Richmond VA holds a special place in my heart.
Our mom and her family moved there after WWII, after my granddaddy had returned from Europe, after participating in the U.S.Army’s reconstruction efforts there.
Mom was the eldest of eight (she had had an older sibling who died before my mother was born).
Mom and Dad had known each other for years. Dad was in the U.S.Army, stationed at Fort Lee. Mom played the organ in the church there and my dad sang in the choir.
After Mom returned from Europe (she joined her family in Paris for six months following her high school graduation), she reconnected with Dad, and they were married about a year later.
(My grandmother was five months pregnant with Uncle Michael, Mom’s sixth sibling, but NOBODY KNEW because she didn’t tell anyone, saying later that she didn’t want to “upstage the wedding”!)
Dad joined the Army Reserves and our family would return to Richmond for two weeks every summer to stay with our grandparents, aunts, and uncles, while he did his summer boot camp back at Fort Lee.
Two weeks in VA with my teenage aunts and same-age uncles made our visits super fun (Grandmother had another son, my uncle Joey, after I was born).
Our annual trips to Richmond continued until I was about 14. By then we had moved to Massachusetts and we all had different schedules ever after.
Three and a half weeks prior I had been down the western side of VA, on my way from OH to SC. Uncle Michael, Cousin Lee, and Cousin Charles still live in Richmond and I was keen to visit them while there this time ’round.
It was sweet balm being in Virginia’s beautiful Spring weather, after driving in the fog and rain (nearly non-stop) since having left Colorado.
Michael arranged for me to stay at Linden Row Inn which was easy to find and provided lovely accommodations.
It was a real treat to be able to get together with my Richmond family, especially to celebrate my and my cousin Lee’s birthday at Mamma Zu’s.
I was excited about purchasing an electric guitar for myself, something I had decided to do before I began this trip.
When I’d let Michael and Lee know I was planning to come through, I’d asked if they’d be able to meet me in Nashville and we could explore it together and maybe, they could help me buy an electric guitar there before heading to Richmond.
While not able to join me in Nashville, I was thrilled that they were able to make time for me while in Richmond, so that’s where I happily bought my guitar and accoutrements.
I’m pleased to say that I have a lovely set of songs that I’ve played several times for my closest friends.
After spending four days with my loves in Richmond, it was time to head home. I drove North, taking as many back roads as possible.
Header image: Beloved, iconic slogan, adopted by Virginia Tourism in 1969