Patsy Cline and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

10/4/13 Friday at Front Royal, VA (Skyline Ranch Resort-RPI)

Relaxing morning where I worked on the blog and trip planning while John watched TV while working at his spreadsheets.

In the afternoon we went to Costco, to see if John could get a hearing test. They’re scheduled way out, so she suggested he call a Costco that’s near a place where we’ll be staying for a while, getting it scheduled long before we arrive. We also had the Verizon kiosk look at my phone. I haven’t been getting my Hotmail email to come through. She deleted the account I had and added another that works. Yay!

On to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, where they have a special exhibit of Patsy Cline. I wasn’t allowed to take photos so I’ll try to relay what I remember. It was a really lovely exhibit and well worth paying for ($6/senior-60 yrs old). Patsy was born in Winchester, VA as Virginia (“Ginny”) Hensley to Hilda and Sam Hensley. Hilda was 15 and 9 months pregnant when she married Sam who was about 15 years older. When Ginny was 4, Hilda decided their life would be much better without Sam. They had no running water or electricity at the time. She found a place with water and power and worked as a seamstress. Hilda was very close to Ginny. Ginny/Patsy loved listening to the Big Band women singers of the day and dreamed of becoming one. By the time she was 15 she was working at a drugstore, trying to help support the family (there was a brother too). She was also singing for money, getting a permanent spot with a local band. Harold Peer wanted to become famous as her manager. He suggested she change her name to Patsy. Her fiance Peter Cline wanted to marry her and have her keep house for him. Neither dream fit hers! In time, she was on her own, singing for anyone who wanted her and divorcing Mr. Cline. Her really big break came when she won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Show singing “Walking After Midnight”, telling him her mother was her agent. She was 24 at the time. Great hits followed, then, while flying to yet another gig, her plane crashed and everyone on it died. She was 30. We both think the world of her songs and her voice. Patsy would tell her mom what she envisioned for her outfits (from Western to sultry evening singer) and she would sew them. She made all of Patsy’s outfits.

Next we explored the Shenandoah Valley part:

IMG_2445Shenandoah Valley, where US 11 now runs.






IMG_2456The Still. Rangers discovered this still in the Shenandoah Valley National Park in 1937. People continue to find stills in secluded valley areas. Where “moonshiners” once operated them. Often the modern property owner is unaware the still even exists.



IMG_2460Ball-in-Cage Chain Puzzle and Noisemaker – carved out of one piece of wood.





IMG_2462Postage Stamp Quilt -on right. During the Depression, no scrap of fabric was left unused, and bright colors helped the spirits. The little squares give the quilt its name.




IMG_2440Log cabin from the 1740’s. Very few belongings. The only clothes they owned were on their backs. No chairs, probably used logs.




IMG_2447 IMG_2449Life in the 1830’s.






Life in the 1930’s.





IMG_2451I-Houses, a 2-story house form based on balance and symmetry. Usually 1 room deep. All the rage in the mid-1800’s. Many of the settlers building I-Houses moved to the “I” States: Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and that is the inspiration for this house form’s name!



IMG_2490 IMG_2468 IMG_2479 IMG_2477 IMG_2483






















A Chinese unicorn?

Glen Burnie, home of James Wood, the founder of Winchester. These are images of a miniature of the current home (the home was built by Robert, his son in 1794) which is currently undergoing a 4 year renovation. This and all upkeep are paid for by the trust set up by Robert. In 1952 Julian Glass Wood inherited the home and its grounds, renovating it all.

Off to home just as they were closing (and wedding preparations were underway), for supper and the usual TV. I went to bed early, while John watched Hawaii 5-0.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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