REVIEW: Cape Charles in the Good Old Days


Pat Parsons lived in Cape Charles from 1940-1960 and reveals warts and all before the town was considered “quaint.” (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

June 8, 2015

Roberta Romeo hears a lot of idle chatter among her customers at the Cape Charles Coffee House, but thanks to a chance comment last year, the town has a new, entertaining, reminiscence of the good old days — specifically, the decades just before Cape Charles entered a long downward spiral.

Portrait of a Town: Cape Charles, 1940-1960 is the title of a book by Patricia Joyce Parsons recalling the years she lived here. And while she rightly gets the credit for writing the book, Roberta Romeo gets the credit for encouraging her to do it.

As the Wave reported last September, during breakfast one morning at the Coffee House, Parsons mentioned to Romeo that she was writing vignettes of growing up in Cape Charles in order to share her memories with her grandchildren. At Romeo’s urging, Parsons read one of her stories to her. Recognizing a talented writer, Romeo immediately urged her to publish a book, and promised to sell the book at the Coffee House.

Now the book has been published, and appropriately enough, Parsons will launch it at the Coffee House 5 p.m. Friday, June 12. It’s a chance to meet the author and get an autographed first edition. And there will surely be further printings, as the book promises to be a staple in gift shops on the Shore for years to come.

That’s because Parsons is no public relations hack — she portrays the town for what it was, warts and all. And that makes her book interesting, even fascinating, for those with a love for the Eastern Shore.

Anyone who grew up reading Laura Ingall Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series will especially enjoy Parsons’ book, because while the locale is far removed from the prairie, the fresh, honest, easy-reading evokes Wilder’s style. Parsons tells it as she remembers it, and she has a gift for honing in on the interesting and skipping the mundane. [Read more…]


Prima Ballerina Allison Shockley rehearses her point dance for her role as Patsy the Banana Spider in “Incredible Exploits of an Effervescent Elf.” Performances are Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, 3 p.m. at the Historic Palace Theatre, 305 Mason Avenue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and may be purchased immediately before performance at the box office.

MOTHER’S DAY 5/10: Eastern Shore Orchestra Concert at Hungars Church

Orchestra of the Eastern Shore to Perform Bach and Mozart for 2nd Friday and Mother’s Day Concerts

The Orchestra of the Eastern Shore will perform a free concert 4 p.m. Sunday, May 10, at Hungars Episcopal Church in Bridgetown. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C Minor will feature oboist Todd Worsham and the orchestra’s Music Director Paul Kim on violin. The second piece on the program will be Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A Major. [Read more…]

SATURDAY 5/30: ‘Havana Nights’ Arts Enter Benefit by the Bay at the Oyster Farm

Arts Enter’s 19th annual Benefit by the Bay on Saturday, May 30, at the Oyster Farm at Kings Creek Marina is a night to celebrate the contributions of our many sponsors and donors.  The Havana Nights-themed dinner/dance also celebrates the success of our educational and entertainment program in the fine and performing arts.  Music, art, drama and dance fill the Historic Palace Theatre, the Stage Door Gallery, the dance studio and the art room.  Many children have received their introduction to the arts through their involvement on the theatre stage or in a classroom at Arts Enter. Individual tickets to the Benefit by the Bay are $100 and may be purchased by calling 757 331-2787 or visiting the website: [Read more…]

‘Incredible Exploits of an Effervescent Elf’ Opens May 16

Arts Enter had a pic of a cute 'Future Prima Ballerinas' rehearsing for the play 'Incredible Exploits of an Effervescent Elf''

Future prima ballerinas rehearse for “Incredible Exploits of an Effervescent Elf’.”

April 27, 2015

Arts Enter at the Historic Palace Theatre presents the newest danceable drama created by Amy Watkins and Wayne Creed and performed by the Arts Enter School of Dance and other local thespians.

Performances are Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, 3 p.m. at Historic Palace Theatre, 305 Mason Avenue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and may be purchased immediately before performance at the box office. [Read more…]

WAYNE CREED: Thank You Clelia — You Woke My Soul

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

Cape Charles Wave

March 9, 2015

Some years ago, fairly new to Cape Charles, I walked into a cold Palace Theatre to take part in a poetry slam that was being hosted by Chris Bannon and the Friends of the Cape Charles Library. As usual I was unshaven, probably a bit hung over, and dressed in flannel and a wool beanie — I must have looked like one of the dock worker extras from On the Waterfront.

As I took a seat and waited for the reading to begin, two elegant, beautiful women entered and sat down. I thought to myself that they must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, or just had the time and place confused with some other. This was my first encounter with Sheila Cardano and her daughter, Clelia Sheppard.

I remember that afternoon well, as I read a story I had written about an odd Russian street performer and his beloved pug dog, and Ms. Cardano read one of her stories about a crazy squirrel. Life is serendipitous, contingent, and I always think of two events that actually saved my life: meeting my beautiful wife, and meeting Clelia Sheppard.

Growing up in West Haven, Connecticut, I remember my mother and grandmother taking me to the great New Haven theaters, and a love and fascination (appreciation) of the stage, whether drama, musical, or dance (Mom actually took me to NYC to see the great Edward Villella) stayed with me through high school and into college. After school, though, the passion kind of seeped away, replaced by other things such as work and career. In all, I had not thought of stepping onto the stage in close to 20 years.

How did Clelia Sheppard and her mom save my life? After meeting that first day, they somehow talked me into taking on a few roles in their Eastern Shore epic A Piece of Eden. By bringing me back into the fold of the theater, they woke up something that even I had forgotten how much I loved. In the years since then, I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from Clelia, but also meet some of my most wonderful friends (Dianne, Susan, Michael, Don, Mary Ann, Sherri, Keith, Amy, and the beautiful David Glowacki). I wish I could say my story is unique, but it is not. In fact, once you get to know Ms. Sheppard and her entire family, you will realize that it’s really quite common. [Read more…]

EXTRA: Arts Maven Clelia Sheppard Bids Adieu

Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as

After 18 years of dedicated service to the arts in Cape Charles, Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter, the organization she founded.

March 4, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: To our great surprise, yesterday we received the letter below from Clelia Sheppard, whose name is synonymous with the arts scene in Cape Charles and, by extension, the entire lower Eastern Shore. Ms. Sheppard is resigning as director of Arts Enter, but promises that she will remain a board member “ad infinitum.” Here is her eloquent and breathtaking letter:


As I step down from my role as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter Cape Charles, I have a question. I want to know—what inspires you? An Eastern Shore sunset? A work of art that grabs you and won’t let go? Perhaps it’s seeing your child perform on stage for the first time, or hearing the right chord just when you need it most.

When I first stepped inside the Historic Palace Theatre, with her worn seats and dark, quiet stage, I found my calling. To bring this gem back to life. To shine a spotlight on the people of Cape Charles and the lower Eastern Shore. To share my love of the arts. And to test my own limits and abilities: it was a personal challenge. [Read more…]


Arts Grant Funds Cultural Enhancement on Eastern Shore

Wren Masters

Wren Masters

The Commission for the Arts has awarded the Northampton County Education Foundation a grant to help support an upcoming concert benefiting the Foundation’s work in Northampton County Public Schools.

According to Crosby Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “This is the first in a series of cultural enhancement and high quality arts opportunities the Foundation will be sponsoring here on the Shore.  All proceeds will support scholarships, teacher grants, and special event activities in Northampton County Public Schools. Twenty-five tickets will be distributed to students involved with music programs at all four Northampton schools.” [Read more…]

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