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Listening to the lessons in church this morning, I realized that I need to let go of a deep, dark secret that Hiram Moore Smith I have been harboring in my heart for nearly 40 years. It is very painful for me to tell this story. It happened at the University of Virginia in 1981. I guess, this is my personal #METOOmoment. But first, some background:

I am a University of Virginia man. The Smith men in my family had always gone to Virginia, even taught there. The guy to the right  was my Great, Great Grandfather, H.M.Smith. He held dozens of patents for his inventions and his Richmond based company manufactured agricultural and machinery products shipped all over the world in the 1850s. He held the patent and manufactured the cannon that fired on the Yankees at Fort Sumter. His son Henry Marston Smith (pictured below) was born in 1859 and attended the University of Virginia law school and became a lawyer. Flash forward 100 years, and my story begins.

H. M. Smith, Jr. UVA Law SchoolThis is extremely painful. I am not sure I can get through this.

In the Spring of 1981, I was in a dark basement corner of Alderman Library, scrolling through old microfiche, doing research for my history thesis. There was a tall, really attractive blond nearby. I lusted for her. I could not control my thoughts. I scrolled through the microfiche, but my attention was on this girl. My heart was beating fast. I scrolled some more. I thought, no one is down here, what if…. I could not control my lust. I scrolled some more. I was ready to make my move.

I scrolled some more……, then it happened and the shame I feel today, is just as strong now as it was the following day 37 years ago.

Boy, this is hard. The Microfiche stopped on a 1920 article in the Richmond Times Dispatch titled ” VPI Alumni Honor H.M.Smith, Jr.” I thought, “why would Virginia Tech honor my great-grandfather?” I scrolled some more….and then it happened. My palms were sweating, I could barely breathe, and then my heart stopped. MY GREAT GRANDFATHER, H. M. SMITH, JR. WAS AN 1877 GRADUATE OF VIRGINIA TECH !!!

Oh, the sins of the fathers! How could he do this! The shame. The guilt. The betrayal. As I have gotten older, I have tried to reconcile myself with this family tragedy and come to terms with its meaning. I am now at peace, because I realize the blame for this iniquity falls squarely on the DAMNYANKEES! Hell, it was during the Reconstruction, times were hard, the heathen Bluebellies had burned and stolen everything. As Christ is my witness, I think I am ready to forgive Great Grandpappy.

One final note, I noticed that he graduated when he was 18, so then as now, it must not have been a very challenging curriculum!

Rob Smith

Rob Smith is a lawyer and Managing Director of Chartwell Capital in Richmond, Virginia. He is mean as a snake and likes to kick little puppies when he see them. He also enjoys making children cry and tripping old ladies. He is extremely superficial and shallow. His favorite pastimes/hobbies are pissing people off, littering and being obnoxious.

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