Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Faces of Culpeper ...... scenes of summer and school begins!


If we mark the end of summer as the time when kids go back to school, then here we are!  However, we still have some hot days and good times ahead.  I have to admit that this particular blog is a bit of a hodge podge of Culpeper scenes and faces, but fun for me none the less.  I have, as usual, met some really great people.  I think the best thing for me to do right now is jump in.

I have a total of eight grandchildren and four of them are in the area.  I love to take them to the parks and so I have a bit of a soft spot when I see a grandpa and grandchild out having a good time together.  This is Collis Garrett who is a life long resident of the Pepper and his grandson.  Collis retired from Coca Cola clear back in 1986 and has been a sign painter ever since.  One thing I know is that this guy is a good grandpa!

A sure sign of summer is the annual lemonade stand that pops up somewhere.  These kids were quite the entrepreneurs.  I stopped and bought a cup complete with a slice of lemon.  I am pretty sure that it was the first cup they sold.  Gracie is their babysitter.

I have mentioned before that my wife and I try to be at Yowell Meadow Park by 7am each day for a walk.  What I have not told you about yet is a Culpeper Crowley tradition that my son started.  It is our Saturday Morning Breakfast Club.  Every Saturday morning he and I go to IHOP with his 3 year old daughter for breakfast.  She calls it "Going to the breakfast office."  The three of us are the core group but lots of Saturdays we are lucky enough to have another grandchild or perhaps a mom, a grammy, or an aunt or uncle join us. After breakfast we head to a park so the kids can burn off some energy. Lately we have been going to the Mountain Run Lake Park to feed the geese, ducks and fish.  It was on one of these trips that I ran into Shunette Henson and her preschool kids.  She has a small and personal preschool she calls, "The ABC Learning House" and it is right here in the Pepper.  When I called to her on the pier to ask her about taking the picture she knew right away who I was and had seen my blog.  I love it when that happens.  She had her group out on a field trip to the park.  She was teaching them as they observed.  I enjoyed watching that!

Further around the lake this group was set up with food, fishing poles, chairs etc. to enjoy a day in the shade at the park.  They were very relaxed and having a good time.  They are the Hamiltons and the Staats. 

Lately I have seen some signs that slowly but surely we are seeing new building growth in Culpeper.  Here, for example, are some men who were working away on the new Suntrust building which is near Target and Martins. 


I saw this guy working on this house and I could not help but humming, the Drifters and James Taylor's song, Up on the Roof.   "When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to take.  I climb way up to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift off into space.  .....Up on the Roof."  Somehow I don't think he was humming the same song.  If he was, it was in Spanish.  I wonder how that sounds!  However, it is encouraging to see how many houses are being built by the 
K Hovanian Company right now.  A fair number of them have sold signs.

This next person is Nicholas Rodrigues and he is the owner of Pipe Workz which is a plumbing company.  When I needed some plumbing assistance I looked for a local plumber and found Nicholas.  It was my lucky day.  He was fast, efficient, personable and reasonable.  I would certainly recommend him. 


Culpeper County Public Schools has a program for parents the day before school starts.  I live very close to Culpeper High and Middle Schools.  In fact if I had a good enough arm I could throw a baseball over the conservation area (I call it, "the bog") and into the tennis courts.  I got wind of this program and since I am always looking for Culpeper faces, realized that there would be a cornucopia of Culpeper residents (Peperheads) at this event.  Interestingly enough, I asked everyone from parents to school staff to kids what the official name of this event was.  Seriously folks, no one knew.  They unanimously said that it had "something to do with parents meeting the teachers day.....or something like that."  So I will use that catchy title and call this section of my blog:

Parents Meet the Teachers Day

This was much cooler than I anticipated and a lot of fun for me.  If you have read my profile then you know that I am a retired educator....42 years in public schools.  All but six of those in administration.  So I love these events.  I almost always enjoyed meeting the parents.  I will tell you in all honesty that there were a lot of great people there.  Lets face it.... everyone who attended had a commitment to good education and the well being of their children.  Let's meet some of them. 

The very first people that I ran into in the parking lot were the Ellis family.  They were friendly and on their way out having already met with their son's teacher.  The son is Jacob and he is entering one of those "tween" grades.  He is a sixth grader and so new to the middle school.


Next I ran into Patricia Ruffner and her two kids, Andre who is in the eighth grade and Makayla who is entering the sixth.  The kids were very polite and best of all, Patricia had seen my pictures! 

This dad is Darren McMeans with his two children and a friend of his daughter.  Look how great the soft sunlight looks highlighting their hair. :)  This crew includes Kyle who is in the second grade, Shana who is in the seventh and her friend, Hayley Kisiel who is also in the seventh. 

This family is actually doing what you are supposed to do at this event....they are meeting with a school staff member.  They appear to be having a great time doing it.  They are the Odham-Ford family and there are three kids representing the eighth, sixth and K-1 grades.  This is our first glimpse of a person who actually works at the school in this blog and to be honest, I tried to not bother the actual teachers with picture taking.  They had far more important things to do.   But I do have to comment that I respect teachers very very much.  Our future is in their hands as they teach our children.  I have heard that the teachers in CCPS are very dedicated.  This person is Kristine Helme.

This lady simply made my day.  She informed me that she is a "follower" of my blog.  That means she always reads it.  We had never met.   She also reminded me that it had been two weeks since I posted and so I hustled right home and started loading this.  She is Krista Mosby and her kids are: Sophia who is in the eighth grade and so in her last year of middle school; Sam who is entering middle school in the sixth grade and Carter who is in the second.  I saw lots of second grade boys yesterday and that makes me believe that the second grade will be hoppin this year.

I really wanted to get a picture of some high school kids in the hall near their lockers, so here's that picture.  These handsome guys were joined by their moms. 

Mr. O'Brien's classroom was nearby and he graciously let me take some pictures while he talked to kids and their parents.  He teaches social studies including the ninth grade honors course.  First we have Nisha Morton and her mom Mrs. Morton. Their third grader, Xavier Morton was also there.

I admired the way Mr. O'Brien related to the parents and kids alike.  Here we have Carson Levy who is a ninth grader and his mom Suzanne Levy.

I took one last pass through the cafeteria before I went to the Guidance office.  Things had begun to slow down, but there were still people coming in.

I decided to wrap my visit up in the school counseling or guidance office.  I have mentioned before that I retired from Fairfax County Public Schools last October.  I taught for three years in Idaho before coming to Fairfax.  While in Fairfax County I was a school counselor for three years, a Director of Student Services (Guidance Director ) for 26 years at three different high schools and the for the last nine years of my career I was the Coordinator of School Counseling for the approximately 730 counselors in that system.  So in addition to the kids, my real love in schools is guidance and counseling.  I dropped in to see John Bridges who is a middle school counselor and who was meeting with the Curro family.  From the left Doreen, Joseph and Richard and of course John Bridges.  He certainly is a positive guy! 

So that was an evening well spent!  I put my camera away and headed for home.  I did not even get off the school grounds before I saw this group changing a tire.  Well, to be honest, Ryan McCormack was changing the tire and he had a covey of supervisors.  I just knew there was a story here so I stopped.  They told me that the car belonged to Adam Hughes and that he was an awesome teacher (they must have repeated that "awesome teacher" part ten times) and that "they" (read that as Ryan with bountiful supervision) were changing the tire for Mr. Hughes.  In my mind I could just imagine Adam sprinting from his car to the building and explaining to the principal that he had a flat tire and the principal rolling her eyes.  OK, Mr. Hughes, old is the proof and you can take it to the bank!!!! I know it did not happen that way, but it is more fun version than having him there in plenty of time which no doubt was the way it came down.   AND I am sure that you are a great teacher and certainly one who engenders loyalty.  By the way the supervisory crew consisted of Debbie and Caitlyn McCormick and Ryan's friend, Lacee Zones (a name with star potential if there ever was one!).  I think that Ryan must be a good guy!

That is it for this time.  Be sure to tell your friends about the "Faces of Culpeper" blog.  If you would like to comment, or make a suggestion, or give me ideas for future blogs, just contact me at:  You will need to actually print this address on your email...for some reason you cannot just click on it.

By the way, if you are in one of these pictures and would like me to email you a copy just let me know.  No charge, of course.


  1. Woohoo! School has started.
    Wonderful to meet you at the school, keep blogging!

  2. Nice photos... it is good to see pictures that reflect the day to day happenings of our small town...:-)

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