At last we can expect a weekend of cooler temperatures with the chance to pull a sweater from the closet shelf. It seems a long time since we even thought about long sleeves! But before the fall chill hit Davidson, we caught Gordon Clark celebrating a birthday in high style – riding in the Village Inn’s pedicab with his wife, Rebecca, pedaling. Hats off to this energetic couple who own and run the inn.
Around Davidson has news today of Cynthia and Bill Lawing’s summer travels as well as a note about tomorrow’s Musical Interlude. We also took time to visit with Kevin Childress about his photography and talk to Sybil and Don Kay about their move to The Pines.
TOURING WITH THE LAWINGS
Talented musicians Bill and Cynthia Lawing, had a marvelous three weeks of travel and performing in Taiwan and China this summer. Their first two weeks were spent in Taiwan touring under the sponsorship of the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan. It was the bishop’s idea to use the concerts performed by Bill and Cynthia as fundraisers for a new scholarship at St. John’s University in Danshui, near Taipei. Cynthia had taken a similar tour in Taiwan while a graduate student, so it was a homecoming for her and a new experience for Bill. Cynthia on the piano and Bill on the trumpet performed in two churches located in Kaohsiung and Taipei and at two universities in Taichung and Danshui. (During their last week of travel, they performed an additional concert in Hong Kong where Cynthia grew up.)
Bill writes of their travels as follows: “The trip was a wonderful combination of performing and traveling, and it was made even more wonderful by having all three daughters, and our one son-in-law, able to join us for most of the time. We were able to visit many of the most treasured sites of Taiwan, from the mountains to the sea, but there was so much that we were not able to cover in our limited time. We would both say that it was one of the most treasured trips we have taken. So many people went far out of their way to assist us and to make our stay memorable. We gathered many new and dear friends in a short period, and we experienced a new definition of kindness from strangers, many of whom took substantial time to help us find our way.”
“It had been about 15 years since we had been to Hong Kong. We had been there so many times while Cynthia’s parents were living there, and after they immigrated to the U.S., we did not have as pressing a reason to return. We were very happy to finally have the chance to visit, and to renew acquaintances with old friends and distant relatives. We found Hong Kong to be very much as it was before, except it was twice as dense, twice as busy, twice as noisy, and twice as tall. It is completely remarkable that a society as densely packed as Hong Kong is such an economic success.”
With three daughters who grew up in Davidson, we asked Bill and Cynthia to bring us up to date on the family. Their oldest daughter, Mei, and husband William are living in Christiansburg, Va., just south of Blacksburg. William is a computer programmer for Luna Innovations in Roanoke and Mei is halfway through med school, soon to start rotations.
Middle daughter Gloria is working full-time in Charlotte (and living at home for now so you may run into her in town), as a medical interpreter in both French and Spanish. Most of her of clients are recent refugees who know their native language and French/Spanish, but not English. Gloria has been pulled towards the plight of the refugee population for several years, and will likely continue to work with that population, regardless of her future career path. Youngest daughter, Chrissy, is in Asheville, where she is an owner/worker at Firestorm Café and Books in downtown Asheville, and contemplating her next steps. (Next time in Asheville, be sure to stop in and say hello.)
THROUGH THE CAMERA’S EYE
Bet many Davidson families with grown children remember Kevin and Melissa Childress, children of Anita Childress Beaver and grandchildren of Margaret and the late Leonard Armstrong, of East Rocky River Road. Melissa is a hair stylist in Mooresville and Kevin works in the truck component division of Eaton Corp., headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, where he has been employed for the past 18 years.
A graduate of North Mecklenburg High School, Kevin moved first to Michigan with Eaton in 1996, spent time in Tennessee and moved back to Davidson in 2005. He loves being back in a small town he knows so well and being close to family. Now Kevin and his wife, Hope, who works in Constituents Relations at Davidson College, live on the family land in Davidson. His daughters, Kayla (20), Bailee (16) and Gabby (12) from his first marriage live close by in China Grove.
Kevin got hooked on photography as a hobby in 2008, bought a Nikon D-7000, and taught himself to use it with the help of the Internet. He smiles, claiming that he “has moved from hobby to ‘obsession’ taking photos.” When not traveling with Eaton, Kevin can be found hiking in the mountains or kayaking on Lake Davidson – always with his camera close by. (And even when on the road, Kevin notes that his camera is on the seat beside him!)
After Eaton, Kevin looks down the road to retirement and work as a full time photographer. His fledgling business, Childress Art and Imagery, currently has four planned distribution channels: his website http://childressartandimagery.com/, framed pieces under consignment in Davidson restaurants, a booth at Christmas in Davidson and photography for sale next year at Town Day in May. Kevin is also planning to branch out into family photography – preferring outdoor shoots. He strives to express what he sees through the camera lens and we think he is doing a marvelous job. If you need more information or want to ask Kevin more about his work, do contact him at email@example.com.
FROM PINE ROAD TO THE PINES
How nice to spend an afternoon with Sybil and Don Kay and catch up with our oldest child’s kindergarten teacher. (Yes, Sybil had Jack Barger in 1977 in a K-1 combination class at Davidson Elementary School.) Sybil grew up in Gramling, S.C., and graduated from Winthrop College with a degree in Education. She met Don, a native of Chesnee, S.C., and graduate of Clemson in Textile Manufacturing, on a blind date in 1952. They married in 1954 and lived in South Carolina where Sybil taught first grade and Don went to work for Reeves Bros. textiles. Continuing with Reeves, the couple lived in Buena Vista, Va., from 1955-1965 where their sons, Donnie and Jerome, were born.
Moving to Davidson in 1965, Don worked at the Reeves plant in downtown Cornelius (where Food Lion now stands) and Sybil taught school. They bought a newly constructed home on Pine Road in 1965 and occupied that home for almost 47 years until this past May. Packing up and moving “around the corner,” they now call The Pines at Davidson retirement community home.
Sybil started her teaching career with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teaching Title 1 Remedial Reading to students in grades 4-6 at Davidson Elementary. Scores improved so much at Davidson, she was moved to Long Creek, Derita and Cornelius schools in the Title 1 program before Davidson’s principal Wayne Roberts called her back to teach K-1 combinations and then “straight” kindergarten. Lots of students benefitted from Sybil’s warm hugs and firm discipline during the years until her retirement on Jan. 1, 1993 – just months before Don told Reeves (now Foamex) good-bye in September of 1993.
Relaxing at The Pines, Sybil and Don spoke how much they enjoy sports including the Atlanta Braves, Carolina Panthers, college football and Davidson basketball. Sybil remains a member of the “18 Book Club” and enjoys playing bridge. Spending time with Donnie and Jerome and their families is an important part of their activities. Donnie and his wife, Lisa, live in Concord where Donnie works in HR for Mechanical Contractors. Their daughters, Morgan and Madison are students at Presbyterian College (a senior) and NCSU (a freshman) respectively. Jerome and his wife, Joy, who own Adams Outdoor Advertising, live in Yadkinville and also have two daughters: Jennifer is a 2010 graduate of NCSU and in training with BB&T and Jordan is a senior at NCSU. Having family members close by is certainly a blessing when you have to pack up 47 years of memories as Sybil and Don have done.
Kudos to Cynthia Lawing who organizes the Musical Interludes for the 2011-2012 season beginning tomorrow. These free monthly programs are open to the public and take place in the auditorium on the top floor of the Tyler-Tallman Music Building on the Davidson College campus. Tomorrow’s program, beginning at 12:30 p.m. features performer Dr. John Akers, Spanish professor and classical guitarist, who highlights Carl Sandburg’s love of the Spanish classical guitar and performs of the pieces he most loved.
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Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org.