Historical Society celebrates Fred Lewis’ book

By Page H. Gifford

The Fluvanna County Historical Society is sponsoring a recitation and signing of Fred Lewis’ book, Some of Old Fred’s True Stories, on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. 

The 186-page book includes anecdotal stories posted by Fred Lewis on his Facebook page from 2017-2022.

Lewis has lived in Palmyra since 1957 and ran his T.V. repair business, which he started in 1955, until 2005, when he retired. Born in the mountains of North Carolina in 1927, he went to electronics school in 1949, a year after marrying his wife Margaret in 1948.

Lewis said he began posting on Facebook in 2013. But his more recent postings, beginning in 2016 after his wife passed away, caught the eye of his neighbor Molly Suling.

“I was fascinated by the content of his posts, covering a variety of subjects,” she said. She categorized them and eventually got them printed in a book. Lewis’ postings do cover a multitude of subjects, past and present, and is a good read for anyone who appreciates local history or nostalgic moments.

One story told about his surprise by being recognized by the U.S. Air Force for an act of kindness when he made 150 little wooden crosses for the enlisted men. Lewis was gratified by the sentiment. Woodworking is a hobby that gives him joy and his contribution was a result of purpose as well as kindness. Lewis is not someone who needs to be recognized for his good deeds but prefers being accepted for giving back to others.

Another story tied to local history was the Palmyra fire of 1930, that nearly destroyed the entire village. He mentions the building that housed the local newspaper the Midland Virginian. After the fire, the building was rebuilt but in 1947, but the Midland Virginian went out of business and the building was occupied by other businesses until 1957 when it went up for sale.

“I needed the shed out back for my TV repair business,” said Lewis. “I bought the property, house, shed, and all for $5,000.”

Lewis’ thoughts on technology these days might not be a surprise.

“I knew everything about electronics in those days but technology has improved so much I can’t keep up.”

Lewis looks at his life in simple terms without much influence from the outside world. He always sticks to the point.

“I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing. Life is good,” he said. He added that, “I ‘m not as religious as I should be, but I go to church and believe in being kind to my neighbors.”

Lewis is content with his life and his memories.

Nowadays, he stays active with his woodworking, which gives him passion and purpose, making almost anything anyone can imagine, from intricate carvings to his small wooden crosses.

“Find something you want to do. I just want to wake up tomorrow and go again.”

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