Feature Article

As the second in a series of articles for Life in the Ivy, I uncovered more about Ivy Hill community during my interview with Ann Hite. Although she wanted to keep her official age off-the-record, she shared stories about Central Virginia dating back to the 19070s.

For these articles, Mary Garner, the publisher uses both my articles and my photography to complete the magazine spread.

Meet Your Neighbor: Ann Hite

Originally published at Life in the Ivy

Ann Hite laughs and smiles generously, especially when she tells stories from her time in Ivy Hills. She treasures those stories from celebrity encounters to world travels to everyday amusements. 

One of Eleven Families

Ann lives in Ivy Hill with husband Jim and son Bill. Her other son, Eppa, lives in California. After getting married, the Hites living in Richmond before moving to the Ivy Hill community.

“My husband was with the telephone company and we were transferred here from Richmond,” Ann explained.

When Ann moved into Ivy Hill, only 11 families were living in the community. In 1974, the three existing streets, Hitching Post Lane, Trading Block Lane, and Quail Ridge Drive, had occupied homes. According to Ann, you could see from Hitching Post Lane across the fairway to miles of rolling hills and woods. 

Soon after joining the community, Ann and others decided to start the Ivy Hill Ladies’ club. Most of the families were new to the area and wanted a way to socialize with their neighbors. 

Ann explained, “Everyone was in charge at one time or another. In fact, every member had to serve on a committee. Somebody’s got to do the work, you know.”

The club puts on several events during the year, including socials. Ann looks back fondly on those past events in Ivy Hill. In particular, she remembers Bob Hope’s appearance. 

Bob Hope Visits “The Gateway”

In September of 1977, Bob Hope supported the Lynchburg Hospital for a fundraiser. Ivy Hill resident, Allen Harvey, hosted Hope during his stay. Before Hope’s arrival, several of the ladies worked on a large sign, made from marigolds with a welcome message. 

“It took all day!” Ann reminisces. “It was like getting ready for the parade of roses.”

During the fundraiser, Ann recollects that Hope’s jokes were written to the setting. During the introduction, Hope joshed, “Hello, I’m glad to be here in Lynchburg — the gateway to Altavista.” 

Also, Hope played in a pro-am portion of the Virginia State Open tournament at Ivy Hill. He loved to golf and even secretly stayed after the event to play the back nine. 

As he was teeing off the 14th hole, Ann watched his ball bounce out of bounds, practically at her feet. She stood there until Hope pulled up and said, “What’s it look like?”

“It’s round, white, and dimpled,” Ann announced with a grin. 

Although Hope was not amused at the time, Ann heard him repeat the phrase later in the day. She laughed, “I thought it was cool that he used my line.”

A Long Walk Enjoyed

If you ask Ann about her golfing style, she’ll tell you she likes to have fun. For her, golf allowed her to meet people and chat. 

Ann never played golf before moving to Ivy Hill. When she first stepped onto the course, she asked the greenskeeper if she could wear sneakers. He told her she could wear anything — except cowboy boots. 

When they weren’t walking the green, the Hite family loved to travel. Sometimes, they would visit their extended family. Often, they would camp their way across the United States, going as far as California in a recreational vehicle. Eventually, their explorations brought them to more exotic locals.  

“We mainly traveled with other couples from Ivy Hill. We all belonged to the same church and played golf together. So, we knew each other well. Every couple of years we’d ask, ‘where do you want to visit?’ to our friends,” recalls Ann. 

Their adventures brought them around the globe to Spain, England, China, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Russia, Scandinavia, and several cruises. Their sons caught the travel bug too. Eppa spent some time in France and Bill lived in Guatemala for a while. As Ann tells it, their family was happy to have an excuse to holiday out of the country. 

Although Ann can’t pick just one favorite destination, she said, “I loved Scotland and the Caribbean is always very refreshing.”

Now, the Hites don’t travel much outside of Virginia. But that doesn’t stop Ann from living a full life. 

You’ll notice she has a lot of energy for someone who wants to keep her age “off the record.” Perhaps Ann’s sense of humor plays a role!

Published by Danielle

I'm a writer and artist in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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