October 15, 2019 —We’re now nearly four months in to the Culture and Entertainment committee’s year-long theme of “Celebrate Your Story: Exploring the History and Experiences That Shape Us.” Since our last write-up, the committee has been hard at work planning and hosting new events to inspire Kendal residents and the greater Lexington/Rockbridge community to embrace the power of history, story and connection.
Time to Boogie: The Kendal at Lexington Sock Hop
At the beginning of March, Kendal residents were transported back in time for a sock hop. “Oh my, it was so much fun,” says C&E committee chair Dianne Herrick. “There was joy on people’s faces and they were getting up and participating in things like a conga line and the chicken dance.”
The event was DJ’d by resident Bill Wiley, who went by “MoJo Bill” for the occasion. A packed house of nearly 70 residents dressed up and danced the night away to music from their younger years.
And it wasn’t just the Kendal residents who got in the sock hop spirit. “The staff worked with us on making diner food available upstairs and they dress up for the occasion too,” Dianne says. “And by gosh, they were getting out there and dancing, too.”
Practical Tips: Photography and Technology Workshops
During the first week of April, the committee hosted photography and technology workshops to provide practical tips about memory preservation. A group of cadets from VMI came to Kendal at Lexington and led workshops on how to scan and digitize photos. “This is especially helpful for people who want to make memory books for their children or send photos to other family members,” Dianne says. “It’s really good to have these kinds of interactions and exchanges with other groups and individuals in our community.”
Up Next: The Memoir Project
Later in April, the Celebrate Your Story theme will combine with another year-long celebration of memories: The Memoir Project. Created by Dr. Stephanie Hodde, a professor at VMI, the project brings together three generations to tell their stories. Throughout the past year, VMI cadets worked with both sixth graders at Lylburn Downing Middle School and Kendal at Lexington residents to share and write their memoirs.
The project culminates in a presentation on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00, hosted at Kendal at Lexington in Kendal Hall. “Some of the participants in the program will be reading their memoirs and we’ll have a reception with refreshments following,” Dianne explains. The event is open to the public and will feature readers from all three generations.
On the Horizon: Historic Barns Rockbridge
May is Historic Preservation Month, and Kendal at Lexington is teaming up with the Historic Lexington Foundation to celebrate and spread awareness. Recently, historic barns in the Shenandoah Valley were named to Preservation Virginia’s “2018 Most Endangered List.” Inspired by this troubling report, the Historic Lexington Foundation will be hosting three talks about the importance and preservation of historic barns in Rockbridge County.
One of the talks will take place at Kendal at Lexington on May 9. Henry Browne, a noted preservation architect, will give a presentation entitled “Historic Barns: Saving the Endangered” at 3:00 in Kendal Hall with a wine reception following.
And don’t worry: there are still many Celebrate Your Story events to follow in the second half of 2019. The C&E committee looks forward to hosting an oral histories event, a presentation on the history of VMI, a talk from historical writer and resident Mary Coulling, author of The Lee Girls, and much more. Stay tuned!