SWAC Girl interview in News-Virginian
Bob Stuart, a reporter with the Waynesboro News-Virginian, called several weeks ago. We talked about several things but mostly he wanted to know about my blog -- how often I posted, what made me want to post, feedback -- all those questions newspaper reporters ask about any and all subjects. He said he was thinking of writing an article about blogging.
Last week Bob called to see if he could come by the house Friday with Rosanne Weber, the staff photographer, and ask some follow-up questions because he had researched and was writing the blog article. Telling him the Stonewall Brigade was leaving for Iraq from the Staunton Armory that morning and that I would be there with my fellow SWACers to see them off, we made plans to meet that afternoon.
Bob arrived at my house around 5:00 and Rosanne showed up shortly afterwards, got her photo, and left. Bob and I wandered through the house looking at photos on the walls and at memorabilia around my desk where I blog.
I told him I had a "blogging nest." All my friends are around me ... the bulletin boards above my desk and on the wall are overflowing with photos, George W. Bush memorabilia, a Reagan calendar, a Bush/RNC calendar...
Photos of a number of military members are there including two of Nate that are on top of my computer -- one of him in his Marine dress blues and one of the two of us together. There are several photos of Herbie Harman, taken while he was in Iraq ... Marcus in Iraq ... Jason in Iraq and with his brother, Justin ... Herb's wife and daughter holding American flags ...
Photos of "my guys," as I call them -- the three delegates from Augusta County: Chris Saxman, Ben Cline, Steve Landes...
Photos of my SWAC friends and fellow bloggers ... Spank That Donkey and John Maxfield and Elle and Phil and Rhonda ... a photo of RightsideVA and me holding his American flag at the 2006 Support the Troops rally. And, of course, my GOP chairman and friend, Kurt.
Then there's photos of my kids, my husband, my niece, my flowers...
GOP elephants sit on the shelves among the conservative books in my collection ...
The President's speeches ... newspaper articles agreeing with his 9/11 response ...
On the wall is a map of Augusta County separated into political boundaries. Also on the wall is a poster of the United States Bill of Rights, the Three Branches of the U.S. Government, and the Ten Commandments.
There's White House memorabilia ... tickets to Easter Egg rolls, photos, M&Ms and note pads with the presidential seal, White House correspondence, a guest pass to the 11/7/2000 election night celebration in Austin that fizzled....
Political buttons on the bulletin board include "Vets for North," "Support President Bush & Our Troops," "Reagan - Bush '84," "Bush - Quayle," "10 Out of 10 Terrorists Agree Anybody but BUSH" ... and more.
And American flags.
And a non-stop pile of newspapers. They are usually stacked on the floor beside my desk as I work my way through them. There's something comforting about a newspaper hard copy ... easier to curl up in a chair with a cup of tea and read than at the keyboard.
Bob waded into all that and more. We settled down in my family room which is where my computer is located ... and we talked ... and talked ... and talked. Four hours later we were still talking....
Because the story behind the story is ... Bob and I graduated from high school together.
We both grew up in Chesterfield County outside Richmond ... we were in the same 7th grade class, and then grades 8-12. He went on to the University of Richmond right across the river from where we grew up.
Fast forward 30 years to February 2002 when I was on the streets of downtown Staunton with fellow SWACers, holding a "HONK - If You Support the Troops" sign, because the anti-war crowd had emerged from the area. Bob was there to cover the story for the N-V. He started interviewing me ... one question led to another ... and we realized the connection ... after all those years. Now we see each other frequently because he covers meetings and events that I often attend.
As we sat in my family room we talked about blogging ... but we also talked about growing up in the 60s and 70s, about mutual friends, and events from school that stood out to us. I pulled out my high school yearbooks and we looked at photos of those two young people from many years ago ... and how much we've changed over the years.
Bob was the sports guy who was all over the neighborhood with his friends, many of them the fraternity types who ruled the school hallways. I was quiet and introverted with a small circle of close friends, most of whom were in my church youth group.
He was the kid our 7th grade teacher made stand in the corner balancing two books in his hands because he had cut-up in class. I was the front-row kid the teacher encouraged to continue reading because my nose was always buried in a book.
We talked about that particular teacher, fresh out of college, who had encouraged creative writing amongst our classmates ... little did we know back then that our teacher was sowing the seeds for a future newspaper reporter and a blogger.
I need to look up that teacher and thank him....
For anyone who thinks Bob is the quiet, serious newspaper guy taking notes at a meeting -- don't be fooled! Under that mild-mannered exterior is a prankster in disguise. I gave him fair warning I was going to blog about him!
Thanks, Bob, for the conversation, for making me laugh, for the walk down Memory Lane, and the reminder of my roots ... roots that point out to me that where I have been has made me who I am.
For the story by Bob Stuart about SWAC Girl check out PC: Political computers. Also thanks to Spank That Donkey for the kinds words in SWAC Girl Gets Her Due!
Nice story. Better coverage than BNN has been getting of late.
Thanks, Dave. Maybe you should get Bob Stuart to cover BNN...? :)
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