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The history of Oakley 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Sheilah Jastrzebski May 16.

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Award-winning novelist captures fleeting youthby Rob NeufeldAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad: HarperCollins, Aug. 9, 2016)            The amazing, unusual thing about Jacqueline Woodson’s new novel, “Another Brooklyn,” I realize as it sinks in, is that the initial mystery—that is, why the narrator can’t…See More
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A rare interview, a story about an acid plant

A worker’s view of tannery work in Rosmanby Rob Neufeld             Haskell Luker was 11 when the Flood of 1916 caused his dad, Americus Alfred Luker, to leave the farm where he worked and take a job with an acid (tannin) plant in Pisgah Forest.             “Daddy was going down there to make big…See More
Aug 15
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Interview with Chitra Divakaruni about Before We Visit the Goddess

A talk with Chitra about her benediction of a novelby Rob Neufeld             Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, one of our country’s most engaging and inventive novelists, first came to this region six years ago for Western Carolina University’s Spring Literary Festival.  That’s when I got to know her and began…See More
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Gary Carden's Outlander--about Kephart--at UNCA July 31--with author

Is Carden's Kephart play controversial?Gary Carden's play, "Outlander," receives a "staged reading" in the Reuter Center, UNC Asheville, 2 p.m., Sun., July 31.  Carden will be on hand to discuss the play with the audience.  It is a controversial play in that it has been criticized by the descendants of Horace Kephart who felt that the play "demeaned" Kephart.  "Ironically," Carden says, "my original purpose in writing the play was to 'redeem' Kephart. who has often been denounced by the…See More
Jul 29
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Bring Back the Game

BRING BACK THE GAME     Anna and I basically spent a month in Asheville, NC this summer. We returned to Georgia a few days ago, and while we were glad to get home, as we got out of the car, we were met with the suffocating heat that I still have not become acclimated to even though we have lived in Middle Georgia for over 30 years. Every plant in our backyard had dried up and only the belligerent squirrels had survived the summer’s inferno.      We had a great time in Asheville. We visited our…See More
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Amy Ammons Garza to Present Her Memoir at City Lights Bookstore

August 6, 2016 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Amy Garza will be presenting her new memoir, Appalachian Storyteller in a Feed Sack Dress, at City Lights Bookstore onSaturday, August 6th at 3 p.m. Follow Amy as she tells the story of her life as she lived it, each chapter being a story in itself. These are the compelling stories of a mountain girl who found the courage she needed in her life to listen and retell the stories of her family and heritage.  Amy Garza was born and raised in Western North Carolina, which leads her into her many…See More
Jul 16

Save-the-Grotto effort launched by St. Genevieve's alums

St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines seek home for Our Lady of Lourdes grotto

by Rob Neufeld

            A year-and-a-half ago, St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines alumnae worked to preserve the Ivy Building on the A-B Tech campus.  The Ivy had been the auditorium and gymnasium—and last surviving building—of the exemplary school established here by a French order of nuns in 1908. (See article and video.)

            With the help of A-B Tech president, Dr. Hank Dunn, the alumnae succeeded.

            Now, they have another memorial to save, a sacred one—the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto to
which nuns as well as students of all faiths had 

gone to celebrate feast days and to meditate in either a religious or secular way.

            Mother Margaret Potts, Academy principal and Mother Superior at St. Genevieve’s for many years, described the site in her memoir, “St. Genevieve’s Remembered.”

“On the right of the grotto was a little circle of benches and chairs with a tree right in the middle,” she wrote.  “The sisters would come there in the summer for prayer and recreation. It was private and cool. In front of the grotto was a rose garden. In fine weather the sisters could walk up and down saying vespers.”

            Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Class of ’60, recalls going to the grotto to meditate about such subjects as the works of Charles Dickens and John Donne; and about how the individual is connected to all humanity.  It had been the nuns’ mission to educate young women to be leaders in their fields.  Their methods were self-reflection and a classical education that taught critical thinking.

            “There were days on which we didn’t speak,” Osteen-Cochrane says.  She remembers dwelling on John Donne’s poem “No man is an island”; and Shakespeare’s “To thine own self be true.”

            The shrine resonates not only as an important part of an influential Asheville school, but also as a symbol of humanities education, currently sidelined by both Gov. McCrory and President Obama in their initiatives to support job-oriented and technical education.  Oddly, an examination of the wisdom of such a focus would require humanities thinking.

            The alumnae have two months to save the grotto before it has to be demolished for new construction at A-B Tech.  Bill Wescott, Historic Preservation Consultant, has determined that the structure is stable.

            “We are looking for a home for the grotto,” Osteen-Cochrane, lead alumna in the Save-the-Ivy campaign, emphasizes.  “It could be located at a church or another appropriate site, and it could be repurposed for rest and meditation.”

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