Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mountain Memories~

What started out as a simple "girl trip,"
       turned out to be something so much more~

Our plan~
spend 3 nights at the Biltmore in Asheville,NC
taking photos for the 
"Pink Scarf Project"
and attend the "HEART" concert
there on the grounds of the

~and then Marsha found this photo of her Mom
taken almost 60 years ago.
"you know Vicki, I think Mt. Mitchell is someplace close to Asheville.
My Mom visited that area for all those years that my
Dad was in the VA Hospital there."
Margaret (Marsha's Mom)--
"I remember when that picture was taken, I was really sad that day." 
(this picture is truly worth a "thousand words")
follow our journey here
for the story~

so we made a plan~
a new plan.
one that included a trek to the top of Mt. Mitchell,
so that we could recreate the picture of Marsha
standing as her Mother had done
all those years ago.

is about 40 minutes from Asheville.
Heading down Route 23-
take a right at the Mars Hill exit
and keep on driving, and driving, and driving.
then you come to "the middle of nowhere"
and start to climb the hill~~ 

As many times as the Gardener and I have visited Asheville,
we had no idea that this beautiful park existed. 
All along the drive into the park are these magnificent
the vistas that look out over the 
Blue Ridge Mountains
left us breathless.

~it was late in the afternoon when we arrived
at the Visitor Center.
Not wanting to waste time, I took the photo of 
Marsha's Mother inside.
After briefly recanting the story and our mission, 
the ranger told me where to find the exact place where
her Mother had stood.
"it's easy, just start on that trail beside the Visitor Center and
climb the hill to the top." 

"goofing off" at the Visitor Center
I'm trying to get Marsha in a good mood
about the climb UP the hill to the
observation tower!

once you park in the Visitor Center area 
the climb to the top is really not that far -
just about a quarter mile.
BUT -- its all uphill!

the walk to the top is so beautiful and scenic
~ come on UP with us!
I'll meet you at the top!
(you can lag along with Marsha!!)

of course we stopped to take photos along the way~

(doesn't Marsha's pretty blouse match that beautiful blue sky?)

we are almost there!

It is beautiful up here!

Now for the rest of the story~

That day -- almost 60 years ago -- really was a sad
day for Marsha's Mom~
Marsha's parents
Margaret and Charles, were married in 1945,
shortly after he was discharged from the Navy.
Charles had contacted TB while in the service.
Shortly after he and Margaret married,
 he became ill and was admitted to the VA Hospital
 in Asheville.
Charles spent the next 12 years of his life
living in VA hospitals in both Asheville and Swananoa.
Recieving experimental treatments and surgeries,
he was isolated from his wife and family.
Margaret visited him when she could, 
but times were different and more difficult back then.
A trip to Asheville was a major
She did not have a car, so Margaret would ride the bus
 from West Virginia to
Asheville 2-3 times a year
to visit her husband.
Sometimes her brother in law was able to drive her
to the visit.

On occasion,
his health permitting,
Charles was granted a day or brief weekend pass
in which he could leave the hospital
and travel short distances.
He would ride the train to West Virginia for 
these brief visits.
Marsha says that her Father sometimes
came home for special occasions,
like Christmas and 
the birth of his children.
During times when his health was not so good,
he would be allowed a brief
one day visit with his wife
when she was able to visit him in Asheville.

Their trip to Mt. Mitchell 
was one of those visits.
Marsha's Mom says that she remembers 
posing for that photo, feeling so sad 
because her visit with her husband
was almost over and she knew that it would
be a long time before she could see him again. 

Marsha has 2 older brothers, and 1 younger brother.
Her family is a testament
to the power of love and commitment
in the face of adversity. 

After 12 long years,
Marsha's Dad was finally allowed
to come home for good in

After her husband came home to live,
Margaret went to Nursing school
in Charleston, West Virginia.
(she was the first married nursing student at her school)
They had a wonderful life together,
raising their family,
and later spending winters with friends
 in Florida 
and summers 
with friends in Nova Scotia.
Margaret and Charles were happily married
for 64 years until his passing
in 2009.

Every family has a story.
Old photos, memories, fragments of the past. 
These stories are the legacy that our parents give to us.
Stories that we should pass on to our children.
Stories that make us
 who we are 

Marsha and I spent a wonderful afternoon 
on top of Mt. Mitchell.
Taking in the amazing views,
trying to imagine how it must have looked
almost 60 years ago. 
Trying to imagine how Margaret
must have felt that day.

We talked about the trees ~~
and wondered if any of these trees might have been
here at that time~

I can't tell you how precious
it was to be able to help Marsha
recreate that special moment
 in time.

After leaving the summit,
we started our drive down the mountain
stopping at the beautiful restaurant
just below the Visitor Center.

Just behind the restaurant
 is this gorgeous
 back porch observation area.

The Blue Ridge Mountains
are truly

Right now I'm thinking~~
I want to bring the Gardener here.
(he would love this place!)

the views from inside the restaurant 
are simply stunning~
(I don"t know why I did not think to take photos inside!!) 
OK -- now I have an excuse to go back for sure!

How long could you sit here?

I had no idea that our day at Mt. Mitchell
would be so meaningful
and special~
The day threatened rain -- but it never rained a drop until we were back off the mountain later that evening.  The next day we headed to the Biltmore Estate for a day of picture taking for the
"Pink Scarf Project".

I'm sharing just a few photos
of the places we visited
with YOUR scarves~

~the reflecting pond~

~the bass pond~

 we're smiling because we've been taking
pictures ALL day and we have
just finished!!

The Inn on Biltmore
(headed to dinner on the Library balcony)

Our view from the Library balcony

the next evening~
getting settled in our seats
waiting on the HEART concert
(which was fabulous, by the way!)

It was an incredible trip, priceless in some respects~ 
we took photos of your pink scarf donations everywhere we went. Along the winding road (in the middle of nowhere) leading to Mt. Mitchell, in the fields beside the Visitor Center, on that beautiful porch at the restaurant on the mountain, and at the Biltmore Estate.  I can hardly wait to share these beautiful photos with you all.  

(donated by Jim and Ron and Sophie)

Summer is rapidly turning into fall.  Brisk nights are upon us, the air is starting to smell like autumn, even the mornings are crisp and cool-- up next I want to share with you my beautiful back deck flowers (before the cool nights start to take their toll!)  (the Gardener is in charge of all the flowers in our yard, but the back deck belongs to ME!!)

~~ the day after we returned home from our  "girl"trip, Marsha's Mom became ill and was admitted to the hospital where Marsha and I both work,~ she has been there almost 3 weeks now -- please keep her in your prayers.

Treasure those you love,


dreamchallenge said...

Vicki you are an amazing , dedicated friend. Marsha and those of us who are blessed to know you treasure you (and that Gardner) you love. This post is so heartwarming, loving and fun. God Bless You. Jan

Sea Angels said...

You have again left me in tears and breathless with amazement at your achievements Vicki,and it doesn't stop there..your friendship and kindness, your support and love is inspiring.
What a fabulous post...I need a cup of tea and a sit down whilst I recover xxx
Lots of love Lynn xxxx

Sea Angels said...

PS you both look really lovely xxx

Catherine said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post ~ thank you for sharing!

Julie Marie said...

What a beautiful post dear Vicki... I love hearing others family stories, and this one had such a happy ending for Marsha's family... I can only try to imagine what everyone went through during that time, but obviously their strong faith and loving family got them through it... the tears are still running down my face... I was saddened to hear Marsha's mama has been in the hospital... my prayers going out to her and Marsha and her family... what a priceless moment for you and Marsha to re~create the exact photo and spot from so many yesterdays ago...(wiping the tears from my eyes so I can see to type)... my great~uncle Pierre had TB and was in a sanitorium in Arizona for a number of years... his wife left him and told everyone he had died and called herself a widow so she could remarry... never even going back to check on him... he too was eventually able to leave... but instead of going home to a wife, he moved in with my grandfather, his brother... he lived a long, and still happy life for many many years after that... miracles really do happen... thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos, words, and heart... much love, xoxo Julie Marie

Nancy said...

What a beautiful inspiring post and story. As well as the scenery and friendship. Prayers for Marshas' mother.

Michelle said...

Thank-you for sharing your very special journey – and beautiful scenery! – with us.

Low Tide High Style said...

Wow, what an amazing story of love and perseverance! Looks like you two were busy with all that photography, and what a gorgeous backdrop for the scarves! I hope her mother gets well quickly.

xo Kat

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a beautiful love story. There are tears streaming down my face as I type.

Thank you ~ FlowerLady

Dogwood said...

I loved reading this post. What a fabulous adventure. I am so glad that you were able to get away for a little girly time. My sissy who lives in GA and I went to this lovely area a few years ago and stayed at the hotel on the estate property. We has so much fun. With all the time you have devoted to the Pink Scarf Project, you certainly deserve the time away. Hugs, Cory/Dogwood

Acorn to Oak said...

What a beautiful area! And, what a wonderful and special time you had.

Terry said...

Oh my goodness, Vicki! What an amazing story! I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for Marsha's mother. I am so happy that they had many years together.

I am praying for Margaret. I will continue to pray for her. Please update us on how she is doing.

I really hope that one day I get to meet you in person. You have touched my heart in so many ways.


Mereknits said...

What an amazing story, I am so glad you shared it with us and all of those beautiful pictures. The mountains in that area are so beautiful.
Hugs to you and so glad you had a wonderful time with your friend.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

It was good to find out that Marsha's dad finally recovered and a lived a long life with his wife.

That is beautiful country. I visited that area many years ago and was awed by the scenery. Even though I was young, I am not sure I would have climbed that high a mountain. It is not the going up that would have bothered me so much, but rather the looking down when I got there. I remember driving the Blue Ridge Mountains and getting out to see the view. I can still feel how my stomach felt when I looked out over the cliff.

Mosaic Magpie said...

What a know, we seldom think about someone being ill and away from their family. Specialty hospitals like the one Marsha's father was in were few and far between. Thinking of that family growing up and all the precious little things the father missed...and the things the family missed not having him there. You were a good friend to encourage Marsha not only to the top of the mountain, but in recreating such a memory.

Petite Michelle Louise said...

what a beautiful story. truly. very touching. i am so sorry to hear that Marsha's mum is in the hospital now. i will keep her in my prayers mon amie! such a special trip you shared.

(and i gotta say have some nice gams girl! mine are chicken shape whatsoever! yours are to die for!)

Kaisievic said...

Such a great story, so special marsha'smother is in my prayers as are you all!

yaya said...

The photos are breath taking..we live is such a beautiful country and I'm sure a person could never visit every wonderful spot in a lifetime. The story of Marsha's parents is so touching. What devotion. My dear Aunt had TB in the late 40's and spent 8yrs in a sanitorium. Her story is filled with sadness also, but my uncle stayed true to her and raised their children until she could come home. She told me many stories of her stay and recovery. The scarves will be fabulous in that setting and I can't wait to see the pics. Thanks for sharing your girl's trip with us! I'll keep Marsha's Mom in my prayers.

Julia said...

Thanks for such Vicki for the touching love story. The photography is so beautiful, it's like being there in person. Such spectacular scenery.

Blessings & hugs,

Julia said...

Wow, that was quite a nice trek with your friend Marsha, and such a touching love story of a courageous young woman.
Your photography is absolutely gorgeous and the scenery is stunningly beautiful.

Looking forward to more of your pink scarf photos.

marda said...

Tears reading this story thinking that Marsha's father would live a short life, especially when you said he finally went home...I was thinking something else. Then to read on that he in fact came to live a long life with his wife and children. What a wonderful trip you two had. The pictures are just breathtaking.. I could sit in that rocker for hours... as I do on my front porch!!! Thank you so much for sharing the story, and my hopes for Margaret's full recovery.

SuZeQ said...

Beautiful story, beautiful pictures and beautiful women. I wish I could have tagged/lagged along with the two of you! Cannot wait to see the scarves amid these stunning backdrops!

Lisa said...

Oh Vicki, you did it to me again, tears in bed:)
What a great trip and the story that accompanied it.. wow. Thank goodness I got my satisfaction at the end when I learned Margaret and Charles spent 64 years together.
Isn't it amazing how far medicine has come in the past 50 years? I cannot imagine he had to spend 12 years in a hospital. Hope he had blue cross.
The Biltmore is on my bucket list, thanks for getting me a little closer to that dream.
Have a great week sweetie.

DeeDee said...

This story stole my hearts and my prayers are most certainly with Marsha and her mom... you so inspire me to be more than I am today.. thanks so much Vicki

Ewenique said...

Such breathtaking photos and a heartwarming story! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

Sara Kate MacFarland said...

Vicki, I feel I've gotten to know you over the past year. Little did I know when I first saw your marvelous little nests that I would come to look forward to each of your posts...that with each of them, I would see what you so generously share with your readers, your friends-you-haven't-met-yet. You share yourself and the things, people and places you cherish. This post--and so many of the other posts I've read over the last several months--touch my heart. You, Vicki, are such a special person--a blessing to everyone whose life you enrich with your love and wisdom. Holding all of you--Marsha, her mother, the Gardener, and you--in my heart and in my prayers.

Sara Kate

Little Penpen said...

What a sweet sweet story and the pictures are wonderful. I am sending out two scarves to you tomorrow! :))

Little Penpen said...

What a sweet sweet story and the pictures are wonderful. I am sending out two scarves to you tomorrow! :))

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm still out of breath from that UP climb!!! Did I mention I don't like UP? :D Breathtakingly beautiful - every single photo was imbued with the grand and special time you two were sharing together. What a special trip and story! Thank you as always for sharing your wonderful trips with us! You are my hero girlfriend!:D
Hugs and enjoy the week,
Beth P

Eugenia Maru said...

Hermoso paseo, hermosos paisajes, hermosos recuerdos, hermosas damas y hermosas bufandas.
Un beso querida Vicki

Astrids dragon said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful love story, beautifully written, beautiful friendship, a truly treasured post! Sending prayers...

kathyinozarks said...

I was happy to read that Marsha's father recovered and her parents had a long life together-a heartfelt story-thank you for sharing-prayers for her mother-and your photos are always so amazing and breathtaking Kathyinozarks

ZielonaMila said...

Beautiful photos, fantastic place:) Greetings

sophie...^5 said...

You are so sweet, the picture of the scarves laying effortlessly over the rocker is so serene and peaceful. You know exactly what works.
Love your story of Marsha and her mother. What an absolutely beautiful place you have visited, maybe someday we call and go with you!


Jim said...

First off Vicki, please give our best wishes to Marsha and her mother. We hope all goes well.
The scarves look like they belong there!

Rustique Gal said...

Oh, My! I love traveling with you! What a lovely inspiring story and your pictures are so gorgeous, I feel like I was there with you. Can't wait to see the Biltmore! I'll keep Marsha's mom in my prayers.

Neesie said...

A wonderful journey of love, friendship and special memories Vicki. It was so delightful even though tinged with a little sadness.
I was so happy to read that Marsha's family were able to live together happily for many years after their earlier struggles. Just to think that that one old photograph has now been such an inspiration to so many thanks to you sharing the story.

You've taken spectacular photos that highlight a special place and friendship. The scenery looks breathtaking and yes I could sit there for hours. The chairs look so inviting!
Best wishes for Marsha's Mum.
Hugs ((♥))

Maggie said...

What a wonderful story and a wonderful trip, I so enjoyed travelling along with you.

Bernadett Rauski said...

Marvelous.:) I love the photos.:)


P.S.:I showed my scarf on my blog,I wrote about the project and I will send it I think on Saturday...

Hindustanka said...

What a story, Vicki! Loved it... such commitment and so much of dedication and trust! The vie win your pics are as usual breathtaking, I also love the perspective which opens when you look from the height - it is mesmerizing.

NanaDiana said...

Vicki- I read every word. What an amazing adventure and recreation of an event. I have a huge lump in my throat as I think of Marsha's parents and what they went through. The human spirit is an amazing thing, isn't it? And, here we are, whining because we have to drive an extra mile or two to take someone somewhere.
You girls are both beautiful!!!!
I would have whined right along with Marsha about the climb!;>) xo Diana

Beedeebabee said...

Vicki, You are such a precious friend! I loved the story of Marsha's parents and how you searched and found the sign. Your photos are so breathtaking. In many of the pictures the sun dapples the mountains in the background. OMG, that's just so beautiful! - I hope by now Marsha's mom is all better. She'll stay in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I got goosebumps when I read that Marsha's parents were married for 64 years. Truly a testament to love and commitment. I do hope her mom is okay. Best wishes and blessings, Tammy

kareninkenai said...

Here I am "finally" getting to view your Blog after a hiatus from the computer and life in general! Ugh. What a touching and beautiful post, Vicki - such fabulous photos and memories. Yours and Marsha's tale brings such beautiful memories to mind from my own family in visiting harder times of the past. Such a blessing. Love and hugs from Alaska. Karen