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Family Time


Family Gathering celebrating our parents 100th birthdays

Winter time is family time for us. The Inn is closed most of January, February, and March. For us, this is the time we use for rest, relaxation, and family.

We went to Florida for some personal time of rest early in the winter, and then took trips to Durham, NC, Wake Forest, NC and Hampton Falls, NH to see all of our boys, their wives, and our two precious granddaughters. Fortunately, we got to spend a good amount of time with each. It was a special and sweet time for us.

But the winter of 2016 was also a time of added significance….. it marked the 100th birthday of my late parents. My mother, Blanche Campbell White was born on February 27, 1916 and my father, Claude Williams White, was born just a few days later on March 4, 1916. So this would have been the centennial birthday year for both. We did the only sensible thing, we threw a 100th birthday party for them here at the inn the weekend of February 26-27. All of my sisters and my brother came as well as most of their children and grandchildren. In all, 28 of us gathered to remember my parents; celebrate their birthdays; study our ancestry; share memories, pictures, memorabilia; and laugh a whole lot. It was a special time and we don’t do it enough.

A couple of weeks later, Lainey and I went to Baltimore for an appointment. Rather than return directly to the inn by way of Interstate 81 in western Virginia, a busy and truck laden road, we decided to come home a different way. We drove down the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel south to Elizabeth City, NC. This was the birthplace and childhood home of my father. We have never known much about my father’s family. His parents, my grandparents, died in 1932 and 1946. Dad tragically died in 1968. We never had much time to discuss his family. But here I was in Elizabeth City and, thanks to a lot of research done by my sister and brother-in-law, we found the gravesite of the grandparents I never knew. Even more astonishingly, we also found the family burial plot of my great-grandparents located in the back of an old cotton field in a very rural area way out of town. I stayed for quite a while, not wanting to leave.

I am convinced, more than ever, that the family is the backbone of our society. It is what hold us together, gives us continuity, instills our values and beliefs, and provides the love, support, and stability we need to cope in the crazy, stress filled world we live. Outside our faith, I believe family is our most important cornerstone that determines who we are and how we live. Gatherings, like we had in February, are crucial to maintaining that connection. And yes, it goes without saying, the contact we have with family needs to be face to face, with hugs, kisses, and lots of smiles. Sorry, social media just doesn’t cut it.
As my boys have moved away from home, married, started their own families and homes, this task becomes more difficult but none the less important. Lainey’s and my role has changed from rearing and instructing our children to playing with and spoiling our grandchildren. But I want my sons and their families to know their family history and heritage. I want them to know about their grandfather, who quit school in the 10th grade, only later to earn a doctorate degree. I want them to know about their grandmothers on both sides who lived lives of love and caring and compassion. I want them to know why Lainey and I are like we are and in turn why they are like they are. I want them to live for the present, prepare for the future, while being ever cognizant of the stock from which they came. I want them to feel the love of our families, generations of them.

These are turbulent times in which we live. Sadly, campaign years seem especially distressing. I encourage you to turn your attention away from ugly discourse filled with insults and hatred and instead turn your eyes to your faith and your family. And I encourage your to spend time with your family as much as possible. We would love to have you visit Hemlock inn, but if you don’t come here, go somewhere where you can be with those your love.

Our best wishes go with each of you and your families. Thank you for sharing time with us over many years.

We will open April 20th for our new season.


  1. Gary & Kathy Byrum says

    Mort you are atrue word smith that speaks from the heart. This attitude and attention to the important things in this life is why we love and cherish the times we have at Hemlock. We remember the time years ago when Kathy read about the inn in Dr. Walt Larrimore’s books and said “that is where I want to go”.
    Love and Blessings to the White Family,
    Gary & Kathy Byrum, Auburndale, Florida

  2. Dawn Martin says

    What a wonderful post! Hope to get up there this year. Dawn and Bud Martin, Winston Salem