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In the Holiday Spirit Sedley family goes all out

Christmas treats

Sharon Gwaltney shares holiday goodies

Catching up with ... Jonathan Spivey

W int er 2012 • vol. 3, no. 4


Everyone agrees—

{The Village is in a league of its own.} There are a lot of great things about living at The Village. One thing that stands out for most of the people who live here is the maintenance-free lifestyle we offer. It means they have more time to have fun, without any of the chores of home maintenance. We also offer lots of options for fun things to do, with lively groups and clubs, exciting activities and events and planned trips to a variety of destinations. So roll our way and find out what kind of fun you might be missing. Learn more about the maintenance-free lifestyle at The Village by calling (757) 562-3100 or visiting www.villageatwoodsedge.com. Find us on Facebook.

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Small town charm. Engaging senior living.


4 western tidewater living

letter from the associate publisher

S

anta. Rudolph. Frosty. Black Friday. Office parties. The mall. The Internet. Gift exchanges. Buying the perfect gift. Shipping the perfect gift. Not enough money to do it all. Not enough time to do it all. And in the blink of an eye, the most wonderful time of the year is over, for many of us before we really even got a chance to enjoy it. Isn’t it so easy to get caught up in the trappings of the season? Speaking from personal experience, I know how easy it is to get so distracted by the side dishes that we often miss out on enjoying the main course. Christmas, in many ways, is really the simplest, most uncomplicated of holidays, the celebration of the Christ child’s birth over 2000 years ago. Yet we have found every conceivable way to not only make Christmas incredibly complicated, but almost unrecognizable

when compared to what it is that we originally set out to celebrate. Rather than taking time to celebrate God’s greatest gift to man, we spend weeks in preparation of giving earth’s greatest gifts to each other. In a few brief days, before we know it, really, another holiday season will have come and gone. Take the time to enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is, a time for family and loved ones to gather together in celebration of what matters most; not what’s under the tree that we’re about to receive, but the incredible blessings that, whether we recognize them or not, have already been given. From our family to yours, our wish for you this Christmas season is a coming year full of peace, joy and happiness. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about.

Sincerely, Tony Clark

Womanspeak for “Just get me something little” 105 2nd Avenue, Franklin VA (757) 562-3175 email: diamond515@verizon.net • www.smithdiamondjewelers.com


contents | winter 2012 In the Spiroutit all Holileydfamay ily goes

treats dies tmases holi day goo Chris y shar Gwaltne with ... ing up ey CatchJon athan Spiv

Sed

Sharon

Cover photograph by Don Bridgers

Wi nt er

no . 4 vo l. 3, 20 12 •

ON THE COVER: Sharon Gwaltney comes from a long line of holiday cooks.

Inside this edition

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Singles respond to appearing in Western Tidewater Living story by Andrew Faison photography by Mitzi Lusk

During the summer issue of Western Tidewater Living, we interviewed 10 singles in Western Tidewater. Here’s the reaction some of them they received:

Tony Clark Associate publisher Gwen Albers Managing editor

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• Robert Hill Jr., 22, said friends were shocked to see him in an article featuring singles and asked how many dates he got. The answer was none. A graduate student at Norfolk State University, Hill said people mainly spoke about his age when they read the article. “People either thought I was actually older or thought I was a little younger,” he said.” I got a lot of responses from older people.” On several occasions, strangers struck up a conversation with Hill. “After starting a regular conversation they would just dive right in about that article,” he said.

party pix

From New Branch Baptist Church’s 100th anniversary to the second annual PumpkinFest in Boykins, Western Tidewater did a lot of celebrating this fall.

Rex Alphin Columnist

“I had quite a few people come up to me and say ‘hey weren’t you in that Tidewater magazine?” D

W

• Mitch White, 33, received some flirtatious emails and a friend or two on Facebook. A farrier, White also heard positive comments. No dates, though. “Typically, I am more apt to date women who are involved in horses in some form or the other due to it being such a demanding hobby as well as my occupation,” White said. The owner of Mitch White’s Horseshoeing figured the article wouldn’t lead to anything serious, but had fun. “It was just enough to scratch the surface on an individual because a little mystery is intriguing,” White said.

“People either thought I was actually older or thought I was a little younger. I got a lot of responses from older people.” R

H

J .

■ Darlene Wilkerson, 50, was grateful for participating after the number of responses she received. “I had quite a few people come up to me and say ‘hey weren’t you in that Tidewater magazine? And I would answer, ‘yes I was,’” said Wilkerson, the mother of two and grandmother of one. A few men approached Wilkerson, but she had already been dating someone. “We knew each other before the magazine, but he took a different look at me after the article ran,” said the administrative assistant for the City of Franklin.

“Typically, I am more apt to date women who are involved in horses in some form or the other due to it being such a demanding hobby as well as my occupation.” M

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See how Western Tidewater singles fared after appearing in summer issue of Western Tidewater Living.

W

Andrew Faison Contributing writer Merle Monahan Contributing writer Stephen H. Cowles Contributing writer Troy Cooper Designer

bedazzling lights Janet and Brad Lankford Sr. brighten holiday from Sedley home.

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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 in Western Tidewater that is visible to motorists or pedestrians. Whoever can identify this location will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. No one guessed the photo from our fall issue, which was taken at a closed grocery store in Branchville. So, if you know where this is, 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!

Loretta Lomax Editorial assistant

John Skeeters Marketing consultant Kate Archer Marketing consultant

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Catching up Jonathan Spivey trades Windsor for New York City.

Michelle Gray Office manager 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.

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Tell us where our photographer took this photo and get a chance to win a gift certificate

Ryan Outlaw Designer

Mitzi Lusk Advertising director

45

46

46 western tidewater living

Let’s Get Physical Wakefield athletic trainer Pam Boykin gets it done.

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Columnist Rex Alphin shares his thoughts on Christmas.

The power of the season column and photo by Rex Alphin

Scientists tell us there are four fundamental forces of physics that control the universe. I am suggesting a fifth. Consider these observations: ■ How is it possible that 100 adults with 200 energetic children will stand in a line for two hours to have them sit in the lap of a man dressed in a red suit with a white beard and black boots? ■ What force makes masses of people get up a 4 a.m., ride through traffic jams and congested parking lots, force themselves through crowds while eyeing a particular item on a certain shelf and then wait another half hour to purchase the item and ride home through more traffic while savoring the satisfaction of victory? ■ Why would a husband, simply because he is standing under green sprigs that came out the top of a dormant tree, plant a kiss on the lips of his bride?

■ Why would one million children claim they actually heard reindeer hooves on the roof of their homes? ■ What force makes people hang big socks on the mantle of their fireplace? ■ What power is so strong that a woman — who normally keeps dust out of the house, mops the floors and vacuums the rugs, asks men to take their shoes off before entering and keeps the windows spotless — will allow a six-foot tall tree to be brought into her living room and let it stay there in a bucket of water for four weeks? ■ What can make the public education system take a break for two weeks and idle 10,000 factories the last of the year?

■ What can make grown men act like 10-year-olds again? ■ What can dominate the music of radio stations across the land and have us all humming the same tunes? ■ What can fill up otherwise empty pews? ■ What can make a child think a 300-pound man can slide down the chimney of every house in the world? In one night? ■ How can one man being born on one night have such a far reaching influence on the lives of so many people on so many nights? Yes, I think this force far outweighs them all. It cannot be measured on scales nor observed through lenses. It sweeps in and grabs our lives while telling us there is something outside of ourselves. It is magical, wondrous, marvelous. It is Christmas! Embrace it, my friend. And may you never be the same!


6 western tidewater living

party pix

90th Birthday Party

At right, Mert and Jean Felts of Ivor at a 90th birthday party for Margaret Felts in late October at the Ivor Municipal building; below right, Travis and Vicki Felts; bottom right, Robyn Hall, left, and Paige Tomlin; below left, Chris, Scott and Shelby Felts; bottom left, Jeanette Lowe and Bob Felts. Photos By Merle Monahan


western tidewater living

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8 western tidewater living

party pix Celebration of Community Harvest

At left, attending a Sept. 24 celebration for Community Harvest, which received property in Windsor for its new community center, were, from left, Kecia Ballen, and the Revs. Tracy and Lorenzo Mallory; below left, Constance Ruffin and her grandson, Isaiah Ruffin, 10; below right, Angela Gray, left, and Humilitee; bottom, Virginia Booker, from left, Glenda Booker, Rosette Clinton and Erlene Sellers. Photos By GWEN ALbers


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10 western tidewater living

party pix Kiwanis Club Dinner

At left, Southampton High School Key Club members Heather Bradshaw, from left, Cameron McHenry, Savannah Britt and Gabrielle Adams serve beverages at the Franklin Kiwanis Club dinner fundraiser at Fred’s restaurant on Oct. 23; below, Kevin Insull, from left, Patsy Joyner and David Rabil; bottom left, Nellie Kauss, from left, Ralph and Rachel Tayloe; bottom right, Cecelia Darden, from left, Herschel Fowler and Ted Nadeau. Photos By Andrew Faison


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party pix Fish fry

At right, Betty Edwards, left, and granddaughters Daelyn Rose, 8, and Dutchess Rose, 6, at the fish fry at the American Legion Charles Younts Post 73 in Franklin in October; below left, Elijah Kee, 3, from left, his father, Daniel Kee, and Parker Darden; below right, Ricky and Karri Harrell, and David Scott, right; bottom left, Warren Tomlinson, from left, Jean Cannon, Beverly Myers and Nellie Kauss; bottom right, Dave and M.K. Copley. Photos By Stephen H. Cowles


12 western tidewater living

party pix 100th anniversary New Branch Baptist Church

Clockwise from left, Elizabeth Jenkins, left, and Edna Cheatom at the New Branch Baptist Church’s 100th anniversary celebration in October; Gloria Spratley, left, and daughter, Janelle Spratley; Mary Warren and Virginia Edmonds; Junius and Lethia Carroll; Beatrice Chapman and Elizabeth Newby; Eloise Holloway, left, and Teresa Peden. Photos by Merle Monahan


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party pix PUMpkinFest

At left, Dawn and Errol Mostert attend the second annual PumpkinFest on Oct. 20 in Boykins; below, in front from left, Garrett Piersa, Amy Lehman, Mike Blythe, Joan Mayfield and Hillary Gunn; and in back, Patti Watkinson, Lisa Kirkham, Ken Mayfield, and Dawn Gunn; bottom, Charvonte Cooper, 4; from left, Zaveona Walton, 10; Tristen Gary, 11; Jamiah Butler, 6; and Trinity Evans, 5; opposite page top, Jocelyn Sadler, 7, from left, Akayla Galbreath, 7; Brieannah Galbreath, 6; and Jack Simpson, 5. photos by kate archer


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party pix

Phi Theta Kappa INduction

Erika Albert, from left, Rachel Cruey and Kayla Baylor; and in back, Jordan Hewett, during an induction ceremony for Phi Theta Kappa at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Development Worforce Center on Oct. 26. Photo by Cassandra Albert


16 western tidewater living

party pix

Tailgating

Above, Kelsey Thomas, from left, Joseph Jenkins, Daniel Lowdermilk, Cody Watson and Alex Dunlow attend a tailgate party prior to the Southampton High School homecoming football game on Oct. 12; at left, Mikayla Clarke, from left, Dakota Johnson and Shelby Livingston; below left, Haley Boykin, Kristen Cooke and Ashley Roberts; below right, serving Nixon’s Catering were Pearl Elsworth, from left, Patricia Scott, Joyce Edwards, Ania Przygocki and Annetta Moore; bottom left, Dale More, Rita Yeary and Jenna Lusk. PHOTOs BY Andrew Faison


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18 western tidewater living

party pix

Family Reading Night

At right, Cheryl Martin and her son, Kevin, at Family Reading Night at S.P. Morton Elementary School in October; below left, fourth-grade teacher Gracie E. Taylor, with students Bobby Myrick, from left in front, Ariyah Cutler and Mykeira Rawlings; and in back, Franklin alumni Kiara Lee, below right, Mariyah Jordan, left, with her mom, Rosalie Jordan; bottom left, Ricky, from left, Theresa and Aaron Hollomon; bottom right, teachers Tiffany Matteson, from left, Brenda Jones, Norletta Edmond and Katlyn Gwaltney. photos by Andrew Faison


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party pix

Person Church Reunion

At right, Sandy Kirkland, from left, Robin Russell, Anne Bryant and Gloria Worrell attend the Halloween Party at Sedley Volunteer Fire Department hosted by Sedley Woman’s Club on Oct. 31; below left, Taylor Prince and Daisy; below middle, Emma Turner and granddaughter Rylee Turner, 14 months; below right, Lorainne Whitehead; bottom left, Tamara Burgess Johnson, left, and Ashlyn Grace Johnson; bottom middle, Ashlyn Keech, age 2; bottom right, Tiaryn Jones, age 1.

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what to do

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Holiday Event

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

12/16—Brunch with Santa Location: Cypress Cove Country Club, Franklin Event will be held noon to 3 p.m. For more information, call 562-6163. 12/18—Holiday event Location: Newsoms Ruritan Club Community Christmas night will begin with a hayride and carolers meeting at Newsoms Ruritan building parking lot at 5:30 p.m. The Community Sing with refreshments will follow at 7 at the Ruritan Club. 12/31—Celebrate New Year’s Eve Location: Cypress Cove Country Club, Franklin 1/4—Pre-Legislative Breakfast Location: Smithfield Center The Richard J. Holland Pre-Legislative Breakfast Forum will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. This is an opportunity to hear how elected officials plan to represent constituents in the upcoming general assembly. The cost for Isle of Wight-SmithfieldWindsor Chamber of Commerce members is $15.50 and non-members $19. For reservations, call 357-3502. 2/23—Franklin Rotary Bowl-a-thon Location: Franklin Bowling Center Event will be held 1 to 6 p.m.

Southampton Renaissance Faire

4/13—5th Annual Southampton Renaissance Faire Location: Walter C. Rawls Library on Main Street, Courtland Event will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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bedazzlin Sedley couple brightens holiday

Above, the train was bought in 2005 by Janet and Brad Lankford of Sedley. They’ve been steadily decorating their yard for Christmas since 2004. Drivers often slow down or even pull into the couple’s driveway to take in the holiday spectacle. At right, Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer guides Santa’s sleigh as it flies through the air above the Lanfords’ Sedley Road home.

story by Stephen H. Cowles photography by Andrew Faison, Submitted

J

anet and Brad Lankford Sr. embrace decorating their yard with lights and ornaments, and the result is always bedazzling. People have reportedly come from as far as Virginia Beach to see the display, which started with a few holiday inflatables and has grown to the point that it required upgrades to the home’s electrical service and outdoor outlets. “The parents let their children run around,” said Brad. “That’s what I get a kick out of.” The tradition began in 2004 when the Sedley couple’s then 9-year-old son, Brad Jr., — now 17 — asked why they couldn’t decorate like others. “We can take care of that,” was his father’s reply. See LIGHTS page 24


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23

ing lights “The parents let their children run around. That’s what I get a kick out of.” Brad Lankford Sr. — Light Decorator


24 western tidewater living LIGHTS continued from page 22

The first year featured an inflatable Grinch and two deer. The couple attempted to get a train in early December, but learned it was too late. They ordered a train the next August. “We also got the tractor and wagon — so appropriate for a farming family, and many people say that is their favorite,” Janet said. The following year, the couple used a bucket truck to help set up a reindeer pulling a sleigh. “I really wanted a Santa and reindeer on the roof, but we couldn’t figure out how to do it,” said Janet, an English teacher at Windsor High School. “Then Brad suggested having Santa up in the air ‘flying’ to the roof. I loved that idea, and it is perfect.” After a tree fell that had supported a star, Brad put up a radio tower with pulleys to hoist up the shining See LIGHTS page 25

Above, the tree that hold this star fell and now a radio tower is used to display the star. Now Brad hoists the illumination on a radio tower. The six snowflakes have multiplied to 70. At left, Brad Lankford Sr. works on setting up a portion of the display while in a bucket truck.


western tidewater living

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Above, John, Carly and Emma Haynes help their grandmother Janet Lankford check bulbs on a potion of the holiday lights display. Below, this is a panoramic shot of the Lankfords’ Christmas decorations. They’ve been doing this since 2004, and have added something new every year. LIGHTS continued from page 24

light like a flag. The early six falling snowflakes now number 70. There’s also a 17-foot-tall stocking and elves going down a slide with the last one falling on his butt. They bought that display from a man in Tennessee. The Lankfords attempt to make sure

everything is tasteful. Avoiding overcrowding is their goal. The 60-hour setup begins a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. “Our two sons and son-in-law have helped us whenever possible with the setup and takedown,” said Janet. The Lankfords keep track of their decorations

by putting everything in a notebook — their bible for the project. An electrical service with 100 amps was initially needed for lights. Six years ago, Brad installed 120-amp outlets for the back and side yards. In 2009, he added 80 more amps and receptacles. An automatic timer is also used. Eight buckets of extension cords are also See LIGHTS page 26


26 western tidewater living LIGHTS continued from page 25

LIGHTS continued from page 25

required. They are organized to speed up the process. “It gets easier each year,” said Brad. “This is what I like to do.” The couple braced for the electric bill their first year, but was happily shocked. Their normal $110 to $175 bill only increased to $275 to $325. “We need to get more,” was Janet’s reaction. The neighbors apparently don’t mind either. “They love it,” she said. “They’ve said, ‘Why should we decorate?’” “We do love it,” Janet added. “Now we have four grandchildren who love our Christmas tradition, along with all the other children, of all ages, who stop by to enjoy it as well.”

Above, Brad Lankford Sr. works on setting up a portion of the display while in a bucket truck. At right, Brad Lankford Jr. sets up a christmas light deer.


H

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to e m

s. r u yo

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28 western tidewater living

catching up with ...

Stage takes the lead for former Windsor man Story by Stephen H. Cowles Photography submitted

Music and theater can walk hand in hand as far as professions go, but for Jonathan Spivey the stage takes the lead in his life. After two years of studying theater in San Diego, the Windsor native has returned to New York City to test his skills, find steady work and enjoy the change of weather. Before moving back East, he and four friends went to Los Angeles to showcase their talents in short scenes from contemporary plays before agents and casting directors for agencies, television studios and the like. “L.A. was really good to me,” he said. “I got seven or eight calls from agents or casting directors, but I told them I had New York as my goal. It was not a complete loss.” In New York, Spivey noted, stage is the emphasis. But in Los Angeles, it’s television and movies. “I’m not ruling out the latter,” said he. Nor are commercials dismissed. “You make really fast money really quick,” Spivey said. “You have to supplement your stage work with other work.” What started all this for the 29-year-old goes back to elementary school. “I remember one of my first kind-of-strong memories was a talent show,” he said. “I

remember my mom and I wore matching vests and sang an Anne Murray song.” Another time Spivey wrote a script and gave a mock tour of a department store imitating Robin Leach, host for the TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” “It was a really encouraging experience,” Spivey said. “I was lucky to have classmates in a supportive environment. That could have been completely different.” Around the same time, the late Regina Johnson began teaching piano to Spivey. “She taught almost everyone in Windsor. She was really a great fostering artistic force,” he said. Spivey continues to play piano and most other instruments. One of his earliest jobs was playing piano at Windsor Baptist Church during his last two years at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Suffolk. That is where the background in theater work really got going for him, thanks to Wanda Oberdorfer, who is the theater arts director and teaches senior English. “She’s fantastic. I still keep in contact with

her,” Spivey said. “She really fostered that kind of interest,” he continued. “She kind of pushed me in direction. Music took a backseat, and I did more stage work than I anticipated.” He performed in “Fame,” “MASH” and “Into the Woods.” Spivey also praised his parents, Lud and Sandra Spivey, who live in Windsor, for their support. “I got really lucky, too. They never ushered my sister, Lauren, and me, to any particular career,” Spivey said . By college, he continued thinking about a degree in music, but rejections from specialty colleges steered him to the University of Richmond’s theater program. There he performed in “The Glass Menagerie” and “Gypsy,” which is where he met fellow student, Andy Nagraj. They became close friends and collaborated on writing the musical comedy “Murphy’s Law.” Workshops and stage readings were done, and they’re getting ready to do demo recordings. After graduation, Spivey worked in professional theaters in Richmond and played piano for a new theme park show in Tampa. Spivey returned to Richmond and then New York City before going to the University of San Diego to earn a master’s of fine arts in acting.


western tidewater living

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let’s get physical 30 western tidewater living


western tidewater living

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story by Merle Monahan photography by Frank A. Davis, submitted

Don’t tell Pam Boykin it can’t be done. She’ll prove you wrong every time. A personal trainer, Boykin worked alongside carpenters to help convert a barn on the family farm into a gym for her clients. The 56-year-old former body builder and 1980 Mrs. Virginia Pageant runner-up says she doesn’t let anything stop her from reaching her goals. “She’s a perfectionist,” said her husband, Charles. “If she wants a job done and nobody can do it to her specifications, she’ll do it herself.” The couple lives on the Boykin family farm near Wakefield. It was purchased from Charles’ mother after she and his four sisters moved away. Pam got into fitness 17 years ago after the family joined the Suffolk YMCA. “I had had some health problems and had gained weight,” she said. “I liked it and I’m still there.” After a few years, she became certified in personal training and senior fitness, and started working at the Y four days per week. Peers urged her to compete in bodybuilding. See PHYSICAL page 32

Pam Boykin works with client Debbie Lowe at Boykin’s workout facility near Wakefield.


32 western tidewater living Physical continued from page 31

Below, Boykin gives Debbie Lowe of Wakefield some pointers; below middle, Miranda Powell of Wakefield works out; far right, Pam Boykin works out.

“I trained religiously and competed in a number of events,” Pam said. She won the Old Dominion Body Building Championships at Phoebus High School in Hampton only to give up bodybuilding and concentrate on her clients. Pam opened a gym after several Wakefield residents asked about personal fitness sessions closer to home. “It’s wonderful,” said Miranda Powell, who takes two, one-hour classes per week. “I started with her in May and I’ve lost 30 pounds.” Pam doesn’t teach nutrition, but recommends her seven clients eat healthy. The talents of this multi-tasking trainer do not stop in the gym. Pam loves to cook, and for about 10 years with her husband, who works at Richmond International Raceway, catered lunch and dinner for more than 200 racing teams and their guests. See Physical page 33


western tidewater living Physical continued from page 32

Pam’s interior decorating talents equal those of a professional, something she put to use when a chimney fire damaged the interior of their farmhouse. “We gutted the house and built it back the same way it was,” she said. Pam painted, wallpapered and helped refinish the floors. As for decorating the home, she made draperies to match her furniture and makes bedspreads, matching shams and pillows. Pam designed the kitchen to suit her needs and decided to add a downstairs bathroom. “She has her own ideas and sticks to them,” Charles said. “When we were building the gym, she designed a small waiting area for guests.” A friend gave them a blue couch for the area. “Pam was not happy until we had reupholstered the couch in black to match the curtains she had made and the wooden chairs she had painted black,” Charles said.

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36 western tidewater living

cooking with


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Sampling and serving sweets is handed down from generation to generation story by Merle Monahan photography by Don Bridgers

gwaltney’s goodies

On Sharon Gwaltney’s dining room wall in Carrsville hangs a picture of her parents, Gilmer and Mildred Parker. The couple stands behind a kitchen table covered with desserts and Gilmer Parker samples a cookie as his wife looks on. “This is so typical of my family,” Gwaltney said. “We all love to cook and, of course, we have to sample our creations.” Generations of the family, beginning with Gwaltney’s grandmother, the late Florine Parker, know how to cook. “Even the men,” Gwaltney said. “The girls were fortunate enough to marry men who cook and vice versa.” The 55-year-old learned to cook from her grandmother and her mother, although she didn’t do so much of it until she married. “I got into it rather quickly, though,” she said. “When we got home from our honeymoon, my husband, Steve, wanted a home-cooked meal. It didn’t take long to get into the swing of things.” As her cooking progressed, she had a ready-made tasting team — her family. “There was always someone around who would tell you if the soup was too salty, or the steak was undercooked,” she said. See GOODIES page 38


38 western tidewater living GOODIES continued from page 36

Since Gwaltney was a child, families took turns hosting holiday dinners. “First it would be my grandmother, then my sister and her family,” she said. “Next it would be my parents and then me. Each of us would bring our specialty.” “And we didn’t have small meals,” she continued. “Thanksgiving and Christmas were special occasions and we went all out — the turkey and all the trimmings, the country ham, and there was no end to the Christmas desserts.” Gwaltney cooks the old-fashion way. “I like to experiment, but usually, like grandma and mama — (I made) country foods from scratch,” she said. There were many opportunities to show off her skills. “My husband always has a big garden, so we have plenty of vegetables to freeze or pickle, or to make a special casserole,” Gwaltney said. “We also have our own chickens.” As her family grew, dinners with her extended family became less frequent. Gwaltney has three daughters and four grandchildren. “Now our family gatherings are usually our children and their families,” she said. As secretary to Isle of Wight County School Superintendent Katrise Perera and school board clerk, Gwaltney doesn’t always have extra time to cook. “But there are the weekends,” she said. “If my girls and I get together, there’s plenty of time to cook for any occasion.

Sharon Gwaltney feeds her husband, Steve, a sweet treat.


western tidewater living

SHARON GWALTNEY’S CHRISTMAS RECIPES COCONUT & RAISIN CAKE Cake Ingredients: 44 eggs 42 cups sugar 43 cups self-rising flour 41 cup milk 42 sticks margarine, melted 41 tsp. vanilla 41 tsp. lemon flavoring 4½ box raisins 41 cup ground pecans Icing Ingredients: 41 large can applesauce 48 oz. coconut 41½ cups sugar 41½ tsp. vanilla Directions: Cream eggs, sugar and margarine. Add milk, flour and flavorings. Beat well. Add raisins and pecans. Divide batter in half, and color one-half with red food coloring. Turn batter into four greased and floured

cake pans. Bake at 325 to 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. For icing, mix all ingredients. “Stripe” cool layers with icing. Decorate top with pecan halves and cherries. ORANGE BALLS Ingredients: 41 (12 oz ) pkg. vanilla wafers, crushed 4½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate (undiluted) 4¾ cup shredded coconut 4¾ cup sifted powdered sugar 4½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts Directions: In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Work together until mixture is smooth. Shape into 1-inch balls. May roll in powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. Makes 42 balls. PEPPER JELLY Ingredients: 43 cups white vinegar 43 cups green peppers, chopped

4¾ cup hot green peppers, chopped 45 pounds sugar 42 bottles Certo 4Green food coloring. Directions: Blend vinegar and peppers in blender. Add sugar and mix well. Bring to rolling boil and boil three minutes. Add Certo and coloring, mix well. Pour into glass jars and cover with paraffin wax. Serve with cream cheese and crackers. VELVEETA FUDGE Ingredients: 416-oz. package of processed cheese 44 pounds of powdered sugar 41 pound butter 41 cup cocoa powder 42 tsp. vanilla extract 41 cup chopped nuts Directions: Cube cheese and butter. Melt in microwave until creamy. Stir in other ingredients and work until smooth. Pour into baking pan and let cool. Cut into squares.

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40 western tidewater living

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m o c t o d s w s e w n e r N e t t s a e t w a e L tid ey to the K r u o Y


42 western tidewater living


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Singles respond to appearing in Western Tidewater Living story by Andrew Faison photography by Mitzi Lusk

During the summer issue of Western Tidewater Living, we interviewed 10 singles in Western Tidewater. Here’s the reaction some of them they received: • Robert Hill Jr., 22, said friends were shocked to see him in an article featuring singles and asked how many dates he got. The answer was none. A graduate student at Norfolk State University, Hill said people mainly spoke about his age when they read the article. “People either thought I was actually older or thought I was a little younger,” he said.” I got a lot of responses from older people.” On several occasions, strangers struck up a conversation with Hill. “After starting a regular conversation they would just dive right in about that article,” he said.

“I had quite a few people come up to me and say ‘hey weren’t you in that Tidewater magazine?’” Darlene Wilkerson

• Mitch White, 33, received some flirtatious emails and a friend or two on Facebook. A farrier, White also heard positive comments. No dates, though. “Typically, I am more apt to date women who are involved in horses in some form or the other due to it being such a demanding hobby as well as my occupation,” White said. The owner of Mitch White’s Horseshoeing figured the article wouldn’t lead to anything serious, but had fun. “It was just enough to scratch the surface on an individual because a little mystery is intriguing,” White said.

“People either thought I was actually older or thought I was a little younger. I got a lot of responses from older people.” Robert Hill Jr.

■ Darlene Wilkerson, 50, was grateful for participating after the number of responses she received. “I had quite a few people come up to me and say ‘hey weren’t you in that Tidewater magazine? And I would answer, ‘yes I was,’” said Wilkerson, the mother of two and grandmother of one. A few men approached Wilkerson, but she had already been dating someone. “We knew each other before the magazine, but he took a different look at me after the article ran,” said the administrative assistant for the City of Franklin.

“Typically, I am more apt to date women who are involved in horses in some form or the other due to it being such a demanding hobby as well as my occupation.” Mitch White


44 western tidewater living • Jenny Baugham, 24, got a date out of the deal in addition to reactions of enthusiasm from friends and Facebook requests. “All of my friends would either call or text me when they saw the piece,” said Baugham, a 2011 Chowan University graduate. “All of my family was proud of me and wanted a ‘signed’ copy.” “Complete strangers were stopping me and asking me if I was the girl in the Western Tidewater magazine,” added Baugham, who appeared on the magazine cover. An art major, she said the article helped her meet people. “It allowed people to learn a little bit about me, and because of it, I actually went on one date,” Baugham said

“I really enjoyed having the privilege to be a part of the singles issue.” April Cutchins

• Joronda Baxter, 25, became somewhat of a local celebrity — people who she’d never met recognized her in public. “My mom got just as many compliments on the article as I did,” said Baxter, a 2009 graduate of Virginia State University. “People thought my pictures were very pretty.” Baxter, who studied mass communications and is a human resources coordinator, said many didn’t know she lived in Franklin. “My family and friends thought the magazine did a wonderful job of displaying local singles,” she said.

“Complete strangers were stopping me and asking me if I was the girl in the Western Tidewater magazine.” Jenny Baughman

• April Cutchins, 27, heard a lot of compliments. “I’ve had quite a few people acknowledge me because of the article,” said Cutchins. “I have even met a few new people because it.” A mother of one and a kennelveterinarian assistant at Southampton Veterinary Clinic, she did not go out on any dates, but had a few people ask. “I really enjoyed having the privilege to be a part of the singles issue,” Cutchins said. “It was a lot of fun.”

“My family and friends thought the magazine did a wonderful job of displaying local singles.” Joronda Baxter


where am I?

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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 in Western Tidewater that is visible to motorists or pedestrians. Whoever can identify this location will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. No one guessed the photo from our fall issue, which was taken at a closed grocery store in Branchville. So, if you know where this is, 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!

Photo By James Artis


46 western tidewater living

The power of the season column and photo by Rex Alphin

Scientists tell us there are four fundamental forces of physics that control the universe. I am suggesting a fifth. Consider these observations: ■ How is it possible that 100 adults with 200 energetic children will stand in a line for two hours to have them sit in the lap of a man dressed in a red suit with a white beard and black boots? ■ What force makes masses of people get up a 4 a.m., ride through traffic jams and congested parking lots, force themselves through crowds while eyeing a particular item on a certain shelf and then wait another half hour to purchase the item and ride home through more traffic while savoring the satisfaction of victory? ■ Why would a husband, simply because he is standing under green sprigs that came out the top of a dormant tree, plant a kiss on the lips of his bride?

■ Why would one million children claim they actually heard reindeer hooves on the roof of their homes? ■ What force makes people hang big socks on the mantle of their fireplace? ■ What power is so strong that a woman — who normally keeps dust out of the house, mops the floors and vacuums the rugs, asks men to take their shoes off before entering and keeps the windows spotless — will allow a six-foot tall tree to be brought into her living room and let it stay there in a bucket of water for four weeks? ■ What can make the public education system take a break for two weeks and idle 10,000 factories the last of the year?

■ What can make grown men act like 10-year-olds again? ■ What can dominate the music of radio stations across the land and have us all humming the same tunes? ■ What can fill up otherwise empty pews? ■ What can make a child think a 300-pound man can slide down the chimney of every house in the world? In one night? ■ How can one man being born on one night have such a far reaching influence on the lives of so many people on so many nights? Yes, I think this force far outweighs them all. It cannot be measured on scales nor observed through lenses. It sweeps in and grabs our lives while telling us there is something outside of ourselves. It is magical, wondrous, marvelous. It is Christmas! Embrace it, my friend. And may you never be the same!


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Western Tidewater Living - Winter 2013  

Western Tidewater's area life magazine covering Southampton County, Isle of Wight County and Franklin, VA

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