Tag Archives: Sweet Briar

My Southern Gothic Life: Chapter 90: The Love I Lost

New Blog Post:


I returned to Sweet Briar College a couple of weeks ago for what I feared was the last time.  I had not been there since 1981.

My last visit there, 34 years ago,  was populated by ghosts and anxiety.  I was part of the Class of 1981 at Washington and Lee University.  Most of my friends were from the class of 1980.  When I went to Spring Weekend there, in 1981,  we were already beginning to deal  with the past.

I was there with one of my best friends, my first close friend  at W&L, who had lost the love of his life to another man while his Sweet Briar girl was on Junior Year  Abroad.  Thus it was poignant to begin with.

But more importantly, the Class of 1980 was gone.  Those had been our friends and our link to Sweet Briar.  The Sweet Briar Girls we came to see that weekend felt the loss just as we did…Our friends who had made our college years so special had graduated.  It was not the same…..

After that weekend, I never thought I would be at Sweet Briar again.  I thought it was time to move on and put it all in the past.

As a History major, I should have known better.  Our past, collectively and individually, is a part of us and only time can show us how much a part of us it really is….

More:   My Southern Gothic Life | When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not; but I am getting old, and soon I shall remember only the latter. (Mark Twain).

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Chapter 65: The Right Stuff | My Southern Gothic Life

There is a new post up on my other blog, MySouthernGothicLife.com….

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

I firmly believe in the Right Stuff.

By that, I mean the real thing- the right things-no imitations, no cutting corners and playing by the entertainment rules.   And, goddammit, there are rules!

I can’t help it.  I’m from Virginia and I was raised that way.  And I’m Gay so that means I have to take it even further…

I want every party to be like the one Audrey Hepburn attended at the Larrabee’s in “Sabrina”.  I will always want to make my entrance with an orchestra playing “Isn’t It Romantic” in the background.  I know that’s not a realistic expectation, but, who cares?

via Chapter 65: The Right Stuff | My Southern Gothic Life.

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The Novel Has Begun….

New post up on my other blog…

I’ve been playing with writing a novel and here is a very rough draft of part of the first chapter….

Click the link if you want to read more:

I was living in a dying town.  It was official.  I had seen the story listing the “official” government lists of dying cities and my town was on the list.  It was in the Washington Post, so it must be true.

The funny thing was, I had come back here to get away from the dying.

But both death and time do have a way of catching up with you.

I wondered how the town would react if I reprinted the story in our local newspaper.  They would probably just ignore it.  Or some of our stalwart citizens would angrily condemn it in angry letters to the editor.  Either way, it was probably best to just ignore it.  That’s what people generally did with bad news from outside here in Southside  Virginia.

It had always been an insular, closed off little town, but it was even more so now.  The cotton mills were gone and tobacco was now widely thought to be worse than opium.  But, people couldn’t let go of the past.  People here were still fighting the Civil War and referring to it as the “War of Northern Aggression” on the local blogs and on Facebook pages.

It was not a good place to be young, smart or interested in new thoughts and things outside of the town or a good place to live if you asked too many questions or challenged the status quo.  Never had  been.

Those were the thoughts I was having as I sat on the old glider of my Grandmother’s house in the mill village and nursed a Virginia Gentleman and water.  Things always stayed the same here.  Or people tried like hell to make them do so.

That’s why I was so surprised to see a new Volvo come down the hill and pull in behind my Lexus in the gravel drive way beside the house.  I didn’t often have visitors.  However, I was only slightly surprised to see Peyton Chandler McManus get out of the Volvo and walk up to the porch.  She had been gone for years, but I had heard she was back in town.

More:  The Novel Has Begun…. | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Forever Prep in Virginia

This is for my fellow Virginia Preps…

By that, I mean those of us who went to Washington and Lee, Sweet Briar, Randolph Macon Woman’s College, Mary Baldwin, UVa, Hollins and a few other colleges in Virginia in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

We were the preppiest group of people you could ever hope to see…

Those of you who are my friends on FaceBook have seen the pictures…

I referenced the pictures to this “Virginia Living” magazine article last month.  Now the full article is on line.

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

If you happened to attend college in the early 1980s, then you probably remember The Official Preppy Handbook. Izod shirts and pastel sweaters were experiencing a fashion moment at the time, and the book arrived as a wryly affectionate satire of a culture where the house wine was a gin and tonic, “summer” was a verb, and a man could appear in public dressed in wide-wale corduroys embroidered with a repeating motif of Irish setter’s heads, and no one would laugh.

Though the Handbook largely concerned itself with the northeastern preppy, the breed’s Virginia cousin was entirely recognizable in the book’s pages and even accorded the occasional nod. And in fact, though we were much more likely to summer at the River instead of Nantucket, and we considered Princeton about as far north as we’d be willing to go for an Ivy League education (or better yet not go north at all when we had better options right here at home), Virginians were confident that we could out-prep the preppiest Groton grad with one hand tied behind our Lily Pulitzer-clad backs.

For one thing, timelessness and tradition are cornerstones of the prep ethic, and it’s not for nothing we named ourselves the Old Dominion. There have been Virginians with a preference for things the way they used to be since the first Jamestown colonists stole a last fleeting glance backward to the receding shores of England—and in most matters your traditional Virginian has always considered it safe to trust in the principle, “What would Mr. Jefferson do?”

More:   Forever Prep – VirginiaLiving.com.

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Forever Prep: Virginia Living Magazine Feature Shot at Sweet Briar College- and some other school

There is a photo spread in this month’s “Virginia Living” magazine called “Forever Prep.”

For  those who don’t know, the Virginia  college circuit is the epicenter of Prep in Virginia and the South.

There is an article in the “paper” magazine also that talks about the Virginia Prep lifestyle of the 1980’s that I and many of my friends were part of at Sweet Briar, Washington and Lee, Mary Baldwin, Hollins, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and UVa….and how it translates to today’s world.

It’s  also a reference to “True Prep” that came out late last year and the 30th Anniversary of the “Official Preppy Handbook”.

The photo’s were shot at Sweet Briar College and Hampden-Sydney…

Sweet Briar makes perfect sense, but Hampden Sydney???

This Washington and Lee Man may have to cancel his subscription….

And I do have a subscription…

It’s a sickness…

Here is the Link: http://www.virginialiving.com/downloads/slideshows/274/slides/0/index.html

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