New Market News
All year ‘round, we’re glad to count the Virginia Museum of the Civil War as a neighbor here in New Market. But, we especially appreciate some of the events they put on in the spring. This year, for instance, they’ll be hosting Family History Day on Saturday, March 24.
The event runs from 10 AM to 4 PM and only costs $3 with pre-registration. Some of its highlights include 19th-century games and crafts, Virginia Reel dancing, and guided battlefield tours. Door prizes and souvenirs will also be available. As the museum says on its website, the event is always “a day of fun, exploration, and learning.”
We think History Day is a perfect way to kick off spring in the Valley. For more information, or to register, visit vmi.edu/vmcw. It’s easy to sign up on the website or via a printed form. Though you may also see the event called “Homeschool Day” online, don’t worry – it’s open to all!
Activity Spotlight: Meet Zoey the Therapy Dog
In late January, Shenandoah Place had an extra special visitor. Zoey the therapy dog stopped by in her cheerful red bandana to spend some time with our residents. Zoey has been trained to provide affection and comfort to just about anyone she encounters, and our residents loved having her visit along with her owner.
Zoey has a close connection to our community. Before she became a therapy dog, she was the pet of our very own resident, Gerry! Zoey moved in with a friend when Gerry moved to Shenandoah Place, and began her training soon after. She learned to be comfortable around many types of people and objects, and to react calmly to noises and other stimuli.
Pet therapy sessions have been a big hit here, and we hope to continue them. Though this type of therapy is a relatively new tool, even the Mayo Clinic has noted its positive resuilts. Pet therapy can “significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue,” and is a low-risk option in most settings. If you have questions or want to learn more about Zoey and her visits, please get in touch.
Resident Spotlight: Maxine Wine
We interviewed this month’s featured resident, Maxine, in late January of this year. But, we weren’t the first audience to hear a piece of her life story. About eight years ago, Maxine wrote and submitted recollections of her early years for a published collection. You can find her piece, “One Pair of Shoes a Year,” in the book A Living History of Northwestern Virginia: Paper Dolls and Homemade Comforts. It’s available for sale on Amazon and made us eager to know more about her life.
Maxine was born in 1933 in Page County, and was the youngest of twelve children in the Alger family. She lived with her parents, four sisters, and seven brothers in a five-room house her father had built near Battle Creek. Though it was technically part of Stanley, Virginia, Maxine remembers that their home was really “out there in the boonies!” There was no electricity at the home until Maxine was sixteen, and it was never updated with running water. Maxine and her sisters would use the lack of light to play pranks on their brothers. One that she remembers involved moving the boys’ furniture around in their room so they’d be disoriented when they came in for bed in the dark!
Because she was born during the Great Depression, Maxine’s family was very poor. Her father did not have a job, but was talented and worked hard to make a living from the land. Mr. Alger bought some mountain acres and harvested timber and firewood from them. He’d haul it down with horses and a wagon, and then process it in the sawmill he set up. Maxine thinks firewood sold for about $5/load. The horses also plowed the family’s garden, where they grew green beans, corn, and other crops for food.
Looking back, Maxine marvels at how plentiful their meals always were. Her brothers fished in the nearby river, hunted squirrel and wild rabbit, and helped raise the family’s hogs. Her mother was also a hard worker, serving three big meals a day on the family’s enormous dining table. She baked bread three times a week, and taught Maxine how to do that once she began having pain in her hands. Mrs. Alger was also a great baker of pies. The family gathered walnuts, apples, plums, and cherries from trees on their land, and usually dried the fruit to preserve it. Maxine was especially fond of her mother’s Apple Snit pie. “You have never eaten a good apple pie,” she says, “until you’ve had a dried snit pie!”
In general, Maxine thinks she got off a little easy because she was the “baby” of the family. She’d help skin the hogs or bake bread, but believes her siblings carried a larger share of the workload. When they grew older and got jobs, they would bring her small store-bought treats, which were a rarity in the Alger household. Maxine was used to the feed sack dresses and curtains her mother made. Even at age fifteen, Maxine recalls, her siblings would take her to town and say “this is our baby.” Once they had moved out – most stayed nearby – they returned home for Sunday dinners, taking turns around the table.
When she was a teenager, Maxine lied about her age to get a job working in a New Market coffee shop. She’d stay overnight in town with a married sister to get to work. She met her first husband, William, at the shop, and married him when she was seventeen. He was “a good man,” and “could do most anything,” but the couple divorced after thirteen years because of his alcoholism. To support the five children they’d had, Maxine began working as a waitress after their divorce. “I was shy,” she says, but “the hustle and bustle” helped her learn to enjoy being more sociable. She came to love the work, and eventually became a line cook at New Market’s Southern Kitchen.
For six years after her divorce, Maxine was a single parent. But then, a figure from her girlhood came back into her life. Truman “Marky” Wine was Maxine’s first boyfriend, back when she was only twelve years old. She’d met him while visiting a sister “on the other side of the mountain” from the Alger home. Marky was her brother in law’s nephew. They went to the movies together and liked one another a lot, but were very young; they lost touch while he served in the army and she married William.
Once Marky was back in Maxine’s life, though, they quickly realized that they wanted to marry. The couple wed after five months of dating and remained together for 35 years until Marky died from colon cancer in 2006. Though they had no children of their own, he was a caring stepfather to Maxine’s five children. They also adopted Jeff, a boy in need whom they loved as their own. Sadly, Jeff and his own child, a son, were recently killed in a fire. They often visited Maxine for breakfast, and she misses them very much.
As her own children grew older, Maxine developed a real passion for caring for others. With Marky often on the road as a long-haul truck driver, she decided to open a daycare in her home. Maxine ran the daycare for twenty-two years! She calls it the best job she ever had, despite charging parents as little as $1/day. The kids “were so much fun!” she says. Since she knew what it was like to grow up without much money, Maxine loved treating her relatively poor charges to books and treats she found at yard sales. She took great joy in cleaning the babies and dressing them up in adorable outfits with even the shoelaces freshly washed. “They were always good,” she says. “Of course, I kept the babies dry and fed with nothing to cry about!” With the help of her daughter, Maxine sometimes watched as many as fourteen children.
When she and Marky had the chance to travel, her daughter and daughter-in-law would run the daycare. The couple had a timeshare in Florida that they visited every July. They also made trips to the Smokey Mountains, and liked Grandfather Mountain, too. Maxine still owns the timeshare and her house in New Market, which her children take good care of for her. They tend the lawn and the furnace, and visit Shenandoah Place when they can. In fact, her oldest daughter stops by every morning to make Maxine’s bed!
Maxine misses many of her family members. She is the last of her siblings, and lost her parents years ago after they’d both lived long lives. Her son Gerald is deceased, but her youngest daughter has recovered remarkably after Maxine helped her recuperate from a stroke she had at age 37. Still, she takes joy in visits from her children, from her niece in Timberville, and from little things like a cheerful Christmas tree and colorful clothing. She thinks Zoey the therapy dog is cute, too! We’re glad to have Maxine at Shenandoah Place, and hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about her interesting life!