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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

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Nancy Werking Poling posted an event

Nancy Werking Poling at Black Mountain Library

June 15, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm
Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?Nancy Werking Poling will launch her new novel, WHILE EARTH STILL SPEAKS, set in WNC. She'll tell the stories behind the story: How did Mary (more crone than virgin) get into the narrative? And Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth?See More
Monday
Caroline McIntyre posted events
Apr 29
Rob Neufeld updated their profile
Apr 13
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8
George Ellison left a comment for Renea Winchester
"luv ya Renea ... Kephart bio finally done after 40 years ... free at last ... free at last... great god almighty ... free a last!"
Apr 5
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
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Connie Regan-Blake Storytelling at Hendersonville Public Library at Henderson County Public Library - Main Branch

June 13, 2019 from 6pm to 7pm
Join Connie Regan-Blake for a family oriented evening of stories at the Hendersonville Library.See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Please join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” Here are the tellers for our April 6th “Slice of Life” performance.  Christine Phillips Westfeldt, Kyra Freeman, Steve Tate, Alberta Hipps and more! The event is hosted by the …See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive,…See More
Apr 1
Rap Monster posted a blog post

Stealth Hazy - 'Gun Clap'

Stealth Hazy - Gun ClapI got 80 rounds with a beam on it riding dirty I'm smoking chronic top off hear that system pound 808 thats subsonicI double down quadruple upstraight droppin with no cutwilt chamberlain on the reboundand you a fan just starstruckI…See More
Mar 26
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
Sue Diehl shared their event on Facebook
Feb 8
Sue Diehl posted an event
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis.  The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)See video of Act 1, Scene 1: The SettingProgram Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Reader: Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood.    Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood.   In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview.  But....was this really…See More
Jan 23

Asheville- The Way I Remember It- Hester

I have posted a new blog about a man I knew growing up in Asheville. It is entitled " Hester." Anna says guys will like it better than women. It's pretty long, but enjoy it.
HESTER
Growing up in Asheville in N.C. in the 50’s and 60’s seemed, at the time, to be filled with a rhythm of adventure and strange encounters sprinkled with an assortment of particularly interesting and somewhat odd characters. One of those persons who fascinated me as a child was my father’s friend “Hester. “ 
My dad was about as straight an arrow as anyone could find. He seemed to a preadolescent, somewhat indolent son, frankly boring. Looking back from a perspective of 70 years, I realize now that my father was steady, reliable and dependable. He went to work every day, saved his money for my college, enjoyed his marriage to my mother, and attended church almost every Sunday morning. Our family visited relatives on the weekend, took a vacation to the beach most years, went to our grandparent’s house for Sunday lunch, had a cookout with our cousins on Halloween and exchanged presents with the same families each and every Christmas afternoon. A stability that now I have grown to cherish.
Another regular family tradition was having lunch with Momma and Daddy’s friends, the Hesters, twice a month. One week of the month, they would come to our house for supper and a couple of weeks later we would go to theirs. In order to understand “Hester,” we must get past the name confusion. First, there were the Hesters, the family we ate with on a bi-weekly basis. Their names where Alma Hester and, get this now, - Hester.
Hester had a first name. I know that for sure because I asked my sister, Laura, if she knew Hester’s first name. She said “yes” and told me what it was and I promptly forgot it. In the ten or so years I was around him, I never heard anyone call him anything but “Hester.” So when we went over to their house for supper, we went to Alma’s and Hester’s.
Mother and Alma had met when my sister, Laura, and their daughter, Barbara, were born within a day of each other at the old Aston Park Hospital in Asheville. There was literally a maternity ward there; shared by 10 or so expectant moms, and my mother and Alma were put in beds side by side with each other. During those days of delivery and convalescents, they formed a fast friendship that lasted more than four decades.
Alma and Hester lived on the other side of Asheville, across the French Broad River from us. We lived in West Asheville which, before gentrification, was a compact, blue collar working class community. The Hesters lived off of Woodrow Avenue, just up the hill from Broadway and down the hill from Charlotte Street. I remember a deep gully washed down behind their house. Their back porch perching out from the rear of the house looked like a white wooden box on stilts. Their house, like ours, was a small bungalow in a row of similar homes lining the street from one end to the other. I believe that these homes were filled with families, most of whom were married in the depression, and many of whom had fathers who served in World War II. They are now revered as folk heroes of the greatest generation. To me, they were just Alma and Hester, friends of my parents. 
When it was our turn to visit the Hesters, it fell to me to get across town the best way I could. Mother would have taken the bus over earlier to visit with Alma and I would catch the same city bus, later in the afternoon after school was out, at the bus stop in front of Vance School and take it to Pritchard Park downtown. I would then transfer to the Flint street bus and ride to the bottom of Woodrow where I would get off and walk up the hill to the Hester’s house about midway up on the right. I probably started this journey when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. 
Generally the trip was uneventful except for one time that I especially remember. I was sitting on the little concrete stoop that sat below the telephone pole with yellow stripes painted on it to distinguish it as a bus stop. There were black stenciled letters spelling out “Bus Stop” painted over the yellow paint just to make sure no one was confused about where to catch the bus.
Two kids, I don’t remember who, came riding by, double, on a boys bicycle. The kid riding on the back fender shouted some profane insult to me. Again I don’t remember what he said, but I do remember jumping up and just as he rode by knocking the crap out of him and launching him off his bike. The bus should have come then, but it didn’t. 
He got back up and took a swing at me. I held up the book I had in my other hand and his fist glanced off it and did not get my eye, but caught me on the cheek and made a bruise. The scuffle ended and we went about our business. By the time I got to the Hester’s house everyone was already there which was a little unusual. It was obvious I had been fighting. All of the dinner guests, including my parents, glared at my swollen face, but no one said anything.

That no one said anything is not surprising. I grew up in a “deal with it” generation. They (adults) didn’t ask many questions; we (children) did not provide much information. Therefore, we got along pretty well. Sometime after dinner, Hester caught me alone for a minute. He bent down, grinned and whispered in my ear, “How’d the other guy look?” I smiled, didn’t say a word, but I knew I had made a friend that night.

Essentially, Hester taught me about gambling and let me get a glimpse of another side of life that I have not been privy to up to then. It is important to understand that Hester didn’t invite me into or let me participate in the vices that took up a good part of his life. He just let me observe and made a suggestion from time to time.
Hester was taller than my father, darker and greasier. I remember he had dark, bushy eyebrows and was pretty well built. He had a speech impediment and stammered a little. Probably to compensate, he spoke in short, quick, mumbling sentences. He always wore a one piece set of coveralls. They were grey with blue pinstripes and just above the pocket on his left chest was a little dark blue cloth oval with his name, “Hester”, embroidered in cursive with white thread. He must have worn other clothes as some point, but I don’t remember when.
My older sister, Laura, and I were discussing Hester the other night. She said she thought he was a drunk because their family never had any money. I corrected her because I knew that, although Hester liked having a drink whenever he could, he kept his auto shop for decades and seemed to always be working on someone else’s car. Probably, the reason that Hester often didn’t have any money is that he would bet on anything.
By the time I was 16, I saw Hester a lot. I had an old, black ‘49 Plymouth and my dad drove a ‘53 green dodge until he upgraded to a ‘57 push button model sometime about 1962 or 63. It was my job to get my car to Hester’s garage when it need servicing or was broken down and the same with my dad’s. When I took either car in, I usually hung around the shop if he could fix it fairly quickly, basically because I would have had to walk or ride the bus to anywhere else.
I don’t remember if Hester’s garage had a lift or not. I do remember a pit that he would crawl down into when he was working on a car above his head. His shop had two bays and a concrete floor. Wooden shelves and work benches, about waist high, lined three of the walls. From my recollection, the rear wall was dirt. The shop had been dug out of a hill and the back wall left unfinished expect for a thin coat of concrete that covered its slope. Actually, that construction technique was not that unusual in Asheville in the 1950’s. 
If anyone other than Hester ever worked on our automobiles, I would be surprised. When I was five or six, we started out on our annual family vacation to Virginia Beach in our old ‘37 Oldsmobile. We didn’t even get over the mountain out of the county before our car overheated and it was obvious it was too old and worn out to make the trip. Daddy borrowed a phone in a country store on the side of the road and called Hester. He brought us his car, let us borrow it for the week and took our Oldsmobile back to town and had it ready for us when we came home. That day he was a guardian angel, greasy or not.
Hester had tip boards at his garage. A tip board was the predecessor to the lottery. It was little gadget that dispensed a slip of paper with several random numbers on it. You bought the slip of paper for a dollar or two, and waited until the next day to see if your “numbers “came up. I asked Hester where the winning numbers came from and he said it was either a compilation of the previous day’s baseball scores from one of the leagues or numbers taken from yesterday’s Dow-Jones average. Either way the numbers could not be manipulated. When I ran across the tip board later when I worked at the A and P grocery on Haywood Road, I was ahead of the game.
Hester’s first love was baseball. One year he and Alma took a trip to Florida and mother and daddy kept their dog. When they came by our house to pick up the dog, Hester stayed at the door stoop and wouldn’t come very far inside. Mother said later, in her all knowing way that he had probably been drinking and didn’t want to come inside because she would have smelled it on his breath. I think my mother could have smelled alcohol on him from Tallahassee, but that is another story. 
When I asked daddy where the Hesters had been, he said that they went to Florida to scout the teams during spring training because he, Hester, liked to bet on baseball and wanted to get a head start on the season. I asked Hester about it later and he simply said “yes.” 
Although I never saw it, I was told, later, that he would go with his friends to watch the Asheville Tourists at McCormick field and sit on the last row of the bleachers behind the first base dugout. He and his friends would keep a wad of cash in their hand and bet on various aspects of the game. They would pass bills back and forth among them to settle bets based on factors such as, who made the first out, who got the first hit, who struck out first or who walks or steals, and so many other situations that come up during a baseball game. Anyway you get the idea. 
Hester told me once that there was money to be made if you just knew the odds. For instance, he said, if a batter has a full count on him, four out of every seven times the batter will foul the ball off. And, he said, it doesn’t matter how many times he fouls it off, the odds are the same every time. This was my greasy, uneducated mechanic friend teaching a young teenager about Sir Francis Bacon 
(“Knowledge is Power”) and the Monte Carlo Theory (that I would not hear about again until a few years later when I was in college taking statistics). Again, I was ahead of the game thanks to Hester.
All through my college days Hester continued to take care of our cars. I may have seen him once or twice after we were married. I don’t remember if he and Alma were at our parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. They probably were, but by then I was off on another life journey and I didn’t give Hester much thought again, until recently. If I was told when he died, I don’t recall, and after mother and daddy retired to Florida that was most likely the end of their friendship with the exception of a Christmas card each year.
But as we grow older, I think our minds encourage us to look back and recall those forces and people who influenced us. Hester was one of those unique people who left just a little mark on my life, but an important mark that I remember fondly. 
Hester conjures up memories of what seems, in retrospect, to be a simpler, more straightforward time, when your friends were there for you when you needed them, without reservation or conditions- a time, when men and women accepted each other even with their flaws and rough edges. It was an era when our parents encouraged us to be ourselves, and just being ourselves would carry us a long way. Hester was always himself- no pretenses, just a good hearted mechanic who enjoyed life.
Hester was good for me. I think, looking back, that my father knew exactly what he was doing, as he usually did, when he allowed me to hang out with Hester. Hester kind of helped round me out and not become so one dimensional and to become more accepting of others whose life style is just a bit different than my own. I think of him often now as I have grown older - especially when a batter fouls off a three/two pitch. That’s about four out of every seven times.
Now, it’s time to go to the den, watch the Braves, open a beer and have one for Hester.

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