Category Archives: blog


In 1993, as some of you already know, I began a journey with a very special rabbit. He was originally a stuffed animal I made for our five children for Easter as funds were tight for store bought treats. But he was not content to be just any stuffed animal. He needed a name. Actually he had a name. “It’s Wellington,” he told me. He had a story. I must write it he told me. And so I did.

Thirteen books and a hundred plus illustrations later we reached the end of the book arc but not the story. World wide publishing has yet to come but it will. As I pull out paper Wellington files and dig into the computer for digital files because, even though his story reaches far beyond Easter and embrace no religion, Wellington is the Easter Bunny and spring is his season, I find this rare picture of the actual Wellington Rabbit and a few cards which I pasted below that he sent to us after he moved to Idaho. His story is in the preface to book  V, Lost and Found. Meanwhile ALL of the thirteen Wellington books are now online if PDF format for your instant enjoyment year around. Just click on the Wellington link at the top of my blog, or in the Pages list to the right.

And now Wellington has his own website!  He writes letters when the mood strikes. And all of the books are linked there as well as here.





Leave a Comment

Filed under Animal Antics, blog, Chapter book, Children's book, Wellington Easter Bunny, Wellington Rabbit

The LEGEND of Cousin William Storke Jett


William Storke Jett, 5th son and 7th child being the youngest, of Charles Coke Jett & Mary Wallace Ball Towles Jett. Born December 2, 1846 died 1884.

It was a dark and stormy night. Wait, that’s not how this story goes. It wasn’t night. It wasn’t dark. And it wasn’t stormy. Well maybe metaphorically speaking it was. You’ll see what I allude to soon enough.

But scratch that start for now. Let’s begin again in Willie’s own handwriting.

“I live in Westmoreland County Virginia. On Sunday April, 23 I was at the house of my brother-in-law, William Wallace, in King George County, Virginia. I was on my way from Fauquier County, where I had been with Mosby’s command. I had been in the Confederate service since June 17, last, when I first entered it. I was 18 years old on December 2nd last.

On Monday morning April 24, when I started from my sister’s I was in company with two other young men, Lieut. Ruggles and A R Bainbridge. We were going over into Caroline County, toward Bowling Green, and of course had to cross the Rappahannock. We went from my sister’s to Dr Ashton’s, about six miles, and stayed probably a quarter or half an hour, left there and went down to Port Conway. As we got on the hill, about fifty yards from the river, we saw a wagon down on the wharf, and as we got within twenty yards of the wagon, we saw apparently a young looking man jump out of the wagon and put his hand in the inside breast of his coat. I don’t know whether the others noticed it, but none of us said anything. We rode past, not stopping at the wagon, going right down to the wharf and hailed the ferry-boat. As soon as we came to the wharf, the young man walked down toward us and said, ‘Gentlemen, whose command do you belong to?’ Lieut. Ruggles said, ‘To Mosby’s command.’ I did not say anything. It has always been a rule of mine to never tell anyone my business when traveling. He said, ‘We belong to A P Hill’s command. I have my wounded brother, a Marylander who was wounded in the leg.’

In the meantime, the wounded brother had got out of the wagon and come toward where we were, on crutches. I was looking over toward Port Royal, being anxious for the ferryboat to get over. The young man said, ‘Come gentlemen, I suppose you are all going to the Southern Army.’ We made no reply. He said, ‘We are also anxious to get over there ourselves, and wish you to take us along with you.’ We made no reply at all that I remember, and he said, ‘Come, gentlemen, get down; we have got something to drink here; we will take a drink.’ I said, ‘Thank you , Sir, I never drink anything,’ and the other boys, I think, said the same thing.

I rode then from the wharf towards the old house, about twenty yards off, rode in the gate, and tied my horse. When I came out, they were all sitting there on the steps and on a ladder. This young man touched me on the shoulder and said he wanted to speak to me. I walked over toward the wharf with him and when we got there, he said, ‘I take it for granted you are raising a command to go South to Mexico and I want you to let us go with you.’ I was thrown back that such an idea should have entered any man’s head, and I did not say anything, but merely asked, ‘Who are you?’ He seemed to be very much excited and said, ‘We are the assassinators of the President.’ I was so much thrown back that I did not say anything, for I suppose, two or three minutes.

I should say that when they first asked us to take them under our protection, I inquired their names, and he said, ‘Our name is Boyd, his name is James William Boyd, and mine is —-E Boyd.’ When Herold (David E Herold) said they were the assassinators, he also said that if I noticed Booth’s left hand, I would see the letters J. W. B. Ruggles then came up and I said, ‘Here is a strange thing,’ and either repeated to him that they were the assassinators, or Herold did. I am not certain which, but I am sure that was said to Ruggles by either Herold or by me in Herold’s presence. Booth had not then got up to us. Booth then walked up and Herold enquired our names, and introduced us all around, calling Booth by that name. Booth had a shawl thrown around him, and he kept it over his left hand all the time, and on his hand was marked J. W. B. Herold gave us his own name then and they said they wanted to throw themselves entirely on our protection.

All this talk occurred before we went to the ferryboat. Booth had very little to say. We crossed the river together. Herold sent the boy back with the wagon from there. Booth got on Ruggles’ horse near the wharf, rode down to the boat, and crossed the river sitting on the horse all the time. Ruggles carried his crutches. As soon as we go over, they said they wanted me to find out somewhere for them to stay. I wanted to see some friends at Port Royal, Mr Peyton’s family, and I rode up there before they got out of the boat. Booth had requested that we should introduce him as a Confederate soldier traveling under the name of Boyd. I went to Miss Sarah Jane Peyton–I think Miss Sarah Jane–and told her that we had a wounded Marylander along by the name of Boyd, and I would be very much obliged to her if she would take care of him until the day after tomorrow. She at first consented, and Booth got down off of Ruggles’ horse, came into the house and sat down on a lounge. Presently she came to me again, took me into the parlor, and said that her brother, Mr Randolph Peyton, the lawyer, was not home. She hated very much to turn off a wounded soldier, but did not like to take anyone in during her brother’s absence. She said, ‘You can get him in anywhere up the road–Mr Garrett’s or anywhere else.’

Booth got on Ruggles’ horse again, and I got on mine. Herold got behind me, and Ruggles behind Bainbridge. We then rode up to Garrett’s which I suppose was about two miles. There was very little said. Booth remarked that he thought the President’s assassination was ‘was nothing to brag about,’ and I said, ‘I do not either.’ I had very little to say to him or he to me. He remarked that he did not intend to be taken alive, ‘If they don’t kill me. I’ll kill myself.’

At Garrett’s gate, Herold got down from behind me, and remained by the gate while Booth, Ruggles, Bainbridge and I, rode up to the house. There I introduced myself to Mr. Garrett. I told him my name, and that I knew him by reputation, but had never been introduced to him, and I said, ‘Here is a wounded Confederate soldier that we want you to take care of for a day or so; will you do that?’ He said, ‘Yes, certainly I will.’ Booth then got down, and we left there, remarking as we rode off, ‘We will see you again,’ though I had no intention of seeing him again, because I was going to Richmond, and did not expect to come on that road again. That was the last I ever saw of him. Herold went to Mrs. Clark’s and next day returned to Garrett’s. Bainbridge remained with Herold. Ruggles and I went on to Bowling Green.

I did not tell Garrett or anyone else who Booth was. I had heard of the assassination, but had seen none of the particulars. I heard on the day of the disorganization of Mosby’s command, that the President had been assassinated–either on Wednesday or Friday previous to meeting these men. I met no soldiers nor other persons looking after these men. Everything was perfectly quiet.

I remained at Bowling Green until Tuesday night, April, 25th. Col. Conger and Lieut. Baker came there that night, arrested me, carried me into the parlor, and began to question me. I told them everything from the beginning to the end, and I said I would pilot them to the house where Booth was. I took them to Garrett’s gate, and directed them how to go into the house, and they went in, leaving me at the gate. I have tried to evade nothing from the beginning. I have told everything.”

Sworn statement of William (Willie) Storke Jett May 6, 1865 as documented in The Jett and Allied Families by Jeter Lee Jett published by Gateway Press 1977

To Willie’s testament I add this thought that through no fault of our own, we Jetts do have a knack for finding ourselves in odd situations. Usually our good reputation and nature see us none the worse for it. Willie was exonerated of any wrong doing but for the balance of his short life he was haunted by the circumstances that befell him those few days in April.




Leave a Comment

Filed under blog, family


jeff and gang

Jeff Galloway seminar April 2006 Dare County Beach Youth Center

“We can walk 26.2 miles,” I tell my workout class friend Suzanne begging her to join me in training for the inaugural OBX Marathon scheduled for Veteran’s Day weekend 2006. Good friend that she is, she agrees and we begin what proves to be eight months of work, silliness and success. Neither of us know a thing about training for a marathon but we exercise every weekday together and run Saturday mornings in Stephanie’s Beach Pump, the original OBX bootcamp. We’re not worried, we’ll figure it out as we go along. Still at first we don’t tell a single soul what we’ve cooked up. Digging around in the archives of my LiveJournal posts I come up with this post shortly after the start of our training journey.

Suzanne Deiss and I are officially training for the first ever OBX Marathon. A trip to the dentist and a chat while getting my teeth cleaned (okay a listen) had me agreeing with Caryn. Imagine the T-shirt!

At first Suzanne and I were going to walk it (how hard could that be?) But pride got in the way and we decided that at the very least jogging (which is my form of running) would get us there before dark maybe and look a lot better.

We did some research and started training. Imagine our surprise when we found out that Olympian, Jeff Galloway, whom we both had discovered independently (me online, Suzanne in a running magazine, and had really liked his approach) was coming to the Youth Center, our home away from home, to do a workshop.

And so we spent today getting tips from and being evaluated by running guru Jeff. We are floating across the finish line.

At the workshop, we learn that Jeff, an avid coffee drinker, is less than enthused with his morning java. I call Donny and he rises to the occasion promptly. He brings Jeff some real coffee and also takes a group photo for us. Jeff is awesome. He give us permission, no urges us, to incorporate a run walk time pattern into our system. He explains that switching out muscle groups keeps any one set from getting too fatigued. Brilliant. Suzanne and I are sold. Future posts will take you along on our adventures but today is about Jeff, our savior.

Jeff will be back on the Outer Banks in a few weeks and I urge you to sign up for his course. I can tell you from first hand experience, thanks to John Gillam who made all the arrangements including having Jeff and his amazing wife Barbara as house guests, that your investment will not be wasted. John & Muffin even arranged for us all to have cocktails at their home with Jeff and Barbara. Circumstances saw only six enjoying this lovely intimate evening which actually turned out to be incredible fun. Casually hanging out with such a down to earth icon. It just doesn’t get much better than that.



Leave a Comment

Filed under Beach Life, blog, Running

Yo, I GOT This!

cat“Ma’am you cannot be up there!” I’m in Harris-Teeter trying to get our favorite Liberte lemon yogurt from its top shelf banishment. The only way to reach it is to climb on the very sturdy bottom of the refrigeration door. The stock is so high up even Donny cannot reach to the back of that shelf. But I’m careful. I’ve learned my lesson about unreliable top shelf ventures so documented in a LiveJournal entry that recently surfaced.

I went on my daily Thanksgiving store run this morning to knock off the latest list which included one more glass pie dish.

All that were left were green glass ones. I don’t care that they are in that designer gal’s line, I did not want a green pie dish. It is not a good pie dish color even if you are making a key lime pie, which I am not. Resignedly I put the dish in my buggy but then happily spy clear glass pie dishes on a top shelf.

Excellent! Just what I want. But I cannot reach the top shelf without stepping on the edge of the bottom shelf. That works except for the fact that on top of the stack of pie dishes is a set of three glass mixing bowls nested together under shrink wrap. The entire stack is just a bit too tall for me to lift off the bowls and get a pie dish even with the aid of the bottom shelf.

Of course there is no one around to help. On the opposite shelf are boxes of dishes that look sturdy enough to stand on. I move one in place and carefully lift off the set of bowls. Perfect…until the set starts slipping…right out of my hands.

This happens in excruciatingly slow motion.

puppiesI have time, or so it seems, to consider options to make the save. I want to leap off of the box, snatch the flying bowls midair, and neatly land on my feet. I do not feel this will happen quite as I envision and thus abandon the plan. I really do not want the bowls to hit the floor but they pay me no mind and land with an extremely loud crash.

I jump off of the box as two sales ladies immediately appear from around the corner asking if I am okay. Sure, if you don’t count chagrin and mortification. The bowls are smashed beyond recognition but luckily 99.9% of the glass is still under shrink wrap.

I apologize as I hastily return the borrowed box to its shelf. The sales ladies are too concerned that I am okay to care about the box, the bowls or what I was looking for. Of course I am okay. I only dropped my dignity.

I woefully look up at the out of reach pie dishes. The ladies are busy cleaning up. I decide to stick with the wrong, wrong, wrong green dish and move on to look at CD players. So okay the green dish is not completely wrong. It is after all a glass pie dish.

kittenCD player acquired I suddenly think about the button batteries I have finally remembered to get for our clock army. They are back on the pie dish aisle. I must go back. It has taken me forever to finally complete this task despite numerous notes to myself and every reminder I could come up with, including leaving the dead clocks by the back door where everyone got to look at their sad faces for months on end. The batteries were my first stop in the store and as they were much too small to put into the cart, I had been carrying them around in my hand. When I decided to tackle the pie dish issue I put the batteries in a baking dish. I could go back to the watch counter for more but that would leave the baking dish batteries homeless.

Bravely I return. The ladies are gone as is all the evidence of my clumsiness. And there, is the path I have cleared to the clear pie dishes. I put the green one back, get a clear one, scoop up the patiently waiting batteries and go to check out.

At the check out counter the cashier asks if I want a warranty for my CD player. It’s only $7.99. I never use them, but I feel a tiny bit bad about the smashed bowls. Still I have gotten the right pie dish free and clear. Well almost, I buy the warranty.

So I get busted at The Teeter. My new strategy becomes to reach what I can every time I shop. Our supply stays steady but low. And then I see a different stock clerk using the same refrigeration door step plan as me. Yo! I’m back in business.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Animal Antics, Beach Life, blog

It’s A T-Shirt With MY Design

bud hawaii

Bud, a Steve Kaufman acoustic guitar Kamp alumni several times over, playing for us in Hawaii. Yes our humble and perfect cottages were that close to the Pacific Ocean.

I’m not a commercial artist. This is what I tell three time national flatpik champion Steve Kaufman when I enter the design a t-shirt contest for his 2014 annual world renown acoustic guitar Kamp. Friend and father to our awesome daughter in law Terri, Bud Onstad, suggests that I enter this competition for one of his favorite camps.

I’m game. But being a fine artist I’m not at all trained in graphic design. My entry follows the guidelines which ask that Kamp name, location and year be included. I do all the lettering free hand. Real free hand.

My freshman year in college our art class is to design an album cover. I free hand the title with some snappy art and turn my idea in. My professor likes it and suggests that I free hand the final presentation. I do but tidy it up somewhat getting rid of wandering brush strokes. He chastises me asking why didn’t I stick to the free hand like he suggested. In my mind I had but I guess even a bit of tidying up dismisses the free hand aspect.

I email a photo of my entry to Steve and then forget about the contest. At RPI in Richmond studying fine art I am intrigued by the mysteries of the commercial art world. Maybe partly because fine art and commercial art students rarely mix. Each of us think that our world is the better. At a recent RPI reunion a group of curious current art students asks me if the different art department students kept to themselves when we were in school like they do now. I laugh. Some things never change.

guitar kamp

My art is everywhere!

Summer rolls around and the time for Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp. I’ve not heard anything but did not expect to because after all I’m not a commercial artist. Still I have much commercial art student envy while at RPI. So much so that I take a commercial art class my last year. One assignment is to copy a Mondrian abstract as closely as possible. It’s one of those with a white background and various size intersecting black and primary color lines. Upon closer inspection of the photo we are working from I decide that the whites are not all the same tone and spend hours mixing just the right tweak to each white panel, carefully masking each before painting it in so no paint crosses into the wrong area. The project is small, 5×7 so it’s a tiny rendering. I am sure I’ll get an A or at the least a B. C- is crushing especially when my good friend, a commercial art major, who spends no time at all on her piece gets an A.

Now we’re to December 2014 in this story line. I get an email from Steve Kaufman, whom I have actually met when we went with Bud and lovely wife Amy to listen to him play at Cape Hatteras High School a few Januarys back. Steve deserves every accolade he gets and title he wins, his talent is incredible.

me and bud

Me & Bud sporting our shirts

Hi Sandy

I bet you thought I forgot about you. I really liked your design and wanted to hang on to it for the 20th annual. Do you think you can update the design and then send me the original?

20th Annual and 2015 are the only changes.

I don’t know if you still have the design there but I like it’s earthy approach. Let me know if this is possible.

Cheers and happy holidays–

Bye for now, 
Steve Kaufman

I have moved that piece of art around the studio so many times and almost thrown it out a couple of times. Can I even find it? I dig around and it surfaces. I make the changes, mail it off and a few weeks later get a nice surprise check in the mail. Then again I forget all about Steve and his Kamp.

kamp kard

Kamp note card

Imagine my astonishment when I get a post on my FB page from Bud while he is at Steve’s 20th annual Kamp, wearing a t-shirt with my design! And look there I am on Steve’s Kamp website and on Kamp note cards.

A few weeks after Kamp has ended Bud & Amy come to the beach for a visit bearing a t-shirt for me (well actually it arrived in the mail while they were here. Amy has sent it from Kamp). “Didn’t you know about this?” Bud asks. I tell him not really. I say that Steve never specifically says what he is going to do with the art. I figure he will just make posters or flyers. As I am putting this post together I see that Steve does mention saving my entry for his 20th annual acoustic Kamp. In hind sight that is pretty clear.

But still I didn’t expect to be the Kamp art star. Doing alright for not being a commercial artist.

bud finale

Goodbye Bellows Air Force Base. You were the perfect spot for a stellar Hawaiian vacation with Bud, Amy, Terri, Donald & Sebastian.





Leave a Comment

Filed under Art, blog

Sum Fun(d) Raising


I don’t have any subscribers?

Not money, you say scanning the title of this post. She can’t be asking for money. What could she possibly want money for? Don’t go there. Lots and lots of things is the answer. But this post is not about that. This post is about support. What I am asking for is a tiny moment of your time.

I need you to subscribe to my blog. That’s it. Seriously. No strings. Just helping a gal feel the love.

It’s simple. You scroll to the top. Or if you’re already there because you’re on a dinosaur screen like a laptop or even desk top look to the right. Find where it says. YES! SUBSCRIBE TO SANDYBEACHGIRL NEVER MISS A POST and right below that a note in red that says Your e-mail address with an empty box below that. Click on the box, type in your email address and then hit the Subscribe button below that. I know, some of you don’t need all these instructions. But some faithfuls do. Thanks for being patient with them.

That covers it. You might get an email asking you to verify that you did this. If so click on the link (highlighted part) and answer the question which usually goes something like, Yes, I really do want to receive SandyBeachGirl post updates.


Wait! Now I do have subscribers.

That’s all. You’re done. Thank you SO much. Really you don’t even need to read a single post. Of course I very much want you to but I know we’re all busy and time needs to be prioritized. So even the couple of minutes it takes to read my posts, because I do keep them short, can just not be part of your time allotment for that day. I get it. And not every post will sound interesting to you (oh no!). Yeah, I get that too. I subscribe to lots of blogs and I don’t read every post. But I do like to know that a blog has been updated and I choose to skip over it rather than Just.Never.Know. a good post for me to enjoy came along and I missed it.

I’m not in this for the money. No not your money ever here (buy my art if you want to send money my way), the money a blogger can get for lots and lots of people reading your posts. You need hundreds nay thousands of readers (or actually just folks that open the page they don’t even have to read) to make any money this way. It happens. I know of bloggers who have those thousands and even hundreds of readers per post. I’m pretty happy with a double digits readership per post.

Thanks for subscribing during my Fun(d) raising. Oh and pass the word. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell the person next to you in the grocery line.

I’m feeling the love already!

Leave a Comment

Filed under blog