(From left) Anne Bernhardy, Lee Vason and Dinny Addison speak at a panel on growing up in Blowing Rock during Jerry Burns Day on June 18 at the American Legion Building in Blowing Rock.
BLOWING ROCK – In honor of the late Jerry Burns, the Blowing Rock Historical Society hosted a panel of three sisters who grew up in Blowing Rock from the 1940s to 1960s. The event took place in the American Legion Building on June 18.
Dinny Addison holds up old pictures from her childhood days in Blowing Rock.
Burns was the editor of Blowing Rocket from 1965 to 2009 and was a historian and chronicler of the people of Blowing Rock. A plaque in front of a White Oak in Blowing Rock, dedicated to Burns, reads: “Jerry’s love for Blowing Rock encouraged us, his example made us better and left deep footprints that we can follow.”
Janice Burns, the wife of Jerry Burns, said he loved blowing rock since he was born and raised there.
“After his death, the city council called his birthday, June 18, Jerry Burns Day,” said Janice Burns. “The historical society decided because Jerry was so preoccupied with the history of Blowing Rock that they would bring a spokesman or an old family early to share their memories of the history of Blowing Rock.”
Greg and Debra Nichols look at photos of Lee Vason, Anne Bernhardt and Dinny Addison during Jerry Burns Day.
Guest speakers at the 2021 event were sisters Lee Harper Vason, Anne Harper Bernhardt, and Dinny Harper Addison, who grew up in blowing rock from the 1940s to 1960s.
One story Bernhardt told was when they lived near one of the holes on a golf course.
Janet Stout, Jenny Milly and Janice Burns at the Jerry Burns Day Panel.
“Golfers hit the highway and couldn’t see very far or see where the golf ball was going,” Bernhardt told the small crowd of about 50 who had gathered in the American Legion building. “The ball sometimes landed in the rough, but sometimes it landed beautifully right in front of our house. And for each of these golf balls we could get 25 cents from our daddy. “
Bernhardt laughed and told the crowd that they would go and just pick up the golf ball where it was.
“The best part of the whole process was listening to the golfers who came by and said, ‘George, I could have sworn the ball landed on the green,'” said Bernhardt.
Vason, at the refusal of her sisters, recounted how they sometimes took golf balls and tried to throw them at cars that crossed a golfer’s bridge but never made it to a car due to poor aiming.
The sisters also remembered a friend of theirs who often told them a story about how their grandfather often went from Lenoir to Blowing Rock.
Old photos of Lee Vason, Anne Bernhardt, and Dinny Addison show what it was like to grow up in blowing rock in the 1940s to 1960s.
“I got so tired of hearing this story that we said, ‘Okay, we’ll do it. We’ll run from Lenoir to Blowing Rock, ‘”said Bernhardt. “So we hired this guy – this funny guy who had a big old Cadillac – and he drove us down and let us out on the outskirts of Lenoir.”
And they went on to Blowing Rock.
“It wasn’t fun, let me tell you,” said Bernhardt.
The walk from Lenoir to Blowing Rock is about 20 miles, Bernhardt said, adding that it took about eight hours.
The sisters also had old photos from their time growing up in the American Legion room where the panel was held. The sisters also held up certain pictures while telling stories.
Janice Burns feels wonderful when people come together on June 18 to remember their husband.
“It keeps him alive,” said Janice Burns. “It’s emotional. It is good to know that he is remembered and that his contributions will be remembered. “