Tag Archives: Robert E. Lee High School

Pat Haley: ‘We smiled as we left Staunton, Virginia’

Pat Haley 2By Patrick Haley
Guest Post

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

We did, in a sense, go home again, at least for seven days. Staunton, Virginia, is not our hometown, but was home to Brenda and me for twelve of the happiest years of our lives. We spent the whole week in Staunton. We saw old friends and journeyed to the Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton Braves Stadium, and Wright’s Dairy-Rite where car hops still come out and take your order. Little has changed from the day it opened in 1952.

As we walked the winding hills in town, up past Trinity Church, and up the street to Mary Baldwin College, wonderful things began to happen. We remembered our motor scooter rides around town, and how Doc Haley, our poodle, used to sit under our large maple tree and listen to the Robert E. Lee High School band practice. The memory made us smile and nod.

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Remembering Mack Swift: Teacher, mentor, storyteller

Mack SwiftBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Mack Swift spanned the generations during his years working with young people. At no time was that more evident than this week when on Wednesday a flurry of phone calls connected some generational dots when news of his death began circulating in the Staunton area. He died in Tennessee, where he was born, while visiting his sister because their birthdays were close together (he had just turned 73).

I knew Mr. Swift from his years teaching and coaching football while I was a student at Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virginia, in the 1970s, as did Bob Stuart, a fellow Huguenot alumnus and political reporter at the News-Virginian. Both of us grew up in the Bon Air area of Chesterfield County outside Richmond and graduated together from Huguenot, and we both lived out of state for a number of years before eventually returning home to Virginia and settling in the Shenandoah Valley.

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