1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Miss Cottie Fitzpatrick of Kerr’s Creeks, Virginia
John McCurdy 7-07

One did not willingly get behind Miss Cottie and her mother when they were making one of their weekly trips from Kerr’s  Creek to Lexington on the Midland Trail.  Dressed as they had dressed for years, long skirts, long sleeves, large hats, gloves that came up nearly to their elbows, a dusting of white talcum powder on their pale parchment-like faces. Miss Cottie drove the large 1946 four-door sedan, a Packard of course, very carefully and very slowly. There was no reason for them to hurry, to be in any rush, whatever it was would wait for Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Miss Fitzpatrick! 

Each Sunday they drove the six miles into Lexington to the Presbyterian Church, past the New Monmouth Presbyterian Church that once they attended. The reasons now, after these long years, still as fresh in their minds as yesterday,  the minister at the time had uttered something that offended them, they never forgave him or the congregation that embraced him. Past the old Swisher house and the home of Tom Kerr; they likely met the Lackeys and the Moore’s and the McCorkle’s of Whistle Creek coming to the services at New Monmouth. Parking on Main Street in front of the Lexington Presbyterian Church they entered quietly, spoke to few of the other attendees, paid their respects to God, and almost at once after the services they returned to their home  as slowly and deliberately as they had, just a few hours before, gone to the church, once again meeting the same folks they had met on the road when they had traveled the other way! 

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was the widow of the original owner of the John D. Fitzpatrick General Store. now owned and operated by her son William E. Fitzpatrick. Her other son, Homer had gone west to seek his fortune, Miss Cottie remained at home with her mother in the old two story farmhouse.  Each Sunday afternoon Mr. Willie would drive his freshly washed  new Buick sedan slowly up the way to visit his mother and Miss Cottie, his sister. He went alone, for it was said his sister and mother had never approved of his marriage to Miss Valle.  She was an Engleman and she had been previously married, you know.  

The ladies Fitzpatrick tended a garden and spent each day in meaningful pursuits, gardening, as they had driven, in their sun-bonnet and long sleeves and gloves, never allowing the sun to reach their hands or face,  they canned the produce they raised, as they had always done, tended the flock of chicken and geese,  and spent the evening hours listening to the Victrola or the radio and reading or doing needlework.   

Miss Cottie and her mother would make periodic trips on a Saturday to the General Store of the late Mr. John, they would graciously accept the good wishes of any other patrons who might be in the store, they would give Mr. Billie their order, perhaps ask to look at some of the selection of fabrics that the store carried and then take their leave, Mr. Billie’s assurances that he would bring personally their order the following day, fresh in their ears.  

One of the many geese that made the farm their home had attached himself to Miss Cottie, he followed her around much like a heart-struck lover, waiting at the back porch door for her in the morning and escorting her back to the house upon her return.  In the years that came and went Bill Goose, for that was the name he gradually came affectionately to have been given,  became a third member of the household.  He was now a house goose and as time wore further on Bill began to accompany Miss Cottie, each night, to her chambers and sleep on the foot of her bed, on guard and protecting his dear friend.  

The Mother passed away and Miss Cottie and Bill Goose, like  old, long-married husband and wife,  settled into the twilight years of their lives. Miss Cottie did not feed the chickens for several days and when inquiring relatives came to investigate they found her, just as they had always known they would, dead in her bed.  Bill Goose protested mightily when they removed her body and did not want to leave his mistress of almost a quarter of a century, but it was to be only a temporary separation. On  Miss Cotties bureau were papers directing  that Bill Goose be put to sleep and placed at her feet in her coffin and that he should accompany her in what was likely her first great adventure.  Miss Cottie and Bill  were buried in the cemetery of New Monmouth Presbyterian Church, as was her Mother and Father.