September 4-11: A Week in Hawaii
July 3-10: A Week in Brighton, England
Return to the Index for 1982


July 20-25, 1982
A Visit to North Carolina

 

I returned from England after two weeks, and had a bit of time off, so I decided to go home for a while to North Carolina. I planned on visiting my Mother in Charlotte, and also driving up to my sister's farm in Elon for a visit with her and her family.


I didn't have anything going for the week of the 19th of July, so I spent that Monday in Chicago and headed down to Charlotte on Tuesday morning, arriving there in the early afternoon. My Mother and her friend Bill Michaelove came out to Douglas Airport to pick me up; I would be able to use the car my Mom still had to go up to visit my sister.

I would spend some time and show you where my Mom lives, but since I didn't take any pictures there on this particular visit, I won't bother. My Mom and Bill usually play bridge together, but he graciously let me horn in and play a couple of times with my Mom, both before and after going to visit my sister.

I want to show where, exactly, my sister is, but the difficulty I have is that between my visit this Christmas and the time at which I am writing this online narrative (early 2017), a lot has changed, physically, in Elon, Burlington and North Carolina, with the result that the way one gets to my sister's farm today is much different than it was this year.


This week, to get to my sister's farm, I followed the same route that I have driven for fifteen years. Getting from Charlotte to the vicinity of Elon is a simple matter of getting on I-85 north from Charlotte towards Greensboro, and staying on that highway after it becomes coterminus with I-40 and heads more east to Raleigh.

The exit for Elon College (even that name has changed, as Elon College has become Elon University the town has changed its name officially to simply "Elon") put you on Huffman Mill Road- actually one of the streets which, if you follow it northeast, will take you to Burlington, NC, the larger city just east of Elon.

So just off the exit from the Interstate, you have to double back on Garden Road which actually goes northwest more towards Elon (blue route). It connects to South Williamson Avenue, which you take north, across US Highway 70, through the center of Elon and out to the north, eventually angling off to the northwest.

In the first decade of the 21st century, development south of Elon and Gibsonville led to a huge new shopping area along I-85, and so a new exit was constructed for access to the expressway. At the same time, a bypass was built around Elon, so that so much traffic wouldn't be going right through the center of town and right through the campus. So now, to get to the side of Elon on which my sister lives, you can get off I-85 at that new exit, and take the much-faster bypass around to her side of the college town (green route).

Anyway, once you get to the north side of Elon, my sister's farm is about three miles to the northwest, off Elon-Ossipee Road.


My sister has a really nice farm a quarter mile west of Elon-Ossipee Road. She's been in Burlington since college, and when she married Bob they bought a piece of land and built a house on it. That was twelve or thirteen years ago. Their two kids, live at home of course; Ted is 13 and Jennifer ("Jeffie") is 12.

Judy and Bob bought the land and then built a house on it; the only structure they kept when they bought the property was the old red country barn down by the road. That's where the other residents of Greyfield Farms, as Judy has begun to call it, reside; those would be my sister's horses.

There's an aerial view of my sister's property at left, but of course it doesn't show the farm as it looked this year. The biggest change between then and now (as I write this) was the construction of a new, modern, cement-floored barn up near the house, to take the place of the vintage dirt-floored old one.

I always like visiting my sister and Bob (and the kids, of course), not least because it is a chance for me to get out of my city environment and into a more pastoral one. It's good for the soul.

Of course I brought my camera, but having been here so often, took relatively few pictures. (This, from my vantage point in 2017 has turned out to be a mistake. It would have been great to have a large selection of pictures taken over the years at my Mom's, my sister's, and in Chicago so that I could show people and places and the passage of time. It would also have been better, as it turns out, if over the years I had always had someone to take a picture or two of me on these trips. Sadly, the invention of the "selfie stick" is still twenty years or more into the future, when cameras became light enough to put at the end of them.)


Ted, who I think is 13 now, was the subject of a couple of my pictures. The leftmost shows him at the old barn down by the road at Judy's farm, and the other has him in the middle of the driveway looking up towards the house from that barn.

Here are a couple of the pictures that I took of my niece, Jeffie (in full riding regalia), and her mother (and one of Judy's horses). I am constantly impressed by the fact that my sister (and her daughter) are two of those people who have and are doing exactly what they want. Judy always liked horses, she was always drawing them and always said that one day she would have some on a farm. Damned if she didn't get exactly what she wanted.

I always enjoy visiting my sister at her house. I don't mean to pigeonhole her as a country hick by any means, but living where she does always seems to be almost a different world than my spending almost all my time in cities.


I think that is is a pretty nice picture of my sister and my nephew, relaxing under a tree in the pasture down by the old barn.

Ted is not so interested in horses as Judy and Jennifer, but Judy does not neglect him because of that. He helps when asked with them, and since he doesn't get much benefit from them, that is nice of him to do. Ted is quiet most of the time, as if he has his own agenda, but he is young enough not to know what having your own agenda means.

I enjoyed my visit with Judy, Bob, Ted and Jeffie just as much as I always do. The kids seem twice as big as when I saw them in Chicago just a few years back.

After a couple of days with Judy, I returned to Charlotte, and played some more bridge with my Mother before heading back to Chicago on Sunday. My next week's class was only four days, so I didn't have to leave for my next trip until Monday after afternoon.

 

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


September 4-11: A Week in Hawaii
July 3-10: A Week in Brighton, England
Return to the Index for 1982