Think of Augusta, Georgia when someone says that name? I’m sure that’s common and unavoidable with the city’s proximity to major destinations and claims to fame like James Brown. But if you’d grown up in my part of West Virginia, you’d know it as a name for this region too. In fact, when the leaders were voting on a name for the new state they were creating by seceding from Virginia, Augusta was one of several proposed names. I’ve always been a little sad that “West Virginia” won the vote by such a landslide, actually. I understand why they chose it since many of them still felt close ties to Virginia which had been their birth place. However, after a life time of people asking me where I’m from only to have them exclaim, “I LOVE Virginia Beach – we go there all the time!” or introduce me as being “from Virginia” from then on, I do wish we had a more unique name.
Names are powerful; they create a sense of place, of home. The men who voted for West Virginia didn’t want to loose that sense of home. Even before them, the name Augusta was chosen by people who wanted to feel close to a past home that was very far away. The county of Virginia and the region west of there where I’m from were named Augusta after the Princess of Wales, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (there’s a name for ya’). So, even though I couldn’t love my state any more if it were to be named something like Kanawha or Allegheny (especially since those are appropriations…but this isn’t a post about that!), the names we have for places we call home are super important and meaningful. And for the past year, every time I hear the name Augusta, I think of an additional place that has become a very special part of home to me, the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College.
Last summer, I was so incredibly honored and thrilled to teach a week long weaving class at the Center. And despite all good sense, they have invited me back for another class THIS summer!! As I’ve been preparing for the class, I suddenly realized I’d never posted anything here about it. Crazy given how much I adored everything about the experience. If you’ve never heard of this fabulous place and all the amazing learning and celebrating going on there, treat yo’ self to a wander around their website and facebook…go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back…
Right?! Amazing! Not only did I get to talk about weaving all day with some absolutely delightful and phenomenal students (that’s weaving by my student at the top of the post), but I also got to hear (and dance) to world-class blues and old-timey music all night IN a beautiful gorgeous setting. This was my view as I walked to class EVERY day.
Yup. Superlatives fail me. But I can say that I am incredibly proud that this place exists as part of my home – Augusta. West Virginia. If you have nothing better to do July 22-26th (and really could you have?), consider joining me for another week long (pretentious to say “life” long, cause it’s gonna stay with you) learning experience! I’d love to see you there!