sound to town. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

Friday at Greensboro’s only “drink-in” beer store. Beer Co., 121-D McGee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-2204.

March 7; 28

PAS DE TROIS. 7 p.m. Jan Van Dyke Group • performs three short dances with dozens of portraits

Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

watching from the walls on First Friday. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3732727 or danceproject.org.

IF HE HAD A HAMMER. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wait! • He does! Watch the blacksmith bend some iron. High

March 8 Key:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 3 p.m. Celebrate • Sable Books with its partner and marketing director

Melissa Hassard. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

March 10

ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI. 3:30–4:45 p.m. • Aspiring chefs will be rolling in dough, making pasta

at The Tween Cooking Class (ages 8–12). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 317 or gcmuseum.com.

CHEEKY. 7 p.m. Fred Astaire and Ginger • Rogers step to it in Top Hat (1935). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

March 10–14

MAD MEN. It’s on! March Madness reaches • fever pitch with the 2015 ACC Men’s Basketball

Tournament. Times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets for Opening Day: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

March 11

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Hear a reading • of Cave Wall Press poet Meg Kearney. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

March 12

CRÉPED CRUSADER. 6–8 p.m. Chef • Véronique demonstrates how to make the crêpes

at an Adult Cooking Class. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 317 or gcmuseum.com.

March 12–May 10

OH, PAIRS! Admire fine works of African Art • at Couples Across Africa: Gifts from Dr. William and

Brenda Harvey. Steele Art Gallery, Bennett College, 900 East Washington Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 517-1504 or bennett.edu.

March 13–April 24

AQUARELLE ACCOLADE. The revered • American Watercolor Society brings its juried

exhibition of watercolors to the Gate City. Ambleside Gallery, 528 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-9844 or amblesidearts.com.

March 14

PI-EYED. 8:30 a.m. Kids age 7–12 can catch fish • with nets, observe flora and fauna, and bake pies in a camp oven to celebrate International Pi Day (π

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

March 2015

History

Sports

O.Henry 89


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March Arts Calendar = 3.1415). Piedmont Environmental Center, 1220 Penny Road, High Point. Tickets: (336) 883-8531 or highpointnc.gov. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 11:30 a.m. Meet • children’s writer E.K. Smith, author of the Attack of

FLEETING. 8 p.m. Stop dreaming and go your • own way to hear ’70s megaband and Rumors mongers Fleetwood Mac. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com or livenation.com.

the Wormzilla. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

March 18

QUICK STEPS. 7:30–9:30 p.m. Learn how • to cut a rug for free on every second Saturday of the

show, free massages, drinks and appetizers. Fleet Feet, 3731 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. To register: fleetfeetgreensboro.com.

month. Lewis Recreation Center, 3110 Forest Lawn Drive, Greensboro. Info: Contact E. Leggio at (336) 643-6088.

ZEP CATS. 8 p.m. They may be called ZoSo, but • this ultimate Led Zepplin tribute band is anything but so-so. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

March 15

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet poet • Marjorie Norris. Scuppernong Books, 304 South

Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

CELTIC KICKS. 7 p.m. Marvel at high steppers and the Young Irish Tenors at Rhythm of the Dance. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

HUMP DAY. 7 p.m. Please release him, let him go — and be prepared for hearts to melt with crooner Engelbert Humperdinck. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

March 16

SCANDALOUS! 6:30–7:45 p.m. Get tips on • revealing family secrets from Nelson Weller, a genealogy professor. Morgan Room, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3637 or ncroom@highpointnc.gov.

ANGELIC VOICES. 7 p.m. It’s a historic first: • The Spelman College Glee Club joins the Bennett

College Choir to raise their voices in song. Annie Marner Pfeiffer Chapel, Bennett College, 900 East Washington Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 517-2267 or email wmobley@bennett.edu.

March 17

ROLL ’EM! 9 p.m. Cineastes rejoice! RiverRun • International Film Festival (April 16–26) holds a

gala. Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 North Spruce Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: riverrunfilm.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

YOU GO, GIRLS! 6 p.m. Lace up, ladies, for the • Girls and Pearls Fun Run 5K, followed by a fashion

BROWN IN TOWN. 7:30 p.m. hat would • be Chris Brown, who along with Trey Songz,

rescheduled his “Between the Sheets” tour to the Gate City. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com or livenation.com.

Woodenhead

20-27

ELDER STATE’S MANN. 10 a.m. Hear the • reflections of Bernie Mann, publisher of Our State

3/

magazine. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

March 19

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST. 8 p.m. Enjoy the fusion of rock, blues, Tex-Mex, tejano and conjunto from Texas-based Los Lonely Boys. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

March 19–21

thedramacenter.com.

March 20–27

WOODENHEAD. A puppet with a penchant • for lying? It’s not a political drama but UNCG’s

Pinocchio. Times vary. Taylor Theatre Theatre, 406 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

THE TRIAD’S NAIADS. The 2015 NCAA • Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving

March 21–22

March 20

White. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Show times vary. Tickets: Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

Championships makes a splash at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Tmes vary. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

NATURE BOY. 6 p.m. See the paintings of • David Nance at a kickoff reception for his exhibition,

Reflections of Nature. See him at work at a lunch and learn 11:30 a.m. or sign up for a workshop on 3/14, 3/15, 3/21 or 3/22. Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or tylerwhitegallery.com.

March 20–22

SWISS MISS. Billy goats gruff and a gruff grandpa are hers for the taming. Heidi takes center stage, courtesy of the Drama Center Children’s Theatre. Times vary. Odell, Greensboro College, 815 West Market Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

APPLE INC. Who’s the fairest of them all? Find • out at Greensboro Ballet’s comical rendition of Snow

March 22

COURTIERS. 2 p.m. Cheer as the Harlem • Globetrotters, outshoot and outwit their oppo-

nent. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster. com.

OUR PAL AL. 7 p.m. Al Neese Jazz Project • brings it — once again — to the Crown. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

History

March 2015

Sports

O.Henry 91


March Arts Calendar

March 24

AT-A GIRL! 7:30 p.m. Canadian literary icon • Margaret Atwood gives her insights at the Guilford

College Bryan Series. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

SIREN’S SONGS. 7 p.m. R&B songstress Ledisi soothes the soul with her jazz- and bluesinflected tunes. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

March 25

March 26–29

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Liza • Wieland, author of recently published Land of

RANDOM ACTS. Of kindness and bravery inform UNCG MFA one act plays, including Androcles and the Lion and Dani Girl. Times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

Enchantment, with Michael Parker. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

March 26

DIXIE DIRT. 6–9 p.m. “Southern Style: A • Modern Guide to Plants for the Southeast,” is

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet novel• ist Alan Gurganus, author of Decoy. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Clothing u Lingerie Jewelry u Bath & Body Tabletop u Baby Home Accessories 1826 Pembroke Road, Greensboro, NC 336-274-3307 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) Monday thru Friday 10:00–5:00 Saturday 10:00–4:00

92 O.Henry

March 2015

DYE-NAMIC! 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Dye Easter eggs • using plant materials. Cost is $1 per egg. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC. 7:30 p.m. • Piedmont Swing Dance Society and a live band invite you to take to the floor. Greensboro Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5089998 or piedmontswingdance.org.

March 28–29

THE TROUBLES. From 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on the • 28th and 2–5 p.m. On the 29th Greensboro Public

March 27–29

the topic for Mark Weatherington, curator for Collections at N.C. State’s JC Raulston Arboretum. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. To register: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

March 28

NET PICKS. The Madness continues at • the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball

Library, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or greensborohistory.org.

Championship Regional. Times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

March 29

HOME SWEET HOME. Check out the latest in • home design and décor at the Southern Ideal Home

Haiku Society. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Show. Coliseum. Times vary. 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com.

• • • Irving Park Irving Park Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

FIVE TO SEVEN (TO FIVE). 3 p.m. Hear • short-form poems at a reading of the North Carolina

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

History

Sports

Now carrying Comfy USA Perfect collared shirt Tues. - Fri. 11-6pm & Sat. 11-4pm • 336.708.3048 1832 Pembroke Rd. • Greensboro, North Carolina 27408 www.facebook.com/Serendipity by Celeste The Art & Soul of Greensboro


garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museam, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

JAZZ YOU LIKE IT. 3 p.m.–7 p.m. The big band sounds of Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra fill the Crown. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

March 31

TALK IS CHEAP. noon. Apprenez l’art de la • conversation française at French Table, a conversation

Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Tuesdays

group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Celebrate the • release of Hotel Worthy with poet Val Nieman.

a dance beat? English rockers Enter Shakiri. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

STORY CORPS. 11 a.m. Book a slot in your • sked for Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books,

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS

304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Mondays

BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage • in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music,

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

The

Feathered Nest

Y’all come for Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Tuck into Chef Felicia’s signature fried chicken and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring on 3/3; Martha Bassett and friends on 3/10; Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring on 3/16; Molly McGinn and Wurlitzer Prize on 3/24; and Martha Bassett and Friends on 3/31— at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3700707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm.

Wednesdays

HOT DIGGITIY! 3­- 4 p.m. The Little Spouts program gets underway with digging in the dirt (3/24) and planting seeds (3/31). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 321 or gcmuseum.com.

METALURGY. 7 p.m. What do you get when • you mix metal with alternative with electronica and

March Arts Calendar

CREATIVE CAFÉ. 1–3 p.m. Our java, our• selves. At this month’s Coffee Time, make self-por-

traits through your personal possessions (3/4), landscape painting (3/11), a journal that you bind yourself (3/18), or doll-making (3/25). Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

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

• CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. • • • • • Irving Park Irving Park Film

Gift

Literature/Speakers

s for

Fun

History

Sports

All

SM

w w w. p o l l i w o g s . c o m

dressing childhood

Gifts for home, ladies, men and children. And, our freezer stocked with fabulous goodies to take home. 1738 Battleground Ave | Greensboro, NC (formerly Lollipop Shop) Irving Park Plaza Shopping Center | (336) 273-3566 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Custom Monogramming Available on In-Store Items 336.275.1555

1724 Battleground Ave. Suite 104 Greensboro, NC 27408

March 2015

O.Henry 93


March Arts Calendar

Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music.htm.

Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754

Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Preschool • Storytime I convenes for children ages 3­–5.

OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros • and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box,

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, plus • an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. The

Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2742699 or www.idiotboxers.com.

Fridays

Thursdays

TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime II convenes for children ages 3­–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30–8 p.m. Hear Live, local jazz featuring Neill Clegg and special guests — Clinton Horton (3/5); Chris Murrell (3/12); Jessica Mashburn (3/19); and Martha Bassett (3/26) — in the O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby Bar. No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or www.greenvalleygrill.com/jazz.htm

• JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at

THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on • exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at

$4 Fun Fridays, starting 2/13. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

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.

Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-ofa-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www.ibcomedy. com.

Sundays

HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And • grown-ups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to the

usual $8, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

To add an event, email us at ohenrymagcalendar@ gmail.com by the first of the month prior to the event.

Saturdays

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until • noon. Get fresh with locally grown produce, cakes, pies and cut fleurs for a pretty table. Greensboro

• • •

• ••

••

Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports

Treasures • Antiques • Consignments

Incredible views of Lake Jeanette! Prime cul-de-sac lot. Direct backyard lake access. Features include: 6 bedrooms & 5.5 baths; open floor plan perfect for entertaining; large walkout basement with game room & full bar; wine cellar; theater room; 3rd floor gym/bonus; master overlooking lake with his/her closets. Call for more details.

Come cruise thru 18,000 square feet of memories and treasures! 106 E. Railroad Ave. Gibsonville, NC Downtown Gibsonville behind the Red Caboose

Just minutes from Greensboro

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94 O.Henry

March 2015

336-446-0234 Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5

check facebook and our website for events.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Arts & Culture

KEEP CALM AND

WAIT FOR A PRINCE! Yes, we know that today’s princess can rescue herself, but this opera was written by Mozart. Piedmont Opera’s

The Magic Flute March 13/15/17

The Stevens Center of the UNCSA Winston-Salem

336.725.7101 BelieveInMagic.org

Bus transportation available from Greensboro for 3/15 performance

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2015

O.Henry 95


Paintings By C.P. Logan COMMAND PERFORMANCE

Arts & Culture

gonna I’m re! be he

310 South Greene Street Downtown Greensboro, NC 336.333.2605 CarolinaTheatre.com

PAULA

POUNDSTONE COMMAND PERFORMANCE BENEFIT GALA

April 23, 2015

Sponsored by

“Yellow Roses and Pears”

18x24 original oil

Original oils, commissions, workshops, studio classes, online classes, painting parties

www.cplogan.com

1206 W. Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408

You can hear Paula through your laughter as a regular panelist on NPR’s popular rascal of a weekly news quiz show, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me”. She tours regularly, performing stand-up comedy across the country, prompting Bob Zany with the Boston Globe to write, “Poundstone can regale an audience for several hours with her distinctive brand of wry, intelligent and witty comedy.” Gala Dinner tickets are $250 per person, and include dinner, open bar and show. Show-only tickets are $35 or $25, depending on seat location. A $2.50 theatre facility fee will be added to each show ticket. This event is a fundraiser for the Carolina Theatre; no sales tax will be added.

Final Concert of the 2014-2015 Season!

The Piedmont’s Premier Chorus

Saturday, April 18, 8:00 PM Monday, April 20, 7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church, Greensboro

Credit: manring.net

From Darkness to Light Tickets & More: (336) 333-2220 | www.belcantocompany.com

2105 - A W. Cornwallis Drive Behind Finks Jewelers - Next to The Elks Club 336.274.6717 | www.IrvingParkArtandFrame.com

96 O.Henry

March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


nsboro Ballet presents Gree

Arts & Culture

“Snow White…and Some Dwarfs”

Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22 at 2 pm

The Carolina Theatre, Greensboro An amusing take on the fairy tale classic with fun, family friendly activities. Tickets on sale at the Carolina Theatre www.carolinatheatre.com or 336.333.2605 Adults: $20, $18; Children: $10, $9 Family four-pack: $50 including sales tax A $2.50 Theatre Restoration charge will be added to the price of each ticket.

Artist Reception with David Nance March 20, 6-8pm

Workshops with David Nance: March 14-15 & March 21-22 (2-Day workshop)

177 2

SA L EM

ACADEMY AND COLLEGE

Tyler White O’Brien Gallery 307 State Street, Greensboro (336) 279-1124 www.tylerwhitegallery.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

FIN Salem Ad.indd 1

March 2015

O.Henry 97 2/13/15 5:14 PM


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Service learning plays an important role in the NGFS experience, with classes that promote social awareness and responsibility. Through trips and special projects, our students go out and make a difference in the world. Some trips take a single day and complement a certain unit of study. Extended trips – whether across the county or around the globe – deepen the curriculum and have a lasting impact in the life of each student who participates. Ready for an education that goes beyond the campus? Call today for details. 1128 New Garden Road

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro 9/5/14 12:19 PM


You’re Doin’ Fine, Oklahoma! Curly picks up Laurey, and together they hit the road — but not in a surrey with the fringe on top. The leads of High Point Community Theatre’s Oklahoma!, Bryan O’Kelley Cox and Kathryn Muhlenkamp, carpool from their respective homes in Hillsborough and Burlington to the International City for rehearsals. Other cast members travel from Clemmons, Southern Pines, Davidson, Forsyth and Randolph Counties. “People from all over are wanting to be in this show,” says its director, Justin Bulla. Such level of commitment is, in part, a testament to the enduring popularity of Oklahoma!, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration and a chronicle of frontier life on the cusp of change. Sure, the unabashedly optimistic and sentimental musical has become a staple of high school and local productions, and to some elitist tastes, the butt of jokes. But Bulla sees it as a reflection of the universal human experience. “There’s always someone you’re after whom you love, someone to wreck things, events to deal with,” he observes. “The time period before Oklahoma became a state is like ours; we’re trying to do the best we can with all these things going on.” And, he adds, “Everyone loves

Worth the Drive to High Point

Curly. They love Laurey. They love Aunt Eller.” It’s not only love of the show’s characters that spurs the cast and crew to put miles on their cars just for rehearsals, but the esprit de corps that characterizes community theater. “They’re working together to tell a story for a common cause. They’re not paid for it. They’re taking time out of their lives to take this journey,” Bulla explains. And as a drama teacher at Rockingham County High School and veteran of local stage productions since college, he appreciates the sacrifice of everyone involved: HPCT’s board members who double as set-makers and costumers; music director and composer/pianist David Lane, who is also affiliated with Theatre Alliance in Winston-Salem and Kernersville’s Little Theatre; Ashleigh Contouris, a college theater major alongside Bulla, who came to the fore when he needed a choreographer. Not to mention the rest of the cast and crew, some of whom have little to no theatrical training. But cobbling together various levels of experience into a cohesive production is a community theater director’s challenge, and one that Bulla relishes. “It’s nice to know they trust me and want it to be great,” he says. He’s pushed the troupe hard, and in three short weeks, they had learned the songs and blocked the show. By that irrepressible whoop of “Yeeow!” in the finale, magic started to happen. So come on out and see it for yourself; you can’t say ‘no.’ OH Info: Performances of High Point Community Theatre’s production of Oklahoma! Take pace March 5–8. For tickets and information go to hpct.net or call the High Point Theatre box office at (336) 887-3001. — Nancy Oakley

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. •

Where Nuturing

Really Makes a

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By Sandra Redding

Upcoming Events

March 8 (Sunday, 3–5 p.m.). Sable Books’ International Women’s Day Reading. Scuppernong Books, Greensboro. Celebrate women and, yes, aging with music, discussions and readings by Barbara Kenyon, Hillsborough Poet Laureate; Trudi Young Taylor, author of Breasts Don’t Lie; Debra Kaufman, author of The Next Moment; and Sheryl Rider, plus other Greensboro contributors to Letters for My Little Sister. Info: scuppernongbooks.com March 14 (Saturday, 7 p.m.). Reading/discussion by Joseph Bathanti and Gilda Morina Syverson. Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh. Former N. C. Poet Laureate joins an artist, teacher and memoirist to instruct — and reminisce — about the writing process. Info: quailridgebooks.com March 19 (Thursday, 3–4 p.m.). Humorist and storytelling scholar extraordinaire Elliot Engel channels William Sydney Porter as part of The Explorations for Adults Series with a talk on O.Henry: His Surprise Endings . . . and Beginnings, Southern Pines Public Library, 170 West Connecticut Avenue, Southern Pines. Free, but tickets required. Info: (910) 692-8235 or sppl.net March 19–22 (Thursday through Sunday) Table Rock Spring Studio 2015: Writing Retreat on N.C.’s Inner Banks. Time to write, explore nature and enjoy the area around the Scuppernong River in Columbia, where writers will share their work in sessions led by Georgeann Eubanks. Some scholarships available. Info: minnowmedia.net April 18 (Saturday, all day). North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference 2015, UNCG. Intensive fiction, nonfiction and poetry workshops, faculty readings, open mic sessions and so much more. Info: ncwn.com

Congratulations

O, the shamrock, the green, immortal shamrock! Chosen leaf for bard and chief, Old Erin’s native shamrock. — Thomas Moore Honoring St. Patrick’s Day, Wake Forest University Press has released

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Shack: Irish Poets in the Foothills and the Mountains (wfupress.wfu.edu.) . . . Big Cactus, the latest novel by prolific novelist Sylvia Wilkinson, of Durham, combines desert scenery with Southern humor. Free excerpt at owlcanyonpress. com . . . In Front Row, Section D, Greensboro writer John Hitchcock shares the thrills and chills of viewing Greensboro wrestling matches from the 1960s–1980s . . . Amazon’s Best Books includes Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir by Michael White, director of the Creative Writing Program at UNC Wilmington. . . . Hotel Worthy, Val Nieman’s just-released book of poetry, received high praise from distinguished poet, Sarah Lindsay “At last, a book that states clearly the purpose of life.” Press53.com Prime Number Magazine announces 2015 contest prizes for top three entries in Poetry, Short Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. Deadline: March 31, 2015. Guidelines: primenumbermagazine.com

Paul J. Ciener

Botanical Garden IS PROUD TO PRESENT

“Southern Style, A Modern Guide to Plants for the Southeast” by Mark Weathington Director, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Mark Weathington Thursday, March 26th, 2015 6:00 pm-9:00 pm Garden Ballroom 215 S. Main St., Kernersville $40 per person Please enjoy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine before Mr. Weathington’s lecture. RSVP by March 19th to (336) 996-7888 or register online at www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org

Please join us for a celebration of Spring at our Spectacular Spring Tulip Bloom Celebration Sunday, April 12, 2015 2:00pm-4:00pm

Writing Lesson

Never mind the flap. To everybody’s relief, Gov. Pat McCrory named Shelby Stephenson of Benson North Carolina’s eighth Poet Laureate, commending his plans to “work with helping nursing home residents express themselves through poetry.” “This is great news for North Carolina,” Ed Southern, executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, wrote. “Our state and its writers could wish for no better ambassador.” Kathryn Stripling Byer, former State Poet Laureate, describes Stephenson as “A singer, an old-time raconteur, a poet attuned to the rhythms of our state and its people. And for those who keep saying they don’t like poetry, just wait till you hear Shelby. You will change your mind in a flash.” A professor of English and editor of Pembroke magazine until 2010, Stephenson’s writing includes poems about possums, mules, tractors and a slave girl. “My early teachers were the thirty-five foxhounds my father hunted,” he explains. “The trees and streams, fields, the world of my childhood — all that folklore — those are my subjects.” An accomplished musician, former radio announcer and a farmer, his magnanimous grin, generous spirit and laid-back attitude help students and fellow poets find their authentic voices by advising them to do as he does: Write about what you know. OH Keep me updated on writer happenings. sanredd@ earthlink.net. Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, is a riveting story about heartbreak and hope in a Quaker community.

Spring Plant Sale Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 9:00am until 1:00pm

“Landscaping in Small Spaces: Big Ideas for the ‘Little’ Garden” by Bryce Lane

Two-time Emmy Award winning television personality (In the Garden with Bryce Lane) and retired Horticulture teacher at NC State University

Bryce Lane Saturday, May 16, 2015 9:00 am-12:00 pm Garden Ballroom 215 S. Main St, Kernersville $40 per person Please enjoy a continental breakfast beginning at 9:00am before Bryce’s lecture. RSVP by May 11th to (336) 996-7888 or register online at www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden 215 S. Main Street, Kernersville 336-996-7888 www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org

March 2015

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104 O.Henry

March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene Scarves 4 Warmth Project SoulShine Studio & Presbyterian Church of the Covenant Sunday January 25, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Gabriella Rotruck, Nina Haviland

Noa & Jo Slane, Cathy Branscom, Ann Westergard

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March 2015

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106 O.Henry

March 2015

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GreenScene

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www.slatterinc.com March 2015

O.Henry 107


GreenScene

Sherry & John Mitchell, Kathy & Steven Gollehon

Power of A Wish Make-A-Wish Central & Western NC McConnell Golf - Community Engagement Saturday, January 31, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Christy Collum, Dwight Thomas

Fred & Loretta Boll

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Kyle Rudd, Melanie Shaffer, Elizabeth Swaim

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108 O.Henry

March 2015

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March 2015

O.Henry 109


110 O.Henry

March 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

Go Green, Tar Children March’s stars

By Astrid Stellanova

Here we are at the whoopee start of spring, but also entering the favored month for war-mongering Romans. A conundrum. No wonder you might feel discombobulated. Sure spring is fun, but the Ides of March spelled doom for Julius Caesar. This month marks celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day — and due south, good ole Savannah is second only to N.Y.C. for rocking that green-beer, Irish spring, shamrock-waving day. Celebrate that first green leaf on the tree, Tar Children, Irish, Roman, Patagonian, or whatever and wherever you may be. Pisces (February 19–March 20) You ain’t immortal, but you may find yourself feeling like it. This is the month for you to enjoy and celebrate your good health and good genes, lucky favors your sign enjoys. Like most of us, you know it’s easier to grow older than to grow wiser. But you are now walking in high cotton as you move through your birth month. Enjoy the slow thaw after a hard winter and a feeling of personal deliverance from something you’ve been carrying. Let it go — little fish, you may be stuck in the ice but you ain’t frozen no more. Like the rest of us, you wish you could stop hearing that song in your head. (“Let it go, let it go!”) This is a year when you give the world something it needs — a little light and kindness. No big burdens to carry anymore — just good cheer and celebration. Aries (March 21–April 19) It’s impossible to repress that Aries cocksure feeling that Lady Luck is always going to load the dice in your favor. Odds like the house, Sugar, and you know it. But let’s face it — you’d rather be playing the tables even when you’re losing than lying around thinking about world problems. The thing is, you can change a lot of what ails the world if you harness those gifts you haven’t used so much lately. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Grandpa tells me he wanted to be just senile enough to forget his tax problems. And his doctor’s advice to eat broccoli and exercise more. There’s something you need to forget, Child, and there should be enough going on to help you get to a happier state of oblivion. Somebody long forgotten, a body you never expected to see again, shows up in your life again. And you won’t believe why. Be happy — it’s a second chance for a do-over that needs doing all over again. Gemini (May 21–June 20) You’re a little like my favorite customer at the beauty shop who said she started out with nothing and has managed to hold on to most of it. Humor and a genius for money will get you where you want to go this month. That humor will also get you an offer for friendship and bonding that will make you rich in new ways. Take care of something for your family that is a small effort, but that only you can do, and you will reap the reward. Cancer (June 21–July 22) The new season ahead is a breather. You’ve been under the gun and now you get a break. There’s a little reward you’ve been thinking about, and you deserve it. Get your head together, even if you feel like your body ain’t, and splurge on a massage, pedicure, new hairdo — or all three. That’s what Astrid does — if my hair ain’t right, nothing else is. Leo (July 23–August 22) Honey, I don’t remember being so absent-minded. But absent-mindedness is one trait you might want to develop — you remember things you would be better off forgetting. Forgetting and forgiving are not your strong suits, but this is 2015 and you can grow, Leo. On the outside, all looks fine with you, including your hair color. Now get that inner turmoil tamped down and let your outside match your inside. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Virgo (August 23–September 22) It is true you admire the early bird for getting the worm. But the second rat nabs the cheese. That is my boyfriend Beau’s claim to fame — he is almost always the crafty one who gets the prize. You have the ability for being the stealthiest one and that is exactly what most people don’t know about — obviously, which is why it is such a talent. It will come in handy this month, Sugar, and you will get to the cheese first. Libra (September 23–October 22) Your dogma could run over your karma if you don’t consider that your point of view ain’t the only one in town. Seriously, Star Child, you get a little full of your fine self and so listen up to Astrid. Librans make for the best friend in the world — loyal, kind, generous, but they always think they know what is best and do get bossy. You are not the boss of the Universe. Check that impulse, and allow the world to love you for some of your finer traits. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) A universal S.O.S. to all Scorpios could be needed right about now, given what Astrid sees in the stars. And here is the message: Give of yourselves and your multitude of talents in the most generous way you know how. The universe has been extremely good to you. Repay the favor. You may not know it yet, but it will pay you returns you never even imagined. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) You’re sitting at the checker board alone while everybody else is off playing Truth or Dare, right? Aw, Honey, don’t feel bad, because the stars have a lot of fun in store for you this month. And, by the way, prepare for more than one adventure that will cause you to need a change of wardrobe. Orange ain’t the new black, Honey, and that ain’t what I mean, either. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) Sometimes it’s easier to meet a true love or find a good time than for you to meet expenses, and your sense of extravagance may have finally gotten you into a trap. My recommendation is to keep enjoying your sense of discovery — good for you, Honey — but the stars say you will have to save just a teensy bit more if you want to go for that one big bucket list item. Bucket lists require a few bucks as a general rule. But a sense of adventure don’t have to always be expensive — for some Star Children, it can begin with a walk across the street for coffee with a new friend. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Your dreamed-of comeback (whether it’s a job, a lost love, or an old skill) may very well require you actually go somewhere and risk something. Like Grandpa says, you ain’t making a comeback when you ain’t been anywhere. This is an excellent year for your dreams coming true. Get off the sofa; you may be just one bag of chips away from the lunch/date/interview of your life. 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. March 2015

O.Henry 111


O.Henry Ending

How Mama Got Her Baptism By Patricia G. Henson

good pals. Although he was three years older than I, we played together in the house and explored the yard and adjacent barnyard searching for anything that we could make into a new game. After Ira had his twelfth birthday, Mama asked our preacher to come talk to Ira about joining the church and being baptized. So the preacher came and all went well. Except with me. I wanted to be baptized, too. As the preacher was stepping out our front door, I leaned against Mama’s thigh and clung to her dress, but she said, “Patricia, you must wait until you are 12 to be baptized.”

Mama read the Bible almost every night to the family. After supper we gathered in Daddy and Mama’s bedroom where they each sat in a platform rocker, Daddy on one side of the coal burning stove and Mama on the opposite side. (We rarely sat in the living room except on Sunday afternoons.) Tommy, Ira, and I, the oldest children, would gather around Mama in straight ladder-back chairs. The two younger children, Randy and Jerry, would already be in bed. Mama would choose a chapter in the Bible for the evening. After each verse she would question one of us children on its meaning and give any explanation she felt appropriate. Mama very much enjoyed teaching the Young Adult Singles Sunday School Class in our Horns Methodist Church one mile down the road from our home in Wilson County. Baptism was one of the Biblical subjects she felt most strongly about. She tried her very best to inspire the young men and women in her class to believe just as strongly as she did how important it was to be baptized by total immersion. Her facts came straight from the Bible. John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River by lowering him into the water three times. “We should not settle for less,” she declared. She kept this theme foremost in their minds as Summer Revival drew near. She strongly encouraged any of the young people in her class who were not members of the church to talk to the preacher about joining during Revival and to ask to be baptized by immersion. As for baptism in our church, there was no baptistery. The customary procedure in the past had been what was called “sprinkling.” This new request for baptism by immersion in our country church caused something of a turmoil. Some people expressed a preference for sprinkling, but no one could argue against Jesus’ example of immersion in the Bible.

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March 2015

The current preacher persuaded some to go along and be sprinkled, whereby he would place his right hand in a bowl of water and sprinkle a tiny bit of water on the person’s head. But there was still the question of where to immerse those who came to the altar during Revival and insisted on being immersed. The only body of water within miles of the church was Green Pond, so it was decided that anyone determined to be immersed would be baptized in Green Pond. The ceremony would be held after church service the next Sunday when it was the preacher’s time to preach at our church at 11 a.m. You see, he was a circuit preacher who also had two other churches. So, some Sundays he came to our church for 11 o’clock preaching after we had had Sunday School classes. Some Sundays he came for 9:30 a.m. preaching and we had Sunday School after he left. And some Sundays the preacher wasn’t scheduled to come at all and we just had Sunday School. It really was very confusing. You may have guessed why Green Pond was so named: green algae grew freely over most of the water. So when each young adult, in his or her white outfit, was immersed once, again, and then the third time, they came up with splotches of green algae on their face, hair and clothes. Each person so immersed was eternally grateful — once for being baptized and again for the towel someone helpfully supplied. By the time I turned 12 in October, 1945, we had a new, elderly, whitehaired preacher who introduced a new method of baptizing called “pouring” to our congregation. The preacher’s assistant would keep a small silver pitcher filled with water for him. As a new church member knelt at the altar, the preacher took the silver pitcher in his right hand and poured a small amount of water directly on the person’s head. Meanwhile, he used his left hand, somewhat unsuccessfully, to catch the overflow. Invariably, this procedure brought muffled chuckles and children’s giggles from the congregation. Of course, neither sprinkling nor pouring would suit Mama for my baptism. She insisted that I be immersed. The old preacher was just as adamant about not going into Green Pond. Mama stood her ground and finally the preacher saw he had to give in. But the preacher had the last laugh. Sunday, after church service, the congregation gathered by Green Pond and I stood nervously at the edge of the water in my white dress. Finally the preacher appeared, waving at everyone, wearing a big grin — and hip boots! OH Pat Henson, the author of Heritage of Homes, The Architecture of Eastern North Carolina, taught interior design at UNCG, Florida State University and East Carolina University before retiring. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

As children, my brother Ira and I were


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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