I grew up in a teeny little town in the Northern Neck of Virginia called Montross. Not much happens there: there’s one stoplight that they installed when my wife and I were in fourth or fifth grade, there’s a few gas stations, and the rest is stuff that’s pretty much just for the locals. I remember going home one Christmas and my dad, my future father-in-law and my kindergarten teacher were all in line at the grocery store, talking about a particularly large turkey that had been seen around town. This was the news.
I was feeling somewhat nostalgic about my hometown recently and I started sketching some designs of the name of the town to see what I could do with it.
A couple of common themes emerged. For one, I liked a big “M” right up top. I liked playing with the location of the “O’s”, and I liked one being over the other. It sort of reminded me of “the sun also rises”, which is Bible-and-also-Hemmingway shorthand for “people come and go, but certain things will never change.” Kind of like the town itself. It’s mostly unchanged over the last 33 years, with a few minor exceptions.
I grabbed this picture because I spent a little time coloring with my daughter and in the midst of it, I was struck with a couple of iterations on the theme. After a lot of back and forth, I finally went with the two “S’s” being parallel to one another in a simple, flowing curve, kind of like the creeks and rivers that shape the town itself.
The final design seemed to resonate with people so I started selling it online. I decided to call the design “Montross Avant Garde,” because it’s a little fancy. I also decided I didn’t need to make money on it, so I figured I’d find something worthwhile to do with the money.
What I’m doing with the money
First of all, my sister-in-law (another Montross native) was recently diagnosed with an osteosarcoma, which is a fancy way of saying “bone cancer.” She was smart enough at one point to sign up for an ACA insurance plan which has helped immensely in terms of abating her medical bills, but even with insurance, the costs are astronomical. I could rail against the current state of health care, but what good would it do? It doesn’t pay the bills. What pays the bills? As luck would have it, money.
So every dime of profit we make on these will go toward helping her pay her medical bills. But once she’s done with her chemotherapy treatments, there are still plenty of organizations that could use some extra dough in the greater Montross area. So once we’re done with this whole chemo episode, we’ll start giving to some other organizations in the area, including (but not limited to) The Haven, a shelter for battered women, and the food bank in town that helps provide low-income families with something to eat, at Christmas and all through the year.
We print our shirts in batches to help keep costs reasonable all around and we’re closing the store for orders This Thursday at Noon so we can get them in the mail before Christmas. To get yours, go to our website and pick out a style that works for you.