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Spreading Lasagna Love in Alexandria

And these volunteers spread the love in Alexandria

Rhiannon Menn (founder of Lasagna Love) preps lasagna with her daughter, Cimorene. (Photo: Rhiannon Menn)

Alexandria, VA – Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lasagna Love has been providing pasta, positivity, and, well, love across America. Founded in 2020 in San Diego, California, by mother and chef Rhiannon Menn, Lasagna Love started with the goal of helping moms impacted by the pandemic.

Today, Lasagna Love has spread across 47 states, coast to coast. In the greater Alexandria area, Lasagna Love counts 120 volunteer chefs who are cooking for countless others.

One chef makes homemade sauce with fresh basil from her own plant. (Photo: Jane Wladar)

The concept is simple: chefs, home bakers, anyone can volunteer to cook a lasagna. Moms, dads, children, parents, families, anyone can request or nominate someone to receive a lasagna. Chefs are matched with recipients. They coordinate a delivery time and place and, voila, love spreads through lasagna.

Lasagna Love can accommodate some food allergies or restrictions. Some chefs have had to get creative with gluten-free noodles, zucchini noodles, and dairy-free cheese.

I spoke with some of Lasagna Love’s volunteer chefs in Alexandria as they shared their stories, processes, and passions for creating good food for good people.

Another chef surprised a client with dessert. (Photo: Helyett Alvarez)

Eileen Murphy said, “What I enjoy about it is getting the whole family involved. I have an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old, and we make it a team effort. The boys enjoy the opportunity to cook, and to know what they’re doing is important to someone else.”

Full-time teacher and part-time lasagna chef Rebecca Culbreth said, “I was matched with a healthcare worker who had been in an accident and was trying to work as many hours as possible but truly was not well. I resonated with this person because of the timing of everything. When you think about human nature, anytime there’s grief, there’s always food. Food is love.”

“It’s not always about whether you can’t afford it. You might just need a break,” Eileen added.

“I love that the philosophy of this is straight from the heart. No questions asked. If you need a meal, we will be happy to make it for you. You don’t have to earn it,” Maria Wasowski said.

Rhiannon started Lasagna Love from just that—lasagna and love. Thanks to the power of social media, Lasagna Love now counts 15,000 volunteer chefs nationwide. In November 2020, it earned 501c3 nonprofit status.

Social media has the power to unite and empower, or simply to comfort people. The Alexandria chefs rave about the support they receive in the Lasagna Love Facebook group. Eileen said, “Somebody posted about their being a chef and that they owned a sauce company, so they provided people with all sorts of sauces. This group not only spreads goodness but also creates opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Lasagnas are easy to bake in bulk, so the love can be spread. (Photo: Helyett Alvarez)

Rebecca said, “It’s a ripple effect. Kindness is contagious, after all.” Lasagna Love allows Alexandrians who want to make an impact a new, simple, and direct way to do it. “It doesn’t have to be a Herculean effort. Just making a meal is a contribution to the bigger picture,” said Volunteer Helyett Alvarez.

Food insecurity is a global problem that the pandemic has exacerbated. Maria concludes, “The pandemic was a good catalyst for this, but Lasagna Love is not going away. It is only getting started,” Maria added.

These chefs, volunteers, teachers, parents, and families are proving that lasagna is the ultimate comfort food and, more important, that a little love goes a long way.

If you are interested in volunteering for, donating to, or requesting from Lasagna Love, visit www.lasagnalove.org.

ICYMI: Alexandria Apothecary Named Newest National Historic Landmark

Senior Services of Alexandria Invites You to its Virtual “At-Home” Gala

Alexandria, VA – There is still time to purchase a ticket to SSA’s Virtual “Stay-at-Home” Gala to support the work of SSA in keeping Alexandria’s older adults safe while aging with dignity.

SSA’s mission has never been more vital as we all face the COVID-19 pandemic. Please join this festive celebration and help us honor four extraordinary community leaders: Barbara Anderson, Esq., Hon. William D. Euille, C. Eugene Steuerle, and Kate Garvey.

Hon. William “Bill” Euille
Eugene “Gene” Steuerle
Kate Garvey
Barbara Anderson

Barbara Anderson had had a significant impact on countless older adults’ lives through her work as an elder law attorney. She is the founding member of the Life and Estate Planning Law Center and a leader in the legal community throughout Virginia.

Former Mayor William “Bill” Euille’s life work has been helping the community thrive and prosper. Bill was elected to City Council in 1994 and became the first African American Mayor of Alexandria in 2003. He retired as the longest-serving Mayor in the City in 2016.

Eugene “Gene” Steuerle is an economist and Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. He has been actively engaged in the Alexandria community for over 40 years. Gene is the co-founder and Chair Emeritus of ACT for Alexandria, the city’s community foundation.

Kate Garvey, Director of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services, will receive a special honor. Kate led the City’s effort to develop an effective response to the COVID-19 crisis by coordinating local nonprofit activities and creating innovative programs designed to help those most negatively impacted by the pandemic.

To purchase a ticket or participate in the virtual Silent Auction (or both) on Saturday, March 13, 6:30-8:00 pm, click on www.seniorservicesalex.org or call 703-836-4414. Ext. 110. We look forward to celebrating with you!

ICYMI: Senior Services Virtual Gala to Honor Community Leaders

Old Blight, New Progress: Transformational Change in Old Town North

A rendering of the Gables Old Town North project, which is set to open in 2019. (Courtesy EDENS)

By Pat Miller

Alexandria, VA – Agenda Alexandria will hold its monthly online program discussing Old Town North on Monday, March 22, at 6:30 pm.

According to Val Hawkins, Agenda Alexandria chair, “Old Town North has been witnessing metamorphic change, evolving before our eyes over the last two decades. Residential and mixed-use developments including rental apartments, townhouses, condos, and retail uses scattered throughout.” Notable additions are the Harris Teeter at The Kingsley; the Gables Old Town North with apartments, restaurants, and retail built on the old Giant/ABC Store site; and the abandoned Bus Barn site redevelopment now underway.

Hawkins further stated, “Developers are beginning to utilize the Arts District Designation of the Old Town North Small Area Plan. They are accommodating MetroStage with the Carr Company condo conversion of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and constructing The Muse at 1201 North Royal Street, which will have an Art League component.”

Hilco Redevelopment Partners, the new owners of the shuttered GenOn power plant site, have submitted to the Planning Commission a proposal to subdivide the 25-acre parcel.

According to Hawkins, “all of this will be discussed in-depth on this program. Join Agenda Alexandria’s panel of experts in a discussion of this extraordinary transformational change.”

Nate Macek, Alexandria Planning Commissioner
Mary C Harris, President, NOTICe, North Old Town Independent Citizens Association
Christina Mindrup, Vice President, Commercial Real Estate – Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Inc.
Austin Flaiser, President & CEO – Carr Companies
Agnes Artemel, President, Old Town North Alliance

For more information and to register, go to www.eventbrite.com and search for Agenda Alexandria.

ICYM: Alexandria Apothecary Named Newest National Historic Landmark

The Good News of the World: Tom Hanks Saves the Day, Again!

Tom Hanks and newcomer Helena Zengel star in the western drama News of the World, screening in area theaters and available on-demand. (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria, VA – Whenever a film comes out based upon a beloved or best-selling book, there is invariably a chorus disclaiming it. “The book was better,” they say. News of the World, directed by Paul Greengrass and starring America’s favorite A-list movie star Tom Hanks, may not dissuade them of the inevitability of disappointment. But it may well convince them to give the next feature film based on a book they love a chance.

News of the World is one of those filmmaking efforts that, having read the book, you are compelled to see the movie ASAP, after which you find yourself reading the book all over again. Casting Tom Hanks was genius. His acting persona embodies the humbled, everyman epic, true-grit hero (sans bravado and gravitas) by way of the underestimated quiet guy who bravely asks the “it” girl to the prom, then one day marries her. You root for him no matter what without even knowing why.

Paul Greengrass (the Bourne franchise films, Captain Phillips, United 93) adapted the screenplay with Australian writer Luke Davies. While the film was shot primarily in New Mexico, it has a decidedly Aussie Outback feel. This is Hanks’ first western film. He takes to the role like he’s been waiting to ride off into the sunset his entire five-decade-long career.

NEWS OF THE WORLD, director Paul Greengrass (center) with crew members, on set, 2020. ph: Bruce Talamon / © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

News of the World is based on Paulette Jiles exquisitely detailed 2016 tale of Civil War veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. He is charged with reuniting a 10-year-old girl who’d been kidnapped by the Kiowa tribe that killed her family with an aunt and uncle. They must cross Texas from Wichita Falls to San Antonio on to Castroville. Hanks portrays Kidd perfectly with the vulnerability of a man conflicted and compromised by age, solitude, and honor.

Kidd’s journey with Johanna Leonberger, who calls him “Capp-tun” (impeccably played by Hollywood newcomer Helena Zengel), takes them onto the unforgiving plains of post-war Texas. The Captain makes a living reading the news of the world to rapt and at times rowdy audiences for a dime-a-person admission.

The book has few faults, but one glaring omission is the actual reading of the news by Kidd. The film utilizes Hanks’ hypnotic California twang to great effect, holding both Hill-Country characters and the film-viewing audience spellbound as only a Tom Hanks performance can do.

News of the World was released exclusively in movie houses on Christmas Day and continues to be screened in theaters. It’s available on demand for $20. You may prefer to view this film on the widescreen. Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography is sure to be hailed with nominations come award season. This film merits a big-screen experience.

Coupled with James Newton Howard’s eloquent score, this is the first western drama since Kevin Costner’s Open Range that can be described as sweeping, with the old-fashioned aesthetic that made the great iconic westerns of Hollywood’s days gone by.

German actress and Hollywood newcomer Helena Zengel, nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Johanna in News of the World. (Courtesy photo)

Although Tom Hanks was shunned in the Golden Globe nominations, he’s on the shortlist for Oscar Best Actor. Helena Zengel was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress – Movie. We can expect to see her receive a nomination for an Academy Award as well. Oscar loves phenoms.

Recognition for outstanding cinematography, editing, sound, and musical score (long overdue for James Newton Howard) with possible nods for Greengrass’s writing and direction, are likely.

In a modern-day America overwhelmed by politicized views about almost everything, it’s refreshing to experience a film that embodies a time in our nation’s divisive history when news was slow to spread. After a cataclysmic January, we would all benefit from downshifting the rapid, incessant dissemination of news. Social media and the internet have vastly undermined what once was a reliable source of information—the newspaper.

Fortunately, we can on-demand this film, start the popcorn, sit back, and relax as the “Capp-tun” reads the good news of the world while we wait for better days to come.

ICYMI: Alexandria Drive-In Returns March 5 and Here is The Whole Spring Movie Schedule

Sondheim is Back Where He Belongs!

At Signature Theatre in “Simply Sondheim”

Tracy Lynn Olivera, Awa Sal Secko, and Katie Mariko Murray sing “You Could Drive a Person Crazy Simply Sondheim.

Alexandria, VA – If you’ve been longing for an antidote to the ennui developed over 11 months of watching your favorite live musical and theatrical events on Zoom, I’m delighted to say, “I’ve found it!”

Here’s the scoop! For three days in November, Signature Theatre in Shirlington was alive with 12 socially distanced actors/singers, 16 orchestra members, and creative teams all thrilled to be back and putting together the definitive production of Stephen Sondheim’s Simply Sondheim. Signature teamed up with Chiet Productions to film a jam-packed, nearly two-hour production direct from the MAX Theatre, the larger of Signature’s two theatres.

Brilliant lighting, perfect sound (closed captioning available), and extraordinary camera shots give us an illuminated view of the stage and of the actors’ view of the Dress Circle where the musicians set up, all socially distanced and sounding like a full symphony orchestra under music director Jon Kalbfleisch’s expert leadership. The gorgeous lighting and crystal clear sound are courtesy of lighting designer Adam Honoré and sound designer Ryan Hickey.

Norm Lewis sings “Being Alive” in Simply Sondheim.

Marquee TV will bring this pastiche/review of the best of the best of Stephen Sondheim’s songs (he wrote both words and music for all of them) to you on your TV, smartphone, notebook, or computer. It streams from February 2 through March 26, 2021. Marquee TV is an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to global arts and culture.

Matthew Gardiner (associate artistic director) worked with Kelly Crandall d’Amboise (associate director and casting director) to engage 12 seasoned and highly experienced Sondheim interpreters. Those actors/singers include Norm Lewis (Broadway’s Once on This Island and Signature’s First You Dream), Solea Pfeifer (Signature’s Gun and Powder), Conrad Ricamora (Broadway’s The King and I), Emily Skinner (Broadway’s The Cher Show), Nicholas McDonough (Signature’s Grand Hotel), Donna Migliaccio (Broadway’s War Paint), Christopher Mueller (Signature’s Assassins), Katie Mariko Murray (Signature’s Grand Hotel), Tracy Lynn Olivera (Signature’s A Little Night Music), Paul Scanlan (Signature’s La Cage aux Folles), Awa Sal Secka (Signature’s Gun & Powder), and Bobby Smith (Signature’s Light Years). Each of these professionals has multiple shows to choose from as examples of their work, but I was limited to writing about only one or two. Sigh.

This marvelous and diverse cast brings us more than 30 songs from the composer’s rich canon, and while the selections can be sometimes unexpected, many are old favorites. I believe all are worth your valuable time. Did I mention that once you begin watching this production, you have 36 hours to view it over and over? No? Added benefit!

Donna Migliaccio sings “The Worst Pies in London” in Simply Sondheim.

One reason for watching several times could be that amazing Sondheim interpreter, Donna Migliaccio. She sings one of my favorite tunes, The Best Pies in London from Sweeney Todd, with Bobby Smith’s silent but effective presence. Wait ‘til you see Donna slapping around disgusting looking pastry while informing us that perhaps it tastes ghastly because meat is unattainable at that time in London, all the while pointing out that a lot of pussycats are missing from the streets. She closes with, “Them pussycats is quick!”

Time and space don’t let me discuss all my favorite songs and singers in detail, but I must give a shout out to Tracy Lynn Olivera’s I’m Not Getting Married (from Company) with adroit backup singing by Katie and Christopher! I also must say that James Gardiner’s editing for this production was incredibly well done.

Matthew Gardiner’s direction and choreography keep your interest focused while gracefully transitioning from a traditionally sung single piece to perhaps a fantastic mashup of several songs from different shows! The brilliant vocal arrangements are courtesy of David Loud, and Jonathan Tunick supplied the spectacular new orchestrations. The entire presentation was created with special permission from Stephen Sondheim himself. By the way, Signature has produced more Sondheim shows in 30 years than any other theatre in the United States, so they truly know what they are doing!

Emily Skinner sings “The Ladies Who Lunch” in Simply Sondheim.

What else can I tell you? If you do not know or don’t appreciate Stephen Sondheim’s music the way your friends and family do, this is an inexpensive way to immerse yourself in his work! You’ll be glad you did! Or, if nothing else tickles your fancy, with the help of closed captions, you can finally hear/read all the marvelous rhymes from this master of words.

Just listen/read carefully when Katie Mariko Murray sings On the Steps of the Palace from Into the Woods, when Sondheim rhymes these lyrics:

“I’ll just leave him a clue,

For example, a shoe”


“And then see what he’ll do,

Now it’s he and not you, who’ll be stuck with a shoe

In a stew, in the goo

And I’ve learned something, too

Something I never knew

On the steps of the palace!”

Which finally rhymes with malice, nine stanzas earlier! Well, you get the picture. The man’s a genius!

Simply Sondheim Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Co-Conceived by David Loud & Eric Schaeffer, Directed & Choreographed by Matthew Gardiner. Streaming February 2 through March 26, 2021 through Marquee TV. Tickets on sale at SigTheatre.org or call the Box Office at 703-820-9771

ICYMI: Alexandria Library Launches New Mobile App

ArtSpire VA and Artist Betsy Grady Join Forces to Host Benefit

Art show to launch March 25 at Coldwell Banker Old Town Office

Coldwell Banker Realtor and Alexandria artist Betsy Grady has donated calendars and artwork to help raise funding for the work of ArtSpire VA. (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria, VA – Local nonprofit ArtSpire VA has teamed up with Alexandria artist and Realtor Betsy Grady for a fundraiser art show highlighted by live performances. The show will launch on March 25 in the Coldwell Banker office in Old Town.

The collaboration happened organically. At the end of 2020, ArtSpire executive director Gennifer Difilippo was pondering ideas for a late winter/early spring benefit for her nonprofit. She knew she wanted to incorporate visual art and performance art, staying true to her organization’s charter, The Arts For All.

Concurrently, Betsy Grady was shopping at Nicole Scott-Howe’s store in Hollin Hall, and the two struck up a conversation. Betsy is an accomplished artist who is well-known for her paintings of Old Town homes for The TWIG homes tour and annual calendar, and for many other projects.

Betsy Grady’s 2021 calendar featured her lovely artwork. (Courtesy photo)

“I had been looking for a charity to support that was in line with my personal interest, which is art,” Betsy said. Nicole, who has hosted special promotions for ArtSpire in her shop as recently as December, immediately referred Betsy to Gennifer and ArtSpire, sensing the perfect fit.

Betsy’s Grady’s beautiful artwork on the back of her 2021 calendar. (Courtesy photo)

Betsy reached out to Gennifer and they began to make plans, starting with Betsy donating 100 calendars of her artwork to ArtSpire for fundraising purposes. Betsy told Gennifer she had dozens of her own paintings to offer for an art show auction. She recommended housing the show in the Coldwell Banker office in Old Town.

ArtSpire VA dancers rehearsing their leaps for the art show performance. (Photo: Gennifer Difilippo)

“I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily our ideas took shape,” said Gennifer. “We were so in tune with what we wanted to do, and Betsy’s idea to host it in the Old Town office was a stroke of genius.”

Coldwell Banker has hosted similar art displays there in the past. With its wide-open lobby and exterior courtyard, the Old Town office is designed to display artwork that can be viewed within current social distancing guidelines. Rachel Carter, vice president of the Old Town office, was also excited to hear the plans. She suggested holding the event in March to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Plans are underway, with Alexandria artists Judy Heiser and Sheila Flanders already committed. Gennifer will continue reaching out to artists, choreographing dance routines for live performances, and developing an online bidding process for the artwork. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

ICYMI: Using Technology To Create Designer Bathrooms

Nadia Is Here is Take Your Cookies and Sneak into Your Amazon Boxes

Nadia, looking cute in a box.

Alexandria, VA – Meet Nadia!

“She is an up-to-no-good naughty, but adorable and affectionate, little diva kitty. Amazon boxes are her best friends and she could sit like this all day and night. Her fur is as soft as can be and she makes for the best cuddle buddy, particularly in these cold winter months. Careful though – she may steal your cookies or drink out of your hot chocolate mug if you aren’t careful!” shares owner Elizabeth Williams.

The next time your cat finds his or her way into a boxy predicament, snap a photo and send it to us. If we publish it, you will win a $25 gift card to an area retailer or restaurant. Be sure to include your cat’s name, your name, and your home address in case you win (so we can mail you your prize!). Please send to editor@thezebrapress.com with CAT IN A BOX in the subject line, along with a descriptive sentence or two.

Elizabeth just picked up a $25 gift card from Greenstreet Gardens in Alexandria!

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Dolce & Bean Wins 2021 Heart of Del Ray Award

DRBA Board Member Gayle Reuter and President Lauren Fisher present the 2021 Heart of Del Ray to Dolce & Bean owner Petros Ghebre-Egziabher. (Photo: DRBA)

Alexandria, VA – The Del Ray Business Association presented Dolce & Bean with the 2021 “Heart of Del Award” on February 12. The annual award, given to the business that represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, is determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers.

“It’s overwhelming — I’m so humbled by this award,” said Petros Ghebre-Egziabher, who opened Dolce & Bean on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2017. “I’d like to express my love to this community that has welcomed me and supported me.”

“The things that people said about Dolce & Bean are exactly what this award was made for — where do you go, when you walk in, that warms your heart. That’s exactly what people said about Petros. Over and over, people said how welcoming he is, how he knows the kids’ names, and that’s really what makes a community,” said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter. “Petros’ caring and welcoming nature makes you feel like you are his favorite customer each time you visit,” said Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher.

Patrons also cited Ghebre-Egziabher’s warm and welcoming spirit. “Petros is the nicest, most welcoming business owner — he always greets guests with a smile! His spirit, even throughout COVID, has put a smile on my face and lightened up the community atmosphere,” wrote one nominator. “He takes the time to get to know all of his customers and has fostered a culture in his store that is exactly what I think of when I think of the word ‘community,” wrote another.

Petros Ghebre-Egziabher opened Dolce & Bean in 2017. (Photo: DRBA)

Over 1,400 neighbors, friends, and customers participated in online voting. Past winners of the award include A Show of Hands, Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates, Bobi Bomar Homes of Alexandria, The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray, Greener Cleaner of Del Ray, Del Ray Pizzeria, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, Caboose Cafe, Del Ray Cafe, Pork Barrel BBQ/Holy Cow/the sushi bar, and Taqueria Poblano, and Ms. Preeti’s 7-Eleven. A business cannot win the award multiple years.

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Women’s History Month – Julia Wheelock: Teacher, Sister, Nurse, Author

Julia Wheelock, from Julia S. Wheelock, The Boys in White; The Experience of a Hospital Agent in and Around Washington, New York: Lange & Hillman, 1870. (Photo: babel.hathitrust.org)

Historic Alexandria invites you to celebrate Women’s History Month this March. For info on commemorations this month, please visit https://alexandriava.gov/historic.is month, please visit https://alexandriava.gov/historic.

From the Office of Historic Alexandria

Alexandria, VA – Lyceum Hall (now the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum) hosted lectures, debates, concerts, and meetings while also serving as the city’s subscription library in the two decades before the Civil War.

But during the war, Lyceum Hall became one of Alexandria’s 30 military hospitals and held 80 of the city’s 6,500 available hospital beds. Along with hospitals came surgeons, nurses, orderlies, cooks, ambulance drivers, relief workers, and volunteers to care for the wounded. Also coming to the city hospitals were worried family members like Michigan’s Julia Wheelock.

On September 10, 1862, Julia was teaching “in the old red school-house” in Ionia, Michigan, when a student knocked on her door with bad news. She learned that her brother, Orville, a member of the Eighth Michigan Infantry, had been badly wounded at the battle of Chantilly and was in a hospital in Alexandria. Julia traveled the next day from Michigan to Washington, D.C. with Orville’s wife Anna and Anna’s sister Sarah Peck.

On the steamer down the Potomac from Washington to Alexandria, Julia noted that the sights would have made for a “delightful…pleasure excursion!” under different circumstances as they saw “scenes and scenery so entirely new!” They passed fortifications, “the beautiful residence of Robert E. Lee, his no longer – having been forfeited by treason,” the Washington Navy Yard, the Arsenal, and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

On arriving in wartime Alexandria, she wrote in her diary, “Soon the ancient city of Alexandria—ancient in American history—heaves in sight. It presents a gloomy, dingy, dilapidated appearance.”

Once in Alexandria, Julia, Anna, and Sarah passed the Marshall House Inn, where Colonel Elmer Ellsworth had been the first Union officer killed in the war. Julia wrote, “As we pass up King Street, we pause a moment to look at the building where the brave young Ellsworth fell, drop a tear to his memory, and hasten on.”

The women started their search for Orville at a hospital located in the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church (now Washington Street Methodist Church), but Orville was not there. Anna lost hope and could not bear to continue the search. She told them that Orville had come to her the night before in a dream, telling her, “My work is done. I’m weary and must rest.”

Leaving Anna at the church, Julia and Sarah continued to search for Orville. They witnessed a funeral procession, with Julia noting, “How unlike a funeral at home! No train of weeping friends follow his bier, yet one of our country’s heroes, one of the ‘boys in white,’ lies in that plain coffin. He is escorted to his final resting place by perhaps a dozen comrades, who go with unfixed bayonets, and arms reversed, keeping time with their slow tread to the solemn notes of the ‘Dead March,’ plaintively executed by some of their number.”

When they reached the hospital at Lyceum Hall, the hospital director informed them that Orville had died there a week earlier. Julia noted that, like the soldier in the funeral procession, her brother “died like thousands of others, far from home and friends, with no loved kindred near.” Years later she referred to it as a day of “blighted hopes, a day of mourning, of sadness and bereavement, a day that revealed to an anxious wife that she was a widow and her children fatherless; a day that said to my sad heart, ‘Thy brother has fallen.’”

She also noted, however, that they spent time at Lyceum Hall with “an angel of mercy in human form…Miss [Clarissa] F. Jones, of Philadelphia.” Miss Jones had “watched [Orville] day by day as he grew weaker, she stood beside him in his dying moments, held his icy hand in hers, wiped the death dew from his brow, received his last message for his wife and child, and, when life had fled, prepared him as far as she could for his burial. Such are her daily duties.” And such were the daily duties of thousands of women who served in hospitals throughout the Civil War.

Anna and Sarah returned to Michigan, heartbroken, but Julia stayed in Alexandria. She joined the Michigan Soldiers Relief Association, a group focused on caring for Michigan troops. Julia assisted nurses, fed soldiers, wrote letters home for soldiers, and provided general care and support for the wounded. She traveled to the front to care for the wounded immediately after battles. She met General Grant at the front and discussed the work she was doing.

During work breaks, Julia toured Mount Vernon and the White House. She saw Abraham Lincoln at the Capitol in 1863 while attending a speech by Andrew Johnson, and again, under very different circumstances, in 1865, noting “It was my sad privilege to see the remains of our lamented President twice while lying in state, once at the White House and again at the Capitol…He was stricken down in the midst of his usefulness, at a time when the nation greatly needed his wise counsels and righteous administration.”

After the war, Julia worked for the Treasury Department in Washington D.C., returning to Michigan in 1873. In 1870, she published Boys in White, Experiences of a Hospital Agent in and Around Washington, drawing from her diaries to recount her wide-ranging wartime experiences. Julia Wheelock died on June 7, 1900.

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Alexandrians Are De-Stressing with Acupuncture During the Pandemic

How might not be your first guess.

From the right: Dr. Mark Badzislaw, Dr. Tetsuhiro Ueno, and Dr. Taejean Converti are happy to help Alexandrians care for themselves at Caring Acupuncture. (Photo: Sachiko Ueno)

Alexandria, VA – After a year like 2020, everyone needs some serious self-care. One might initially think of the classics: a massage, a facial, a vacation. But one self-care practice that might not be your immediate thought—but absolutely should be—is acupuncture.

One of Alexandrians’ favorite local self-care establishments is Caring Acupuncture, on Eisenhower Avenue, founded in 2017 by Dr. Tetsuhiro Ueno, L. Ac. Caring Acupuncture won Zebra’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Acupuncturist in 2020.

Dr. Ueno worked at an integrative medical clinic for ten years before deciding to open his practice. Originally from Japan, Dr. Ueno explains his professional path, “My first job brought my wife and me from Japan to Washington D.C. in 1999. One day we visited an acupuncture clinic recommended by our friend. It was a small clinic with one acupuncturist accompanied by his wife and dog. My wife and I said to each other, ‘This is nice! We might be able to do this!’ Now I am so happy to have changed professions because I can feel patients’ happiness directly when I help them.”

Today, two acupuncturists, each having finished doctoral programs in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and two friendly receptionists, one of whom is Dr. Ueno’s wife, Sachiko, work alongside Dr. Ueno. Although their dogs can’t come to the clinic, Dr. Ueno and Sachiko have achieved their dream.

The practice of acupuncture relaxes both body and mind. (Photo: Sachiko Ueno, Office Manager at Caring Acupuncture)

Acupuncture helps improve multiple states of being: mental, physical, and emotional. Acupuncture treatment is relaxing, not painful, and helps many conditions such as pain, stress, insomnia, anxiety/depression, infertility, digestive issues, weight management, allergy, skin disorders, and immune disorders.

Rebecca Roy, a patient of Dr. Ueno, receives weekly acupuncture therapy to alleviate side effects of on-going cancer treatment. Last July, Rebecca began treatment for Stage 4 Metastatic Large Cell Neuroendocrine Cancer. Along with chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Rebecca starts every week with an acupuncture treatment that she says helps her with “organ support, pain management, stress relief, and energetic balancing.

Cupping therapy is another self-care technique which increases blood flow into muscle tissue to aid recovery. It is used to treat localized pain, as in the neck, back, or face. (Photo: Sachiko Ueno)

“My life changed dramatically this past year,” says Rebecca. “A year ago, this idea of doing something to take care of myself felt like a big indulgence—like going on a retreat or a vacation or going to a spa—but I don’t have the mental space or frankly the time to think that way now. So when I think of self-care, I try to keep it simple and be mindful and joyful. Even though this last year has been the most challenging in my life, I am very grateful for this lesson.”

While this year looked difficult for patrons and business owners alike, Dr. Ueno says, “We have been committed to providing a clean and safe environment during this pandemic, such as placing air purifiers in each treatment room, ventilating the air, and disinfecting the room after each treatment.”

Dr. Ueno and the Caring Acupuncture team have helped Alexandrians relax for almost four years. This year, some Alexandrians have found self-care to be more important than ever.

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