Be sure to scroll down when you see this picture.

Magic Margot Shoebox is a collection point for all that I hold dear - and that's a lot. My recent inspiration is Don Floyd's new blog thecaptainandthomasine.

The original title of my blog "Chihuahuas for Change" popped into my head two years ago when I was looking for a place to "store" all the information I accumulated on Sarah Palin. I've since dumped that information as others have done a far better job researching and accumulating.

Life is about change and since I have darling Libby the chihuahua the title seems to still be fresh.


One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.

"Nullius in verba" Take no one's word for it.
Do your own research.

Success if going from one failure to the next with enthusiasm. Winston Churchill




I told you this is a shoebox and we all know that we simply put stuff into a shoebox in no particular order. That's how things are going to appear here. When something whaps me over the head you will be the first to know.

Right now, I want to tell you about my favorite blog in the whole wide world - Margaret and Helen. Hope you go read their post called "I can see November" - while there note their statistics. A grandson set this site up and it's been around the world several times. Margaret and Helen have been friends for over sixty years and counting.

Don Floyd and I have been friends for more than thirty years and counting. We first became pen pals in the late 70's. We are cousins and share a passion for genealogy. My major project this year was helping Don get his book "The Captain and Thomasine" published. Will give you more details in later post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


My father was a strong influence in my life.  He died in 1978.  I wrote him to bring him up to date.

Margot Woodrough
4801 Osprey Drive South #604
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
727-906-8102            727-906-8102     
Fax 727-906-8302

May 4, 2011

Attention: Herman C. Vollmer

Dear Dad,

For many years you and I kept up a letter writing relationship.  I’ve saved all of them – both yours and mine, and someday one of my heirs, if I ever get any will go through them.  At the moment your lineage stops with Page and Steve, but there is still time for them to have children.

I missed writing to you in the twenty-one years since you died.  I haven’t written, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of you.  I think of you often as you are the reason I have so many diverse interests in life.  In fact, I’m a bit like you.  I know a little about many things and can talk to anyone about almost any topic.  I do go blank when it comes to sports, but that wasn’t your big interest either was it?  Why, just last year I was standing in the Smithsonian Castle building looking at a display showing the city of Washington.  Beside me was a young black boy who seemed interested.  I engaged him in banter then told him the story about “Tunlaw” street being Walnut spelled backwards.  Page and Mark, Mark is her new husband, were there and heard the story as well so you see one never knows what will get passed along through the generations.

Lately, I’ve been telling everyone the story of how you always told me I was so lucky because I would live to see the Millennium.  I remember thinking when you said it that that was fine, but I would be so old (57) when it happened that I wouldn’t care and probably couldn’t even breath enough to celebrate.  Well, here we are at T-29 days and counting and I’m still very much alive.  I don’t feel much older than a wise thirty-five, and still zip around fairly well.  I walk two miles everyday.  I am a bit pudgier than I ever have been, but keep thinking that I’ll take care of that one day.  Steve and I are still married and both Page and Steve are grown and successful.  You are in their hearts and we continue to speak of you.  A few years ago Stevie went to Washington and visited 4740 Bradley Blvd.  Its still there, but just as you suspected it went condo.  Guess that means you got out just in time.

The big news is that Steve and I just returned from a trip to Washington and I though you would like to hear about it.  It was on this trip that I thought to write you a Millennium letter since I’m sure you would want to hear the news of Washington.  We flew into National airport.  You would be amazed at how much it looks the same.  Actually, it is just about to change dramatically as the old terminal is completely gutted with only the shell remaining.  Our flight arrived at the old north terminal.  Just a ghost of the old place is there for those who once knew it.  A stranger would think the whole place new.  Actually, most of it is – new and glitzy.  The most incredible thing is that its no longer called National Airport.  No kidding, they renamed it Ronald Regan National Airport!  Bet you wonder why they named it after an actor and a third rate one at that.  You missed the 1980’s when we actually elected RR as president for two terms.  No kidding and everyone thought he was wonderful.  He is still alive today in body, but his mind is shot.  He suffers from Alzheimer’s disease (don’t think they had invented that when you were here) so that he doesn’t know which end is up.  Some say he’s probably had the Alzheimer’s longer than we know – as he tended to drift off even while President.

I must say though that the drive from the airport looks just as it always has, and in fact, in many ways the city is unchanged.  We flew up the Potomac River on the Virginia side crossing the bridge that carried 301 south.  The approach took us up to “Little River Falls” where we turned south east and followed the river down to the airport.  We passed over Roosevelt Island (had they built the memorial to him when you were here?)  It was a lovely trip up the river as we could see the city below, but it looked so small.  I could pick out landmarks but only because I knew what to look for.  The biggest landmark, the Washington Monument, it not its usual self so was a bit blurry – more about that later.

Steve dropped me off at the Library of Congress for a bit of research while he attended his meeting.  You wouldn’t believe what I had to do to be admitted to the research room.  Red tape and bureaucracy and more of the same.  I had to sit at a computer and enter all kinds of data about myself to get a researcher’s card.  You don’t know about computers either do you – at least not the ubiquitous ones we have nowadays.  I never thought I would get a library card from the Library of Congress, and if I’d know that was what they were up to when they took my picture I would have smiled.  As it was I glowered since I was tired of being harassed.

Our first night in Washington we had dinner at “The Monocle” which is THE place to be on “the hill” as they say.  Neat place with red walls and lovely witty phrases written like a border around the cornice of the room.  (I was dying to copy some of them down, but didn’t want to look like a tourist.)  We definitely felt like “insiders” dining here.  We drove from “the hill” to Arlington to “The Virginian” for the night.  Washington is such a lovely town especially at night.  I am so glad that I grew up here and know the place.

The next day I returned to the Library of Congress then walked from the Capitol (pass the Botanical Gardens which by the way are completely gutted and in a state of renovation) to my favorite building in all the world, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.  Whenever I am there I feel the closeness of your spirit.  What do you know of the building?  I doubt you ever visited it when it was finished, but I bet you lurked around at some part of its construction watching.  I am with you so much in the building because its interior is like a Cathedral.  There is an essential atmosphere of serenity and order in this place as I’ve not found in any other building I’ve experienced.  It is particularly dear to me since your family went there on the Sunday after your funeral.  The building had just opened and was sparkling new and fresh.  We toured an exhibit called “Splendors of Dresden” and had lunch in a wonderful little café tucked in the back of the uppermost level.  From the restaurant we could watch the Alexander Calder mobile turn silently on its axis in the breeze.  It was a beautiful building in 1978 and remains so today.  Last February I was there with Page and introduced her to the delights of the architecture.  We took a creative picture at the glass pyramid that stands between the East and West wing.  I use this as the cover picture for my family web page.

Web Page – that’s a new term for you isn’t it?  How you would have loved and hated the concept of the WWW.  You would have loved the technology that brought the WWW to us, but would have been quick to point out how it intrudes on our freedom.  Yes, it does and I fear that one or two generations in the future there could be significant intrusion onto our liberties.  I doubt you would have wanted a computer for you were too happy just reading the Encyclopedia Britannica one by one.  I remember when you died and I went to your apartment I found that some volumes were right side up and some upside down.  I know that the upside down ones were the ones you had read.  We don’t have books any more.  I doubt its possible to buy them.  Now the encyclopedias are stored on CD-ROM which are tiny little silver disks that can hold a whole shelf on one little disk.  Annette has a computer and uses it rather well.  She is still very opinionated, bright, and interested in politics.  Steve set her up a little stock account and she loves watching her money grow.  She cannot get around too well, but she manages.  I try not to baby her – but to be there when she needs help.

Her sister, Shug will turn 100 years old next March.  The family is remarkably long lived.  Speaking of family, I’ve been dabbling with genealogy for over twenty years now.  I found a researcher who took the Vollmers back to the 1600’s.  Last year I framed the shoe making tools that the Vollmers used for their shop in Annapolis.  Best of all I visited Georgetown and spent the day soaking up its charm.  Let me tell you about a truly splendid fall day.

Since it was Sunday we decided to attend Mass at Holy Trinity.  I’ve never been there and this seemed to be a good opportunity for a visit.  We parked just north of Visitation Convent and walked several blocks to church.  The day was one of those blue-sky brilliant fall days that stick forever in ones memory lying just below the surface ready to surface at the slightest whiff of damp fall leaves.  We were not alone walking, and watching the other pedestrians made me think this must have been how you and your neighbors reached church each Sunday – on foot.  Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving there was a large food drive being conducted on the sidewalk in front of the church.  Inside there was hardly a seat, but we were able to sneak in right on the aisle.  What a glorious church we saw.  The coloring of grey and white is elegantly restrained and the stained glass windows truly glowed in the fall light.  On this last really superior fall day of the 20th century we felt truly excited to be in this church , a place that had been important to the Vollmer and Ogle family for close to two hundred years.  The best was yet to come though.  I remarked to Steve about the beauty of the crucifix and the man in front of us turned to say, “be sure you see the one in the restored old church – today is the dedication day”.  Well, just how lucky could we get?  I wonder what you know of the old church.  Obviously it was old when you were young for its described as the oldest church in Washington, D.C.  There it sits about twenty-five feet above the street and behind the newer church.  The old church has been exquisitely restored with a very modern flare.  The beams are exposed above, it is lit with small intense track lights and on the floor is an exquisite Turkish carpet.  What a jewel it has become!  I wish you could have been there to see it.

Afterwards we walked up to “Whiskey” Ave (as you used to call Wisconsin Avenue) and found a “hole in the wall” place for breakfast to get energy for sightseeing.  The Ginko trees were all in “full yellow” and we picked up leaves and pressed them in the church bulletin as souvenirs of our day and as a “gift” to our Thanksgiving hostess next Thursday.  What a joy it was to walk the streets of Old Georgetown as the leaves drifted to the street in breeze.  This was the perfect culmination of an almost perfect year for us.  Somehow, the earth seems more at peace than ever.  Yes, there are places that are horrible, but I think we are making slow progress.  I’m even told that our population explosion may reverse itself before it does us in.

For the Woodrough family it has been a good time.  Steve finished his big case against the FDIC in March with an unprecedented settlement.  For the balance of the year he has been employed with a follow-up lawsuit.  The stock market has been doing very well and both Page and Steve seem happily married.  Annette continues to be herself and except for not being able to walk well is in great shape.  Yes, it is the last quarter of the 20th century, and every indication is that we will make it through to the new year.  We’ll make it through if the Y2K bug doesn’t get us that is.

You don’t know about that bug do you.  How could you, since computers were not that big when you were here.  Let me keep this short by saying that computer programs were written with little thought as to what a computer would make of a date ending in 00.  About five years ago we started worrying that computers might think this was 1900 not 2000 and shut down.  Let me tell you, it turned out to be a really big problem.  Do you remember how you told me what big parties would happen at the year 2000?  Well, there will be some big ones that’s for sure, but the younger people won’t be there.  All the young workers are ‘standing by” their employers computers on New year’s Eve 1999 waiting to go into action if things start collapsing.  No kidding!  Talk about your basic “kick in the head”.  As for us, we now live in St. Petersburg Florida where it is warm.  We have a boat and plan to celebrate in the town’s “First Night” party which is an incredibly big street party.  Page and Mark are coming as are Mark’s parents.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that Mark made Major this year.

By the way, some other crazy things are happening.  Our last president of the 20th century is about to leave office after two terms.  I could write a book about him, but will keep it simple by saying that this time last year he was impeached and acquitted.  Now, catch this, his wife is about to move out of the White House to New York to a place she calls “my house” and she is running for the Senate from New York. 

I have wandered a long way from Georgetown trying to give you a flavor of the times.  We spent the whole glorious afternoon of November 21 walking the lovely old streets using the little Washington guidebook you sent me years ago.  Finally, at 2:00 we entered Dumbarton Oaks, my second favorite place in the world.  We felt as though we had the gardens to ourselves, and wandered and sniffed and stared at the glorious colored leaves. The pebble garden is there.  I remember when it was once the tennis court and I remember you taking me there as it was being built.  I almost cried to have to leave.  In fact, I found a wonderful house where I would like to live and took a picture of it.  I’m sure we couldn’t afford it, but what fun to think about it. 

I scheduled a trip to the Folger Library to see a play.  At least I thought that was what I was doing.  When we got to the Folger we discovered that fifteen years ago the old Lansburgh building was turned into The Shakespeare Theater.  What fun!  We had dinner at a restaurant right next to the theater.  In fact, our table was right inside the former display window of Lansburgh’s.  I told Steve about how Mom Mom would come downtown to shop before there were K-Marts and Wall Marts and suburban Malls.

Speaking of Malls, you wouldn’t believe the one across Lee Highway from Tyson Corner.  We dropped in as we were out touring the places we lived when we were in Washington.  First we went to Kent-Lincolnia where Stevie was born.  Its all black now.  Then we went to Colony Road.

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