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Holland Shoaf | all galleries >> Galleries >> Robert Shoaf Sr's Pictures > Lady from Jonas Ridge with my story
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Lady from Jonas Ridge with my story

Lady from Jonas Ridge with my story
Recently a friend asked me questions about some pictures that I have posted online that my grandfather took back in the 40's. It reminded me of a true story that happened to me maybe the late 80s early 90s. I am the worst at dates ! This is the short of it. Back then I was riding a girlfriend on my 1983 motorcycle ( it couldnt have happened before 83) to the mountains. I think we went to Boone first and then road curvy 221 business to Grandfather Mountain. On the way home and at that point in Linville on Hwy 181 the crazy mountain weather did a trick on us and it got cold fast and it started to hail. Not a bad hail but it caused me to pull over and seek shelter at what I thought was an abandoned home. I didnt see any cars. (later found car was parked in garage out back) So I pulled into the driveway and me and my girlfriend ( at the time ) sat on the front porch and covered ourselves with a sheet of plastic that we had found. I think the plastic was the only thing on the porch. It didnt take long that a lady inside that house noticed our arrival and opened the front door to question us. She saw the weather, the motorcycle, the plastic over us and instantly added three together. My plea for forgiveness helped I would hope.

She asked us in her house and was eager to show us her house. This was a very old house. Big too ! The furniture looked like the originals of the era of time for which the house was, but it didnt look like it was used at all. I think it was just sitting there for show. Strange but I didnt ask too many question being that we were total strangers. I was just glad to be out from the weather. From the kitchen came this ladys mother who was just as warm and polite as the one we just met. They invited us into the kitchen for lunch ! Yes, it was a gold mine of mountain hospitality ! While we ate ( never turn down food ) they told us who they were and more about the house. The daughter told us she was a professor at Appalachian. A professor of what I cant remember. The house we were in was an Inn of some sorts. The water well we saw outside was a centerpoint of interest in the area and was well known to points far from the house. Many people would come to drink the water and stay at the Inn. On the mantle above the fireplace in the living room was a picture of a lady. Big picture I remember. Was told that it was the owner of the house when it was run as an Inn. She obviously had passed away and was told the house used to be two stories high until there was a fire in the upper half of the house. A miracle the rest didnt burn down especially in that remote area and at that time.

I dont know how the lady who I was talking to came to own the house. Inheritance or what...cant remember. I just know it was an interesting visit and of course something I will never forget. The hospitality of some people goes a very long way. Keep reading and you will find out how far. Years later, many years later ( and again I cant remember ) for some reason I had been snooping in my grandmothers house ( while she was still living ) and found a box of 8mm and 16mm reels of video. Many of them. Some on big reels and some on small. My grandmother gave them to me but with my promise to give them back when I finished with them. I had to explain we now live in a time that such film can be transferred to other media so that the world can see ! You know, this wasnt the easiest thing to do explaining such technical aspects to someone who refuses to have a phone in the house and use microwave ovens ! Onward the tapes go to Walmart to be mailed off for transfer. While the tapes were being transferred our family talk was about what was on them, what " could " be on them. Some of what granny speculated was on there but so much more. We could only guess what else !
Heres what else was on one of those reels when they finally got back to me and one in particular. My father, my late uncle Johnny, my grandmother and my late grandfather hanging out on the property that was the same property that me and my xgirlfriend was on so many years ago !!!! WHAT WAS THE CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING ??

Im guessing my dad is 5 in this video, so it was a LOONG time till this video was found and got transferred.
Even after the vids were found I found a number of pictures of this lady in the house. My grandmother who was alive at the time of the discovery and my story got to watch the video and share a remembrance of the place. My grandfather who passed away long befor the videos were found was a photographer by trade but it was also obvious that he took a camera or 12 everywhere he went. Of course I wanted to send a thank you card to the ladies at the Inn that were so nice and I did. I wasnt given a Linville or Appalachian University address but a Charlotte Address where the professors mother lived. The old Inn that we were at was only a summer home and luckily thats when I was riding my bike through the mountains. If it had happened during another season you wouldnt have been reading this story. I mailed a thank you note to the mother in Charlotte. Like I said that was years ago. Now that I have this video and this story has re-emerged from memory, I will do my best to find the Appalachian professor that owns/owned that house and get the video and picture to her. I need to complete this story with a better ending than the one I have shared with you.
There is a 100 miles straightline from Linville to my house here in Lexington. Of all places for me to pull over, not because I wanted to but because I need to, I had to pull over at that particular house and that particular time of the year !
All in all I have this "shit happens" attitude about life but I think sometimes things happen for a reason.

Yes, the video is in color and the lady appears to be younger than the black and white pics but this could have something to do with picture resolution or just the change of times when black and whites went to color. Some people stayed with BandW's. The lady thats feeding the chickens and holding the cat is the lady that owned the Inn there in Linville NC. I think the area is more appropriately named Jonas Ridge.


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