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Friday, 4/6/01 - Into Virginia popeleighey

Left in the misty early morning, out of Maryland, into Virginia. On a previous drive through Northern Virginia, I had seen a sign for a Frank Lloyd Wright home but didn't have time to turn off. Now I had time.

Arrived ten minutes before the next tour of the Pope-Leighey residence. Perfect! The home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in his Usonian style (as in United States of North America) - moderate houses for people of moderate means.

Journalist Loren Pope wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright, requesting a house in six pages of ego-stroking prose to the famous architect. "Dear Frank Loyd Wright: There are certain things a man wants during life, and, of life. Material things and things of the spirit. The writer has one fervent wish that includes both. It is for a house created by you."

FLlW wrote back, "Dear Loren Pope: of course I'm ready to give you a house..." And he proceeded to create a $7500 home for a man without a real penny to his name. Pope had to borrow money from his employer, the local newspaper, to pay for the building. Years later, he sold it to a couple by the name of Leighey, hence the name of the residence today. popeleighey

As the tour was winding down, we were told that Mr. Loren Pope would be stopping by in a few minutes to give a personal tour to some students from Virginia Tech. He was over 90 years old and still kicking. As I left the house after taking several photographs (of the outside only), I encountered Mr. Pope walking down the path.

"May I take your photograph, sir?" I asked, and he agreed.

"What do you do?" he inquired. fallingwater

"I'm a writer," I replied.

"What do you write?" Only then did it occur to me that he was a writer, too.

"About business, computers, the Internet. And now about travel."

He smiled. "Travel. Travel where?"

"Everywhere. But right now about America. I'm driving around the country. That's my RV in the parking lot." I gestured across the way. He smiled again, and we said goodbye.

I drove to Americamps campground in Ashland, Virginia, where I'd been several times before, and later that evening, my sister picked me up from the RV and we went to dinner.

Tomorrow would be another book signing. I feel better in Virginia than I had in Pennyslvania. I'm sure it is just getting used to the RV and has absolutely nothing to do with goegraphy or the two states. Or that one is in the North and the other the South. I'm sure it is not that.

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