MY RECOLLECTIONS OF EVENTS
IN THE LATE 1960’S AND EARLY 1970’S
WHICH LED TO FORMING CCWC
AND SOME OF THE HAPPENINGS SINCE
By Betty Alphin September 2005
We moved to Chapel Road, Clifton, in November of 1967. At that time we knew nobody in the area and, without children in school, we were slow to get to know the neighbors, which were few and far between. However, one big event took place which immediately bonded us all.
We received notice that the wooded area at the intersection of Route 123, Chapel Road, and Wolf Run Shoals Road was to become a “sanitary landfill.” (Configuration of the road was different then. See my very amateur map) Immediately we all rose up and fought it. It soon went away. Then there was to be a small airfield on Popes Head Road at the site of the WWII nike missle area. Those people who lived on One Penny Road off Fairfax Station Road would be in the flight pattern and that was another item to fight. It was abandoned.
The third and biggest one (as far as I was concerned) was to be an outdoor rustic type amphitheatre on the first site at 123 and Chapel Roads. As I understood it there would be a very elementary rough boards stage and the “artists” would be performing with their sound/noise pointed away from 123 and in the general direct of Clifton. This along with amplification which could probably shake the houses a mile away. There would also be young people sitting on the ground, leaving their trash etc., to say nothing of the traffic. At that time all the roads were two lane with no shoulders (as part of Chapel Road is still today). This prompted a mass meeting at the Fair View School — and I do mean MASS. There were more people than could get into the room so windows were opened and they stood outside. The poor man who proposed the whole thing was there and had a rough time. He soon withdrew his proposal.
I’m not sure of the order in which these events happened, but they were within a short period of time. With all this we got to know many, especially those who were leading. They included Len and Linda Goldstein, (Glen Cove Road), Reese and Kitty Bean (Colchester Road just off Chapel), and Pete and Ann Winship (who lived at the end of One Penny Lane). From there on the idea of a woman’s club developed. Kitty had been a member of one in Falls Church and Linda’s grandmother was a wheel in one in Alexandria. It was a case of calling those we all knew close by, which included women on the other side of Clifton as well as those in the One Penny area. Over the summer and fall of 1970 we got together many times, formulated by-laws, officers etc. with advice from officers of Northern Virginia District whom Kitty and Linda’s GM knew. Our choice of the holly and colors were a direct result of the time of year in which we were working. We wanted to be able to petition the Virginia State WC at their spring meeting in 1971.
We had our first fundraising event on Clifton Day in that year. The day was only a year or two old at that time so lots went wrong and we had to try what would sell and what wouldn’t. I do remember a group of us, during the summer went into the fields (there were lots around then) and picked golden rod, yarrow, dock, anything blooming we found, and dried it in our attics. Then we got together and put all the stuff into bunches which we, sold for $1.00 each. Sold it all (several hundred) in an hour. Some of the members tried sewing items such as napkins, aprons, towels, etc., but that stuff didn’t sell well and there was expense involved too. The bake sale was always a success. And the cotton candy. We rented the machine — sometimes it worked and sometimes we had trouble — but the members didn’t like to man/person it because they got the cotton candy everywhere. Even though it made money, we stopped it after several years. Also had barbecues and slaw several years. Somebody loaned us a trailer outfitted with stove etc. This went on for several years until we lost use of the trailer. Besides the county health department was getting more fussy. So, after much trial and error, we decided the best ideas were Bake sale with home made jams, pickles etc. and coffee and doughnuts. Also included were our cook books when we had them. That era ended a couple of years ago and we no longer participate except for the table with our club info on it. This is to keep our name in the pot in case at some future time, members wish to start participating again.
At that time there were a few homes tours in the area and we decided to try one for further income. It was a success from the start. We included a light lunch since at that time there was no place where people could find anything to eat. The old Volunteer Fire House was still in use — in fact we held our meetings in their room which was located on the second floor above the fire house and the attached post office. (I expect there are pictures of this place in our scrapbooks.) It was located on the site of the present fire house. There was a kitchen available and we decided to serve quiche (every member was expected to bake 2), garden salad, a slice of bundt cake (each member to make 1 cake), and beverage. The same recipes for the quiche and cake were used by all. We brought in card tables to supplement the long tables in the hall and covered them with cloths we made of checked gingham. Each table had a small fresh flower bouquet. Eventually the attendance was more than we could handle for lunch, especially since CCWC was a much smaller membership then. Also places to eat became available in Clifton. So we stopped doing that. I don’t remember the year but it would be mentioned in the minutes.
As we were getting started with the Homes Tours, some members proposed that we hold a horse show. At the time, there were many locations suitable for them as well as many young people who were anxious to participate. However, that lasted only a year or so. First, the show was also in the spring and CCWC members couldn’t do both well, also there was lots of money spent beforehand so, if it rained, and the show had to be cancelled, we were out that money. There was no possibility of postponing, since the field was booked for the second week. The members voted to drop the show and concentrate on the Tour.
About 1973 or 74, Ann Henricksen who was Chair of the Home Life committee proposed the Senior Citizens luncheons program. It was adopted along pretty much the same lines as are still followed, except the people all came either from private homes in the Clifton area or from the Fairfax Nursing Center. (The Gardens hadn’t been built then.) We usually had several guests in wheel chairs, which worried some of us (that they would fall or be injured in some way.) This program was very successful and frequently won recognition at the Virginia Federation meetings. And is still going on today — one of the 2 projects in which all members must participate.
Another of our big accomplishments was the Fairfax Railroad Museum. The station was located along the tracks and it was due to be torn down. We bought it for a dollar but had to move it. That is the very beginning of the story and Vonne Enger will be much better able to tell you about that. It became our “Community Project” entry in the Federation contest and eventually won an honorable mention. (Be sure to check with Vonne that I have it right.)
Then there were the Holly Singers which I was involved in. During about the second year were meeting, members suggested a Christmas program put on by members who were singers. It began in a very short time, but was so much fun (and received well) that we evolved into the Holly Singers. We sang for various groups wanting programs for luncheons, banquets etc., and asked for donations to a musical scholarship fund. The number of members varied and at its most we had about 18 members. We sang music mostly from Broadway show tunes in three part harmony. We all had a wonderful time and were very sorry when we had to dissolve. Our director was Jean Buxton whose early experience included singing with the Fred Waring Pennsylvanians. (They started as a college group but became professional and sang nationwide for many years.) We had several accompanists during the 18 years of existence. Although our first scholarship was for a very small amount, it increased each year. This was entirely the money earned by the Holly’s. The Club gave us money for music and the members made their own dresses. When the Holly’s disbanded we were very happy to see the Club pick up the fund and continue supporting the arts.
Then there was the start of the Night Unit (or divison, as it was called at first.) Several of our members decided for various reasons to return to work, but wanted to continue as members of CCWC. So they came up with the idea of meeting in the evening as a small crafts group to discuss what the Club had done at the day meeting. Slowly this evolved as women who were not members but felt they could now become one since there was a night time for attendance. Provision for it was written into the by-laws and a chairperson added to it. It was renamed since there was some feeling that the word “division” was undiplomatic. Fortunately rivalry, if any, ended, and the women began to feel more like all one club.
As far as I know, harmony reigns today.
Probably if I read some of the old minutes and/or was questioned or conversed with some of the original members, I would remember more. But this sounds like lots to digest. I believe the minutes would give a better idea of exact times/years these things were done. My memory is bad in that area.