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Longtime Stafford resident Edith Fleming tells how the railroad station at Brooke has been an important part of the county's history.
By LEE WOOLF
EDITH FLEMING is 88 years old and a lifelong resident of Brooke.
"I was born here and was too poor to move away," she says with a laugh.
The youngest of six children, Fleming remembers visiting her oldest brother in New York City during summer vacation when she was a teenager in the early 1930s.
"It was exciting, but it was a real rat race," she said of the big city. "No one could waste a minute, it was rush, rush, rush. Things in Brooke certainly were slow by comparison."
But slow is OK.
In fact, Fleming is so proud of her quiet little community in eastern Stafford that a book she wrote called "A History of Brooke" is being sold by the Aqua-Po Homemaker's Club as a fund-raiser.
The 60-page, soft-cover book originally was published about 15 years ago to benefit Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church. The content comes from a variety of sources, but mostly represents an oral history of Brooke from Fleming, family members and friends. This latest printing will help the Homemaker's Club conduct blood drives and provide food and other aid to families in need.
Fleming said she was inspired to write the book because of a proposal to close the Brooke Post Office.
"It appeared things would be changing," she said. "I hadn't done any writing before, but I wanted to do this for my grandchildren. I wanted them to remember their roots. I didn't want them to lose a sense of identity about Brooke."
The post office survived and Fleming's grandchildren have grown to adulthood. And now the book is available again to give readers a peak into an interesting part of Stafford's history.
A county map will pinpoint Brooke at the intersection of Brooke Road (State Route 608) and Andrew Chapel Road (State Route 629). But by Fleming's definition, the community of Brooke extends northwest "about halfway to Stafford Courthouse," then east to Aquia Landing and south to where Potomac Creek crosses Brooke Road.
The area was named for John Taliaferro Brooke, who served in the Continental Army during the Revolution and later became a prominent lawyer, banker, politician and plantation owner before his death in 1821.