• Hospitality hostess Jennifer Schandua, right, was just doing her job the day she paid a visit to Virginia Prehn Beam, who surprised her with the information that she was the first to hold that position. — Standard-Radio Post/Yvonne Hartmann

'Welcome to Fredericksburg'

Just another day at work, Schandua surprised to meet the very first Hospitality Hostess

Jennifer Schandua never knows who she will meet or what interests they may have, but even she was surprised with one particular hospitality visit recently.

Jennifer went through her normal routine of contacting newcomers to Fredericksburg and made an appointment to visit with Virginia Beam.

During the visit, the two were standing in the kitchen talking when Virginia decided to add just one more interesting fact about herself — she was the first hospitality hostess in the program that began in the early 1960s.

“You could have picked me up off the floor,” Jennifer said. “All of the lights came on and started flashing. And I hadn’t even given her the goodies yet.”

“I had no idea when I came to visit,” Jennifer said. “Her name was Beam and she was telling me she had just moved back to Fredericksburg.”

When Virginia was the hospitality hostess in the 1960s, she was married to her first husband, Weldon Prehn. They were married for 50 years.

She later married Harold Beam, and between them they had eight children.

“It was like meeting a celebrity,” Jennifer said. “She’s a legend.”

As for Virginia, she kept thinking, “What is she going to think when I tell her?”

Sitting in Virginia’s living room recently, the two talked about being the hospitality hostesses then and now.

“I loved every minute of it,” Virginia said. “I really did and I know you do and I know that LaVerne (Ottmers) did, too.”

 

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