A 75th wedding anniversary is so rare that the U.S. Census Bureau keeps no statistics on it, Mary Jane Gore tells us. Estimates are that fewer than 0.1 percent of marriages make it to 70 years or more. So this Valentine’s Day week, we tell you about Bill and Shirley Stanton of Afton, who celebrated their 75th on February 12. (Their secret? “Tolerance,” says Bill).
Our cover story may seem less apt for the holiday, but, apart from the chocolate and flowers and hearts, Valentine’s Day is about love, and the history of Charlottesville punk is about finding your people and making the music you love happen, even when no one’s there to see it.
With a few exceptions, Charlottesville’s punk scene has existed mostly beneath the surface for close to four decades, Erin O’Hare writes, in DIY spaces and small clubs. It’s often been sustained by just one or two bands drawing an audience, and one or two people making a space for these kinds of shows. And that matters for more than just music.
“There’s always going to be somebody who feels left out,” says music veteran Tony Lechmanski. “I think it’s important that people feel like they fit in somewhere…that those people have somewhere to go.”
As Sam Roberts, who plays in two bands and hosts shows at Magnolia House puts it, “I have to do it, or no one will.”
There are times, walking on the Downtown Mall, when Charlottesville can feel like a monoculture. But the beauty of it is, it’s not.
Here’s to everyone doing it because no one else will.—Laura Longhine