Welcome to the Nostalgic Ramber

Hans Jeff Borger is heard on WRGE 97.9 FM in Ocala, FL featuring Christian programming.

"The Nostalgic Rambler" radio show previously heard on Gene Martin & Friends has been suspended due to my commitments at WRGE.

Why a blog? I wrote a book "The Little Grownup: a nostalgic Michigan boyhood" which should appeal to most baby boomers. A mass market book? Well, not yet...but the potential is there! (Be sure to buy it at "finer on line bookstores" everywhere!)

The comments presented in "The Nostalgic Rambler" probably won't be of interest to the masses...anymore. If grandma and grandpa and their friends were still alive, then it would be a different story.

I live in the past. My time warp is a comfortable cocoon even if it sometimes drives my wife crazy. The music of the 1940s and 50s, the stars of those days were big stuff in their day, but are now almost forgotten. Oddly enough, I was born in '64 so those iconic years were for the most part over by that time.

Through "The Nostalgic Rambler" I maybe can help share my love and knowledge for those times and things...all at one time important pieces of Americana but now a bit faded in memory.

The woman who did the blog about cooking all of Julia Childs' French Cuisine Cookbook in a year got a sweet movie deal out of her blog experience. I wouldn't mind that but would be happy to know that you are reading this....and maybe enjoying my time warp, too.

Hans Jeff Borger

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Search of The Waltons in Schuyler, Virginia

Not much on television worth watching these days....unless the dvds are running.

We've been enjoying "The Waltons" on dvd for over a year now. When reruns left the Hallmark Channel, I bought the entire series and it has been a well worth it investment in our entertainment library.

The series ran on CBS from 1972 until 1981 but was set in the depression and 1940s years. The series was the brainchild of author Earl Hamner who grew up in Schuyler, Virginia near Charlottesville. The Walton family was based on his own and many of the memories he had were expanded and exaggerated a bit to form the now beloved and legendary series.

The understanding mother and father, the caring grandparents, the siblings who formed a close knit group all contributed to the success of the series. It took CBS and Hollywood by surprise as the show was so anti everything of the era. I say it's time for a show like this to emerge again! Our country is mired in the same muck of materialism and cynicism as it was when "The Waltons" came out.

There is no real Waltons Mountain or Walton family. There is a real Schuyler, however and today it is a mini Waltons pilgrimage village. On a trip to Virginia we visited the place where Earl Hamner grew up. It's not the 1940s there anymore, although it doesn't seem like the hustle and bustle of 2010 either.

The old school house is The Waltons Mountain Museum featuring a reproduction of the television set (the series was filmed in California) and show memorabilia. Lots of fun! The Earl Hamner home is across the street from the museum. It was being remodeled when we were there for a possible bed and breakfast. The inspiration for Ike Godsey's store is nearby, albeit it's just a gas station and convenience store.

The Waltons were always going to Rockfish to do business. We visited the "real" Rockfish, which is nothing more than a closed post office and a sign near some railroad tracks.

Why do we have such fond memories of "The Waltons" and why did we go in search of the Hamner "remnants" in Schuyler? The show was comforting and portrayed so much of what I find precious and missing from our society today.

Not too much out there now that can touch our lives and hearts like "The Waltons" did and still can.

Incidentally, while in Charlottesville I found a first edition Earl Hamner novel entitled "You Can't Get There From Here" published in 1965, long before "The Waltons."
And Mr. Hamner was kind enough to respond to an email from me telling him about my book "The Little Grownup: a nostalgic Michigan Boyhood." He seems to be a very nice man who seems as endearing as his television show. I found a great interview with him you might enjoy here.

Behind the scenes in Schuyler, all is not as "happy ending" as most Waltons stories. The Waltons Mountain Museum apparently was embroiled in some controversy with Mr. Hamner. He withdrew his support. Luckily for most tourists no one would know as they can immerse themselves in this piece of nostalgic Americana. Click here to listen to the theme music and see some classic characters from this show.

And you also might enjoy Earl Hamner's blog, which is also here on blogspot.

Pics above: pic of Ma and Pa Walton next to the radio at the Waltons Mountain Museum; The Earl Hamner House across from the museum; my wife Heike in front of the museum as we enjoy a picnic, and the former post office in Rockfish, Virginia

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