Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mrs. Trusch

Friday, before the tornado and before my daughter's incredible basketball game, I made a long overdue trip to the nursing home to visit a local legend by the name of Mrs. Trusch.

If you attended Mathews High School any time between the 1950s and the early 1980s, you know Mrs. Trusch. She taught my father; she taught me; she taught everyone.   Although petite in stature, she ruled her classroom like nobody I've ever seen.  She expected nothing but courtesy, respect, and undivided attention from her students. 

And they gave it to her, willingly.

Her undying enthusiasm and passion for government and politics was contagious.  She made us want to learn.

But Mrs. Trusch's legendary status isn't solely attributed to her incredible knowledge inside the classroom.

She's also an important part of our local history, brimming with stories. 

In my book on Mathews, she's mentioned on page 77:

"Bavon Post Office, built around 1920 and established by Norman Burroughs in 1935, was at the corner of Routes 14 and 600 near the lighthouse.  The store and post office served as a primary source of communication with the outside world and, at one time, had the community's only telephone.  Burroughs's daughter, Marion Grey Trusch, served as a teacher in Mathews for approximately 30 years.  Today, the cheerful beacon still shines for visitors coming to or from the lighthouse."

Mrs. Trusch,  my favorite high school teacher, made a lifelong impression on me.  So I was very pleased to mention her. 

About a month after the book was released, I received the following note in the mail:

"Dear CBW,
I received a copy of your 'Mathews County' for Christmas. I would like to compliment you on this very outstanding work. It has given me hours of enjoyment.I am especially grateful to you for mentioning my name in the write up of Bavon, and my 30 years of teaching at M.H.S.

Happy New Year and continue with your writing. You have a great talent.

-Marion G. Trusch"

She's telling me that I have talent? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

So I decided to stop in and say hello and let her know how much that note meant.  

My high school classmate Johnny Pugh, also a wealth of local information, called just as I was pulling into the nursing home parking lot.  Knowing he was just down the road, I asked if he wanted to join me, and he did.

What a marvelous visit it was! She and Johnny told tales about Bavon; we delved into politics (her favorite subject); she asked about any future projects of mine; and she gave a glimpse into the more humorous side of nursing home life.

One such story involves her late-night walks.  She enjoys walking for exercise every day but finds that the only time she can do so without interruptions is after 10:00 p.m. when most of the other residents have gone to sleep.  

She used to go earlier in the day, when the hallways were lined with patients who often flagged her down for this or that or simply to chat. Mrs. Trusch, who has all her wits and then some about her, is often interacting with residents who suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

A recent episode illustrates why walking later at night is probably the only way for her to get any exercise. Three different people stopped her before she could get very far down the first hallway:

Resident #1, who is 100 (literally!) years old, seeing Mrs. Trusch approaching: "Hey, can you bring my car around? I need to get out of here."

Mrs. Trusch, playing along: "Sure! Can I come too?"

Resident #1: "Of course, just hurry up and get my car."

Mrs. Trusch keeps on walking until she comes upon Resident #2.

Resident #2:  "Is there a teacher's meeting today?"

Mrs. Trusch, again playing along: "No, not today."

She kept walking a little further and came upon someone she knows well.

Mrs. Trusch, to Resident #3, who was sitting in the hallway:  "Good Morning!  How are you?"

Resident #3, perhaps a little paranoid, obviously not aware of precisely who she was talking to, and clearly not having a good day:  "Aw, go to hell!!"

We cracked up in hysterics.  The very teacher who commanded so much respect extends a simple "Good morning" and is met with "Go to hell!" We were very amused. But now we understand why Mrs. Trusch walks at night.

It was a pleasure and an honor to meet with Mrs. Trusch, who has touched the lives of so many. Thanks also to Johnny Pugh for joining me on this little adventure.

Mrs. Trusch and J.P.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Much to our surprise, the temperature rose to 80 degrees on Friday.

Even more surprising, an incoming cold front spawned a tornado down at Davis Creek.

Davis Creek is at the southernmost end of the county,

in a little neck of the woods called Bavon.

Those who attended Blog Fest a couple years back will remember this as the place where we caught the boat to tour the lighthouse and surrounding area.
(Click here for a few pictures of us standing around before boarding the boat.
I know I have photos of the building, just not readily available.)

Thankfully, nobody was injured. 

After ravaging this adorable structure, the tornado plowed through the yard below, taking down a power line and damaging nearby homes and sheds.

Just to the right of all this, everything appears untouched.
But if you click on the image (below),
you can see some of the roof was torn off that structure.

And yet, in the middle of all this insanity chaos, there is a message of hope.

This and the boat in the first photo are one and the same.
The irony in the name is priceless.

For once, there is a lot for me to report--over and above the tornado, which is noteworthy enough. Click here for more news coverage about that.

First, the eighty degree weather inspired quite the photo tour for me on Friday.

Saturday I raced out to capture the damage from the tornado.  Again, we are grateful nobody was injured and thankful that it wasn't worse.

Before the tornado, however, Chesapeake Bay Daughter (a tornado herself on the basketball court) went on to win her final game, which meant her team was undefeated for the season.  That last game was absolutely brutal and deserves its own blog post.  In the meantime, this morning at 7:35 a.m. she, another teammate and her coach will be featured on our local radio station 99.1 WXGM. I will be listening from my office in Williamsburg an hour away. My parents are taking her to the station.

There's so much more to report about last Friday, but we have all week to talk about that.

Here's to a great Monday and an even better week, hopefully free of tornadoes and chaos.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Beach Scenes

Here once again are a few shots 

from Aaron's Beach.

This weekend should be rather uneventful except for my daughter's basketball game this evening, which will be very exciting since it will determine who wins the tournament championship.  Her team is undefeated this season.  Let's hope the trend continues for this final game.  

Speaking of trends, spring is sending all sorts of signals announcing her impending arrival.  The songbirds are active in the mornings; the early daffodils are blooming; the geese are all over my yard; and the weeds are already taking over the house making a comeback in the beds surrounding the house. 

That reminds me. The lawn mower is dead.

For now, though, I'll try to focus on the game and perhaps getting out to take more pictures this weekend.

Dead tractors are a concern for another day.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Things

Here we are, right smack dab in the middle of another Thursday. The weeks seem to be whizzing by, all a blur.  Anyway, Thursday is the day of the week where I encourage everyone to share three random thoughts. On any given day most everything written here is unintentionally random, so I love Thursdays because I actually have permission from myself to be completely, intentionally random.

That last sentence was brought to you courtesy of the month of February, when the previous several months of sunlight deprivation have taken their cumulative toll on my brain.

Let's begin.  

1. That throwing up sickness is goin' around.  Evidently it's not just the 24-hour thing. This Mutant Virus causes at least three days of flat-on-your-back-want-to-die conditions. Thus far the Chesapeake Bay Family has managed to evade Mutant Virus.  But yesterday afternoon at Chesapeake Bay Daughter's basketball game, I swear I saw the germs leap from a woman's mouth right up my nostrils as she was telling me that she'd just recovered from the Three Days of I Just Want To Die syndrome.  Then Daughter and I attended a meeting in an auditorium jam packed with germ-spreading parents, including the one mother sitting in front of me who sneezed with reckless abandon during the entire presentation.

(In her older age, CBW has become enamored with the phrase "reckless abandon" a bit of a hypochondriac, which intensifies her innate ability to see germs.  Mind you, she's definitely not OCD and doesn't walk around slathering herself in hand sanitizer.  She actually hates hand sanitizer and proudly declines it whenever the OCD people she works with offer it to her. She's just a little paranoid, especially when she suddenly has a headache as she writes about all these virus and germ showers she's just been exposed to.)

2. The meeting CB Daughter and I attended was an orientation for Mathews High School.  Next year I will be the mother of two teenagers in high school.  How did this happen?  My youngest will be in high school next year? Also, when did high school become so complicated?  There are four different types of diplomas, and who knows how many electives, and decisions that need to be made by next week.  I remember having to choose one elective and everything else was decided for me.

2b. By the way, one of those years my elective was typing.  Back in the days when it was called typing not keyboarding.  (The keyboard pertained to piano lessons.) The days when there were no computers at all, just typewriters.  Mrs. McMullen, my teacher, gave me a life skill that came in ever so handy with the advent of technology. Thank you, Mrs. McMullen.

3. Yesterday Chesapeake Bay Son started track practice, led by my friend Coach Forrest.  Exactly thirty years ago this spring I was preparing for the final track season of my high school career.  Track was my passion.  Although CB Son has run fall cross country the past two years, this will be his first time participating in spring track, which is a whole other world. I cannot wait.

Now it's your turn. Please share three--or more--thoughts, whatever happens to be on your mind. Today you have permission to let your mind wander freely, unencumbered.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I would call this post Wordless Wednesday except it's been proven that I am incapable of posting without words, unfortunately.  So for now this is simply called Wednesday with the caveat that I am attempting to be quiet today, mostly because there's nothing of interest to say.

However, I do have these pictures of a lovely old house which lives at the intersection of Routes 643/Haven Beach Road and Route 682/Whites Creek Lane.
I've photographed it before, but not with snow on the ground.

Have a great Wednesday.
With or without words.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


For a long time now I've been taking pictures of these pilings at Aaron's Beach.

No matter how many times I visit I am drawn to them.

These were taken over a week ago after that dusting of snow.

(By the way, Mathews received no snow the other night. 
Gloucester, Middlesex, and King & Queen counties did get snow.
My disappointment was tremendous.)

The snow on these pilings from last weekend's dusting 
might be my only glimpse at the white stuff this winter. 
But I still hold out hope for The Big Storm.

A while back the Gazette Journal, our wonderful local paper, ran a piece that described what these pilings once were part of:

"...remains of the jetty and canal that once kept an opening from the mostly landlocked Garden Creek to Chesapeake Bay.  ...Gazette Journal records show that a jetty at the opening dates to the 1930s with rebuilding around 1950 and in 1968.  The opening to the creek was closed by sand, but now the entire beachfront to which the jetty connected has vanished."

I'll post some photos of the last remnants of that canal later in the week.


In unrelated news, my apologies for the word verification issues in the Comments section.  It seems Blogger thinks we need more complicated (and more difficult to read) words to prove you're a person and not a spammer or robot.  If it's too ridiculous I'll remove the word verification entirely, however spam was a problem a while back so I'm reluctant to do so unless it's a true nuisance.

p.s. That last paragraph? Not that long ago (2007 - 2008-ish)  I would have asked for an interpreter.  It's amazing how technology and social media are changing our lives--and our language.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow Scenes

These are some random shots from last Saturday night's snowfall.

Last Saturday night's snowfall was gone by about midday Sunday.

More or less.

Yes. That is a fake animal tail hanging from the red mailbox.

Depending on who you listen to, we might be getting more snow this Sunday night.

Or we might not.

It all depends.

We'll see.

You never can tell.

Anything's possible.


Since I could go on and on dreaming up different ways to say the same thing, 
which is we might get some snow, I'll stop now.  

Personally, I'm hoping for lots. 

I love snow.

It brings a certain brightness to winter
and gives you permission.

Permission to stay indoors.

Permission to seek out comfort food.

Permission to stay put and not go anywhere.

Snow covers up all the drabness and dreary lack of life underneath.

Are you a snow fan?

Or would you rather have a root canal?
People usually have very strong opinions one way or the other.
There doesn't seem to be any middle ground on snow, or not much anyway.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Tree

Over the years, hurricanes, nor'easters and the usual storms that travel up and down the Chesapeake Bay have shaped and molded the land and sand around this one tree at Aarons Beach.

By this one tree, I mean this lone tree which stands stoically, braving all the elements.

Still standing in spite of it all.

I love this tree.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Three Things

Once again it's Thursday and that means it's time to share three things.

1.  Basketball.  Last night Chesapeake Bay Daughter played her last game of the regular season; tournaments are next week.  The teams were not exactly evenly matched.  That's a polite way of saying the other team was not that good, bless their hearts.  Of the 40-some points for our team, Daughter scored 22.  Last week she scored 16 of 21 total points.  (Yes, I am bragging; sorry, I can't help it. I'll stop now.)   But watching her play basketball is my new favorite past time, one I hope to enjoy for at least another four more years.  Eight if she plays in college...

2. It's goose season. Daggone it!   When I came home from last night's game, there were Canada geese aaaaaall over my yard.  It's full-on war now keeping them out of my yard.  This is particularly difficult living next to CB Mother who, along with her own killer goose Gustav, welcomes them with open arms and the promise of unlimited corn.  They have no idea where the property boundaries are and seem a little befuddled and confused (or is that cornfused?).  They're welcome in one yard, viewed as Number One Public Enemy in the neighboring yard.  So, with headlights bouncing up and down such that anyone at this end of Queens Creek would have their night's entertainment all taken care of,  I drove all over the yard--up and down hills, weaving in and out of pine trees--to chase them off. And they'll be back.  Just like ANTS.

3.  This swing.  These photos were taken last Sunday after the snow down near the public landing at White's Creek, at the end of Route 682. The bay is barely visible in the background.  A simple rope swing like this brings back a flood of childhood memories.  To read about some of those memories in a rambling post from 2008,  click here.

Now it's your turn to share three thoughts.  Whatever you want.  Anything at all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, aside from the fact that those last two photos are so similar that I should have used only one or the other but not both in this series, I'd like to point out that beautiful (but slowly dying) pine tree, which is so submerged in sand that it looks as if it's been cut off at the knees. (Or is that knee?)

p.s. The above is as close to wordless as I'm ever going to get on this blog, for better or worse.
Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bushel Basket

Barely distinguishable from the sand, Saturday evening's snow still hugged this bushel basket and the surrounding random marsh grasses at Aarons Beach on Sunday morning.

Barely distinguishable from these wind-up chattering teeth were Chesapeake Bay Woman's own poor teeth as she shivered, huddled, stomped, and then bounced her way through these photographs at a very blustery Aaron's Beach.

It's surprising the amount of instant warmth you can generate by a good round of beach stomping and jumping in place. There are residual benefits as well, including stress relief, but only if nobody else is there to see you.

Then it works against you.

OK, that site linked above, with the chattering teeth, sells something else that caught my eye--Vampire Bubba Teeth (click here), not to be confused with Regular Bubba Teeth (click here).

Brrrrrr. This was facing the wind.  It was brutal.

Although I'm sure this blog post originally had a point and a direction or was at least headed somewhere reasonably productive, I must apologize and excuse myself to peruse the completely unrelated, utterly unproductive world of bubba teeth, fake bugs and rubber chickens.

Dear Spring,

If you don't hurry up and get here, there's no telling where this blog is headed, but there's a good chance its owner will be found jumping up and down wearing vampire bubba teeth on some desolate, isolated Mathews County beach. I eagerly anticipate your arrival so things can return to normal, where "normal" is defined as only wearing crab hats for stress relief.

Thank you,

p.s. Please click this link for my mother's blog post about Gustav's Valentine's Day fiasco adventure. Because the way we amuse ourselves, particularly in the winter, evidently runs in the family. Some of us, however, require more accoutrements than others.

If you are interested in a 20% discount and free shipping for my book on Mathews County, which did not once reference bubba teeth or rubber chickens, but perhaps did make a vague reference to this county's isolation from mainstream society,  please click the link at the upper right corner of this page or  here for Arcadia Publishing's special promotion, which runs until Sunday. Use the coupon code of MATHEWS at checkout. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


Back yard yesterday morning.

The most exciting part of my otherwise quiet and uneventful weekend was Saturday night's dusting of snow that created these scenes Sunday morning.

Well, actually, there was one other thing that happened, and that involves my mother's goose Gustav.  I'll let her tell that suspenseful tale, but he's found himself a Canadian girlfriend. When a powdering of snow and a goose's personal life become the most exiting thing going on, you can pretty much count on the fact that you're in a bit of a social rut, fyi. Also, when a goose has more of a social life than you do, you best be prepared to admit that your rut is the size of the Grand Canyon.

Luckily I got out early with the camera, because by midday the snow was already starting to disappear.

My dock at low tide. During a good storm, the tide will cover the bottom of the boathouse.

This week I'll share some shots from Sunday morning's trip to Aaron's Beach, where the wind was blowin' a gale and the air was so brutally frigid I actually worried whether my tonsils fingertips would drop off from frost bite.

So far, they haven't.


In unrelated news, Arcadia Publishing is offering a limited-time 20% discount (plus free shipping) on my Mathews County book this week. Click here or on the image of the book in the upper right corner of this page and enter the coupon code MATHEWS at checkout. 

Friday, February 10, 2012


Workboat on the East River, taken from Williams Wharf.

Yesterday I parked the car at Williams Wharf to go for a run.

It was so bitterly cold I just started running to keep warm not knowing how far I was going to run or which route to take.

Much like how I operate in the rest of my life, I just put one foot in front of the other and told myself I'd figure it out as I went along.

Take it as it comes without a rigid plan, that's pretty much my modus operandi.

The more I ran, the clearer I was able to think.

 I mentally mapped out a six-mile route.

(I'd never gone more than 5 1/2 miles before.)

Well, due to forces beyond my control (such as VDOT doing some road work down Beaverlett and a dog that chased me in another section of the run) the first route had to be nixed. 

It was time for Plan B.

By the time I finally returned to my car, I had run seven miles total.




As I was cooling down, walking around the parking lot at the wharf, I heard the familiar sound of a workboat approaching.

Luckily the camera was in the car, so I was able to catch a few shots of what is nowadays, sadly, a rare sighting:

a commercial waterman.


Have a great weekend. 

p.s. A little bird by the name of Ann Marie confirmed that this is A.J. Hurst's boat.