Why Roanoke? It's a beautiful city, but why a special trip there?
Well... Roanoke is very special to me, because it was very special to my parents. My dad, who was an airline pilot/captain since the early 1940's, actually trained pilots there during WWII. My parents married there...for not only did it hold special memories for my father, but my mother's favorite priest, Oren Zaebst, had been transferred there from his post at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenville, SC. Also, according to what my mother told me some year ago, they wanted to have a small wedding with just immediate family and a few dear friends. They must have had one of the first "destination weddings"!! (*Side note: Miss Betty thought that, at age 34, she was far too old to wear the beautiful family wedding dress...which I later wore...so she opted for something short.)
Back in the mid-1980's, I went on a business trip to Roanoke for Tiffany & Co. We were taking jewelry to display at a benefit for a national non-profit, and it was the second (back to back) trip for many of us. We'd just finished a show at the Cloister at Sea Island, drove back to Atlanta to change things out and then continued, driving through the night, to get to Roanoke. I remember I did the driving from about 4am-8am, and we checked into the Hotel Roanoke, "crashed," got back up and went to the benefit. Back to the hotel and back to sleep, we were soon back on the road. There wasn't much time to explore. I have a vague memory of looking around the hotel a little, but nothing that I could really tie to my parents' time there. So, when we moved to Richmond in 1994, I swore I would go back. It has only taken me 22 years to do so. Life just keeps you busy.
In many ways, I am glad I waited until now...for now I have photos, letters, and other memorabilia I wouldn't have had before. Planning was easy for this trip, and I was able to load what I needed on to my iPad and have it at a moment's notice.
What a wonderful weekend it was! I worshipped at St. John's, where my parents were married. I stood where my parents did when they received their wedding reception guests. I had dinner with my family in the Hotel Roanoke's gorgeous Pine Room, where they had both their rehearsal dinner and their wedding breakfast (reception). I felt the past come alive as I took their stories and memories and spent time in the places where their lives were joined together. It's too bad I couldn't continue the trip and retrace their honeymoon, too. What a trip that was!! Hmmm....maybe that's a future trip!
|St. John's Episcopal Church|
|The happy couple, leaving the church|
|The Hotel Roanoke|
|Starting the process, using pics from the book about the history of the hotel|
|The mural to the left of the window matched a historic photo...|
|...and I found exactly where they stood in their receiving line|
|The Pine Room, March, 1958|
|The Pine Room, September, 2016|
|St. John's Episcopal Church, Roanoke|