Rich with memories

Sandston Founders Club President Alice Taylor Baldwin (center), with fellow officers June Baldwin and Randy Vass. (Photo by Patty Kruszewski/Henrico Citizen)
A relentless rain may have dampened the turnout, but it failed to dampen enthusiasm as members of the Sandston Founders Club came together April 22 for their 13th annual meeting.

About 50 members and guests gathered at the Sandston Memorial Recreation Center to pore over old photos, discuss historical and preservation projects, catch up on each other’s news – and, of course, reminisce.

The business portion of the meeting was brief, and focused on the treasurer’s report and updates from Bruce Waldrop regarding a pair of projects.

One project – getting Sandston Elementary School placed on the National Historic Register – is already well underway. The other project is still in the formative stages: creating a plan for the celebration of Sandston’s 100th birthday in 2021.

When Waldrop asked for input about how best to mark the occasion, one man commented that he’d like to see street lights and a pair of markers defining the stretch of Williamsburg Road from its Sandston gateway to Seven Pines.

“It’s beautiful to ride through Highland Springs at night and see the lights,” he said. “I think we deserve it. Could we do that before the 100th birthday?”

“Yes, we deserve it,” agreed president Alice Taylor Baldwin emphatically. “We deserve a lot of things in the East End!”

After a luncheon, the group also enjoyed a presentation from Dwane Miller of the Valentine Museum, which centered around vintage photos of Thalhimer’s and Miller & Rhoads.

When Miller asked the crowd to call out favorite items from the menu at the long-defunct Miller & Rhoads Tea Room, the shouts and laughter came from all corners of the room.

“Tuna salad!”

“Club sandwich!”

“Chocolate silk pie!”

The meeting also included a chance to honor the memory of five members who had passed away since the 2016 gathering. After noting that all of the deceased had lived into their nineties, Baldwin commented, “There might be something in the drinking water in Sandston that helps everyone have a long life.”

Sandstonian longevity was a recurring theme at the event, mentioned often among the octogenarians and nonagenarians in attendance. Because the once-a-year Founders Club meeting is scheduled to coincide with the Highland Springs High School reunion, many in attendance were celebrating the 71st anniversary of their high school graduation.

That included most of the legendary “Sandston Seven,” a group of 88-year-old teenagers-at-heart who have been friends since grade school — and are all still living.

Marjorie Dyer Saulsbury, one member of the Sandston Seven, traveled from Greenville, Tennessee to attend the meeting and makes the weekend a priority every year.

“I’ve lived in the same place in Tennessee for 60 years, and I have lots of friends there,” Saulsbury said. “But I love coming back to my hometown and seeing all my friends.”

Saulsbury and her 90-year-old friend Ada Kahn Chinn hinted that perhaps the magical thing about Sandston is not so much an ingredient in the water, but the wholesome experience of growing up in a tightly-knit community during simpler times.

“I feel sorry for kids today,” said Chinn. “We had the freedom to roam all over, ride our bikes everywhere.

“We loved growing up in Sandston,” said Saulsbury, describing such homespun childhood pleasures as the highlight of summer: lining up under the old wooden water tank while the owner let the cold water overflow onto the kids.

“Back then,” added Chinn, “every family looked out for everyone else. Our houses were never locked.”

“Except on Halloween,” someone interjected with a chuckle, followed by peals of laughter as onlookers chimed in with tales of pranks and mischief – including garden gates and lawn furniture mysteriously relocating to the top of the town water tank.

And they were off and reminiscing again.
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017

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Full Circle Grief Center will host Round Up the Family 5K and Fun Run at 8:30 a.m. at Deep Run Park. The event includes field games, crafts, music from DJ Tony T, live performances and character visits from Studio Performance Academy, raffles and more. Registration fees are $10 for the Fun Run and $20 for the 5K. For details, visit Full text

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