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I am a designer/illustrator/writer with an phobia for history. For over twenty years I ran an industrial design and illustration studio in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

     With the exceptions of attending college and a tour in the army, I have spent my entire life in the mountains and valleys of Virginia. The misty aura of the ancient mountains has a profound effect on a person.

     I grew up on a battlefield. My first home was on a battlefield. I now live beside trenchworks on another battlefield. Actually, in the Valley, you are within musket range of a French and Indian War or Civil War Battlefield almost anywhere you stand.

     I had two great grandpappies in the 28th Virginia. Both survived Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and the war. I spent my boyhood summers at my grandparent's farm along a little stream in a valley within a valley. They were too far off the highway to have electricity. At night we would sit on the front porch while Granny and Grandpa would thoroughly frighten us younguns with stories of the War between the States, (You didn't say "Civil War" there!) mixed with bloodcurdling tales of local ghosts, haunts, and wicked witches. We would hear mountain ballads, jigs and Paul Jones' fiddle tunes played on weekends by local musicians, or listen to the Grand Old Opry or the Wheeling Jamboree on a staticy battery-powered tube radio . . . and walk to a little Christian Church on Sunday mornings (about 4 miles).

     After my grandfather died, my parents went to the Library of Congress and to the State Archives in Richmond to document the family line, enabling my grandmother to receive a pension as the daughter of a Confederate veteran. We kids were by then hooked on the family geneology and the history of the mountains that shaped their destiny.

 

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