The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA16

PROFILE

Not Exactly a Train Wreck

This Lynchburg couple has found a contentment in retirement, even though it doesn't remotely
resemble what they had so carefully planned. STORY AND PHOTOS BY DAN SMITH

CHARLOTTE AND AUBREY WILEY had it all figured out.

cumulative effect of lugging around cameras and equip-

Until they didn't. Then they solved the problem again, but

ment for 25 years wore out his body, says Aubrey.

life, as it tends to do, had a different plan. So now, here

"I loved teaching and looked forward to do it long after

they are, retired, living in a comfy cottage, settled, treat-

I reached 65," he says. Teaching loved him, too. He was

ing each other like newlyweds, and satisfied with the way

once named the Virginia Teacher of the Year.

it turned out.

Early in retirement, "I walked around looking out the

When they first landed on a game plan for retirement,

window, thinking, 'I don't have a job,'" Aubrey says now.

they had been married for a long time. But not to each

"But I've been active with hobbies and the things I never

other. Those marriages wobbled, stumbled, then crum-

had time for before." He's written six books since retiring

bled, leaving them-in late middle age-with a problem.

(adding to the three he had already written), all on his pri-

They met each other, were immediately attracted and mar-

mary hobby, railroading. The books continue to sell well.

ried 10 years ago.

His impressive collection of railroad memorabilia has in-

Charlotte (67) was still working when they met (as a

creased and much of the house, the outbuildings and 12.5

commuting bookkeeper for the University of Virginia in

acres of their property are a display of that jaw-dropping

Charlottesville), but Aubrey's health went into the can, forc-

gathering of railroad history. Railroad buffs seek him out

ing him to retire from teaching in Lynchburg City Schools

to tour his museum.

and at Lynchburg College in 2002. He was 59 then (74

His three-year-old book "Virginian Railway: Memories"

now). She followed seven years later when the grant for

is generally considered the definitive work on that late

her job ran out.

railroad.

Because of the way it came about, retirement wasn't

Charlotte, meanwhile, has "always loved art." She is a

easy for Aubrey, who had already retired from his 25-year

potter and painter and other "quirky things," like a drum-

position as an award-winning photographer (and head of

mer. Her creations are scattered around the property, as

the department, finally) at the Lynchburg News-Advance.

well, often looking like miniature celebrations of secret

"I morphed into it because of health issues," he says. The

thoughts. There is a distinct whimsy involved. "I imagine it
takes less to satisfy me," she says, smiling at Aubrey.
Retirement, for Charlotte, had meant "I'd have lots of
money, there would be cruises and trips and we'd see the
children (six between them) a lot. But it didn't work out that
way. We walk, bike, go to the restaurant and drink beer."
They eat out as much as twice a day. They are openly affectionate, joking much of the time and they seem to fully
enjoy each other's company.
Both worked a long time and accumulated satisfactory
retirement. Their home is paid for, so it doesn't take a lot
to make them happy, though frequent cruises are not part
of their plan.
"I enjoy things that don't cost a lot," says Charlotte. Aubrey's collections can cost a bit, but they result in great satisfaction for him. "A few weeks ago," he says, "we bought a
Jeep off Craigslist and we use it to get out into the country."
Under their circumstances, says Charlotte, "it doesn't
cost much to live." And the two of them live quite well.

Charlotte and Aubrey Wiley built this little cabin on their Lynchburg property.

16 | RETIRE-VA 2018

RETIRE-VA.COM


http://www.RETIRE-VA.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker September/October 2017

The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Intro
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover1
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover2
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 3
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 4
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 5
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 6
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 7
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 8
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 9
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 10
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 11
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 12
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 13
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 14
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 15
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 16
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 17
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 18
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 19
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 20
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 21
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 22
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 23
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 24
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 25
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 26
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 27
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 28
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 29
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 30
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 31
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 32
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 33
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 34
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 35
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 36
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 37
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 38
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 39
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 40
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 41
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 42
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 43
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 44
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 45
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 46
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 47
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 48
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 49
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 50
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 51
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 52
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 53
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 54
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 55
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 56
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 57
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 58
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA1
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA2
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA3
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA4
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA5
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA6
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA7
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA8
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA9
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA10
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA11
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA12
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA13
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA14
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA15
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA16
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA17
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA18
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA19
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA20
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA21
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA22
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA23
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA24
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA25
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA26
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA27
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA28
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA29
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA30
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA31
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA32
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 59
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 60
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 61
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 62
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 63
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 64
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 65
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 66
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 67
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 68
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 69
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 70
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 71
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 72
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 73
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 74
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 75
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 76
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 77
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 78
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 79
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 80
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 81
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 82
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover3
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20181112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20171112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_JulyAugust2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_MayJune2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20161112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20151112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20141112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201402
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com