Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull
A half-century ago two of the most prominent residents of Wicomico Church were Elton Clegg, who, with his wife, Irene, operated Clegg’s Restaurant, and Daniel Whittaker, the local carpenter, who built many of the homes in the area. Irene prepared the most delicious soups and a famous potato salad, and Daniel’s wife, Otelia, was a meticulous schoolteacher who taught hundreds of local schoolchildren the rudiments of grammar and mathematics.
The Cleggs’ son, Kenny, was married to the Whittakers’ daughter, Carolyn. They lived in Newport News and had one daughter, Candice, known as Candy, who was the first grandchild for each family.
I give their genealogical connections as the basis for explaining how Candy first became part of the local community. Several weekends a month Carolyn and Kenny would bring Candy up for a visit, at which time the usual Friday, Saturday and Sunday lines at the restaurant grew a little longer while Candy was there.
At the same time down at Mila, where the Whittakers lived, Daniel was available only for an occasional brief telephone call, but definitely not for a house visit. Everyone accepted the change from the normal routine when Candy was visiting. The two grandfathers were enamored by her presence and each wanted to make sure he got his allotted time with her. During the week they would regale restaurant patrons and construction clients with details of her previous visit. The community developed knowing every step of Candy’s progress.
Time moved along, Daniel died in 1975 and Elton in 1986, having retired and sold the restaurant in 1978, thereby closing one of the culinary treasures of the Northern Neck. As time passed, Candy grew up, married and now has had four sons of her own. Although she does not live in the Northern Neck, many members of her family do and she comes for visits, her parents continuing to own “Texas,” one of the old Whittaker family farms in Lancaster County.
Last year in collaboration with Debra Moore and writing under her married name, Candice MacDonald, Candy has written a delightful children’s book, Mama Pig’s Story, The Three Little Pigs Leave Home. Their story gives a new slant to the traditional tale, the three little pigs being named Tark, Tawn and Tulip, the latter being a girl.
Their houses still are made of straw, sticks and bricks, but perhaps not surprisingly, Tulip’s is the brick one. The Big Bad Wolf, appears as B.B. Wolf and he has his tail burned trying to get to his bacon. Tulip wears glasses and uses a computer, always aware that her two brothers are know-it-alls. In the end the moral of the story is that the siblings could not count on their houses, but they could count on each other.
The book’s illustrations are well done and easy to understand for small children. The text reads well and teaches a good lesson, the final line warning that “B. B. Wolf still wants his bacon…” The book is published by Redemption Press and is available from Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
Candy’s parents and grandparents taught her well and with Debra she has produced a book of which they would be proud.
Last week I wrote about Myrna Foster, a native of Lancaster County, who had spent her career in banking here in the Northern Neck. I knew at the time that she was gravely ill, with her birthday coming on Monday. Sadly, Myrna died last Wednesday afternoon, four days after her father died at 99 and two weeks after her aunt died at 102.
She was a person of great competence, who enjoyed working in the world of finance. She was in her element in figures and found pleasure in helping others with their accounts, particularly in teaching the basics of money to children at the Lancaster Middle School. She was good and kind to many.
Myrna Howard Foster, March 19, 1955 – March 14, 2018. R. I. P.