“She’s a Brick House…” (Commodores 1977)

Oh Lord! Not me, obviously!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

I made a brick last Wednesday. Actually 2 bricks. I went to James Madison’s Montpelier, where they have been making bricks. Their archeology department recently discovered 2 buildings, and these bricks will be used in their reconstruction. To date, they have made around 8,000 bricks. It was not easy work! Dry clay was brought in from Williamsburg (they didn’t want to disturb their excavation area at Montpelier). Water was added and employees and volunteers “tread” the mud (just like mashing grapes – remember that “I Love Lucy” episode?!?!). Luckily, I did not have to take my shoes off and tread the mud. Once the mud reached a peanut butter consistency, I was given slab of clay, formed it in the shape of a ball, and rolled it in sand to prevent it from sticking to the brick molds. Believe me it was hard work getting the clay in the molds! I then used a strike to scrape the extra clay off the top of the mold. Our guide turned my bricks out to dry for several days, and eventually they will be fired for use. I was able to put my initials and thumbprint on my bricks. (Notice mine are not perfectly rectangular – told you it was hard work! But they will still be used.) My bricks will be part of the foundation of a historic building. How cool is that?

“Whatever good things we build, end up building us.”

Ok funny story to share here. The song “Brick House”? Well… it was popular while I was at Carolina. My roommate was dating a football player whose first name was (still is) Rick. He was (still is) a BIG guy! I mean, he was a linebacker after all. Anyway, we called him “Rick House” after the song. When I sent them my wedding invitation, I addressed it to my roommate and Mr. Rick House. When my roommate commented how funny that was, I said I did not get it. What was funny? I had called him Rick House for so long I forgot it was not his real last name! I was so blonde (still am)! They got married (still are). Very proud of them. They have “the foundation.”

I believe it is important to have a strong foundation in our lives. My mother gave my sisters and me a strong foundation and set a great example of goodness and independence for us to follow. As I have said before, I come from a line of strong women who successfully enjoyed life SOLO. My mother set rules for us girls and we followed them (pretty much). I never wanted to do anything that might embarrass my mother. I respected her too much. We went to church. Every Sunday. She showed us through example that if someone was sick, or there was a death, you help out – take dinner, bake a cake, offer assistance in whatever area they need. (We did joke with Mom that she should read the obituaries and take a pie to a widower! She did not think that was funny. But I have a friend whose mother passed away and the women were bringing lots of pies! Oh Lord, don’t let my children get this idea!) Mom loved us dearly and did everything for us. We always had a new outfit (which she lovingly made) for every special occasion and holiday. I remember her being up late the night before every Easter finishing our Easter outfits. She encouraged, supported, and expected a lot from us.

I have tried to give my kids a strong foundation. They were loved unconditionally. (Still are.) They were expected to behave, be polite and respectful, be fair and honest, be kind, and do well in school. When my children were little, I went to a parenting seminar, where I learned that parents should EXPECT, not hope, that their kids behave. And I learned it is ok to say “because I said so” (which is good since I used it often!). When we moved to Charlottesville, one of the first things we did was find a church. In Winston-Salem we were Moravians and went to church almost every Sunday. Wanted to continue that foundation in our new city, even though there were no Moravians here. We became Presbyterians, while maintaining our Moravian roots. All my children went through confirmation. Maybe they do not attend church regularly now, but they have that foundation they can build upon.

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.” David Brinkley

I have also tried to set a good example for my children. I want them to know that love, honesty, and respect are the building blocks for life. Thankfully, I established a firm foundation in my own life BD (before divorce) that carried me through AD (after divorce) –  my wonderful job and co-workers, my support group made up of my children, sisters, and girlfriends. My faith. Yes I had doubts, but I never lost my faith. And look where I am now, 18 months later. Successfully navigating life SOLO and very happy! Honestly, I love living SOLO. Never had the chance as I graduated from college and got married without ever living on my own, doing what I want whenever I want with whoever I want. Life goes on, and life is good.

“Whatever life gives you, even if it hurts you, just be strong. Remember: Strong walls shake but never collapse.”

Notice I did not start this blog with “I had the best weekend”. I could have – it was GREAT once again! After making my bricks and having lunch with my daughter, who works at Montpelier, I drove to the beach for a couple of days. Needed that beach air, sunshine, and ocean to renew my soul. It worked. It was beautiful and warm down there. Heaven on earth. My foundation. Luckily, my sister was there as well. Hated to leave but did not want to miss the UNC-Miami game in Chapel Hill Saturday. Yes, another loss, but it was still such a beautiful, fun day tailgating with my children and seeking that win, even though it eluded us once again. Carolina football is rebuilding their foundation this year. Laying “bricks” for next year. Just keep those “bricks” away from the basketball team.

“There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.”

Today is November 1st. First day I can “legally” begin listening to Christmas music (according to my kids). For you XM Radio users, channel 70 is the Holly Channel starting today! Besides November being MY birthday month (WOOHOO!), I always consider November to be a “Thankful” month. I am so blessed to have wonderful kids, family, and friends to share my life with. Take time every day this month to stop and be thankful for something in your life. I believe you will surprise yourself with all of your blessings. And make an effort to spend time with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” James E. Faust

See you next week!



3 thoughts on ““She’s a Brick House…” (Commodores 1977)”

  1. Leslie, a generation separates us, but I share your love of that big, beautiful, dangerous, and magnificent beach. Back home when Jim got his break between semesters, we always planned a day’s trip to the mountains around Mt. Airy, Boone, North Wilkesboro or Asheville—–I’m talking about the WILD areas, the boondocks, uncivilized nooks and crannies—-and we found them. I loved to wander trails and stand on mountain peaks looking out over hills and valleys while wondering what hidden adventures lay under the canopy of leaves. Jim takes me now to a location just below VB known as Sandbridge where he helps me walk to the top of a sand dune to just stand there and gaze upon the other mysterious creation of Mother Nature. Yep, turn back the clock 50/60 years, and I would gladly drive most of the day to play in that salty sand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leslie, What a wonderful blog! You hit it right with building a strong foundation that cannot be moved. Life will shake us but our foundation holds us tight. I know that without my firm foundation I would have collapsed last fall after Dick died. Losing another man that I dearly loved could not have happened twice. That foundation held me tight so I could grieve and kept me upright so I could take steps SOLO again. Keep sharing your wisdom and heart!


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