THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN

The Home Place, A tribute to the Wingate Family
The young reporter sent from the New York Times to cover the influx of Scotch-Irish settlers seemed perplexed at those people who looked strange, talked funny, and otherwise showed no semblance of manners or personality. Her mission was to characterize the people who were fast occupying land in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1800s, specifically, in a place called Catawba Valley, Virginia. The flustered reporter headed home without anything positive to say. She would tell her supervisor upon returning to the big city of New York, “there is no story there because they have no culture.” The NY Times would run a story portraying these immigrants as hillbillies, uneducated, shabbily dressed getting drunk on homemade spirits on Saturday night but going to church on Sunday. This description would label folks in Catawba and elsewhere in the Appalachians to this day.
I suppose when I was growing up in Catawba, folks in Salem, Roanoke, and any urban population were asking the question: “What is on the other side of the mountain?” Sadly, not that many people crossed over to find the answer. Those of us in Catawba were asking the same question from our mountain homes about the way of life in urban areas. I felt many years later that the impression of Catawba Valley as non-cultured people would go on forever.
The impression of Catawba was reversed in 1982 when The Homeplace Restaurant opened. It was in 1907 that Captain W. W. Brand sold the property to Jerry Morgan and his wife Mary. They built a home on the farm that was already steeped in history. The new home they built was called the Summit, and it would eventually become The Homeplace Restaurant seventy-five years later. The Homeplace was an icon for 38 years until it closed in May of 2021.
I had a close relationship with the Morgans, living nearby and working on the farm many times over a period of eleven years. I wrote about the farm and what it was before it became The Homeplace in a book called Echoes From Catawba Volume 1 released in 2019. However, this article is not about my book. It is a Tribute to the Harold Wingate Family.
The late Harold Wingate, his wife Millie, and his family took a leap of faith in making this restaurant possible in Catawba. There were some folks who thought this venture would not be a good one. Harold Wingate had few if any bad ideas. Featuring real country cooking by real country cooks would turn out to be a huge success. People came from near and far not only to eat but to experience that breathtaking view as they crested the mountain. And even more, as they stood outside of the Homeplace with a view of Catawba Creek and pasture fields carpeting the Valley floor. Once inside everyone experienced local servers bringing them delicious food and Catawba hospitality. The only thing missing was a NY Times reporter.
It is my opinion as a proud native that the Catawba Sanatorium put our Valley on the map, but the Harold Wingate Family made Catawba a Destination. Thank you, Wingate Family for introducing an amazing number of people to “The Other Side of the Mountain!”
Ted Carroll

Nonprofit Hobby Business Produces Great Wealth

It  was after we published our first book, “Echoes From Catawba Volume 1” in 2018 and while still residing in Greensboro, I experienced a situation that I chuckle about to this day. It was time for the pre-winter furnace check-up and  I had a favorite man from the service company that I always requested. He had been raised on a farm, liked gospel and country music, and he was a great technician that was sound in the mechanical sense and had common sense, in a day and time whereas common sense seems very uncommon. I always like to tip workers who made house calls for various purposes. So, I offered and he, unlike most others refused, saying he was paid a fair wage and a tip was not necessary.  I respected what he said but came up with an alternative. I went to my office and got a copy of Echoes Volume 1. I gave it to him as a gift and he graciously accepted. He thumbed through the book asking me if that was my life story. I said no but I would be writing a series of the book, one each year. He looked at me and said, “You are going to be a millionaire!”  The inside of me wanted to burst out laughing but I restrained myself while explaining that this would be a hobby and something I had been  planning for several years. I never forgot that moment.

In March of 2018 when wife Tina uttered those now famous words: “Just write about your Catawba growing up times.” She had heard many times those experiences, and I had said multiple times that I was going to write about life in my beloved Catawba.  I knew it would take time and money. I also knew that research showed that an individual writing a book could expect to sell at most 250 copies in that book’s lifetime. Most writers depend upon family and friends to buy their books. Furthermore, I was writing non-fiction books about history, real people, and cultures. To make big money one must get a publisher, write fiction, preferably about sex, murder, deceit, and somebody-did-somebody-wrong stories, and then your chances to make money are razor-thin. I enjoy reading certain fiction books but cannot write them. Note: My books about Appalachian life and times sound like fiction at times so maybe I get some cross-over readers.

Tina and I set our business up as “sole proprietors”, got a business license, own a website, own our trademark, pay appropriate taxes, etc. We knew we would have to provide our own money to fund this endeavor because we desired to keep the price of books reasonable. Which we have. The bottom line is that we own a “non-profit” business, right?

WRONG.

But Ted, you have painted a picture of a hobby business that cannot pay for itself, much less create an income stream and forget any idea of wealth????

I understand but there is an important thing yet to state: The rest of the story. Yes, we travel many miles, interview many people, spend hours writing, formatting, gathering pictures, proofreading, fact-checking, etc. Then we have to get the book out to the public and we speak to groups about our writings upon request.

So where is the wealth? Fair question. Keep reading.

The many people that contact us through different methods to comment positively on the book and share personally how our efforts link folks to loved ones living and deceased.

Doing interviews and video/audio taping allows us to share with folks we know and new people we meet. And there are many! To laugh and shed tears of joy while shutting out worldly noise.

For Tina and me to be enriched and uplifted in the presence and fellowship with God’s best.

To inform and educate folks who do not understand Catawba or Appalachian culture.

Preserving the treasures in these books will echo through the ages to future generations.

And recently hearing from Catawba folks in Lower Catawba rejoicing in hearing the stories about Upper Catawba people—-and vice/versa.

And so much more.

Folks, all the above, Tina and I count as riches that are flowing into our hearts as we pursue our writings. When we do interviews in your homes, we leave with a feeling of enrichment that can never be taken away or forgotten. The joy when we finish a book and receive the official “proof” is indescribable.

 

 

Remember the Furnace technician that I reference earlier who stated: “You are going to be a millionaire!”

HE WAS RIGHT——-thanks to all of you.

Tina, Marty Gochenhour, and Ted talking about Marty’s growing up years at Craig Healing Springs.
Ted visiting brothers Gordon and Arthur Crawford, gathering information about their grandmother Lillian Garman Crawford.
A trip to lower Catawba to interview Theresa and Alan Lee for Echoes Volume 4
Ted and Elva Sirry visiting about her grandmother Gertrude, the firstborn Garman child.

Everything Has It’s Time

I was tired, on that rainy October day of 2020 eight months into the pandemic laboring to finish up the Echoes From Catawba Volume three. Yes, I wanted to take advantage of being secluded in my home to write on Echoes three and possibly get started on Echoes four. I was in for a big surprise! My friends were saying, “I guess you are getting lots of writing done with being inside your home so much.” I understood the comment, but it was not accurate! With all that was going on and knowing not what to believe I found myself in an altered state of mind that stripped me of creative writing. I barely met the deadline to finish book three and get it to Tina for the publishing process.

The last article posed the question: Is this my last book? I knew with the state of America turning more worldly and less Godly, going into 2021 creativity could be side-tracked again. The obvious choice was to suspend my writing indefinitely and ask God to lead in the way I should go. I received blessed assurance from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes “To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.” I had been there before to hear what King Solomon (alleged writer) had to say and found an answer in verse seven: A time to keep silence and a time to speak. Since speaking and writing are close kin, I felt this would be a good approach.

Having abandoned writing I began a season of rest, studying scripture and waiting on God. Things started to clear up like a veil of fog moving from a mountain revealing a new day and purpose. The clincher was when I received an email from Pat Carper in New Castle.  Having never met her, I did appreciate Pat reaching out with encouragement to be patient and the urge to write would return. Coming from an experienced writer her advice was well received. I made the decision to start on Echoes 4 this Spring and that is now about to happen as appointments for interviews and research are underway.

The obvious question is “what will be in volume four?” The starting point will be to write about what many folks (including me) call Lower Catawba, which extends into Botetourt County, but nonetheless is considered Catawba. After the Will and Louemma Garman family of 17 children there came an impactful family of Martins/Garman which had as its matriarch the firstborn of the Garman family, Gertrude Garman Damewood. It will be a story written along the lines of the Garman family in Echoes, volume one, my first book. For our Craig County neighbors, I will be doing a story on the Craig Healing Springs which features a girl who experienced this as a child growing up there. Two members of the Will and Louemma Garman family, John Garman and Lilian Garman will be featured.

Typically, we do 10-12 chapters and there will be several other stories about folks who have been on our list. We will reveal those in a later post on our website as we finalize interviews and research appointments.

Tina and I are excited about the continuation of writing and eventually, doing speaking engagements again. The response to our Catawba books has been great. Books can be purchased at our website: echoesfromcatawba.com,  The Emporium in New Castle which was recently re-stocked, The Salem Museum, and Amazon.com.

Latest from Echoes From Catawba

Check out what The Roanoker Magazine is saying about the release of Ted’s third book, “Echoes From Catawba: A Silent Killer Comes to Catawba and the Catawba Sanatorium is Born”. The March/April edition of The Roanoker will be available in stores soon. It is the premier Magazine for the Roanoke Valley. This award-winning bimonthly magazine is read by over 68,000 Roanoke Valley residents.
We are excited to share that Echoes From Catawba can now be found at Book No Further, an independent bookstore in downtown Roanoke. They have a wide variety of new and like-new books and feature books by local authors and books about the area. They are located at 112 Market Street, be sure to pay them a visit when you are downtown!
Thank you for being an Echoes From Catawba subscriber.

Echoes From Catawba Volume 3 Book Launch Nov. 21

We are excited to announce that Echoes From Catawba Volume 3 book release will be held Saturday, November 21 from 10 – 2 at the Salem Museum!  Help spread the news and share this with family and friends!

We were disappointed when we learned that Catawba was not going to be able to hold the annual Holiday Market because of Covid-19.  Thankfully, our biggest book distributor, the Salem Museum graciously agreed to host a book launch and book signing.  There is plenty of room to spread out at the Museum allowing us to safely hold an event.  Guests are required to wear masks at all times, over both mouth and nose, and maintain a distance of six feet from others. If this will be your first visit to the Salem Museum, you are in for a great treat!

A portion of book sales on this day will be donated to the Museum.  Echoes From Catawba Volumes 1 and 2 will also be available for purchase.  We hope you will join us on November 21!

So, what’s in Echoes From Catawba Volume 3?

This book contains twelve articles about interesting people and a variety of subjects. The lead article is a history of the Catawba Sanatorium as experienced by three generations of the Carroll family. The article follows the life of a man and his family, who were greatly impacted by the dreaded Tuberculosis disease. On what was property occupied by a resort community in the late  1850s, the first-ever TB Sanatorium in Virginia became a reality in Catawba in 1909. Guest writer Carolyn Pillow Mayhew gives us a wonderful story of her childhood living on the Catawba Sanatorium Campus. This article is a must for the hundreds of people who had loved ones there as patients, as well as for the doctors,  nurses, service personnel, farmworkers, and anyone else with a connection to the Sanatorium.

For the first time, I have included Craig County stories since Catawba and Craig are so closely connected. The Craig section is a delightful story by guest writer and longtime friend Betty Munsey, who shares her childhood years visiting her Grandparents Smith in Paint Bank. I share some personal experiences of good times in our neighboring county.

I have an enjoyable article of the most recognized couple in Catawba, Frankie and Louise Garman, which will appeal to everyone. It portrays their lives together in the late 1940s, resulting in a lifetime together spanning 65 years.

The last residents of the Garman Homeplace are in an article that covers Will and Louemma Garman, Paul and Stacil Garman, and Gene and Truddy Garman.

Seven other articles cover a variety of subject matters for informative and enjoyable reading.

If you can’t make it to the book launch, books will be available for purchase at the Salem Museum, The Emporium in New Castle, and through our website on November 22.