Thursday, March 10, 2005

ROOTS 3: Charlottesville, VA

From Lynchburg, VA, on Tuesday morning, after visiting the Baptist Hospital where I was born, I drove the 72 miles north to Charlottesville, VA, home of the University of Virginia Cavaliers, Wahoos and Hoos. My first stop, right next to where I parked, was the University Bookstore where I stocked up on the memorabilia we always collect. I pulled a Donica and purchased the store (ha)! She'll be so proud of me.

My dad attended the University of Virginia for 2 years, I understand, but was unable to finish because of his mom needing him back home. Dad's father (Thomas) was 70 when Dad was born and died 9 years later. Dad's mother, Elizabeth, never remarried. The one time I remember her, when I was around 10, she was already in her 80's. With 3 children, James, Susan and Carl (my dad), I'm sure it was a struggle to manage and make ends meet.

The University of Virginia's photo op is the Rotunda. Even on a cloudy day it's impressive.

The university colors are orange and blue and the mascot is the Cavalier: "A military man serving on horseback; a knight. A gay, sprightly, military man; hence, a gallant. Gay; easy; offhand; frank. High-spirited. Supercilious; haughty; disdainful; curt; brusque." Okay, so that's a definition from a different era, obviously, but I'm guessing it pretty much fits. All Nicholas will care about is the crossed swords on his orange T-shirt, which I'm guessing he'll want to wear often.

The other 2 nicknames, Wahoos, and the shortened version, Hoos, are of unknown origin but have been incorporated in the school song as "Wah-hoo-wah." Ah yes. The traditions of our great schools! So fun to get to know.

Nelson told me to eat at The Virginian restaurant on University Ave, established in 1923 and across from the Rotunda on the corner. So I did. As I sat in my booth, eating a Rueben sandwich (my maternal step-grandfather's name!), I tried to see everything through my dad's eyes. Did he ever sit in this booth?

Hmmmm. And did he ever whoop out the "Wah-hoo-wah" cry at a football game? Now that he's gone, I suddenly have hundreds of questions.

Where are you, Dad, when I need you!


  1. Too bad Dad couldn't have given you the tour. Maybe he was with you!


  2. Indeed! I 'spect so! But true to form, he didn't say a lot. :)

  3. Indeed! I 'spect so! But true to form, he didn't say a lot. :)