I grew up on Walton’s Mountain…except there really isn’t a mountain. Nor is the family named Walton. Confused? Let me start over. I grew up in Schuyler, Virginia. It’s a small town nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It was made famous by Earl Hamner, Jr. who wrote Spencer’s Mountain based on his childhood and then created the television series The Waltons.
When I was born my family lived just a couple of doors down from the Hamners’. Shortly thereafter we moved over the hill.
Earl and I share a birthday except he is forty years older than me. I often visited with his mother while growing up. She was a sweet lady who loved feeding me. When I started taking cosmetology classes she let me cut her hair and I continued until I moved away. Once while Earl was in town filming a special with the cast from the show he told me I should come by and do their hair. Being a teenager I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not so I didn’t. Anyway, he was gracious and it tickled me for him to ask whether he meant it or not.
Over the years I met many of the cast members, but my all-time favorite was Will Geer who played Grampa. He had a genuine smile with a twinkle in his eye and the softest and warmest hands I’d ever felt in an older gentleman.
The elementary school I attended as a child closed down and is now a museum showcasing artifacts from the show and replicas from the Hamners and the time period.
The Hamner homestead was sold several years back and was bought by my cousin who restored it and opened it as a B&B.