A few words about Alice Walsh By Jim Mehne
Alice was a special person. Most of you who knew and worked with Alice on various committees understand what I mean by that statement. She was a force of nature; she was a force to be reckoned with! To say she was highly organized would be a gross understatement. She championed the cause of the Guild and she championed the cause of the museum. Alice devoted 110% effort to everything she did. She approached every job with a keen focus on the objective and determination to succeed. She was active in a number of other pursuits in which I was not personally involved.
Alice was very proud of her children and especially fond of her grandchildren. She knew which ones I had met at one time or another and would regularly share a good story about them when appropriate. Alice was a school teacher and would regularly tell funny stories about the early years. I am sure she was a kind, compassionate, and devoted teacher. I smile when I think back to parent - teacher conferences where I was the subject of heated conversation. I'll bet a parent- teacher conference with Alice Walsh was an event to be remembered. I wish I had just one teacher like Alice!
I honestly cannot recall Alice speaking harshly about anyone.
Well, she was not overly impressed by several politicians, but other than that she was always quick with praise. I once asked her son Russell about growing up under Alice's watchful eye. I think he said she was pretty understanding in most areas but she did not cut either of her sons much slack in the school - work department. I do not recall his exact words but I remember we laughed together about it.
I believe Alice enjoyed the hunt for collectible decoys just as much as her husband Bill. Frequently, while visiting in their home, a particular decoy would become the subject of conversation. Alice would revel in the detail of the circumstances surrounding its acquisition, the location of the auction, and the opposing bidders. Although Alice did not worry too much over lost bids I can assure you she derived great satisfaction from each successful bid. Bill and Alice traveled extensively and visited many interesting and scenic places in search of treasured decoys. She also enjoyed that aspect of the search.
Alice loved her dogs. She enjoyed recounting humorous stories about dogs past and present. I never heard her complain about muddy footprints, at least not from the dogs. Once upon a time I was privileged to be asked to feed her dogs while she was out of town. To be entrusted with the care of her dogs was a high honor I did not take lightly. I remember when one of her favorites died I carved a Bufflehead decoy in remembrance. She held that decoy in her lap and cried. I sat beside her and
suffered right along with her. I recall later telling Russell I would never do that again. Did I mention Alice loved her dogs?
When I think of Alice I always think about food. Whenever Alice heard my wife was out of town she would invite me to eat with them in their home or perhaps in a restaurant. When Bill and I would embark on a road trip we always left with a huge bag of candy, cookies and sometimes a few sandwiches. I also recall a Board meeting at the Walsh residence where platters of food and snacks were passed around the room. That was Alice. She cared, she was a special person, and she was my friend. I value that most of all.
Link here to The Pilot Online
Happy New Year! Another year of success and happiness has passed. With every New Year comes greater challenges and obstacles in life. I wish you courage, hope and faith to overcome all of the hurdles you may face. May you have a great year and a wonderful time ahead! I am eager to spend time in the New Year with you. Last year we got older and slower but we had a good time. Let’s make sure we do the same in this New Year!
I want to thank everyone who answered my request for assistance by providing many wonderful items for our Fall Barbeque and Christmas silent auctions. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
I want to thank everyone for the delicious potluck dishes we all shared at the Christmas Party. I believe everyone had a joyous and enjoyable time
Our first Photos with Santa and the Red Truck was held on December 7, 2019. We had 17 families participate, comprised of Museum members, friends, referrals, and Virginia Beach visitors. We would like to thank Jim Briggs and his Red Truck, Ron and Shawn Form of H2O Waterfront Venues for their photography services, Michael Mauch of Harvest Restaurant for the complimentary hot chocolate and cookies , and Al and Judy Wilder for providing Santa Claus. In addition, we would like to thank the support of the Board members of this event. Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 5, 2020 for our next Photos with Santa and the Red Truck. 2020 will bring a bigger holiday celebration for the Museum.
I hope to see every one of you at the Dine out for the deWitt on January 13, 2020 at IL’Giardino’s Restorante 910 Atlantic Avenue (one block south of the deWitt Cottage). 5:30 – 8:00pm.
Please make you plans now to attend and Please bring some guests with you! I will see you there!
By Mark Cromwell
Fitzhugh Munden, January 8, 1906 – May 31, 1965
Fitzhugh made his living on the water and operated a hunting camp on the beach side of North Back Bay near the little island coast guard station. This is the area South of Sandbridge and North of the Old False Cape Coast Guard Station.
Fitzhugh has only been credited with carving coot decoys. His decoys are made with 2 or 3 piece body construction with peg heads that are dowelled into the body. Also on the top of the body he would groove out the wood from front to tail.
His paint pattern was very simple, white for the bill and tail black for the rest of the decoy.
From the archives of the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, The Virginian –Pilot, Find a Grave.com, and Past editions of The Wildfowler.
As we begin the celebration of our historic home for the museum, we will be taking a journey into the past with a series of articles that explain how the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum found its way into the deWitt Cottage.
EXTENDED FAMILY OF DE WITTS REMEMBERS DAYS GONE BY
For those who knew the de Witt Cottage or even had chance encounters with the de Witt family, the impression left was everlasting, and you came away with something incredibly special. This specialness was not just what was said, who you were with or what you saw it was the picture in its entirety.
“Wittenzand”, or the de Witt Cottage, captures something holistic and venerable.
When at the Cottage, you enjoyed each other's company. simple pleasures, geniality, there were no feelings of wanting to "get away from it all," only an openness of enjoying one another. Even now when you look at the Cottage it's the house, the gardens, with the ocean so near: it all seems to reflect back to the life created, gentle, kind, lost in time, ancestral.
Indeed, when you were there, everything seemed to reach out to you, the house and the people. The cupola, the porch that wrapped the house on three sides, and the wide hallways, where summer breezes flowed
Miss Hity could be found lovingly tending the gardens. It was the one place we tread with what approached reverence. The flowers were every color, size, and shape imaginable, the scents were redolent. The tremendous fig tree was as bonding as the house, ancient, withstanding many a northeastern storm. Boughs that stretched up, then turned up and seemingly clung to the earth. Giving the impression of being heaven sent and well-grounded at the same time. And the figs were like no others.
It was all about having fun and sharing thoughts. The company was grand. It was a custom over a 50 year period (1924-1974) for a person to sign in the pig books. They were titled "some pigs who have eaten at Wittenzand." In over a dozen books, blindfolded friends drew a pig before signing their autographs.
Remembering a stay at the cottage harkens back to a time when conversation and playing games was the essence. You were simply always drawn into part of something. For young and old, there was the treasure trove of comic books, stacked on shelves in a closet that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. The best was picking your favorite reading matter and curling up in one of the ham-mocks in the comer of the porch.
Many was the time we freely roamed the house thinking the sisters knew not where we were. The attic was full of old objects that filled our heads with intrigue and fantasies. And on rare occasions Miss Elizabeth, Miss Ju Ju (Julia) or Miss Katrine would take us up to the cupola, and there the view was expansive - the world was ours - it is the way the sisters always made you feel. The Burnside Children -
Mike, Chris, Diane Burnside Murdock
May 27, 1992
I'm enclosing a contribution for the de Witt Cot-tage Project. Friends have sent me news clippings and a flier on this interesting restoration. My late husband Gibson Dailey and I spent a number of happy summer vacations there 1936-39. Please give my warm regards to Caroline and Peter and to Louisa Kyle.
Barbara White Dailey, Amherst, Massachusetts
Happy 2020 to all the friends of Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum! I want to share my most heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for your continued support of the museum and all that we accomplished in 2019. This coming year is shaping up to be an exciting one! As we move forward into the New Year we will be celebrating the 125th year of the deWitt Cottage!
In the coming months your Board of Directors along with the director, Lynn Hightower, will develop goals and objectives that will support our vision as well as create a more sustainable foundation for the museum. Special events and other programming will be a focus in 2020 as we continue to fundraise, as well as friend-raise. These events will allow members, guests, and visitors to experience the full breadth of the AWHM. Mark your calendars now for Sunday, October 11th as we prepare to host the 125th Birthday of our historic deWitt Cottage.
It is not too late to make a tax-deductible gift to the museum. Please contact Mr. Hightower at 757-437-8432 to make your pledge. Brass plaques and brick pavers are also an option should you wish to honor someone in a more permanent manner.
I again thank each of you and look forward to seeing you at our first “Dine Out for the de Witt” event on January 13th at IL ‘Giardino’s and at the Back Bay Wildfowl Guild membership meeting on February 4th.
We have much to be thankful for as we begin a new decade!
Jason Seward - President