Nelson County, VA
90 years ago today Earl Hamner, Jr came into this world. He was born, at then, a small medical hospital clinic in Schuyler, Virginia.
I have become friends with Earl Hamner over the past 8 years. I first talked to him back in July 2005 when a theater was opened in his honor here in Nelson. (The Hamner Theater has since transitioned out here in Nelson, but remains on a traveling circuit in Central Virginia. I’ll never forget it. I’d placed a call to his cell phone, left a message, and not long after that he called back. I was having lunch at (the now closed) Anderson’s Grocery in Avon. The voice sounded just like the one we’ve all become accustomed to during the intro to The Walton’s and as it closed.
It’s always easy for me to remember Earl’s birthday, ironically it falls on my and Yvette’s anniversary. Subtract 80 years from his birthdate and you have what we are celebrating this year!
Over the years we became good friends and have stayed in touch often either by email or telephone. Earl has occasionally penned several articles in our magazine over the years as well.
“Received the latest issue of Blue Ridge Life. I was thrilled and gratified to find the story on you know who on Page 30. It was generous of you to include it and I am grateful that you still consider me newsworthy. What a live issue! I wanted to be there and take part in every activity you all wrote about from Mario’s Luncy right down to Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Festival with the rest of the kids,” Earl told me in a recent email about a story we did on him receiving recognition from the Virginia State Legislature.
This has been a tough week for fans of The Waltons. We told you about the death of Joe Conley who played the character of Ike Godsey on the show. He died on Sunday – July 7, 2013
Earl’s health is amazingly good for a man celebrating 90 years on this earth. He’s still active in writing and has recently published several new books in the past several years. He’s genuine, as real as they come, and as nice of a man that that you could ever meet.
Today Earl lives in the Hollywood Hills of California and maintains an office in nearby Studio City.
Happy Birthday Earl, from all of us back here in Nelson!
I’ll sign off as he so often does to me and Yvette, but he uses California instead.
Tommy, Yvette, Adam & Peyton