Home > Uncategorized > Penniman.


Yesterday, a dear friend called to remind me that I had a lecture in the afternoon at a Williamsburg library. Fortunately, I remembered to attend THIS lecture!

The 50-mile drive on I-64W was uneventful, which is a little miracle unto itself. I left two hours early, just to be safe.

Moments before the start of my Penniman lecture, I was sitting just outside of the meeting room and ruminating. Not good. I realized that lecturing had become quite hard these days. Before The Bad Thing™ I absolutely loved lecturing.

Minutes before the lecture began, I developed a severe case of the shakes and was light-headed. I was a hot mess. It seemed as though I had two choices before me:

1) Walk out of the building and simply accept that my lecturing days were over, or,

2) Take a couple Valium so that I could calm down enough to perform.

As I sat there debating my options, I saw an old friend walk toward the meeting room. I called out his name, and he came over and sat down with me. I told him I was thinking about going home, and he said all the right things. He was an angel that appeared at just the right moment.

I survived the lecture and there was a good crowd. Many attendees said very nice things. I’m grateful for every word. One woman purchased five books. That was wonderful.

After the lecture, my “angel friend” and his wife invited me to join them (and another couple) for dinner. It turned out to be a perfect evening.

As to my future as a lecturer, I’m still deciding. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the Penniman book go mainstream, as my #1 goal from the beginning was (and is) to share the story of the incredible sacrifice and bravery of these Penniman workers.

To learn more about Penniman, click here.


Everything about this story - of a forgotten Virginia village - is uttelry captivating.

Everything about this story - of a forgotten Virginia village - is utterly captivating. How I wish that I was more adept at getting their story out into the world.


I remain hopeful that as time goes on, more will be known about these women and their sacrifice.

I remain hopeful that as time goes on, even more will be known about these women and their sacrifice.


To learn more about Penniman, click here.


  1. Gemma
    May 27th, 2018 at 13:52 | #1

    Hello right back to you, dear Rosie! Very thankful that you had a good crowd!

    And that your evening ended on a good note.

    Might I suggest a snack of some sort — slow dissolving in the stomach and low on the glycemic index — before going for a lecture?

  2. May 27th, 2018 at 14:44 | #2

    That’s probably a very good idea. I went all day without eating a decent meal (due to nerves) and that wasn’t a good plan.

  3. Dale Wolicki
    May 29th, 2018 at 10:10 | #3

    Perhaps you were nervous because this was a lecture on a new topic.

  4. Jenny
    May 31st, 2018 at 12:26 | #4

    I think Dale and Gemma are on the right track.

    A snack and the experience of a previous lecture on Penniman will likely make future lectures easier.

    Penniman is a interesting piece of history and story worth telling.

    I’m glad you ran into a friend there. A familiar face with encouraging words can be so helpful!

    I see “good evening Jen” in the tags.

    Don’t know that it’s referring to me, but I’m going to imagine that it is and spend the rest of the day dancing around going “I was mentioned (in the tags) of a famous blog!”

  5. May 31st, 2018 at 17:08 | #5

    Of course, it was a “shout-out” to one of my top-three favorite commenters! :D
    Thanks so much for the kind words. Every jot and tittle is always deeply appreciated.

  6. Penny Clarke
    July 14th, 2018 at 21:52 | #6

    I’d love to see this fascinating story shared on Atlas Obscura! https://www.atlasobscura.com/faq#question2

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