Newspaper Archive of
Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
September 20, 1990     Mountain Messenger
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September 20, 1990

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8B The Mountain Messenger, Thursday, September 20, 1990 Lyle Sanders lived three streets over from me in the old- est part of town on a steeply sloped lot. He and his wife Bev- erly bought tile place forty-five years ago for $5,000. Sanders, a shy, silent man, seemed boister- ous compared to his reclusive wife. He did all the shopping so you rarely saw her in town. About the only time you'd catch a glimpse of Beverly was in her yard, but she hadn't always been a hermit. Her two sons to whom she had devoted her life simply hadn't turned out. When she fi- nally realized they were ne'er-do- wells, she gave up wanting to go anywhere; nothing seemed worth the effort. If she stayed home, at least it was quiet. Sanders was a landscape architect. It had taken forty years, but his house and land colnprised a small masterpiece. He could have given Russell Page or Frank Lloyd Wright a run Ibr their money. His mind was always terracing, clipping, hedging, opening up views as soon as he looked at a piece of land. He shaped the world land- scape in his head. But that was his vocation, not his work; in re- ality, he'd spent fifteen years of his life commuting weekly to Washington, D.C., as a bureau- crat in the Department of Inte- rior. Mr Sanders exercised little c'ontrol over his career. He knew better th,-m to let work interfere with life. Work was work. His passion lay in garden design. Actually he wasn't a plant nut al all. The choice of bloom and foliage was totally secondary to the lay of the land, to building different heights of Interest, hidden cor- ners of pleasure. He had turned his small frame house with a plain grass yard into a rambling series of rooms and studios. Ivy and wisteria arched around it in just the right places. He had built a flagstone terrace with fountain and retain- ing wall off the back of the house. Several terraces loomed above the wall until the yard flattened out. The studio climbed up the hill to meet the level yard. Walkways, boxwood hedges led the visitor to the open porch at the back of the studio. Inside rattan chairs and a ceiling-hung swing provided the seating. In the summer months Sanders put a worn oriental carpet on the floor with huge silk embroidered pillows, tie liked to think of it as the Indian Nook. He feared this bower approached being too trendy, but forgave himself since it was invisible to anyone but himself and his wife. Sometimes they'd drink their coffee there In the early morning or cocktails in the late afternoon. Most of the beauty, in fact, of Mr Sander's property could not be seen from tile street. It was not thai he didn't want to share --- he simply had no need to. Lyle's was a private covenant. His house sat at the top of the small hill. Originally it had been a white frame, six-room box, so indistlnctive it would have fit anywhere in smalltown USA. It was not his nature to sell or trade, however, so when the chil.- dren were gone and they could afford a larger house in a better neighborhood, it never occurred to him to move. Mr Sanders, by nature, was an improver. His real pleasure came from creating harmony in the landscape wherever he hap- pened to be. He had no longing for prefabricated beauty in which he might only play the role of spectator. Nor did he have the need to hurry. He Worked slowly, patiently /br forty years on his six-rooin house. It evolved neither from how-to books nor from pre-packaged kits from Moore's. It grew from the percep- tive eye arid feel of Sanders' early morning stroll around his house. Each day when it first began to grow light, Sanders toured his estate, coffee mug in hand. He walked a snail's pace; he wasn't there for the exercise. He stopped often to take measure- ments and perspectives in his heacl. His imagination worked best in the gray silence of morn- ing. He conjured the lengths of stone walls, envisioned alpine sedums and mosses in the crev- ices. 'l\vo years later from week- end labor the wall would materi- alize. He would stand at the bottom of the hill on the sidewalk look- ing up at his house, mentally pushing out a bay window with a copper roof or building two dormers on the second floor. He already saw the "Gloire de France" rambler sweeping around them. Ten years later gold roses would be blooming over the pitched roofs just as he had imagined. Lyle Sanders is one of the few people I have known totally un- afflicted with the modern desire " for ovenlight success. His gratifi- cation could not be rushed. The pleasure lay in the doing, tn the natural evolving from plain to lovely. He never owned a watch. With the quiet pace of the crafts- man, he Rdt his way over the land, a potter at his wheel, shap- ing and turning the earth. He worked beyond pride, beyond congratulations, beyond happi- ness, until there was no friction in his yard. Ms Powell Named "Bellringer" Phyllis Powell of Frankford has been named Mental Health Bellringer Chairperson for the October 6-October 20 fund rais- ing campaign, announced by Dr Mildred Bateman, President of the Mental Health Association in West Virginia. "The Mental health Association is the oldest and largest citizens' volunteer organization in the United States fighting mental illness and pro- moting mental health," said Dr. Bateman. "Since the organiza- tion is non-governmental, its en- tire support must come from contributions, such as those col- lected during the drive," accord- ing to Dr Bateman. To Own At 645-STAR News, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Barry N. Barlow. a 1979 gradu- ate of Greenbrler West High School, of Charmco, recently participated in Operation "Sharp Edge" while serving aboard the destroyer USS Peterson, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia. "Sharp Edge," a non-combat- ant evacuation operation, was organized to initiate protection of American citizens and foreign nationals from the Port City of Buchanan and U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. The operation was the largest conducted by the Nax3r and Ma- rine Corps team which placed more than 100 American citizens and 1,600 foreign nationals aboard the ships participating in the Joint Task Force. Barlow joined the navy in March 1980. Navy Seaman Apprentice Rita K. Bragg, daughter of Hampton L. and Virginia G. Bragg of 104 Spring St., White Sulphur Springs, has completed recruit training at Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida. During Bragg's eight-week training cycle, she studied gen- eral military subjects designed to prepare her for further academic and on-the-job training in one of the Navy's 85 basic fields. Her studies included seaman- ship, close order drill, naval his- tory and first aid. Personnel who complete this course of instruc- tion are eligible for three hours of college credit in Physical Edu- cation and Hygiene. A 1989 graduate of Green- brier East High School, Bragg joined the Navy in April 1990. Navy Seaman Recruit John W. Gregory, son of James C. and Ada P. Gregory of Lewisburg, has completed recruit training at Re- cruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida. During Gregory's eight-week training cycle, he studied general military subjects and on-the-job training in one of the Navy's 85 basic fields. A 1980 graduate of Greenbrter East High School, Gregory joined the Navy in April 1990. His wife Brenda, is the daughter of Louis and Leta Red- den of Rupert. 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