Village Times April 2023


Independence Village of Olde Raleigh Resident Newsletter

Meet Beverly C. Manconi

by Pat Simpson 

Meet Beverly Candacea Manconi, author of Connie’s Dreams, who has been a resident of Independence Village since late November of 2022.

“My middle name of Candacea is a French name,” says Beverly. “It was the name of my great-grandmother’s best friend. Manconi comes from my husband of 14 years, Joe Giuseppe Manconi, who was an Italian chef. Sadly, Joe died of liver cancer in 2006.

In that same year (2006) I had a stroke, and in 2020 I started having seizures. I needed help with keeping the apartment clean, with cooking, and with just daily living. As a result, I wanted to live closer to my brother, thus my move to Raleigh.

I was born October 26, 1962 in East Elmhurst, a residential neighborhood just south of LaGuardia Airport in New York City’s borough of Queens. But I grew up in New York City’s Brooklyn in a section called Little Italy. My mom, Sylestene, was a black Cherokee from Saluda, North Carolina who met and married my dad, James R Howard, a Dutch Indian (East India), from West Virginia.

I wanted to be a lot of things while growing up and I got to do most of them. My hobbies as child were skating, skateboarding, softball, handball – as a teen and young adult my hobbies were acting, singing, dancing and trying to be a teacher.

As a child, I went to public school for gifted children. At age 17, I started my college education at York College in Queens, continuing at City College of New York. I later attended and graduated from Wayne College in Goldsboro, and from the University of Maryland. Also, through Distance Education I attended and graduated from Florida’s Everest University and Strayer University in Virginia. You might say that my most important life accomplishment was earning three college degrees: a B.S. in Physical Education, an A.S. in Criminal Justice, and a B.S. in Homeland Security. I earned my degree in Homeland Security before there was a Homeland Security Department!

Everyone has a favorite teacher – mine was Strayer’s Dean Singh, a teacher from India who helped me in so many ways.

I began my working career as a kindergarten teacher at Round Table Day Care Center in Brooklyn. Subsequently, I joined the US Navy and worked as a machinist mate, repairing oxygen systems in nuclear-powered submarines. I returned to school again and afterwards became an administrator assistant for my commanding officer. I also served as a policeman, a fireman, a photographer, and a journalist (where I added writing, reading, singing, and horseback riding to my hobby list). I became known for being good at karate, cooking and skating.

During my 12-year Navy career I visited many diverse places in Spain such as Barcelona, Palma and Rota. In France I visited Paris, Corsica and Toulon. In Germany I visited Ramstein and Landstuhl. I also visited Tangier and Morocco in Africa and the Greek Island of Crete as well as England and Gibraltar (the Rock). The event I remember most in my life is 9/11. It changed how we all travel.

It wasn’t until after visiting Sicily, Rome and Naples in Italy that I came to Italy’s island of Sardinia. It was there, in the town of La Maddalena, that I met (and later married) Joe. We eventually spent a total of eight years on the island.

I now speak three languages; English, Spanish and Italian. I’m not very good at speaking other languages anymore, however; as they say, if you don’t use it you lose it’

My future interest is working on publishing one out of two manuscripts. My hope is to be published by Christmas.

I have no regrets; I am a private, withdrawn person, but I’ve done everything I’ve wished I had done – and more. All I want to do now is make people happy. If I could, however, I would like to be thin again. Being overweight is dangerous and it slows you down.

But it doesn’t matter what I would like to be remembered for. I just enjoy my now.

A Horse Tale – by Margie Lewin 

2007 I was looking for a place to live, I happened to rent a small apartment on a horse farm off of Creedmoor Road. no lady I rented from had 150 acres of land and people would board their horses and groom them on the weekends. it was a nice little place. Every window I looked out seahorses in the field. One day when I got from work noticed a beautiful black stallion in the corral by my place.
I went over but he turned and ran off. Every day I tried to get his attention; one day I had baby carrots in my hand. He came close to the fence, turned, and ran off. It was as if he was telling me: “Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me and definitely don’t touch me”. One day I cut an apple into small slices and held out my hand to him. To my surprise he came right up and ate the apple off my hand. I was a happy girl! From then on when he saw my car pull in, he would run to the fence and expect a treat. His name is Midnight Safari.

I love my job.

Camping in National Parks – by Frank Howes  

When I was a child, my family had an 18-foot travel trailer. We used to camp a lot, especially at a campground at Bogue Inlet on Emerald Isle. But my favorite places to camp were at National Park campgrounds in the mountains of North Carolina, especially a campground called Smokemont. Some of the things I enjoyed:

  • Meeting people from all over the country.
  • Getting chilled to the bone while playing in a mountain stream, chasing the water spiders. Skipping stones.
  • Building a fire in the evening and toasting canned biscuits on a stick. Placing butter into the biscuit and Grandma’s homemade strawberry jam. (Mmm…mmm!)
  • Telling ghost stories in the evening.
  • Playing Rook, Spades, and Setback till midnight under the light of a Coleman lantern.
  • Watching the bears sneak into the campground looking for food.
  • Hiking the trails around the park.
  • Following my father as he fished for trout in the mountain stream.
  • Listening endlessly to my father’s childhood tales about bulldogs and bootlegging, etc.
  • Just being with my family.

At the time, it seemed like those camping times would last forever, but they actually lasted about six or seven years. We got the trailer when I was ten. By the time I was 17, my camping days were mostly over – I became more interested in girls, and I was working, so I had less time. But I remember those times fondly, and they are one of the reasons my siblings and I are so close.

I would have liked to camp as an adult with my kids, but my wife’s idea of a good trip was staying at a hotel and eating out all the time. I resented that, and never really forgave her for refusing to camp with the family.


Thirty Seconds over Tokyo – by Richard Smalto.

In the weeks after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a directive to military forces to strike Japan as soon as possible. While ideas were being sought on how to attack the homeland a captain in the navy discovered that a certain type of aircraft could take off from a carrier at sea.

Lieutenant James Jimmy Doolittle, a military pilot who had returned to active duty, assessed the captain’s idea and thought it was possible to take off from a carrier, bomb Japan and then land at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union. The Soviets denied Doolittle his bases however because they did not want to violate the Neutrality Pact they signed with Japan. Because the mission could not land in the Soviet Union it had to land in China more than 600 miles away. To add fuel tanks and de-icing equipment to the B25s that were chosen to take off from the carriers, gun turrets and Norden bombsights were removed.  Loaded on to the USS Hornet, the B25s were sent to sea to join Admiral Halsey’s task force for cover. Under radio silence the fleet was refueled for the last time by oilers which with the destroyers then withdrew while the carriers went forward. Spotted by Japanese aircraft which forewarned the homeland of imminent danger the Japanese aircraft were then destroyed by our armed forces. The mission compromised; Doolittle decided to go early. Almost all of his aircraft attacked successfully but because of lack of fuel – the result of an early start – before they could land in China safely, the planes had to ditch and the pilots who had carried out the successful raid that lasted only thirty seconds had to survive in remote places.

When an elated American population asked Roosevelt where the planes came from. He said “They came from Shangri-La.”

Eevee’s Story – by Phyllis Woolley

Hello, peoples! Mom and I are both doing good. I hope you are doing well too. I am a happy girl today because Mom let me sit in her lap all morning. Last night she played games downstairs after supper, but I needed to talk to her. Yesterday I heard her talking on the phone and she was telling her sister about Bert. I told you about Bert when he moved into the apartment next door with his daddy. He was a really cute puppy who wiggled all over. Mom and Uncle Tony made a big deal out of how cute he is. Well, Bert has grown up, and I admit he is still pretty cute, I guess. I was watching him chase a ball that his daddy threw. Bert ran as fast as he could to get the ball and bring it back to his dad. It was kinda funny because when Bert runs, his long floppy ears spin around like a windmill. I guess it’s OK that Mom likes him so much, but I heard her say he is a full-blooded King George Spaniel. So why is that so special? I’m full blooded also – I have never lost any blood!

Then mom said, “She’s a domestic short hair.” So what does that mean? If you know me at all, you know I am NOT a domestic anything. I do not work, except when I want to! I am a full-blooded personal companion. My so called “job” is to entertain my mom and take care of her. I follow her around our apartment so she doesn’t get into trouble. I sit in her lap and purr because it is music to her ears. I sleep in her bed so she will always be warm. So I am not a domestic. She won’t allow me to do chores. When I try to do work, like cleaning off a table, she fusses at me. Mom is more of a domestic than I am. She cooks, does dishes, takes out the trash, and sometimes she even makes the bed. Now that’s domestic! I just want to get that word, domestic, out of her mind. It offends me. Mom needs to get with the times! I am just trying to nip a problem in the bud. If the word “Domestic” isn’t banned, cats will be asking for reparations in the future. I’ll take mine in treats, fall risk bracelets and Amazon boxes, please. Have a good day! I love all my peoples!

The Barn Hunt – by Pat Simpson  *

It was my first visit to see  my cousin Zeke in years. All was well at his barn that beautiful spring morning – light breeze, clear skies – and the sun was just coming up. As I breathed in the fresh air, I noticed that something was slightly askew — the crows were chattering amongst themselves in a rather agitated manner. The cause of their anxiety soon became apparent when several vehicles, laboriously making their way up the unpaved farm-to-market road, finally pulled into the barnyard ahead of me.

Trucks stopped; SUVs came to a halt; car doors slammed; people got out – all kinds of people. Was it an invasion?

Then – much to my surprise – the people began to let out their dogs. There were all kinds of dogs: big dogs, little dogs, terriers, bull dogs, beagles. You name it – they were there!

The whole noisy assemblage was greeted by Zeke, who had just come out of the house with his own little dog.

“Welcome folks,” he shouted. “We’ll be right with you. Make yourselves at home.” The crowd coalesced into a single group.

My curiosity piqued, I had to ask: “What’s going on here Zeke? What’s the occasion?”

He smiled knowingly. “Get ready for a good time, cousin Pat. We’re going on a Barn Hunt!”

“Barn Hunt?” I replied. “Didn’t they just find your barn? Isn’t the hunt over now? Did I miss something?”

“No,” said cousin Zeke, “You haven’t missed a thing. Here, let me explain how this works.”

He reached out; “Come here, Pepper.”

The dog’s ears perked up as Zeke took his little friend into his arms.

“Pepper,” said Zeke, “is what you call a scent dog. It’s a type of dog that primarily hunts by scent rather than sight. And Barn Hunt,” he continued, “is a scent dog sport. Basically the sport is ‘dog find rat inside a tube.’”

“You see,” he said, “long ago, farmers needed to get rid of rats in their barns so they trained dogs to do that. The sport is based on the traditional roles of some dogs to get rid of destructive vermin from farms, barns, crop storage areas, and even from peoples’ homes.

“Some breeds were specifically created to fill this role, and for many of those breeds, Barn Hunt is their first chance to try out their rat-hunting skills. But it’s open to any dog of any breed or mix who wishes to play the game – like those dogs you see – like Pepper here –”

Pepper recognized her name and looked intently at Zeke as if to say: “Is it time for my treat?”

Zeke went on to tell me that rats are put into comfortable aerated tubes that can be purchased or made out of a two-foot section of a 4-inch PVC tube.

“Don’t worry,” said Zeke. “No rats are ever harmed since these tubes are sealed. The rats used in Barn Hunt are loaned out at the event by one of our dedicated members, who raises them from birth at home like family pets.

“As far as the dogs, we don’t discriminate because of sex, age or disability. We’re a great sport for older dogs, and older people too! ‘Tripod’ dogs (3-legged) dogs can compete, and so can deaf dogs. Blind dogs and dogs in wheeled carts can compete in something we call “Line Drive”. All that’s required is that the dog can fit through an 18″ wide tunnel between two bales of hay.

“Barn Hunt even has titles, levels of increasing difficulty, and championships. It’s an independent sport, but titles are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).”

To sum it up, I did have a good time watching the Barn Hunt that day. Next time, I’ll bring my own little dog!

  • From an idea inspired by Barn Hunt member Sarah Bauman, Aegis Therapy Coordinator at Independence Village in Raleigh, N.C.