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baskets good dogs, maps & longabergers

januar y/februar y 2013 • vol. 4, no. 1

“HOLY COW� Are You Ready To “MOOOVE�?



Suffolk, Fran

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The Best Real Estate Agent

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The Best Real Estate Agent

Suffolk, Fran

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jan.-feb. | 2013 contents

EDITORIAL R.E. Spears III Editor Tracy Agnew News Editor Matthew A. Ward Staff Writer

Walk this way toward a better

joint replacement experience.


I N T R O D U C I N G S E N TA R A O R T H O J O I N T C E N T E R S With locations throughout Hampton Roads, Sentara OrthoJoint Centers offer an innovative joint replacement experience for total knee and hip replacements, including the direct anterior approach (JIFFY HIP*). This unique program features patient rooms, facilities and staff dedicated solely to joint replacement procedures and recovery. Experienced orthopedic surgeons practicing throughout the community use the latest surgical techniques, coupled with an upbeat, structured method for recovery delivered by orthopedic

nurses, therapists and other clinicians. There’s also an Orthopedic Patient Navigator with you every step of the way to answer your questions and keep you on the path to a healthy recovery. The Sentara OrthoJoint Center gets you actively involved in your own recovery with systematic motivation and camaraderie with other patients making a similar journey. Studies show consistently better outcomes and faster recovery. In short, it’s an approach that works and gets results.

Sue Barnes Marketing Consultant Earl Jones Marketing Consultant

Guiding eyes

It takes a lot of heart to raise a dog that you know you’ll soon give away. Doing it for a cause as good as this, though, makes things a bit easier.

On the cover:

PRODUCTION Troy Cooper Designer


Learn more by calling 1-855-2ORTHOJT (1-855-267-8465) or visiting Suffolk Living is published six times per year by Suffolk Publications, LLC. P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 (757) 539-3437

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Beth Beck Land Staff Writer


Amateur photographers see downtown Suffolk in a new light.

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A Basket Case

If you’ve got a thing for baskets, this Holland woman has you beat.

WHERE AM I? | Guess the location correctly and you could win a $25 gift certificate.


januar y/februar y 2013tWPM OP

GET TO KNOW | John Bachmann probably doesn’t often get lost in Virginia. If he does, he has a map or two to help him find his way.

Submitted photo

Advertising rates and information available upon request. Subscriptions are $16 annually in-state; $20 annually out-of-state; $24 for international subscriptions. Please make checks payable to Suffolk Publications, LLC• P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439

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1/18 — “Changing the Generational Mind-set” Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will present “The Changing Generational Mindset” at 8 p.m. as part of the Speakers at the Center series. It’s a statistically proven fact that the world is aging. Boomers are living longer than before and changing what it means to grow older in the process. Do you know what to do now to prepare for an older America? The cost for the seminar is $15. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit www.suffolkcenter. org. 1/8-3/1 — Bottle Tree Installation Location: Suffolk Art Gallery 118 Bosley Ave. The Suffolk Art Gallery will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a Bottle Tree Installation. Bottle Trees are derived from the traditions of Central Africa that came to the United States with the African slaves. Bottle Trees were thought to provide protection against haints, furies and other such ornery spirits. The exhibit will be open through March 1. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 925-0448. 1/26 — Childhood Hunger and Obesity Benefit Location: King’s Fork High School 351 Kings Fork Road C3F will host a Childhood Hunger and Obesity Benefit at 6 p.m. at King’s Fork High School, 351 Kings Fork Road. Reality TV star David Correy and music icon Andra’ Cross will perform, along with other guest speakers. The cost for a VIP package is $20 and five canned goods. For floor seating, the cost is $12 and two canned goods. For balcony seating, the cost is $8 and two canned goods. For more information, visit 1/26 — Womanless Beauty Pageant Location: Suffolk National Guard Armory 2761 Godwin Blvd. The 13th annual Womanless Beauty Pageant will be held at Suffolk National Guard Armory, 2761 Godwin Blvd. Tickets are $20 and include dinner, provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. This year’s event will also include a silent auction. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. To purchase tickets, call Suffolk Insurance, 202 Market St., at 539-9988. 1/28 — Annual Craft Expo Location: King’s Fork Middle School 350 Kings Fork Road The Suffolk Art Gallery is sponsoring its third annual Craft Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fine crafters will be displaying and selling a variety of items. For more information, call Debbie Hill at 514-7284 or email 1/26-2/3 — Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Art Show and Sale Location: Nansemond-Suffolk Academy 3373 Pruden Blvd. View and purchase the works of more than 150 artists at the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy art show and sale, set for Jan. 26 through Feb. 5. A variety of art, including oil paintings, blown glasswork and

Glenn Miller Orchestra

Send us your news To submit your calendar or news item, simply email it to:

jewelry, will be featured. Proceeds from the sale go to the NSA fine arts department. The opening reception with refreshments and entertainment will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 26. The show continues through Feb. 3 with the following hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 2 and 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 3. For more information, call 539-8789. 2/5-3/1 — Exhibit of Excellence: Suffolk Student Art 2013 Location: Suffolk Art Gallery 118 Bosley Ave. The Suffolk Art League presents its Exhibit of Excellence, a juried exhibition of 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders in Suffolk. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 925-0448. 2/9 — “She, Called Moses” Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will host the Children’s Theatre of Hampton Roads for a performance of “She, Called Moses” at 11 a.m. Travel back in time for the inspirational story of Harriet Tubman and her remarkable journey towards freedom. The cost is $5 at the door. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit www. 2/17 — “Tuskegee Love Letters” Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will present “Tuskegee Love Letters” at 11 a.m. The Suffolk Players will perform the show, which follows actual, intimate personal letters between a husband and wife and daughter separated by war. A screening of the film “Tuskegee Airmen” will follow. The cost is $15. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit 2/23-2/24 — Suffolk Art League’s 2013 Antique Show and Sale Location: King’s Recreation Center 350 Kings Fork Road The Suffolk Art League will host its 2012 Antique

Show and Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 and from noon to 5 p.m. from Feb. 24 at King’s Fork Recreation Center, 350 Kings Fork Road. The show will feature 38 antiques and collectibles dealers from the mid-Atlantic region. Crystal repair and frame restoration will also be available. Brunswick stew, barbecue, hot dogs and homemade desserts will be sold. Proceeds from the event go to the Suffolk Art League. Call 925-0448 for more information. 2/28 — Glenn Miller Orchestra Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will host The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $35 or $45, depending on the seat. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit www. 3/2 — Celebrating 200 Years of “Pride and Prejudice” Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will celebrate 200 years of “Pride and Prejudice.” There will be a 2 p.m. screening of the 2005 film version, followed by a presentation from Margaret Sullivan, author of “The Jane Austen Handbook” and editor of Tea will be provided, and merchandise will be available for purchase. The cost is $15. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit 3/15 — Step Afrika! Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 110 W. Finney Ave. Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will present “Step Afrika!” at 8 p.m. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word. Tickets are $25 or $35. For more information, call 923-2900 or visit www. 3/16-3/23 — Suffolk Restaurant Week Location: Downtown Suffolk restaurants Suffolk Tourism will host its annual spring Restaurant Week, featuring the best restaurants citywide offering fixed-price, three-course meals. There are no passes to buy, coupons to carry or cards to punch. Food lovers may simply dine at as many participating restaurants as they like during Suffolk Restaurant Week. Take this opportunity to explore new dining opportunities or enjoy old favorites. For more information, call 514-4130 or visit www.Suffolk-Fun. com/dining.

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suffolk scene

CE&H Ruritan Oyster Roast

A large crowd turned out for the CE&H Ruritan Club’s annual oyster roast in Eclipse on Nov. 10. Clockwise from below, Keenan Bell and Doug Harsh of Newport News enjoy beverages; Katie Langdon and Bettie Harsh of Newport News smile for the camera; Brian Lovingood and his dad Don Lovingood, both of Eclipse, enjoy talking to Ron Evans of North Carolina; Steve and Pat Simons of Suffolk say they attend the event for the “friendship and camaraderie�; and Sal Simontti and Ron Parker help feed the hungry masses. PHOTOS BY MATTHEW A. WARD

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Tree Lighting

Suffolk’s Grand Illumination at Market Park on Nov. 17 drew a great crowd of holiday revelers of all ages. Clockwise from bottom right, Jasmine Zuraiqi, 1, enjoys a candy cane; Landon Patton, 6, and Jadyne Patton, 8, color at a crafts tent; Melissa Zona dressed her daughter, Arianna Zona, in reindeer antlers for the occasion; Michelle Smith, 5, colors a Christmas tree in a crafts tent; and Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with Alexis Underwood, 7, on left, and Chloe Underwood, 6. PHOTOS BY TRACY AGNEW

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suffolk scene Founder's Day

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Founder’s Day, held in Chuckatuck on Oct. 27, brought together many past and current residents for a celebration at the Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department and the Gwaltney store. Clockwise from right, Chuckatuck’s Drexel Bradshaw and Beverly Whitley relax at a table in the fire station with Carolyn and Butch Fronfelter of Waverly; Tom Barrett of Suffolk and Arthur Bradshaw of Hobson smile for the camera; Jack and Teresa Kelly catch up with Shelley Barlow; Jesse Rose and Mary Riddick are sisters from Chuckatuck; and Greg Neal of Virginia Beach and Dwight Bradshaw of Chuckatuck swap some stories. PHOTOS BY MATTHEW A. WARD

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Holiday Parade

The city of Suffolk’s 2012 Holiday Parade, with the theme “Holidays in Toyland,” rolled through the downtown area on the evening of Dec. 8, with floats, marching bands, dance troupes, beauty queens and plenty of lights to mark the occasion. Clockwise, from below, Trish Chavis DeMatteo, Miss Isle of Wight County Fair, waves at the crowd as she passes by; Santa and Mrs. Claus were the highlight of the evening for children of all ages; dance troupes and marching bands are among the local favorites during the Christmas parade; and the Candy Cane Kids sold baked goods and hot cocoa to visitors as part of a fundraising effort. PHOTOS BY TRACY AGNEW & TROY COOPER

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suffolk scene


Members of the Hampton Roads Radio Control Club held their annual fly-in to benefit Toys for Tots in November, raising more than $2,750 for the charity. At left, Bill Coada stands with his half-scale Decathlon radio-controlled plane before disassembling it at the end of the event. Above, Suffolk Toys for Tots coordinator John Woleben accepts a donation from club members Bob Howell, left, and Mills Staylor, right.


on vacation

Suffolk Living Visits Corolla

Thanksgiving in Corolla, N.C., vacationing with family members at the beach, is a tradition for the Seifert family of Suffolk. This year, they carried along a new friend, Suffolk Living magazine and spent a cold day on the beach together. Standing in the back are Chuck Seifert, Cathy Seifert and their son, John Seifert. In the front are granddaughter Keegan Seifert and cousin Margaret Vincel. Submitted Photo

where am I?


n each edition the Suffolk Living staff provides a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Suffolk you really know. We photograph some location in Suffolk that is readily accessible and open to the public, and see if you can tell us where it is. If you know where this photo was taken, submit your answer, along with your name and contact information to If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re right, you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re right, you could be a winner. Go out and enjoy Suffolk!


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get to know

Mapping the Old Dominion J

story and photography by Matthew A. Ward

ohn Bachmann supported his family as a traveling mapmaker, starting out in his native Switzerland, transplanting to Paris, then bringing his trade to America in about 1847. The talented lithographer created various maps on U.S. soil — of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans. They were part of a longrunning series, “Bird’s Eye View.” Suffolk appears on an 1862 Bachmann map titled “Panorama of the Seat of War,” which North Suffolk’s William C. Wooldridge says would have been produced to meet an increasing demand for such easy-toread pictorial maps sparked by the Civil War. “Seat of War,” incorporating Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, shows Suffolk as a transportation hub at the head of the Nansemond River. Wooldridge notes that two trains are on an apparent collision course, and ships with tall masts and billowing black smoke dominate the Chesapeake Bay. Bachmann’s creation is part of a vast Virginia map collection that Wooldridge, a 69-year-old former attorney retired from Norfolk Southern railroad, assembled during more than half a century. With more than 300 items, some that involve more than one map, it is regarded as the largest See Maps page 20

Above, William C. Wooldridge of Bennett's Creek reclines in his home library with a book he has compiled on the largest private collection of Virginia maps, which he assembled during the course of about 40 years. At right, examples of maps in the collection showing Suffolk are an 1862 "Panorama of Suffolk," top, and, Adolph Lindenkohl's 1864 Military Map of Southeastern Virginia, bottom.


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MAPS continued from page 20

William C. Wooldridge's book, "Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War," offers readers new insight into how the commonwealth was settled and developed, from the viewpoint of mapmakers. The book includes 355 illustrations, many in color. MAPS continued from page 18

private collection of Virginia maps in existence. Nothing is less than 100 years old, and Wooldridge says he bought many of the maps through dealers in New York. “After I had been collecting a few years, the dealers recognized that I was interested in Virginia maps, and when they had something interesting, they would offer it to me,” he said. “That continued for a couple of decades and more or less enabled me to assemble the collection.” Wooldridge began collecting in 1970 while stationed in Heidelberg, Germany during a stint in the U.S. Army, after spying a “little map of Virginia” that set him back $35. The collection is now in the hands of a society that half a dozen Hampton Roads businessmen formed to purchase the collection in its entirety after Wooldridge had put the word out

that he was going to start offloading it. The idea, Wooldridge says, was that the collection would be kept together and displayed publicly in a museum, rather than auctioned off piecemeal. Required as part of the terms of the sale, he has put together a 392-page book on the collection, “Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War.” It features 355 illustrations, more than half in color, and a history of Virginia based on Wooldridge’s extensive research of the maps he collected. “The narrative is about the maps, but it ends up being a history of Virginia from the standpoint of the mapmakers, which is a different take on things than you might find elsewhere,” he said. For enthusiasts, maps, especially old ones,

are more than depictions of the landscape for navigational purposes. Maps are commissioned by the victors and give insight into what drove them and how the modern era was forged. “They are not just representative of geography, of the information that people had about geography … they are records of our history right from the beginning of the first settlement,” Wooldridge said. “Many of them are just remarkably beautiful as art; the great century of classic map making was the 17th century, when the Dutch were the primary publishers. “This was the age of Rembrandt; they just generated gorgeous maps, and they’re very visually appealing.” As for the people who made the maps, “that’s a story in itself,” Wooldridge said. Another map Wooldridge acquired showing See maps page 21

Suffolk — none focus entirely on Suffolk — is Adolph Lindenkohl’s 1864 Military Map of Southeastern Virginia. Lindenkohl produced the conventional map while in the United States Coast Survey. “Both sides lacked adequate maps at the beginning of the Civil War, and in the North the people best equipped to remedy the deficiency were, like Lindenkohl, in the United States Coast Survey,” Wooldridge wrote in an email. “The Coast Survey’s pre-war work mapping Virginia’s coasts and rivers gave it a head start in generating more detailed local maps for use by the Union army.” Clearly intended for more practical purposes than Bachmann’s, Lindenkohl’s map is more akin to those of the modern age, with roads, railroads and natural features in much greater detail. Chuckatuck gets a mention, as does the Jericho Canal in the Great Dismal Swamp, and four railroads converge in the downtown area of Suffolk. Lindenkohl and his brother had immigrated to the United States from Germany, cumulatively spending more than a century drafting maps of their adoptive home. Wooldridge’s book is available in Hampton Roads at the Mariners’ Museum, the Chrysler Museum, Prince Books and some Costco stores. ←

Wooldridge, a former attorney retired from Norfolk Southern, bought his first antique Virginia map while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army 42 years ago. He went on to amass a collection of 300 items, earning the reputation as the dean of historic Virginia maps.


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eyes Local family raises dogs to help the blind story by Tracy Agnew submitted photography

T “it's amazing to watch the growth of these dogs.” Kristin Martin — Puppy-Raiser

Garvey, a yellow Labrador retriever, is one of the dogs the Martin family raised for more than a year to become a guide dog for the blind. At top right, Richard Martin, 9, kneels beside Avis, another of the dogs the family has raised for the organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind. At bottom, Teddy, another trainee, relaxes in his temporary home.

he Martin family readily admits that Garvey changed their lives, but Garvey may have changed Lora Ann Niino’s life much more. Garvey was an 11-week-old puppy in 2010 when he came to live with the Martins in Suffolk. After the Martins raised him for more than a year, he was formally trained as a guide dog and paired with Niino, a clinical psychologist who lost her vision in a car accident. “It’s kind of like sending your kids off to college,” said Kristin Martin. “Yeah, we’re sad to see you go, but wow, what will you become.” Martin, her husband Christopher and sons Eugene, 11, and Richard 9, are currently raising their third puppy with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which relies on volunteer puppy-raisers to care for the dogs until they are ready for formal guide-dog training by professionals. The Martins got into the organization shortly after Jackie, their chocolate lab, died. “We wanted to get another dog, but we also wanted to teach our kids some responsibility and to give back to the community,” Martin said. She stumbled across an article about Guiding Eyes for the Blind “and thought, ‘What a great fit,’” she said. Before getting their first puppy, the Martins attended class one hour each week for four weeks, learning about the organization and their responsibility. See GUIDE DOGS page 24


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in the news

GUIDE DOGS continued from page 23

After getting Garvey, they attended with the dog one hour a week for the first three months, with less frequent classes thereafter. “We had never trained a dog before this,” Martin said. “They teach you everything you need to know.” Puppy-raisers are responsible for food and toys, although the organization pays for veterinary care. The volunteers also are expected to teach basic obedience skills and manners, and they introduce the pups to all aspects of life so they are familiar with and comfortable in any circumstance. “We just kind of show them the world,” Martin said. “It’s that constant reintroducing them to things so they become comfortable and confident.” Not all dogs are suited to be guide dogs for blind people. Some dogs — for example, those too easily distracted by smell — might go on to work in public safety, as did the Martins’ second puppy, Sean, who now works for the Connecticut State Department of Corrections. Dogs with a strong sense of smell make excellent public safety officers because of their ability to detect bomb-making materials or drugs, or track a person’s scent. “Even though they’re not going to be a guide dog, they can still be something incredibly helpful for society,” said Michelle Brier, director of marketing and communications for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Four years ago, Guiding Eyes for the Blind launched Heeling Autism, which trains service dogs to provide safety and companionship for children on the autism spectrum. For blind people who are partnered with one of the dogs, it is life-changing, Brier said. “Some people have said it’s like getting out of prison,” she said, contrasting a guide dog with the less versatile white cane. “A lot of people find the cane to be isolating.” Not only does a dog help its partner make friends, Brier said, it can do things the cane can’t do — for instance, indicate if there’s a car coming or steer the human around low-hanging overhead objects. “Guide dogs really extend people’s horizons tenfold,” Brier said. For the puppy-raisers, who are invited to their dog’s graduation ceremony and get to meet the human he’s paired with, it is a rewarding experience, Martin said.

photo walk with me Eugene Martin, 11, snuggles with Teddy, one of three dogs his family has raised from pups to be guide dogs for the blind. Following more than a year of training and socialization with the Martins, each of the dogs is then turned over to Guide Dogs for the Blind, which completes the formal training.

“It’s amazing to watch the growth of these dogs,” she said. “It all comes full circle and you don’t miss them anymore. You’re really proud you were a part of something so amazing.” The New York-based Guiding Eyes for the Blind program is always looking for volunteer puppy-raisers. “We literally wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our volunteers,” Brier said. The organization currently has about 400 volunteers from Maine to North Carolina, to be within range of its headquarters, but it matches dogs

with clients across the country and in several other countries. Volunteers can be families, couples or single people, old or young, living in urban, suburban or rural areas, in an apartment, townhouse or single-family residence, according to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Donations are also needed constantly for the program, which is funded completely by private donors. For more information, visit ←


wo of the city’s favorite arts events joined up this year, and the downtown area of Suffolk found itself the focus of their participating artists’ efforts as a result of the partnership. Volunteers and participants from Suffolk PhotoWalk, an occasional ministry of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church on Godwin Boulevard, got together with the Suffolk Art Gallery this year for the gallery’s annual Winterim exhibition. This year’s participating photographers were invited to display their work at the gallery through Jan. 26, when a closing reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibition is the culmination of several months worth of work by volunteers from the church and the gallery, as well as many of the photographers who partici-

pated in the Fall PhotoWalk on Nov. 10. Twenty-six photographers met in the city parking lot behind the Godwin Courts Building that morning, looping through the downtown area via one of three different routes. By the end of the morning, they had turned their lenses on the landscapes, the people and the architecture of the city, in many cases coming back with completely fresh ways of looking at the things many of us see each day. Nineteen of those photographers chose to submit their photos for possible inclusion in the Winterim exhibition. Brenda Wright, owner of Shooting Star Gallery on North Main Street, judged the final submissions and chose winners in each of four categories: people, architecture, landscape and abstract. A best in show was chosen from See PHOTO WalK page 37

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The case for baskets

suffolk living 27

photo walk continued from page 25

all of those winners. Winners were as follows: Best in show Maria Booth, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Porchâ&#x20AC;? Abstract 1st place: Dawn Day, â&#x20AC;&#x153;How Old Am I?â&#x20AC;? Honorable mention: Brandy Wesloskie, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pumpkin Navelâ&#x20AC;? Landscape 1st place: Marsha Mears, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ivy Leadâ&#x20AC;? Honorable mention: David Lamp, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Safe Havenâ&#x20AC;? Architecture 1st place: Jim Wetherbee, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep Outâ&#x20AC;? Honorable mention: Danny Mears, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Simple Linesâ&#x20AC;? People 1st place: Dinal Oliver, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Puff â&#x20AC;? Honorable mention: Sherri R. Stone, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pedestrian Walkingâ&#x20AC;? The gallery is located at 118 Bosley Ave. and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 9250448, or visit or the Suffolk PhotoWalk page on Facebook.

Holland woman weaves Longaberger into her life






story by Tracy Agnew photography by Troy Cooper

er thick Southern accent might be the only marketing strategy Debra Mitchum needs, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s far from the only one she has in her arsenal. The Longaberger consultant can talk up the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designer baskets, demonstrate how to make a pone of cornbread or a rotisserie chicken in its cookware, show how the serving pieces fit neatly into the baskets and convince anybody they need a few Longaberger decorations. Her best endorsement might be her own love of the products. She has more than 9,700 pieces of Longaberger, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just baskets â&#x20AC;&#x201D; from curtains and couch coverings to pillows and decorative tea sets, Mitchumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home overflows with Longaberger. Her obsession began more than 35 years ago, when her sister-in-law was selling Longaberger. Mitchum bought woven cradles for her daughters with the credits she got from hosting parties for her sister-in-law. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just kept buying them and buying them over the years,â&#x20AC;? says the retired dental assistant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My daughters grew up liking it.â&#x20AC;? Before she knew it, her daughter was a Longaberger consultant. Then Mitchum became one herself about 10 years ago. See LONGABERGER page 28

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suffolk living 29 LONGABERGER continued from page 28

tea set is one of her older pieces. The set is released one piece at a time over the course of many years. It sits in her parlor beside a framed photo of her grandson, one of the few things she loves more than Longaberger. “My grandchildren are everywhere,” she says, waving her hand to indicate the entire house. “They’re the next best thing to my salvation.” An entire room in her home bursts with pink products, part of the company’s Horizon of Hope line that raises money for breast cancer research — $18.5 million since the line came into being. There’s also the cookware. She gushes over the 8-in-1 entertainer, which can be a cooking dish, serving tray, cake plate and more. She tells the story of how a customer dropped and broke part of it and called demanding to have a new one, saying she couldn’t cook without it. Mitchum, who cooks dinner seven days

a week, says her husband has never been disappointed by a meal that comes from Longaberger flameware. Her newest set was christened with a pone of cornbread. “It came out crispy and beautiful and perfect,” she says. “That sold me.” Pressed to choose a favorite, Mitchum settles on her current love — the new Crimson Hill line of baskets, which features crimson, green and brown earth tones. But there are so many more possibilities — all her sales awards, which come in the form of commemorative baskets; the Ruritan baskets, which carry the Ruritan National logo and which she is the only authorized consultant for; and many more. It might be hard to believe, but Mitchum doesn’t have anywhere near the full Longaberger line. That won’t stop her from trying. “I really like the fact Longaberger is so inventive,” she said. “There’s always something new.” ←

Below, the Horizon of Hope line of Longaberger products has raised more than $18 million for breast cancer research since its inception. At left, nearly all of Mitchum's decor is Longaberger decorations like this one.

LONGABERGER continued from page 27

At top, Debra Mitchum, a Longaberger consultant who lives in Suffolk, shows off part of her collection of new Longaberger flameware in her kitchen. Above, this Collectors' Club miniature tea set is sold one piece per year only to people who are members of the club.

“She was so thrilled, because I’m her top seller,” Mitchum says of her daughter. The husbands of her customers are slightly less thrilled. If she had a basket for every time she’s heard “Please don’t sell my wife any more Longaberger” …. But her own husband doesn’t mind her obsession, telling friends that she earns the money and products herself. Even her friend’s husbands are won over eventually, but what wins them over depends on the guy. Sometimes it’s hearing the baskets are completely American-made, from the maple trees grown all over the United States to the manufacturing facility in Dresden, Ohio. Sometimes it’s tasting the meals cooked in the flameware. Sometimes, one imagines, it’s simply seeing their wives happy. Longaberger certainly makes Mitchum happy, but it’s hard to say which piece makes her the happiest. The Collector’s Club decorative See LONGABERGER page 29

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index of advertisers


Academy Animal Care…...14 Autumn Care….................12 Blair Brothers…...................6 The Cove….......................26 Chorey & Associates…..…32 Cornerstone Private Practice…..........…10 Davis Lakes...................….14 D.B. Bowles Jewelers….....14 Drs. Jett, Sellers and LaRusso...................12 Duke Automotive............…8 East End Baptist Church…...6 Ellen Drames…................…2 Farmers Bank................….31 Franklin Business Incubator....................6 Harbour Veterinary Office...12

Last edition’s Where Am I?

Home Instead Senior Care...….................10 Isle of Wight Academy…12 Ivor Furniture Company….10 Mega ‘Dors and Windows..14 Mike Duman Auto Sales…..6 Nancy’s Calico Patch…....14 NansemondSuffolk Academy..............14 Sentara..........................4 Suffolk Public Schools….....10 The Village at Woods Edge..................….3 Virginia Fire Extinguishers.............…12 Womble Generator….......22 Woodard Orthodontics.....26 YMCA.........................8

FB-030 Western Tidewater Living June_7.5x4.93_3.pdf



We figured the November/December installment of Suffolk Living’s Where Am I contest was the easiest one yet. In fact, one of our early entrants agreed and told us we should give our readers a greater challenge. The photo that appears on page 17 of this edition will provide just that challenge, but remember that all of our subjects are where am I? easily and publicly I accessible. With the challenge issued, we’ll note that the current winner is Greta Outten of Suffolk. Her name was chosen randomly from those who guessed correctly that the bell featured last time is located in the little park between the Godwin Courts Building and Richardson & Nash Clothiers on North Main Street. Outten will receive a $25 gift certificate to the advertiser of her choice. 28 suffolk living

n each edition the Suffolk Living staff provides a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Suffolk you really know. We photograph some location in Suffolk that is readily accessible and open to the public, and see if you can tell us where it is. If you know where this photo was taken, submit your answer, along with your name and contact information to If you’re right, you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. Go out and enjoy Suffolk!

4:25 PM

reliable We believe that your money should always be where you are. Our mobile banking makes it easier than ever to check your account balances, transfer funds, find a branch or ATM, receive alerts and more – all from your mobile device. GO TEAM: Members of the 1956-’57 cheerleading squad at Suffolk High School, shown here in a photo taken from the 1957 edition of their high school yearbook “The Peanut,” included Pearl Blair, Joyce Folk, Kay Spivey, Patsy Rogers, Sandra LoCascio, Faye Gordon, Kay Wallace, Betsy Williams, Susan Birdsong and Becky Elmore.

— Photo courtesy of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society

To learn more, visit us at, or call 757-242-6111. Courteous | Prompt | Reliable | Secure

January/February 2013 Suffolk Living  

Suffolk, Va., Suffolk Living January/February 2013