Brian and Pam Dettelbach
1) What brought you to Staunton?
Pam: The first time we came was to visit the Frontier Culture Museum when our girls were little in the late 80s. There is this song I love called "The Best of All Possible Worlds", and that’s how I felt when we visited.
Brian: For the last decade or so, we came back every year or two to see a play at the American Shakespeare Center.
Pam: We stayed at a bed and breakfast and we walked to antique stores. I loved that you could park the car and walk everywhere.
Brian: We really wanted to retire to a community that had a Temple. We were so drawn in by the community Shabbat service when we visited. We fell in love with Staunton.
2) What is your favorite type of food?
Pam: I like to eat so many different things, but my favorite cuisine is probably Mexican. I make a really good enchilada casserole. I also make a mean meatloaf!
Brian: I was strictly a meat and potatoes guy until I met Pam and my horizons have expanded since then. Now my favorite cuisines are Thai and Indian.
3) When we can safely travel again, where would you like to visit, and why?
Pam: I want to visit our daughters in Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, and Richmond. I really want to drive across the country.
Brian: Last April we were supposed to have our second ever family vacation with everyone in Costa Rica. Wherever we go, I just want to be together again.
4) Tell us about your hobbies and how you like to spend your free time?
Pam: I swim at the Y almost every day. In good weather I tend my flower beds and fill the bird feeders. I love mah-jong and play with a group of ladies (online now). In our old house I would love to paint an old piece of furniture. Sometimes I sew, I am a jack of all trades. My daughter told me “you’d build a car if you could!”.
Brian: Pam’s reputation is for her baking, though. Our daughters’ friends were always over to our house because she baked. For me, I love exploring this area, taking hikes and seeing the small towns. I love the history of the Shenandoah Valley region. I also love to read.
5) What kinds of books do you like to read?
Brian: I read a lot of magazine and newspaper articles online. But my favorite book genre is American history. I just got a book by Henry Louis Gates about the Reconstruction era, so I’m excited to read that.
Pam: I like to read mysteries and I enjoy participating in the THOI book club.
6) You already mentioned some of the activities you’ve done during the pandemic. Is there anything you have found positive about changes in your lifestyle(s) due to covid-19?
Pam: All the Zooming has been impressive, like how many people come to services. Because THOI doesn’t have services each week we are also able to attend services with our congregation in Northern VA—we have been Members there for over 30 years. And we are able to see our friends across the country and the world.
Brian: Technology has really helped us stay in touch with people. We attended a wedding and a Bar Mitzvah over Zoom. I’ve been taking JMU classes online and attending online events through the Woodrow Wilson Museum. In the summer and fall we did some hiking and exploring in natural settings which was great. Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington was really fun.
7) Do you speak any other languages? If so, which ones?
Pam: Brian speaks Spanish and I took 3 years of German in High School.
8) Do you have a favorite holiday or tradition?
Pam: We are known for our Passover Seders. We could seat 30 people in our sunroom in Northern VA. Brian was a great leader and he actually created a supplement filled with prayers, stories, jokes, and songs to accompany the Haggadah.
Brian: I also love Passover… the traditions, time with family, the food and family recipes. We would have so much food!
9) In three words, how would you describe yourself?
Brian describing Pam: kind, gentle, caring
Pam describing Brian: thoughtful, intelligent, motivated