Category Archives: Danville

Chapter 56: Integration-Part 2: Negroes, Lesbians and Yankees, Oh My! | My Southern Gothic Life

New Post up on my other Blog…

Here is a brief excerpt and a link to the full post:

Once integration happened, it was really no big deal to most of us.  Some of our parents, however, never recovered.

The South in those days, at least in small towns like ours, was built a lot of unbendable, undefinable, unpublished, unspoken but completely understood rules.  The two biggest one were as follows:

Thou shalt only consort with people just like you.

Never offend the neighbors.

My parents swore by those rules.  My father’s main concern was not pissing off anybody for business reasons.  He really didn’t give a damn about anything else.

My Mother lived for The Rules and to judge others by them.  In her mind, if she had not known someone and their entire family for her entire life- and preferably their family background for several preceding generations-they really weren’t worth knowing.

She also assumed everyone else played by the same rules.  Therefore, she assumed all Black people knew each other and later, all Gay people knew each other.  I’ll never forget the time she said to me:  ”I hope you are running around in public with that Harvey Fierstein person.  I saw him on television and he’s just awful.  I really don’t want to have to try to explain that to my friends.”  It took me a while to figure that out, but then I realized she assumed, just because we were both Gay, we had to know each other and be fast friends.  I wish…I have been in the same New York bar as Harvey, but that was many years later and does not prove her point…


MORE:  Chapter 56: Integration-Part 2: Negroes, Lesbians and Yankees, Oh My! | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Danville Downtowner Motor Inn to be Demolished

Ah, another part of my  misspent youth is going to be gone shortly…

We had some damn good parties at that place and I used to eat lunch in their Restaurant when I worked in Downtown Danville at a Bank right after college.

Had some fun times at their “disco”, the Black Horse Cellar…

We also spent most of our Senior Prom in a Suite there having cocktails before and after making our token appearance at the Dance…

See my previous blog post on my other blog for details:

From GoDanRiver.Com:

The Danville Industrial Development Authority has bought the former Downtowner Motel at the corner of Main and Union streets with the help of a Danville Regional Foundation grant.

“Without the financial support of the Danville Regional Foundation, we would not have been able to make this very significant purchase at this time to advance the Master Plan being developed for the River District,” said Richard Turner, chairman of the Industrial Development Authority. “Because of its high visibility, the removal of this structure will begin what we all think will be a major transformation of the district.”

The Downtowner building has been empty for more than a decade but has “become the focal point of blight eradication and redevelopment in the newly designated River District,” the release said.

via Danville IDA buys the former Downtowner Motel |

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Danville Workers’ Complaints Surround IKEA’s U.S. Factory

Extremely interesting article about the IKEA factory in Danville, VA, the city I escaped from, I mean I was born in…

Thanks to Tim Flowers for making me aware of this article in the Los Angeles Times…

Funny….I don’t recall seeing it mentioned in the Danville Register and Bee…

“It’s ironic that Ikea looks on the U.S. and Danville the way that most people in the U.S. look at Mexico,” Street said.

The Swedwood factory is situated on the outskirts of Danville, in the midst of rolling tobacco country, just north of the North Carolina border.

For most of the last century the town of 45,000 relied on textiles and tobacco for jobs. Today the riverfront is lined with empty red brick warehouses and crumbling mills. With the unemployment rate high — currently at 10.1% — the city has put muscle behind attracting new companies, including Ikea.

“They’ve definitely given jobs to people that desperately needed them here,” city manager Joe King said.

Swedwood says it chose Danville to cut shipping costs to its U.S. stores. The plant has been run mostly by American managers, along with some from Sweden.

via Ikea: Workers’ complaints surround Ikea’s U.S. factory –

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One in four U.S. counties “dying”: Census Bureau – International Business Times

Danville/Pittsylvania County, VA is included in this list.

I checked…

Emphasis/Italics are mine…

One in four counties in the U.S. are ”dying” – meaning, they are recording more deaths than births – according to findings by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Demographers call this phenomenon a “natural decrease.”

The data shows that 760 of the nation’s 3,142 counties are in this category – exacerbated, analysts say, by an aging population the mortgage crisis, record high unemployment in many states and the ever-fragile economy.

These counties exist in all parts of the country, from the old Rust Belt areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio, to rural East Texas and even in the wine country of northern California.

West Virginia is the first state to experience this “natural decrease” statewide over the last decade. Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont may soon be next, the Census data suggested.

“Natural decrease is an important but not widely appreciated demographic phenomenon that is reshaping our communities in both rural and urban cores of large metro areas,” said Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.

Such areas typically have aging white people who are not having children, as well as grim job prospects that drive younger adults away. These locales also tend to have few Hispanic immigrants, who, on the whole, are younger and have more children.

Indeed, the population of the entire U.S. grew by only 9.7 percent since 2000, the lowest such decade-rate since the Great Depression.

via One in four U.S. counties “dying”: Census Bureau – International Business Times.

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Proposed cuts could close work force centers |

From the Danville Register and Bee…

Robbie is at it again and the people of  VA-5 should be starting to realize when they voted for him, they voted against their own self interest.

Key word is “should”.  I don’t have much confidence in my old home town…

Seems all he cares about is deficit reduction.  He never mentions jobs…

I keep saying this:  creating jobs=creating taxpayers & consumers to drive the economic recovery…

I also find it amusing even the Chamber of Commerce- which worked hard to elect Republicans- is coming out against this…

“How can you say ‘we want jobs’ but you don’t invest in work force?” asked Laurie Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce and member of the local work force investment board.

U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District, said in a statement Wednesday that while he supports work force training, he’s also working to balance the federal budget.

“… I will continue to look for ways to support those programs within the context of a balanced budget,” Hurt said in the statement.

“But let’s not forget, that on Nov. 2, the people of the 5th District made it clear that we must put a stop to out of control government spending. … I am committed to making the tough choices to rein in spending so that our employers will have the confidence necessary to create the long-lasting private sector jobs the people of the 5th District need and deserve. The decisions we face are not easy, but we have not been given an easy task. …”

But without the local program, residents may not be able to get funding for job training to fill positions in the region, said Kim Adkins, executive director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board. Financial burden would also fall to employers.

The region’s work force centers — how employers and job seekers link up and where residents can access job search and career guidance resources — would shutter, Adkins said.

And, the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, which monitors and funds the local work force system, wouldn’t exist anymore, she added.

“I just hope the community sees the value of what these job training programs do for communities nationwide, especially communities like ours where we’ve been devastated by downsizing and closure of industries and working hard to get people retrained to fill the positions that are now available,” Adkins said. “Without that, it’ll be another blow to the hardworking families in our area.”

via Proposed cuts could close work force centers |

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Tom Perriello for Senate in Virginia? – David Catanese –

This would be sweet revenge on VA-5 and Perriello can win this…

If he won once in a district as conservative as VA-5 and did relatively well under horrible circumstances last year, Perriello could really win a state-wide race.  Vote rich Northern Virginia would love him…

Conventional Washington wisdom suggests that Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine is the best candidate to carry the banner for Virginia Democrats in the Senate race to replace retiring Jim Webb.

But it’s not a certainty that Kaine would be the candidate most useful to President Barack Obama as he attempts to again lock down the Commonwealth’s 13 electoral votes in 2012.

Kaine is unquestionably an Obama loyalist. Before taking the DNC post, he was widely viewed as a finalist for Obama’s running mate in 2008 and was the first governor to endorse the president outside his home state of Illinois.

But some progressives argue that the unapologetic former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) would be better suited to ignite the fire of a complacent base than the more measured, milquetoast Kaine. While Kaine might carry the baggage of being an Obama “cheerleader,” Perriello would proudly wear the label and be more effective at rallying disgruntled Democrats to the cause, some progressives say.

Kaine also appears wary of jumping into the race and might have to be talked into running.

“Why Not the Guy Who Wants the Job?” wondered the Democratic blog Blue Virginia. “When we have a candidate like Tom Perriello — strong progressive values, hardworking and accessible, consistently beat expectations in a conservative district — why are Democratic Party leaders in such a rush to coronate the guy who apparently needs to be talked into it?”

via Tom Perriello for Senate in Virginia? – David Catanese –

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Chapter 50: Party at the Hot Sheet Hotel | My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog…

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full post:

Like most conservative, religious cities, Danville had a lot of Hot Sheet Hotels.

By this I mean, cheap hotels that did a lot of business during the lunch hour and early  evenings. No one really seemed to spend an entire night there…

There was a long history of this in Danville, starting with the infamous Cliff’s Cabins on Riverside Drive and carrying on to this day.  I still see dozens of hotels advertising rooms for $29.95 a “night” every time I drive into town.

One of the favorites was always the Shamrock Motel on Piney Forest Road because they had parking in the rear where cars couldn’t be seen from the street.  The old Holiday Inn was also popular since the parking lot was so big and spread out.  And people could claim they were just having lunch in the restaurant…

More:   Chapter 50: Party at the Hot Sheet Hotel | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Chapter 48: Myrtle Beach Days | My Southern Gothic Life

There’s a new post up on my “Southern Gothic Life” Blog…

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full post:

One of the other key advantages the Sub Debs offered was a poorly chaperoned beach trip to Myrtle Beach every summer.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was the destination of choice for summer fun for almost everyone in Danville and when the teenage girls left on these trips, you can be sure the teenage boys were right behind them.

Sometimes, I think half the city of Danville just packed up and went there all at the same time…usually the first two weeks of August when the Mill closed down for vacation.

I haven’t been to Myrtle Beach in 30 years.  I frankly have no desire to ever go again.  But there was a time we all thought it was the most amusing place on earth.

MORE:   Chapter 48: Myrtle Beach Days | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Chapter 47: Surviving the Sub Debs | My Southern Gothic Life

New post up on my other blog:

I briefly mentioned the Sub Debs in one of my previous posts and said I was not even going to try to explain them. I am, probably foolishly, going to retract that statement and give it  shot.

I remember once trying to explain Sub Debs to a Hollins girl, and soon to be New Orleans Debutante, during a fraternity party when I was at Washington and Lee.  Once I finished the convoluted explanation I am about to attempt again, she looked at me and said:  ”That’s the silliest thing I ever heard of.  Either you are a Debutante or you’re not.  There is no in-between.”

Like most folks, she just didn’t get Danville, Virginia.

via Chapter 47: Surviving the Sub Debs | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Chapter 46: The Evolution of One Southern Liberal or Some Thoughts on Martin Luther King Day | My Southern Gothic Life

I have a new post up on my other blog.

Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full post…

As we approach the Holiday recognizing the contributions of Dr. King, I always tend to think about where we were, where we are and where we have yet to go.  To me, this is a day to stop and think. And remember.

As a Southerner of a certain age, I just can’t let this day pass without comment.  I don’t see how anyone of my generation can.

I grew up in the South before integration and during the Civil Rights Movement.  I’m not sure if I even spoke to a black person, other than our maid, before the schools were integrated when I was in the 5th grade.  People seem to forget the South in the early 1960′s was like South Africa under apartheid.  It was a very separate and scary place.  Everyone–and I mean everyone– had their place and society tried to keep them in it.

I think the late, great Molly Ivins said it best.  Molly once wrote:  ”I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point — race.  Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.”

via Chapter 46: The Evolution of One Southern Liberal or Some Thoughts on Martin Luther King Day | My Southern Gothic Life.


Filed under Danville, History, Holidays, My Journey, Politics, Race, Social Commentary