Joe is a former chemist,
military officer and recently retired chemistry teacher. Fond
childhood memories of having been raised in a very rural
setting lingered into his adult life.
Remembering the sweet fragrance from mixed pine and
hardwood foliage after a rain, hay curing in the field and the
summer lullabies of Bobwhites and whip-poor-wills calling,
changed an inner yearning to return to the land of his
ancestors to an obsession.
In 1973, he answered the sirens call and moved his
wife, two young children and beloved Old English sheepdog into
a newly built home on a farm in rural, western Amelia County,
VA. Destiny was
being fulfilled. Now
his son and daughter could experience the same closeness with
nature and priceless rewards of simple pleasures that had been
a part of his upbringing.
Next, Joe directed his energy to
rediscovering his family’s heritage. He became committed to
learning details about the people, rural culture, antique
memorabilia and especially the rich history that was entwined
with his mother’s family.
Gradually, Joe began to realize that each adventure of
discovery was indeed, akin to a trip back through time.
Preserving this heritage was viewed as a moral
Some have asked why Joe Lively
went to the trouble of writing this book. There is a simple
“So that when my children and grandchildren read or
hear about these stories, they will understand that they too,
have a heritage. In fact, these simple tales comprise the
glue, which binds us all together.”
Many readers have asked about
when this information was accumulated, the sources and the
development of style.
Style of writing is always a personal thing, but a
guideline was established from the beginning.
No matter if the reader were a child or adult, the
format would require simple, understandable, everyday dialect
of real people. In
all cases, the greatest resource has been the rich experience
of elderly people. Often
the elderly storyteller could not read or write.
In most instances, copious note taking was required or
use of a small recorder (discretely held) was used to capture
and preserve the event. Since many of these sources would
pass away, long before this record could be published, the
message itself was always given more weight than an
academically perfected style.
Predestination and serendipity
may also have played a role. Joe vividly remembers
accompanying his dad as he talked with former slaves, former
Confederate soldiers and ordinary people who endured the
turbulent times of civil war and reconstruction. These sources
were very old. Little Joe was very young. But
the stories of adventure, survival skills practiced and simple
pleasures enjoyed enchanted a young child. These stories then,
were the seeds. The
fruit offered to you is this preserved record of a rich
heritage that binds us all together.
Enjoy and share the experience of time travel.