Tag Archives: Sandra Leigh Jett Ball

Waltzing Through TIME

Me, Mom & Dad in front of our new home at 6414 Three Chopt Road. We called it The Little House. It was the transformed double car garage of 6416 or as we called it The Big House. Photo credit Donald Loving.

I got an out of the blue email recently from the son of a college friend of Dad & Mom’s. All my life I have randomly but consistently heard of Donald Loving. More from Mom than Dad. It usually was a comment in passing. Donald was my grandmother’s pick for Mom. But not one to listen to her mother, Mom chose otherwise. Still Donald remained in her life. They even renewed their friendship after Mom moved to Reedville and Donald was living in Newport News.

Apparently Dad and Mom never left Donald’s thoughts either. This is note from Lee Loving (we have yet to meet).

Hello Sandra:

 I have struggled with sending this email for months, but being the “family historian” and happening upon your blog; I convinced myself to send it.
Up until my father’s death in 2011; I had heard the name Starke Jett my entire life. My father would talk about those days  on the North Neck of Virginia; growing up with Starke and maintaining a strong friendship through his college years at Randolph Macon.
 
It all came to head one fall day in the mid 1960’s when Dad came home and said this Starke Jett was coming for a visit. My Mother, Brother, Sister, and I were put to the task of “getting the place ready” for Dad’s best friend. My Dad was an Aeronautical Engineer for NASA, so we were used to keeping things in order. But this was a different mission. He pushed us like no other. We double cleaned, racked, cut, vacuumed, and dusted. I mean the placed look like an Embassy Suites by the time we were done.
 
Then, there he was. The man my Dad talked about more than anyone else was before my eyes. He came with his wife and son. He was charming, fun to talk to. His wife was a bit quiet but sweet. We went trick or treating with his son. I’ll never forget the amount of compassion my Dad had for Starke.
 
Now some 50 years later,  I have discovered that Dad kept ever letter he received since 1932. What an adventure it has been. Among the many letters were letters from a Margaret Ann. I didn’t think much about it until I saw a letter from Starke Jett saying how much he had enjoyed meeting Margaret. Then they were more letters from both Margaret and Starke to my Dad. Around 1940 Starke was writing from Ohio, having enlisted in the Air Force.
 
I still hadn’t put two and two together until I decided to research Starke. And that’s when I ran across your Blog, your Mom’s and Father’s Obituary.  What a wonderful pair they made.
 
I hope this hasn’t brought up any ill feelings. You seem to appreciate your family’s history and memories. Thus, I thought I would share my experience with your Dad and how my Dad admired him.
A few weeks later a package arrives (Lee has advised me to look out for it). Inside are thirteen moments in time. All are treasures beyond measure. I’ve selected a few to scan. I posted them here  in time order. The first is from my grandmother. The second a fun art letter of Dad’s. The third has Dad already gushing over Mom (they married two years later). The fourth a letter from my aunt Keese (Clarice) to Donald. And the last married lady Margaret Ann corresponding with Donald. She did all of the letter writing after she and Dad married. Before that the bulk of the thirteen were letters from Dad to Donald, mostly of the moment typical guy chatter. On the second page of the shipyard letter below Dad tells about going to Cuba and how desolate it was, although the women were quite something else.
I received the lead photo a few weeks after the letters arrived. Guess Donald did finally get to see me! And Lee promises if any of us are in the Atlanta area and have time to stop in, he and his wife will have the house spotless.

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All You Need is LOVE

The original Wellington Rabbit

The original Wellington Rabbit

“Write that it is all about love,” the bunny whispers in my ear. He tells me that Easter is slipping in popularity and his story will help fix that. I listen and write exactly what he tells me. But before that happens, this happens.

A long time ago, call it two decades, Easter approaches. The children have always received a stuffed animal, often one of the Beatrix Potter ones. I ponder how to make it work this year as we have no money for traditional Easter bounty. I decide to make them each a stuffed animal since I already have fabric and stuffing on hand. I quickly pump out five identical rabbits complete with a cape and a sack full of colored cloth eggs.

The first book.

The first book surrounded by the entire thirteen. Twenty years. 10,000+ words. 100+ illustrations.

Then I decide that the bunny needs a name and an introduction. A simple paragraph turns into a page and then more over the next few years. Other stuffed animals depicting the central characters emerge. The pages become a book, Wellington Easter Rabbit or the True Tale of How Wellington Became the Easter Bunny. He tells me what to write and I faithfully do so.

The first book is stitched together on my sewing machine. I make a pen and ink drawing of Wellington for the cover. This is great they all say, friends and extended family by this time. But we need more. Illustrations. Divide the book into chapters Donny suggests. So demanding, but they are right.

I get to work. Over the next few years their ideas for book 1 come to fruition. And then slowly at first but gradually picking up speed books 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on until book 13 (the final book in the series completed last year) become a reality. Some years Easter is so early and we are so busy that I only get half written.  By this time the book has a format. Three pages per chapter, one illustration. Ten chapters. The half book years it is a to be continued offering.

Every year I wait until the eleventh hour to begin writing. I am always amazed at how well the story comes together. I mean I do know where it’s going, just not how it’s going to get there. Donny my incredible editor is always there to drop everything and see that the book looks as good as it reads. He polishes and polishes and then we make a dash to get books in the mail (because by this time the children are grown and have children of their own) in the nick of time.

This year I am somewhat relieved to not have the self imposed pressure of The Book to write. But I miss it and at almost the eleventh hour (again) decide to create a new series. A simple set of easy to read books using all the characters from the original series as they fit into the story. And so happy readers I introduce you to the Wellington Rabbit Adventure Series, book 1, The Case of the Disappearing Eggs. Love! Sandy & Wellington

Wellington Rabbit and the Case of the Disappearing Eggs

Wellington Rabbit and the Case of the Disappearing Eggs

 

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