Kiss This: Part 1
Author's note: I really wanted to share my story and teach others the misconceptions they go through in their... Show full author's note »
Family Matters“Eldon,” one mile east of the town of Chatham, was built in the 1830's by James Whittle, who made Eldon his home for the remainder of his long life . After the turn of the century the property was purchased and renovated in the Neoclassical architectural style by Claude A. Swanson, who served as Governor of Virginia, U. S. Senator, by Claude A. Swanson, who served as Governor of Virginia, U. S. Senator, and Secretary of the Navy for Franklin D. Roosevelt. For over 35 years Governor Swanson maintained Eldon as a working farm and source of home-grown food to suit his well-known Southern culinary preferences. For Swanson and his wife Lizzie, Chatham was easily accessible from Washington by rail, and the Swanson’s residential presence at “Eldon,” one mile east of the town of Chatham, was built in the 1830's by James Whittle, who made Eldon his home for the remainder of his long life . After the turn of the century the property was purchased and renovated in the Neoclassical architectural style, Eldon caused Chalk Level Road to become the first paved thoroughfare in Pittsylvania County. The Swanson’s utilized Eldon as a “summer home” and get-away from Washington, and entertained frequently on the premises.
Formerly a stately southern tobacco plantation, this elegant 13 room manor house with nine fireplaces was lovingly restored by innkeepers Joy and Bob Lemm in the 1990's to include a restaurant and all the comforts of the finest country inns.
Joy “Mamimi” and Robert “Bob” Lemm, are my grandparents. Bob is my step-grandfather, or otherwise, known to me, GrandBob. Joy, and my biological grandfather, Robert “Jaja” Wesley (whom lived/lives in Fort Worth, Texas), had two sons; Eric and Joel. Joel married my mom Margaret “Peggy” Manella. Whom he met in his mid 20’s in Chicago, Illinois. My dad had gone to college for the culinary arts and my mom had a double major in college for textiles and culinary arts, they had both wanted to open a restaurant. So Joel’s parents at the time, Joy and Bob, had found a special place in Virginia named Eldon. My grandparents and parents had lived there a good thirteen years before having my sister, Isabella “Bella” Margaret Manella Wesley, on the 24th of September, 1994.
That means that three and a half years later, on March 2nd, 1998, my parents had me! My family was always busy with Bella and I being in newspapers, with my parents cooking, looking for babysitters, while trying to keep us out of trouble. Now I can say-- proudly-- that I was born into a hard-working family.
After I was born, we lived in Danville for four more years before we moved to Carrollton in 2002, mainly for better opportunities for education. My mom already had a job in Suffolk working for Target, and Grandbob and Mamimi moved back to Pass-a-Grille, St. Petersburg, Florida. So we had to bring our babysitter, Ally, with us because my dad needed to look for a job. When we got there, Bella and I were so excited because we've never had our bedrooms on the second story, or our own rooms. School was close and since the neighborhood lot wasn’t finished yet, the people that lived here became close family friends fast.