This is a great story, folks.
Last night, I had a message from “Tell My Story” reader Mark, who said:
“Some years ago, I found (in a box of stuff at a Mt Vernon auction) a small B&W photo of a woman working in her flower garden. On the back is a penciled notation: “Katie Meade, Blueview, Va”. Stamped on the back is PEOPLES DRUG STORES JUN 23 -1936. She bears a striking resemblance to the Katie Meade shown in your blog. If you would like it – or a scan of it – please contact me. No charge, just looking for a proper home for the photo.”
I could barely contain my excitement after I got that message! And people, I was FLOORED, humbled, and grateful to receive a message like this.
If you’ve been following along during the life of this blog, I’ve been looking for about a year and a half for anything out there about Emmett and/or his immediate family, and Katie Meade is VERY important in telling Emmett’s story.
I got back in touch with Mark, who kindly sent me a scan of the front and back of the photo. Here is the front:
And here is the back:
Peoples Drug Stores was a big pharmacy chain (founded here in DC in 1905) up until the mid-1990s. They were bought out several times, ultimately becoming the current chain, CVS. I used to shop at Peoples Drug Stores all the time; it makes me feel more of a connection to Emmett, as they would have been in business when he lived here. I’m very sure he shopped there on occasion.
A took a close look at the reverse of the photo, and it appeared to me to be “Bluemont” rather than Blueview. Like Mark, I checked around and could not find anything on “Blueview, Virginia” — but a lot on Bluemont.
Bluemont, Virginia is a place I’m not familiar with; Katie Meade was living in and around Arlington/Mt. Vernon, Virginia at the time this photo was taken. Her son, Everard Meade was living in Charlottesville, Virginia (he was a student at the University of Virginia; later, a communications faculty member).
It turns out that Bluemont was a great little vacation getaway for folks who lived in DC and wanted to escape the heat and grossness that is Washington in the summertime. You would catch the WO&D train from Washington (it was called the ‘Virginia Creeper’). Bluemont is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Katie Meade’s husband, Emmett Meade, worked for the WO&D, and affiliated lines and so, it is very likely they were able to get passes, and take a vacation.
I noticed that there is a fellow on the Bluemont, Virginia webpage who appears to be local historian (he was born in 1930), and I plan to contact him this week. Maybe he knows something about the Meades — or — perhaps there is something in their local history about them.
UPDATE 12/11/2014: I just got off the phone with Katie Meade’s 97-year-old niece Jule, who confirmed that Katie Meade did, indeed, have a summer place in Bluemont, and Jule spent time there with her aunt and uncle often!
Thank you again, Mark, for your kindness and generosity in sharing this photo with me. I am so appreciative of it. This one photo appears to have opened up another window into Emmett’s research, and I cannot express adequately my gratitude for the photograph.
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Communication, Arts, and the Humanities
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