It sure is a beautiful day here in historic downtown Lexington, VA. The sun is shining, there are a few clouds, but they are moving right along in the autumn breeze. I’d like to direct you to a wonderful calendar for this weekend’s activities, as I’m sure there are plenty! This calendar of events is brought to us by the Visitor’s Center, right down Washington Street from our office. I’m switching formats a little today because I would like to talk a little bit about a wonderful gem of a person that Lexington lost yesterday, Kathleen Little Painter. Kathleen was a native of Rockbridge County and by talking to you about her, I can also talk about our wonderful town, which she adored!
Kathleen worked at James Lees, which later became Burlington Industries, for many, many years and I used to take the carpool with her. The factory was in Glasgow, VA and took about 20 or so minutes each way. Kathleen and her carpool, would go to work after they dropped me off at my baby sitters, and would pick me up on their way home. I was part of the carpool!!! Kathleen also worked at Washington & Lee University in Washington Hall as the switchboard operator on the weekends. Now when I say switchboard operator, I mean with the headset and the board with the cords for each extension! I would walk downtown to visit on Saturday’s and she would let me pull the cords to disconnect a call, wow, were those exciting times – and I do really mean that!!
When Kathleen retired from Burlington she worked at Mead Associates, which was located in downtown Lexington, VA and I had the pleasure of working with her for 13 years, even though she had been there many years before I started! For a brief time we carpooled to this job also, this time around me being a co-worker and not just a rider! Kathleen ended each of her calls with a, “Thank ya”, in that sweet southern voice of hers.
I also heard stories of Kathleen working at the R.E. Lee Hotel, back in the day! The R. E. Lee Hotel has recently had a makeover and when Kathleen toured the finished hotel, I got to hear many of her stories of when she worked there.
Kathleen really loved Lexington, VA and she sure loved W&L also, she even rented several of her rooms in her house to students. Lots of them have still kept in contact with her over the years. Kathleen kept up with the history of Lexington, and the families that have lived here for many years. She was a wealth of knowledge and if you ever needed a phone number, she would have it, you just had to call her and ask.
I know the Lexington and Rockbridge County area will miss Kathleen greatly and I will too, as she was my Grandmother. I was so lucky to have such a sweet and helping person to call Gram!!!
Thanks for letting me share some memories!!