THE NEXT FULL EDITION OF THIS WEBSITE WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 5TH.
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ARTICLES ON THIS PAGE:
(Today through February 25th)
1. NEW Article: CNC's First Dramatic Productions, "Spring—1622" and "Cold Harbor—1864,” Part 2: Fort Eustis and Memories.
3.Moving C&O Locomotive 2756 to Huntington Park: August 26, 1963(Updated and with new photos).
4. Nontraditional Student Recalls How CNC Significantly Influenced Her Life and Career.
5.NEW Humor: Goofy Valentine Gifts.
1. NEW Article: Native American and British Place Names in Hampton Roads: Part 3, The Shires.
2. NEW Article: Composite Map Makes Locating Early CNC at CNU Easy.
3. CNC's First Dramatic Productions, Part 2: Fort Eustis and Memories.
4. NEW Humor:
5. NEW Cartoons:
"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."
(1887 - 1979)
DRAMATIC WORKSHOP SERIES
Dramatic Workshop Series, No. 2
CNC's First Dramatic Productions:
"Spring—1622" and "Cold Harbor—1864"
Part 2: Fort Eustis and Memories
by A. Jane Chambers
with Dramatic Workshop Scrapbook materials
The very successful production of "Spring—1622" and "Cold Harbor—1864" at CNC on February 26, 1965 was followed by an exciting and historical evening at Fort Eustis on March 4, when the Dramatic Workshop students repeated their CNC program at an off-campus venue before a military audience. Workshop student Norman Blankenship recalls "the thrill of being invited" to the Army base, where the students performed at the Studio Theater, a much more professional venue than CNC's Lecture Hall. Performing at Eustis was, he remembers, "a powerful experience for all of the cast and crew."
The large photograph above was made at the Studio Theater at Fort Eustis, where CNC's Dramatic Workshop students were relaxing on the afternoon of March 4, 1965, apparently before or after rehearsals. The unknown photographer took this picture from the stage. The hospitality the visiting Workshop students enjoyed at the Army base is apparent in the tables and chairs provided and the many paper cups in the photo, visible also to the far right at a beverage station. No doubt some of the people in this photo are Eustis personnel hosting the CNC group.
The object on the stage in the foreground is a prop representing a tree stump. Of the two women sitting on the edge of the stage, the lady on the right, with her left hand on her face, is Frances Kitchin, the Director of the Dramatic Workshop. The other woman has not yet been identified. Two of the three men sitting at the table in front of Mrs. Kitchin have been identified. Workshop student Dave Ahearn recognized student actor Perry DePue, who verified he was "the person visible to the right of Mrs. Kitchin." Perry is wearing a dark sweater and only half of his face is visible. Perry also thinks "the fellow to my right is Ron Hunt," another Workshop actor, facing the camera. Readers who recognize other people in this picture are encouraged to contact us (email addresses below).
The program above gives us valuable historical information I have not found elsewhere: the date of the Fort Eustis presentation, the names of the dramatic characters, the scenes, and details about the plays including copyright dates, earlier productions, and recent honors. At this time, I have found no copies of either play. Anyone who has a copy or copies is encouraged to contact us (addresses below).
Two male students had roles in both of the one-act plays: Larry Herman and Ron Hampton. StudentJay Warren's memory explains that situation: I was hanging around the Student Activities Room when the Dramatics Workshop was starting up and Scottie Fitzgerald and Pat Henry ganged up on me because they needed more men for the plays....I qualified because I only had one "X" chromosome. I have no skill for rote memory and as a consequence was unable to learn my lines and created great frustration for Mrs. Kitchin and the rest of the cast. The Dramatic Workshop needed non-actors too, however, so Jay was put in charge of properties for these first productions.
The Scrapbook picture above came from the March 10, 1965 Captain's Log (Vol. 2, Issue 3, p. 4). Poor quality reproduction of photos in the very early Captain's Log issues occurred often. Having seen some of the original photos used, I know that the problem was not the pictures but the publication of them. Also, newsprint over 50 years old does not age well either.
Folk music was very popular in the early 1960s. The musical entertainment between the two plays featured CNC singers who played the guitar (Ann Marion) and the banjo (Dave Ahearn), and singers who did not play instruments, Judye Fuller (now Schneider) and Curtiss Pittman. In recalling her experiences singing in this group, Judye (1965 Trident photo) wrote: I don't recall a lot about these performances but I do remember we had fun overall in being in the workshop. We performed once when I was to sing a duet and the other singer stopped on one verse and I had to do it alone. It was nerve wracking!
The duet Judye remembers was described in that March 10, 1965 Captain's Log issue thus: " 'Autumn to May,' was done as a solo by Curtiss Pittman, joined by Judye Fuller in the chorus and accompanied by Ann Marion on the guitar and David Ahearn on the banjo." Curtiss (1965 Trident photo) recalls that he made it through the first verse and then went blank. There was a 3-4 cord interlude between verses which Ann played on the guitar. She played once, twice, and by the third time was leaning forward whispering the words to me. Finally heard her and got through my debut.
Not long after his nervous debut, Curtiss wrote, he learned to play the guitar and became lead singer in two local folk groups. "Even got an offer to tour with Up With People," he wrote. "But alas my Uncle Sam called and said: 'Take this rifle, kid, and gimme that guitar.' " So ended his budding musical career.
Re: Webmaster Ron Lowder's Recovering from Covid-19.
From: Dianne Loftus: Glad to see that Ron Is doing so well. He's an inspiration to us all--and does an EXCELLENT job web mastering ...Thanks for letting us know. After this past year... it's so refreshing to have good news for a change!
From: Brian Bleakley: I'm glad to hear my fellow "Sheepherders Band" mate is doing better. Ronnie and I go back to the late 60s ... Love that guy!
Editor: Responses from our readers were so numerous that to quote them all here would fill up several pages. Among others glad to hear the good news were Michael Worthington, Kay Verser Forrest, Gail Pearce, Charlie Snead, Ellen Babb Melvin, Brenda Tagge, Pam Vaughan, Dave Spriggs, Susan Tilson Moore Watson, Janie Wolf, and Howard Conn, who also sent the photo below of Ron (second from left) playing in the Cabaret Band.
Re: Honoring CNC's Veterans (updated series).
From: Charlie Snead: Thank you for the tribute to our CNC/U veterans. Obviously a lot of work to compile but it is a worthy and lasting tribute to some wonderful Americans.
From: Danny Peters: Very nice as usual! I really enjoyed reading the piece on Keith Kahle! Many thanks!
Re: Graham Pillow and CNC's First Computers.
From: Dave Spriggs: I was very saddened to learn of Graham Pillow's passing. He and Raoul Weinstein were the only professors I ever had during my brief matriculation at CNC. He was unwittingly involved in my meeting Patricia Hemeter, whom I would later marry in January 1970. Pat and I were in Graham's physics class in the Fall of 1964. She and I would work together on our physics class assignments in the Student Lounge. Nothing like a bit of physics to spark a budding romance, eh?
From: Ron Lowder: The article about the first computers at CNC really brought back memories as I attended the college during that time period and had both Pillow and Hilliard during my stay. I thoroughly enjoyed their classes and it paved the way for my 30+ years computer career. I can remember using that very keypunch machine at CNC (and ones like it when I started working at the computer center at Newport News Shipbuilding.) Things have surely progressed since those days!
Re: Website in General.
From: Blythe Raines (wife of Greg Raines, '72): I know my husband conversed with you on the phone a few times years ago. Since then Alzheimer's has moved in. I continue to enjoy reading all that you post about the First Decaders and the historical information. Occasionally I will read things to him and it will set a spark of recall or a little bit of memory. Thank you for continuing this site and sharing some interesting information about the past and some of his former acquaintances and friends.
Editor: Blythe and Greg live in Newport News. After completing his B.S. in psychology at CNC in 1972, Greg served as an intake officer with the 7th District Court Service Unit of the Juvenile Probation Department in Newport News until his retirement. Blythe might appreciate an email or phone call from some of Greg's CNC classmates and friends. Contact Jane (email address below) if you want to contact Blythe.
We welcome your FEEDBACK. Send to
Published February 12, 2021.
Moving C&0 Locomotive 2756
to Huntington Park:
August 26, 1963
Revised January 2021
by A. Jane Chambers
with photos and information from Daily Press Archives
The above picture shows Locomotive 2756 ready to be pulled across Warwick Boulevard into Huntington Park on August 26, 1963. All photos of this 1940s era locomotive that are in this article, except the last one, are from the Daily Press Archives collection titled Look Back: Huntington Park locomotive - Daily Press.
I wish I had been there. were you there? Were any of your friends or relatives there when engine 2756 was moved from C&O's tracks in Newport News to its new home in Huntington Park? Our webmaster Ron Lowder's father-in-law, Donald J. O’Brien, was there. "He was a railroad engineer, " Ron recalls, "and as my wife remembers (Maureen was only 13 then), he was involved, at least behind the scenes, in the train engine's movement."
C&O's locomotive 2756 before being moved to Huntington Park in Newport News.
A caption in the Daily Press Archives summarizes this historical event: Several hundred people gathered on Sunday Aug. 26, 1963, to watch a retired Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive be pulled across Warwick Boulevard and set in its resting place in Huntington Park in Newport News. The locomotive was donated to the city as a museum piece - an example of the type of steam engine used to carry million of tons of coal into Newport News piers over several decades. Police blocked traffic at 6 a.m. as a volunteer crew of C&O employees laid a temporary section of track across the road. By nightfall, the train was ready to be shoved into position.
No doubt the most difficult, and most time-consuming, task was that of laying and then removing sections of track. This work was done by C&O volunteers. Of course, heavy equipment was also used, along with human muscle power, but notice that it took three men to lift, carry, and put in place just one railroad tie for connecting two sections of track. The photos above were taken in Huntington Park. The one below, taken on Warwick Boulevard, shows the steam engine and its tender being pulled across the road by a cable attached to a heavy vehicle.
Once in place in Huntington Park, number 2756 instantly became a very popular attraction, drawing people of all ages. Virtually every child living in or visiting Newport News from 1963 until the mid-1970s delighted in fully and freely exploring it--like the unidentified boys in the two 1974 photos below.
Easy access to the beloved "Iron Horse" ended, however, In 1976. A tall chain-linked fence was put around it when authorities discovered that there was asbestos in number 2756 and possibly lead in its paint, which was beginning to peel. The picture below evokes two small children's disappointment as they stare through the fence.
In 1963, no one imagined that C&O locomotive 2756 would ever be moved again. But early in the next century, it would leave Huntington Park for a new home--a renovated Lee Hall Railroad Station further up on Warwick Boulevard (route 60), in the village of Lee Hall. The station, now a railroad museum, is located at the corner of Elmhurst Street and Warwick. Take your children and/or grandchildren there sometime to explore the museum and climb aboard the engine.
Members of the staff of Christopher Newport College's 1968 Trident yearbook chose the engine as a setting for their staff photo in the book. Four decades later, the editors of Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade,selected the photo as a chapter illustration, as shown below.
Pictured above are DAN CLARK (very top), Editor-in-Chief of the 1968 yearbook; women (on the left, from top down)--LYNN WALKER, Sports Editor, DENISE ROBERTS, Business Manager, UNIDENTIFIED woman (standing), and LOUISE ELLIS, Layout Editor (seated); and men CHARLIE SILLS, Photographer (seated, middle); and (on the right, top down) BARRY KIEMER, Photo Assistant, and JAY DECH, Copy Writer. Other staff (not shown) were PATTI PHELPS, Art Editor and SUE MULLINS, Copy Writer and possibly the unidentified woman in the photo. The staff's advisor was Professor GRAHAM PILLOW.
` NOTE: If you and/or your children or grandchildren explored Engine 2756 in Huntington Park (or Lee Hall) and you have memories--and maybe photographs--you'd like to share, please send your material to Jane Chambers or Dave Spriggs (email addresses below). We will include your feedback in this website's next FEEDBACK.
My education at CNC had two beginnings with a long pause in between. The first beginning was in the mid-1960s ... But college was not right for me at that time. I had a young child and a husband who was working long, irregular hours, and it was a challenge just to arrive on time for each class.
I tried again and began the 1970-71 school year by taking nine hours each semester and attending three mornings a week. It worked well. By that time, my son was a seven-year-old, healthy, and happy second grader.
I felt very comfortable this time among the diverse student population of traditional students, retired military, college graduates changing careers, and older students like me getting a late start. Faculty members were encouraging, and we students found ways to help each other, often forming study groups and tutoring those who might find a course difficult.
I had many fine professors ... two in particular. Dr. Theodora Bostic inspired my interest in European history and foreign travel, and Dr. Elizabeth Daly encouraged me to pursue graduate studies. I remember telling her that I was reluctant to apply to law school because, if accepted, I would be thirty-nine years old when I graduated. She said, "Well, you will be thirty-nine in 1977 anyway, so why not go?" I did enter Marshall-Wythe Law School at William and Mary, and when I graduated, I went on to practice law, later becoming a circuit court judge in Newport News.
As Joan Turner Beale, in 1974 Joan completed her B.A. at CNC as Class Valedictorian; she also earned honors at William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe Law School. After retiring at sixty-five as General District Court Judge, Joan traveled Virginia evaluating sitting judges. The evaluations were used by the judges for self-improvement and by the General Assembly in considering reappointments. She died in 2018 at 78.
*"From Stay-at-Home Mom to Courtroom Judge,” by Joan T. Morris, in Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, by A. Jane Chambers, Rita C. Hubbard, & Lawrence B. Wood, Jr. (Hallmark, 2008). To order book: Send check for $20 made out to Jane Chambers to: Dr. Jane Chambers, 15267 Candy Island Lane, Carrollton, VA 23314. Money (minus mailing cost) is donated to the First Decaders' Treasury.
Donations to our Treasury are gratefully accepted. Make out checks to CNC First Decaders. Mail them to Sonny Short, FD Treasurer, 12738 Daybreak Circle, Newport News, VA 23602.
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