CONFEDERATE FOOTSTEPS

 

PAGE FOURTEEN: MAY 15, 2011...RION HALL, PART 2

 

 

I walked on alone past the kitchen building and was delighted to come upon these forget-me-nots as the poem Virginia puts

in the Bible she gives Jonathon is about them.

 

 

The forget-me-not poem Virginia wrote:

 

There is a flower, a lovely flower,

Tinged deep with faith's unchanging hue-

One sweet song, with magic power,

Thrilled my spirit ere I knew

That my native forest's bower

Held that lovely gem, the blue

Forget-me-not.

Still, that flower's blue-eyed blossom,

Bending o'er the quiet stream,

Whispers to this haunted bosom,

Brooding o'er a vanished dream-

Forget-me-not!

Tho' our life's bright vision over,

Henceforth we roam the world apart-

Tho' love's light be lost forever,

In the silence of thy heart

Forget-me-not!

On the brow of dewy even,

When the vesper-star beams bright,

As the sunset hues of heaven

Fade and melt into the night-

Forget-me-not!

Ling'ring by the lonely river,

And the darkly-waving wood,

Listing but the wild wind's murmur,

In thy spirit's solitude

Forget-me-not!

When the sound of music stealing

From a spirit sad and lone,

Stirs a chord of deepest feeling,

And awakes an answering tone,

Forget-me-not!

When the mournful muse hath spoken

Of the lost-the early dead-

Loving hearts too lightly broken-

Bending o'er my lowly head,

Forget-me-not!

Never with its hues were blended

Youth and bloom and joyance yet,

Still till life and love be ended,

Speaks that blossom's deep regret-

Forget-me-not!

 

 

 

I was going up the lane here which leads around the curve to a big vegetable garden and several outbuildings, when Carl joined me

again, not having gotten any response anywhere he knocked. I was so pleased just being outside that I was truly going to be ok if

I didn't get inside.

 

 

 

 

 

Mock oranges

 

 

Looking toward the woods behind the house

 

 

 

 

 

We came back along the drive behind the house...

 

 

...and again up on to the lower level of the double walkway where I suddenly remembered the syrup pitcher.

 

 

The stairs to the upper level of the walkway

 

 

Some of the old wisteria. There was a black bell outside the door where we could still hear the TV loudly and so Carl rang it

vigorously several times and the door actually...opened. Mrs. Ora Cooper was there and she hadn't heard us over the sound

of the blaring TV.

 

 

That door led into the added kitchen of the main house where she had been sitting watching a very small TV set. She was very,

very gracious and invited us in and gave us a tour. This is the front parlor on the left as you face the front porch from outside.

 

 

I noticed the silver on a sideboard in that room, explained about the syrup pitcher and asked if I might set it there and take a picture.

She didn't mind at all.

 

 

This is the main downstairs hallway, looking toward the rear of the house. The door and windows there are exactly like the ones

at the front of the house. I had this entrance wrong, placing a staircase in the entry. The actual stairway to the second floor is rather

surprisingly small and narrow and is through the door to the left at the end of the hall. The hall is truly more like a room than a hall.

 

 

The syrup pitcher on a side table in the downstairs hall.

 

 

We went off to the right and, lo and behold, there WAS a back parlor! I was exceedingly pleased about that. The piano (and pitcher)

is in the back parlor.

 

 

And there is a fireplace there as well, which is good as I mention Jonathon leaning on the mantel.

 

 

The pitcher on the edge of the back parlor piano.

 

 

The front parlor on the right as you look at the house from the front porch. Again the pitcher.

 

 

Looking from that front parlor into the back parlor. Mrs. Cooper said there used to be two huge panel doors between the rooms,

but she had them taken down.

 

 

Again, looking into the back parlor from the front.

 

 

The staircase to the second floor.

 

 

On the right-hand wall of the stairs is a row of pictures. This is my Virginia's parents. I'd seen the picture of her mother, also

Virginia, before, but this was the first time I'd ever seen William.

 

 

This is a photograph of the third Virginia Lucas. She is older here and is my Virginia's brother Daniel's daughter.

She was killed in a truck on 340 just out from Rion Hall Farm Road. She was the last of the Lucas family to live here.

 

 

The second floor hallway, right above and the same size as the big first floor hallway. This rocker was one of two pieces of

furniture Mrs. Cooper found on the third floor when she came to live here many, many years ago.

 

 

This bedroom is over the back parlor and the two rooms up here are separated by the big panel doors that are exactly like

the ones that used to separate the back parlor from the front parlor.

 

 

Bookcases in the second floor hallway

 

 

The old rocker again

 

 

In the bedroom over the right front parlor is this big bed. This is the other piece of furniture she found on the third floor and she thinks it

was made on the farm. When she found it, it was much larger, a perfect square, and she had it cut down because back during World War

Two she couldn't find a mattress to fit it. It is quite high and I'd need a ladder to get up on the thing. But as I describe Daniel's bed that

Jonathon uses as being made of dark wood with four posts, I decided this, in its original state, would have been it.

 

 

Side view of the bed. You can't tell how high it is from this, but the top of the bed came up to my chest.

 

 

Looking back down the stairway. Mrs. Cooper said the brass railing is original to the house.

 

 

Back in the first floor hallway, she invited us to sit on the white couch while she sat in the further peach chair and wanted

to talk with us for a long time.

 

 

Later, quite a bit later, we left through the door onto the lower level of the walkway and I asked if it would be all right to go up to

the second level. I wanted to do that as I have a scene in the book set here. That doorway used to lead into the main house but she

has added a bathroom there now and the door doesn't open any more.

 

 

She says the wisteria would have been there during the war.

 

 

This is Mrs. Cooper. She will be 90 this year.

 

 

Looking down the stairs from the upper walkway to the lower.

 

 

There had been a downpour while we were inside Rion Hall, but I had been able before that to walk around and take all my outside

pictures. After we left the Hall, we continued on 340 to Charles Town (the name is now divided into two words, though it was one

back then) and cut south and east to the Avon Bend of the Shenandoah River where my newly-discovered and deeply-appreciated

Cousin Jim lives. I took this on the way to his house, with the Blue Ridge in the distance across the river.

 

 

And this is Jim's 1861 Enfield being visited by ye olde syrupe pitcher.

 

 

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