Page 1

Holiday treats A baking family affair

A Pink Christmas

Patti Bass shares love for flamingos

Catching up with ... Curtis Wilkerson

Wint er 2011 • vol. 2, no. 4


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4 western tidewater living

letter from the publisher

D

ear Santa, We the staff of Western Tidewater Living won’t ask you for much this year. That’s because we’re very blessed. Four times a year, we get to take a step back from the grind of newspaper publishing – our “day job” – to publish this magazine and tell the interesting, inspiring stories of the people of Western Tidewater. What a privilege it is. We serve terrific, loyal readers, and we’re able to do it because of the support of many fine businesses and organizations that have chosen our magazine to market their goods and services. Santa, as you make your rounds spreading Christmas cheer to the fine folks of Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County, please take whatever small portion would have been ours and dispense it on a community that richly deserves it. We’re just grateful to be part of it and to help chronicle the people, places and institutions that make it so special.

Sincerely, Steve Stewart

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contents | winter 2011

ts trea affair HolidAay family baking

tmass Chris flamingo A Pink love for shares Patti Bass ... g up with n Catchin Curtis Wilkerso

Cover photograph by Don Bridgers

WI NT ER

20 11 tW

PM  OP



ON THE COVER: Shirley Deitz, owner of Shirley Anne’s Bake Shoppe in Wakefield, puts the finishing touches on a gingerbread house.

Inside this edition Steve Stewart Publisher Tony Clark General Manager Gwen Albers Managing editor Dale Liesch Staff writer Rex Alphin Columnist Merle Monahan Contributing writer

7

story by Stephen H. Cowles photography submitted

Loretta Lomax Editorial assistant Mitzi Lusk Marketing consultant

Patti Bass spreads holiday cheer with flamingos

Michelle Stainback Office manager

W

hoever says that watching television is a waste of time should meet Curtis Wilkerson Jr. He is proof to the contrary. Growing up in Franklin, Wilkerson saw several inspiring shuttle launches on TV. “Seeing pictures of astronauts and space was amazing,� said the 1999 Franklin High School graduate, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “I decided that I was going to be involved some how. If I couldn’t participate (by going to space), then I set a realistic goal.� His ambition to be connected is being fulfilled as a quality assurance engineer with NASA. Two relatively recent examples of Wilkerson’s work include a spacecraft to Jupiter and a land rover to Mars. The former is Juno, which is named for the wife of the great Roman deity. Launched on Aug. 5 from Cape Kennedy, Fla., that vehicle will get to the king of planets in 2016. The latter is appropriately dubbed Curiosity, and is part of the Mars Science Laboratory project. The first scheduled launch date was Nov. 25.

Each quarter our magazine will catch up with a Western Tidewater native who is living or working outside the area. In this issue, we share the story of Curtis Wilkerson, a 1999 Franklin High School graduate, who works for NASA in Pasadena, Calif.

Further, he attributes some “Assembly and testing is what of his success to his teachers, I do,� Wilkerson said. “I’m proud including his math instructor to be part of the team. Once it and supportive art teacher. leaves the planet, it’s hands off. Wilkerson told the stuThat’s because, of course, they dents he was also inspired by cannot reach them in space. the movie and cartoon show Wilkerson’s work has taken “Ghost Busters.� He was imhim from California to Colopressed with the idea of creatrado, where the spacecrafts are ing tools that could do fantastic assembled, then to Florida for things. launching. “Engineering is about taking Taking a month off in Septemthe principles of science and ber, he visited family and friends making them practical,� Wilkin Virginia. erson said. His parents are Mary WilkCurtis Wilkerson During his high school erson of Richmond and the late Curtis Wilkerson Sr. His sister, Kimberly, teach- years, he participated in the Black Achievers Program, which gave “exposure to higher poses in that city as well. Wilkerson spoke with students at J.P. King sibilities. Professionals came to speak, and that was helpful. Middle and Franklin High schools. After high school, Wilkerson studied me“I thought it was a good time to speak about the work while I was still bubbling about it,� he chanical engineer at North Carolina A&T, Greensboro. He followed up with aerospace said. The interest in engineering began “probably engineering at Virginia Tech and joined NASA four years ago.  before high school at age 6 or 7.

22

36

36 western tidewater living

25

IT’S HAPPENING

where am I? In each edition, our magazine staff provides a challenge of sorts for readers, testing how much of Western Tidewater you really know. We photograph a scene, or in this case old houses, in Western Tidewater, that are visible to motorists or pedestrians. Whoever can identify the locations of the most houses will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where these houses are, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. E-mail your answers to magazine@ tidewaternews.com Go out and enjoy Western Tidewater!

Take a look at some of the fun things to do this winter.

Christine Hill Marketing consultant Kate Archer Marketing consultant

Curtis Wilkerson

From festivals to casino nights and football games, Western Tidewater had a busy fall celebrating.

Troy Cooper Designer Ryan Outlaw Designer

catching up with

party pix

FLAMINGO ADDICTION

26

26 western tidewater living

WEDDING AT OUTER BANKS Ginna Brewbaker and Rick Palmer marry in June at Burrus House Inn in Manteo, N.C.

30

46

46 western tidewater living

Western Tidewater Living is published four times a year by Tidewater Publications, LLC P.O. Box 497, Franklin, VA 23851 757-562-3187 Advertising rates and information available upon request to magazine@tidewaternews.com. Subscriptions are $20 annually in-state; $24 annually out of state; and $30 annually overseas.

32

MODEL SURVIVOR Cancer survivor Beth Drewery wears a one-of-kind-gown during Richmond fashion show

winter forecast T

here being such a group of people that foretell what might come, permit me to venture into such territory and make a few predictions as “Ole’ Man Winter� makes his entrance. A woman will snuggle against a man’s side to get warm. And two hearts will heat up. A man standing in front of a camera in Norfolk with a map at his back will mention the word “snow.� At that point, 10,000 people will invade the grocery stores and confiscate all the milk, bread and water. Two weeks later, cartons of unopened milk will be found at the area landfill with expired dates. The first cold night, someone will turn up the thermostat and nothing will happen. Then someone will ask someone else why they had not checked it out before now. An extra blanket will be put on the bed. Then another. Somewhere around Dec. 25, 84,632 people will gain an extra 6.3 pounds for a total weight

Tell us where our photographer took photos of these old homes and get a chance to win a gift certificate.

gain of 266 tons, which will cause southeast Virginia to settle 2/10 of an inch and the ocean level will creep up as a result. Exactly seven days later, half those people will resolve to lose those 6.3 pounds. But the ground does not rise to its original level. A bird, sitting in a barren oak tree, will rejoice as it sees a human step into a yard and fill a bird feeder. After a snow, across the bottom of the television screen will scroll “Schools closed in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties,� and a chorus of delightful screams will reverberate across the land as young imaginations soar toward the next day’s adventures. An old man will put another log on the fire.

Columnist Rex Alphin shares his thoughts on winter. column and photo by Rex Alphin

A middle-aged man will fall asleep Sunday afternoon watching football. A child will bust the ice on a mud puddle with his boots. Someone’s suntan will fade away. An older woman will sing off key in the Christmas cantata, but no one will mention it. This will be the first Christmas a family will have an empty chair where the father always sat and someone will weep. A 6-year-old boy will hear reindeer hooves on the roof. A grandmother will see her grandson and tell him how much he has grown. About the end of next February, all of us, tired of shivering and long cold nights and gusty northern winds, will look longingly toward the coming spring and all that it will bring. But not without first looking over our shoulder at the previous three months and saying, “It was a good winter.� 


6 western tidewater living

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party pix

Casino Night

At right, Dan Crumpler and his wife, Amanda, of Courtland attend the Casino Night to benefit Alzheimer’s Association at Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk on Nov. 12; below, Bonnie Lansing, left, and Barbette Porter, both of Courtland; bottom left, Tammy Maurer and Miss Virginia Collegiate Taylor Vick; bottom right, Tracy and John Brown of Franklin and David Price of Southampton County. Photos by KATE ARCHER


10 western tidewater living

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party pix

PERSONS CHURCH Reunion

At left, Frances Hodges Holland, left, Edna Hodges and Kilby Hodges attend the annual Persons Church Reunion on Sept. 18 in Drewryville; below left, Debby Mims Nein and her husband, Walter; below right, Ashten Person, left, and Kellen Person SUBMITTED PHOTOS


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western tidewater living

13

party pix PDCCC Picnic

At left, Linda and Harold Burkett of Franklin attend a September picnic at Paul D. Camp Community College commemorating the school’s 40th anniversary and the inauguration of PDCCC’s new president, Dr. Paul Wm. Conco; below left, Tiffany Walloe, from left, Antwan Woodley, Ziya Walloe and Mechelle Blunt, all of Franklin; below right, Shelia Hobbs, the Rev. Dr. Carl Sweat and Linda Smith; bottom left, Holt and Judy Livesay of Franklin; bottom right, Dr. Terry Suarez, former president of Mountain Empire Community College; Dr. Paul Wm. Conco, PDCCC president; and Trina Jones, interim dean of student services. Photos by Wendy Harrison


14 western tidewater living

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party pix Windsor High Homecoming At left, Desiree Elliott, left, was named Windsor High School Homecoming queen and Brittany Stephens was named Maid of Honor during the Oct. 21 game; below left, Christina Wood and crash dummy Breanna Kitchen; below right, Mark Snow, 10, of Carrsville escorts his sister, sophomore homecoming candidate Tommie Curtis; bottom, Jacob Higginbotham, left, Jamies Stokes and Spencer Snyder. PHOTOS BY KATE ARCHER


16 western tidewater living

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party pix

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Football Game

Latisha Jordan and Jeff Lee keep warm on the sidelines during the Southampton High School-Brunswick game on Oct. 28 in Brunswick. Jordan’s son, Kamontae Blunt, plays for the Indians. PHOTO BY Jim Hart


18 western tidewater living

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party pix

Community Expo

Atelia Ann Elliott, from left, Trisha Smith and Kristen Gardner of BB&T work a booth at the 2011 Chamber Community Expo at the Regional Development Workforce Center at Paul D. Camp Community College on Nov. 17.

photo by Don Bridgers

Trunk-OR-Treat

Above, Robin Edwards, from left, the Rev. Roger Crump, Elaine Wiley and Susan Spivey were among 75 to participate in trunk-or-treat at Sycamore Baptist Church in Sedley on Oct. 30; at right, Riley Johnson, 1, is the daughter of Chris and Sarah Johnson of Sedley.

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party pix

Fire Department Fundraiser

At left, Mellisa Griffin, left, and Lisa Edwards of Ivor attend the Ivor Volunteer Fire Department fundraiser in September; below left, Mary Ann Galloway and son-in-law, Jay Epperson, of Wakefield; below right, Donald Babb and Alcyone West of Ivor; bottom, Earnest and Joyce Turner of Ivor. PHOTOS BY MERLE MONAHAN


22 western tidewater living

C

story by Dale Liesch photography by Tara Kea

hristmas comes with a pinkish hue at the Bass home in Franklin. Patti Bass’ affinity for flamingos started 10 years ago when her mother bought her a plastic version of the pink bird for her yard and the collection has grown from there. “I put the flamingo in the yard and the kids hated it,” Bass said. “That’s all I needed.” Her daughter, Katie Moore, would take the decorations out of the yard when she had dates and based a college entrance essay on the fake birds. Kenneth Moore, her son, once argued that the collection would bring down the value of nearby properties. Despite pleas from her children, Patti Bass was not deterred and continued to collect the tropical bird replicas. The collection includes figurines, bed sheets, cups, baskets, a mailbox and Christmas decorations and ornaments. In fact, Patti Bass has received so many ornaments that three or four years ago she designed an all flamingo Christmas tree with pink lights.

dreaming of a pink christmas

See CHRISTMAS page 23


western tidewater living

23

CHRISTMAS continued from page 22

“People started giving me flamingo ornaments and eventually all ornaments became flamingo ornaments,” she said. David Bass, her husband of 14 years, helps her with the decorations each year and says the flamingo theme is something she enjoys. “It makes her happy,” David Bass said. “I do what I’m asked to do and I don’t mind them.” He claims the decorations began because his wife believed their home looks like a home in Florida and it needed flamingos. At one point in its history the house was painted pink, he said. Home is not the only place Patti Bass is surrounded by the pink birds See CHRISTMAS page 24

Patti Bass of Franklin does her holiday decorating with flamingos.


24 western tidewater living CHRISTMAS continued from page 23

that sometimes stand on one leg. There is also a flock of flamingo decorations at her office. She works as the chief probation and parole officer for Franklin and clients are often surprised by the pink birds in her office. “My clients think it’s very eccentric,” Patti Bass said. She said the decorations make her feel more comfortable and she believes it has the same effect on clients. “The Department of Corrections is leaning toward a more healing environment,” Patti Bass said. “If I’m more comfortable in my surroundings the clients will too.” She believes this so strongly that she encourages staff members to decorate their offices in themes also. ←

Flamingos adorn the Christmas tree in the Bass home.


western tidewater living

Phyllis Person of Courtland and her nephew, DeMarco Jackson of Petersburg, attend the 2010 Community Sing at Newsoms Fire Station. Sponsored by Newsoms Ruritan Club, the Town of Newsoms and Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department, this year’s event is on Dec. 20.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

12/20—Holiday event Location: Newsoms Firehouse Community Christmas night will begin with a hayride and carolers meeting at Newsoms Ruritan building parking lot at 6:30 p.m. The Community Sing with refreshments will follow at 7 at the firehouse. 12/31—Smithfield New Year’s Eve Gala Location: Smithfield Center A $75 ticket includes live music and dinner stations. Reserve a table of eight and receive two bottles of wine. The event is sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Smithfield. Call 357-3063 or e-mail Sharon Ewell at sgewell@charter.net for more details. 1/12—Open house at James L. Camp Jr. YMCA Location: 300 Crescent Drive, Franklin Event starts at 5:30 p.m. Call the Y at 5623491 for more information. 3/19—Hoops and Heroes Location: Southampton High School At 7 p.m., the Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Team will take on the United Way Heroes. Proceeds will benefit FranklinSouthampton Area United Way. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $9 for adults. Tickets at the door are $9 for students and $11 for adults. Children under 4 are free. For more information, call 569-8929

Emily Hammond eyes a bowl of popcorn during the Community Sing in Newsoms in December 2010.

3/31—Southampton Academy Gala Run for the Roses Location: Regional Development Workforce Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. Call Southampton Academy at 653-2512 for more information. 4/21—Franklin “Era of the Camp Family” Garden Tour Location: Franklin 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will tour three Camp homes and the new High Street United Methodist Church on Camp Parkway. Tickets are $20 on day of tour and $15 in advance. Lunch will be served at the church for $15. Riverkeeper boat tours offered at $10.

25


26 western tidewater living

catching up with

story by Stephen H. Cowles photography submitted

Curtis Wilkerson W

hoever says that watching television is a waste of time should meet Curtis Wilkerson Jr. He is proof to

the contrary. Growing up in Franklin, Wilkerson saw several inspiring shuttle launches on TV. “Seeing pictures of astronauts and space was amazing,” said the 1999 Franklin High School graduate, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “I decided that I was going to be involved some how. If I couldn’t participate (by going to space), then I set a realistic goal.” His ambition to be connected is being fulfilled as a quality assurance engineer with NASA. Two relatively recent examples of Wilkerson’s work include a spacecraft to Jupiter and a land rover to Mars. The former is Juno, which is named for the wife of the great Roman deity. Launched on Aug. 5 from Cape Kennedy, Fla., that vehicle will get to the king of planets in 2016. The latter is appropriately dubbed Curiosity, and is part of the Mars Science Laboratory project. The first scheduled launch date was Nov. 25.

story by Stephen H. Cowles photography submitted

before high school at age 6 or 7. “Assembly and testing is Further, he attributes some what I do,” Wilkerson said. of his success to his teachers, “I’m proud to be part of the including his math instructor team. Once it leaves the planet, and supportive art teacher. it’s hands off. That’s because, Wilkerson told the stuof course, they cannot reach dents he was also inspired by them in space. the movie and cartoon show Wilkerson’s work has taken “Ghostbusters.” He was imhim from California to Colopressed with the idea of creatrado, where the spacecrafts are ing tools that could do fantastic assembled, then to Florida for things. launching. “Engineering is about taking Taking a month off in Septhe principles of science and tember, he visited family and making them practical,” Wilkfriends in Virginia. Curtis Wilkerson erson said. His parents are Mary WilkDuring his high school years, he participated erson of Richmond and the late Curtis Wilkerson Sr. His sister, Kimberly, teaches in that city in the Black Achievers Program, which gave exposure to higher possibilities. Professionals as well. Wilkerson spoke with students at J.P. King came to speak, and that was helpful. After high school, Wilkerson studied meMiddle and Franklin High schools. “I thought it was a good time to speak about chanical engineering at North Carolina A&T, the work while I was still bubbling about it,” he Greensboro. He followed up with aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech and joined NASA said. The interest in engineering began “probably four years ago. ←


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28 western tidewater living

nuptials

Bronco Club bride & groom A photography by Tara Kea

llison Jada Flick and Kelby Gene Lilly married at 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2010, at the Bronco Club in Franklin. The new Mrs. Lilly is the daughter of Bob and Colleen Flick of Ivor. She is the granddaughter of Mario and Florence Cucchiara of Florida. Her husband is the son of James and Shelby Lilly of Tyner, N.C., and grandson of Kelly and Evelyn Hare, also of Tyner. Matron of honor was Jennifer Buchheit, the bride’s sister. Maids of honor were Emily and Amanda Flick, the bride’s sisters. Bridesmaids were Krystal Wolfe, Victoria Cahoon Dahl, Liz Tiefenback, Keri Lynn Buchheit, Lauren Gallagher and Sarah Garner. Flower girls were Madison Lilly, the groom’s daughter; Avigail Lilly, the groom’s niece; Caroline Ferguson, the groom’s cousin; and Kyleigh Frankenfield, the bride’s goddaughter. James Lilly, the groom’s father, was best man. Groomsmen were Travis Lilly, the groom’s brother; David See BRONCO page 29


western tidewater living

29

BRONCO continued from page 28

Hare, the groom’s uncle; and Jay Harrell, the groom’s best friend. Ring bearers were Colby Lilly, the groom’s nephew, and Campbell Ferguson, the groom’s cousin. Mistress of ceremonies was Paula Buchheit The groom’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner. The reception was held at the Bronco Club. Guests sat on hay bales, dancing was held inside and outside, and decorations included pumpkins and flowers A couple’s shower was hosted by Holly and Steve Ferguson, Holly White Hughes, Melody and Don White, and Thelma and Roger Bunch. A bridal shower was hosted by the women of Ballard’s Bridge Baptist Church and a shower was hosted by Jennifer Buchheit. The new Mrs. Lilly graduated from Southampton High School in 2003. She received an associate degree in criminal justice from Paul D. Camp Community College and is a graduate of Paul Mitchell Hair School. She is a hairstylist at Tangles Hair and Nail Salon in Franklin. Her husband graduated from John A. Holmes High School in Edenton, N.C., and works at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. They took a honeymoon in the area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The couple met the week before Easter 2007 at Tucker Swamp Baptist Church. Allison saw Kelby in her Sunday school class and overheard that he would be teaching the following Wednesday. She skipped her history class that day and went to the church. He left his Bible behind so the next day Allison took it to him. They dated for three years, during which time Kelby proposed. Going out for sushi in Norfolk, the couple was on their way to the restaurant when Kelby stopped Allison and asked her to marry him. She said yes. ←

Top, Allison Lilly shares a dance with her father, Bob Flick. Above, groom Kelby Lilly, left, is nearly thrown into the river at the Bronco Club by groomsmen Jay Harrell, David Hare, in back, and Travis Lilly.


30 western tidewater living

nuptials

wed on the bay A

photography by Lana Williams

Ginna’s aunt, Margaret Marks; from left, Ginna’s mother, Nancy Brewbaker; and family friend Anne Parker enjoy a moment at the reception.

lthough not every day of anyone’s life is a day at the beach, the beach provides a splendid setting to gather for the very special occasion of wedding and new family. And so it was in June when beloved families and beloved friends came together at the Burrus House Inn along the edge of the Shallowbag Bay in Manteo, N.C., to witness and celebrate the marriage of Ginna Brewbaker and Rick Palmer. Ginna, formerly Virginia Camp Brewbaker, is the daughter of Robert and Nancy Brewbaker of Franklin, and the granddaughter of Paul Douglas Camp Marks and Frances Schneider Marks of Franklin and the late Robert S. Brewbaker and the late Virginia R. Sanderson of Bedford, Va. Richard Troy Palmer is the son of Jack and Judy Palmer of Floressant, Colo., and the grandson of the late See WEDDING page 31


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WEDDING continued from page 30

Everett and Ruth Palmer of Macon, Ill., and the late Harris and Frances Norton or Arcata, Calif. Ginna’s forever friend, Josie Daniels Doak of West Hartford, Conn., served as her maid of honor, and her bridesmaids were Angela Carter Shafer of Myersville, Md., and Adrienne Fadoul of Arlington, Va. Rick’s brother, John Palmer of Trenton, Ohio, was best man, and Mark Brewbaker of Washington, D.C., brother of the bride, was his groomsman. Following an adventurous and scenic honeymoon in Alaska, Rick and Ginna settled in Charlottesville. Rick continues to teach and coach high school students in Waynesboro and Ginna continues to teach elementary school in Albemarle County. ←

Top, bridal party members Angela Shafer, from left, Adrienne Fadoul, Josie Doak, Ginna and Rick Palmer, John Palmer and Marks Brewbaker celebrate. Above, Ginna receives warm wishes from her grandfather, Paul Camp Marks. Far right, Ginna and her father, Robert Brewbaker, get some time together on the dance floor. Right, Ginna and Rick enjoy a dance while Ginna’s mother, Nancy Brewbaker; Ginna’s grandmother, Frances Marks; and Ginna’s aunts, Texie Marks and JoAnn Treathaway, look on approvingly.


32 western tidewater living

surviving in style

story by Stephen H. Cowles photography submitted

Breast cancer can alter each woman’s life differently. For that reason, treatment ideally should be tailored to the person, much like having a new dress created and fitted for her.

Beth Drewery, left, and clothing designer Evelyn Bagala outside Bagala’s shop near Richmond. Bagala designed Drewery’s gown for the American Cancer Society fundraising fashion show at the Hilton in Glen Allen on Sept. 24.

Hunterdale native Beth Drewery knows about both. On Sept. 24, Drewery celebrated her status as a cancer survivor during the “Cure by Design Survivor Fashion Show” hosted by the American Cancer Society in Glen Allen. Attended by Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, the show’s models were cancer survivors, like Drewery, who took to the runway in a hot pink evening gown made by Richmond designer Evelyn Bagala. “This night was truly a celebration of life, and the volunteers made sure we were spoiled and pampered during the whole day and evening of the show,” Drewery said. Following the final runway walk, models were treated to birthday cake, a champagne toast and reception to celebrate the ACS’s “A World without Cancer is a World with More Birthdays.” Models were treated to a meetand-greet with New York fashion designer Alex Garfield. In addition to Bagala’s designs, models wore creations picked especially for them from Richmond-area merchants, including Johnathan Kayne and See DREWERY page 33


western tidewater living DREWERY continued from page 32

Tommy Hilfiger. Richmond stylists did the models’ hair and make-up. “What a nice way to end such a truly special and memorable evening,” she said. But 2½ years before Drewery ever thought of doing a turn on the catwalk, the Richmond woman learned she had stage-one cancer after getting an annual exam. “Knowing I had a history of it in my family – both maternal and paternal – I was not shocked,” the 53-year-old said. “I felt it was best to seek out help.” A visit to her primary physician led her to Dr. Polly Stephens, a surgeon in the Virginia Breast Center, which is affiliated with the Bon Secours Hospital system. The doctor did a biopsy, which tested malignant, and then a lumpectomy was performed. After sending the tumor away for further testing, Stephens recommended radiation therapy over chemotherapy. “I decided not to do radiation,” Drewery said. “There was a 25 percent chance of the cancer coming back, which is small in my book.” Understandably, she also wanted to avoid the side effects of nausea and skin burns. Stephens felt the disease would not return because it was quite isolated on discovery. “The chances are very slim,” said Drewery, who was put on a medication for five years. All in all, this proved to be what she needed. “It was very quick,” Drewery said. “I returned to work in six weeks. I’m very positive.” The doctor gave glowing reports after a recent six-month routine exam. Testing reduced to just yearly is in the forecast. Last summer, when Drewery went to have some clothes altered, she was referred to Bagala, who had just gone to an organizational meeting for the fashion show. See DREWERY page 34

Beth Drewery waves to the audience.

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34 western tidewater living

Cancer survivor Beth Drewery, center, with Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, during a cancer fundraising fashion show in Glen Allen that featured cancer survivors as models.

DREWERY continued from page 33

Bagala asked Drewery if she knew of any cancer survivors. “Well, Evelyn, I’m a survivor,” Drewery told Bagala. Interestingly, the two women were already linked. “Bagala had previously designed three pieces for a very dear friend of mine, who unfortunately died from sarcoma,” said Drewery. “There was a little bit of connection already there. That formed a bond and made it a little bit closer. Evelyn really tries to please her customers.”

The designer remembered meeting Drewery through client Yvonne Pinckney. “I offered to go to her house and give her privacy,” Bagala said. “I did the daughter’s dress as well. I got to know Drewery when she was a nanny to the daughter, Suzanne.” Bagala was asked to design gowns for the fundraiser, including one for Maureen McDonnell. “It was my honor to give back,” she said. Meeting Drewery again for alterations and asking about cancer survivors led to the participation.

“She was excited to do it,” said Bagala. “I worked with Beth and her mom.” Drewery is the daughter of Evelyn and Jesse Drewery of Franklin. Her sister-in-law and brother are Paige and Capt. Gene Drewery of the Southampton County Sheriff ’s Office. Fred Vincent is her husband, and Bryant Vincent is their son. She also regards the Pinckneys as her other Richmond family. Drewery plans to participate next year in the fashion show. “It was truly an honor. I’m looking forward to it,” she said. ←


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36 western tidewater living

where am I? In each edition, our magazine staff provides a challenge of sorts for readers, testing how much of Western Tidewater you really know. We photograph a scene, or in this case old houses, in Western Tidewater, that are visible to motorists or pedestrians. Whoever can identify the locations of the most houses will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where these houses are, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. E-mail your answers to magazine@ tidewaternews.com Go out and enjoy Western Tidewater!


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38 western tidewater living

happy strokes A

story by Kate Archer photography by Don Bridgers

Richmond artist known for his lively murals on hospital walls, homes, public venues and churches is putting the finishing touches on the new $8.7 million High Street United Methodist Church, which plans to host its first service on Christmas Eve. The 30,000-square-foot church on Camp Parkway has been under construction for more than a year, and Happy the Artist, whose given name is James Patrick Kuhn, was hired to paint the children’s wing. Known as the Michelangelo of Richmond, Happy’s mural depicts the Methodist movement by way of the Yellow Brick Road. “It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!” said Gaynelle Riddick, church historian and building committee member. “I’ve only met Happy twice, and he’s doing a great job blending in ‘new’ with the ‘old.’ It’s magical!” The Rev. Susan Reaves, Bob Luck and Ann Jervey stumbled upon Happy’s work while visiting Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Chesapeake. “We were blown away,” Jervey said. “Upon opening the doors, it was as if See HAPPY page 39


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HAPPY continued from page 38

we had walked into a mystical wonderland. Our minds were reeling. We didn’t know if it was even possible for us to bring such incredible art here to our new church.” She got his name and contacted his manager in Richmond. “We brought the mural idea up to the building committee, Happy and Jennifer (Simmons, his manager) checked it all out, and when we got word that Happy really wanted to do the job, we were ecstatic,” Jervey said. Like many artists, Happy has his quirks. Parishioners have offered their homes to the 70-year-old father of eight while he works here, but he chooses to sleep on an air mattress on the vacant church floor and go without running water. “Ann Jervey has a lovely home,” Happy said. “Her pillows are just too nice and fluffy and the home is just… well, it’s just not for me.” “I like to be with my work,” he added. “If I go to bed with it, I can wake up to it….if I have a thought in the middle of the night, I am right here to sketch it or work on it.” See HAPPY page 40


40 western tidewater living HAPPY continued from page 39

Part of the mural in the children’s wing at the new High Street United Methodist Church on Camp Parkway.

His car is covered with Bible scriptures, prophets and whimsical verses. The roof has a silver plastic disco ball, ribbons and silk flowers. The crooked license plate reads “HAPI-ANN,” in memory of his daughter, Ann, who died at age 25 from cancer. The car is packed with sketches, drop cloths, paint cans and brushes, and cups and fast-food wrappers. Happy’s beloved beagle, Oh My God, rides along side him. He wears mismatched, paint-splattered Converse shoes, multi-colored sweaters, bright scarves and zany printed pants. Happy uses sectioned plates and coffee cups to mix his paints. Most of his art is done freehand with ¼- and ½-inch brushes and a sponge. The building committee is pleased with his work. “Everything Happy paints has a symbol and teaches us Sunday school lessons,” Jervey said. “We have been blessed in so many ways, with Happy’s work and being able to settle in a place where there is future growth.” The Christmas Eve candlelight service is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. “We may be sitting on pews with no cushions, but we’ll be there,” she said. ←

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42 western tidewater living

Shirley Dietz puts the finishing touches on a gingerbread house as her daughter, Brittany Deitz, and grandson, Dylan Fuson, 10 months, look on.

‘When we have big orders to fill, the four of us form sort of a production line. One will work with the dough, another will cut out cookies, while another mans the ovens, or washes up the cookie sheets. I do most of the decorating.’ Shirley Deitz — Holiday Baker

S

Home-baked holiday delicacies

hirley Dietz loves holidays. Not so much for the festivities, but for the baking. Dietz started Shirley Anne’s Bake Shoppe in her Wakefield home several years ago. So she looks forward to Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The business also involves her husband, John; son, Christopher; and daughter, Brittany. “When we have big orders to fill, the four of us form sort of a production line,” Shirley Deitz said. “One will work with the

story by Merle Monahan photography by Don Bridgers

dough, another will cut out cookies, while another mans the ovens, or washes up the cookie sheets. I do most of the decorating.” “On the days we bake, the entire house smells so wonderful,” she continued. “I just love it!” A military brat, Dietz moved a lot and was often home alone when she was young with her mother and the two would bake. She remembers baking and decorating a three-tier cake for her grandparents’ 40th wedding anniversary when she was 15. See HOLIDAYS page 43


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43

A gingerbread house and other treats cover the counter. HOLIDAYS continued from page 42

“My mom, Willie L. Barton, taught me so much of what I know about baking and decorating cakes,” Dietz said. “I’ve always loved it. When she moved here, she started making cakes and cookies for friends and neighbors. Eventually Dietz’s home-baked delicacies became so much in demand, she opened the bakery. Business grew to the point that she was running out of space, “and that’s when John and I decided to enlarge and remodel the kitchen,” Deitz said. Her kitchen today is state-of-the-art, with two sinks, two extra-large ovens, floor to ceiling cabinets on three sides of the room and a large work island in the center.

“We did much of the work ourselves,” Dietz said. “I drew the plans, and John made all of the cabinets.” She takes orders either by phone or e-mail, but doesn’t start baking until either the day of or the day before the order will be picked up. “It depends on the length of time it takes to complete the order,” Deitz said. An exception would be an excessive number of orders; she and her family have been known to work through the night to finish. “We want to be sure everything is as fresh as possible,” Dietz said. She makes about 100 gingerbread houses, decorated and personalized, for Christmas. Everything is made from scratch, with icing,

colored gumdrops and M&Ms on the outsides, while the interior is complete with an inverted green-iced ice cream cone Christmas tree and red and green wrapped candy pieces as presents. It takes four hours to complete one. Dietz makes heart-shaped decorated cookies for Valentine’s Day and Santas, shutters and doors with Christmas wreaths, candy canes and Christmas tree cookies for Christmas. For Easter she makes about 3,000 small cookies in the shape of chicks or “peeps,” as one customer called them and for the fall, she makes oak leaf cookies decorated with autumn colors. Dietz’s cookies come in all sizes and shapes and for any occasion. “I can custom make any cookie or cake and See HOLIDAYS page 44


44 western tidewater living HOLIDAYS continued from page 43

personalize any gingerbread house my customers want,” she said. “Usually on the houses, people say things like ‘Merry Christmas,’ or ‘Holiday Greetings,’ but I had a very unusual one once. One of my male customers asked me to write ‘Will you marry me?’ on the house he had ordered for his girlfriend.” Deitz makes coffee cakes, bundt cakes, sheet cakes and layer cakes. She has close to 300 regular customers and says Easter is her biggest holiday, as she helps the Easter Bunny by filling the Easter baskets. Although Christmas runs a close second, she has one open house during the year and it’s the Easter holiday. The 55-year-old grandmother has tried several occupations, including a stint as a nuclear reactor operator at the Surry Nuclear Plant, a photographer, National Girl Scout officer and cake decorating teacher, but says she is happier with her own bakery. She wins blue ribbons in every competition she enters and was asked to teach a cake decorating class at Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute in Norfolk. ← SHIRLEY DIETZ’S RECIPES: GINGERBREAD RECIPE FOR HOUSES, COOKIES AND MEN Mix together and set aside. 41 tsp. ginger 41 tsp. cinnamon 41 tsp. salt 4½ tsp. allspice 44 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional flour on reserve) In saucepan, add 41 cup light brown sugar, packed 41 cup margarine 41 cup molasses Bring to boil, then pour mixture into large mixer bowl, add 1 tsp. of baking soda and let mixture come to froth. Once mixture is just warm to touch, continue. Slowly add one cup of dry mixture to molasses mixture and mix thoroughly. Add one egg, mix thoroughly. Add remaining dry mixture while mixing on low speed. At this point, add enough flour so dough is no longer tacky to touch. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Divide dough into thirds and roll out first section on greased cookie sheet. Dough should be approximately 1/3-inch thick. Cut desired shapes using templates or cookie cutters. Be careful to space shapes on sheet to allow for dough rising. Once cut, trim off excess dough. Place pan into 325-degree oven for 25 minutes. NOTE: Since gingerbread goes into the oven brown, it is important to know that it goes through stages before it is done. From the original brown, it turns light in See HOLIDAYS page 45


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HOLIDAYS continued from page 44

color, rises slightly, then sighs. It then goes back to a rich gingerbread color. Be sure the gingerbread has cooked thoroughly; soft gingerbread will sag when you try to build with it. After the gingerbread is done, immediately remove shapes from the cookie sheet onto parchment paper. At this point, you may trim the warm shapes with a knife if there is any unwanted spreading. Let cool. ROYAL ICING FOR GINGERBREAD HOUSES INGREDIENTS: 43 large eggs, separated—use only whites 4½ tsp. cream of tartar 41 lb. or 3 ¾ cups of confectioner’s sugar

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and beat 5 to 7 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form when beaters are lifted. Makes 2 ½ cups. Keep icing covered with a

damp towel until ready to use.

ornaments air dry for four to five days. (Do not bake). Store in sealed plastic bags until ready to use.

CINNAMON APPLESAUCE WREATH AND TREE ORNAMENTS

To decorate applesauce gingerbread men, use royal icing at cuff, sock line and for smile. Use two cinnamon red hots for eyes.

INGREDIENTS: 4¾ cup cinnamon 41 Tbsp. allspice 42 Tbsp. cloves 41 Tbsp. nutmeg 41 cup applesauce Copper wire 1/8-inch wide satin ribbon, gold and red DIRECTIONS: Combine first four ingredients, blending well. Stir in applesauce, mix well. Roll into ¼-inch thickness on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using small cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shapes. Peel way any excess dough and re-roll if necessary. For hangers, cut wire in 2-inch lengths, bend into horseshoe shapes and insert into tops of ornaments, leaving half circles of wire apart. Let

Purchase an evergreen wreath. With gold or red ribbon, tie whole cinnamon stick clusters into the wreath. Add gingerbread applesauce men by criss-crossing the ribbon across the chest (they will look like toy soldiers) and tie excess ribbon in back of wreath. Hang wreath on your door and let the wonderful aroma greet your guests.

SWEET POTATO GINGERBREAD INGREDIENTS: 42½ cups all-purpose flour 41½ tsp. baking soda 41½ tsp. ground ginger 41 tsp. baking powder 41 tsp. salt

4½ tsp. ground cinnamon 41¼ cup packed brown sugar 4½ cup softened butter 41 cup cooked mashed sweet potato 4½ cup evaporated milk 4¼ cup dark molasses 42 large eggs 41 tsp. vanilla extract 4Confectioner’s sugar for dusting DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13- by-9-inch pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine sugar and butter and beat with mixer until creamy. Add sweet potato, milk, molasses, eggs and vanilla, beating to mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture, beating well until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for five minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, cut into squares and serve warm with butter.


46 western tidewater living

winter forecast T

here being such a group of people that foretell what might come, permit me to venture into such territory and make a few predictions as “Ole’ Man Winter” makes his entrance. A woman will snuggle against a man’s side to get warm. And two hearts will heat up. A man standing in front of a camera in Norfolk with a map at his back will mention the word “snow.” At that point, 10,000 people will invade the grocery stores and confiscate all the milk, bread and water. Two weeks later, cartons of unopened milk will be found at the area landfill with expired dates. The first cold night, someone will turn up the thermostat and nothing will happen. Then someone will ask someone else why they had not checked it out before now. An extra blanket will be put on the bed. Then another. Somewhere around Dec. 25, 84,632 people will gain an extra 6.3 pounds for a total weight

gain of 266 tons, which will cause southeast Virginia to settle 2/10 of an inch and the ocean level will creep up as a result. Exactly seven days later, half those people will resolve to lose those 6.3 pounds. But the ground does not rise to its original level. A bird, sitting in a barren oak tree, will rejoice as it sees a human step into a yard and fill a bird feeder. After a snow, across the bottom of the television screen will scroll “Schools closed in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties,” and a chorus of delightful screams will reverberate across the land as young imaginations soar toward the next day’s adventures. An old man will put another log on the fire.

column and photo by Rex Alphin

A middle-aged man will fall asleep Sunday afternoon watching football. A child will bust the ice on a mud puddle with his boots. Someone’s suntan will fade away. An older woman will sing off key in the Christmas cantata, but no one will mention it. This will be the first Christmas a family will have an empty chair where the father always sat and someone will weep. A 6-year-old boy will hear reindeer hooves on the roof. A grandmother will see her grandson and tell him how much he has grown. About the end of next February, all of us, tired of shivering and long cold nights and gusty northern winds, will look longingly toward the coming spring and all that it will bring. But not without first looking over our shoulder at the previous three months and saying, “It was a good winter.” ←


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4/29/11 9:05 AM

Western TIdewater Living - Winter 2011  

Western Tidewater Living life magazine, volume 2, number 4, winter 2011

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