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Published by carolyn kingsley
A day in the life of a writer seeking culture. Sorry folks, I didn't grow up with much.
A day in the life of a writer seeking culture. Sorry folks, I didn't grow up with much.

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Published by: carolyn kingsley on May 20, 2009
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Kingsley’s Korner/ How to get cultured As a young girl growing up poor in the wilds of old Florida, I wasn’t exposed

to a lot of culture. The state wasn’t known for that. Post WW II in Florida, you could ride along highway one and view the pop art work. Remember the Coppertone ad? It was a puppy pulling a little girl’s panties down, to reveal a white bottom, but an otherwise beautiful tan. Or a bundle of luscious oranges encased in a wooden crate, with a cobalt sign that read Indian River Fruit. Occasionally a billboard sporting an agreeable mug of an alligator with the caption- Stuckey’s pecan rolls, wallets hand bags. Of course made of the reptile skins, explains why the alligator was on the endangered species list for so many years. And so- when you grown up in this environment, where do you find culture? In my case I found it in bits and pieces. I went to the movies; I watched Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance across the screen in Top Hat. Now this was culture. I was determined to have it. I’d chase it for the rest of my life. Seek and ye shall find. I’m about a 45 minute drive from Ormond Beach. I’d heard of its’ culture. The town’s most famous citizen John D. Rockefeller had wintered there. I was excited. Surely I’d be cultured by the time I left Ormond. So I went out and cranked up old Lula Belle, my eight year old Kia Sephia, praying all the time that my cracked belts wouldn’t break before I arrived. My prayer was answered. I made it to Ormond. My first stop was the McDonald House, a renovated Victorian home, now a museum. I opened the place up. I was greeted by a smiling Suzanne Hedley. She was happy to give me the guided tour. I told her that I was a writer and wanted to learn as much as I could.

Not much culture in that. none of which I was interested in. The house occupied the same corner facing the Halifax River.’ the grand home of the late oil baron John D. the burial mounds. A writer was in her presence. ‘The Casements. I was ready. John D. I maneuvered the conversation in another direction. An older gentleman walked by and said that the tour guide had just stepped out. Ms Hedly was full of enthusiasm for her town. the pioneer families and their descendants. that was no doubt used as a front porch. I thanked Ms Hedly for her fine presentation and made my exit. “I’d like to watch the video now. Entering. but my real interest was in the old homes.She was immediately awed and very ingratiating. I’d capture culture before I left Ormond. but I could show myself around if I wanted to. knew what he was doing when he bought the place. The constant breeze from the River. The old mansion long renovated stood stately and proud.” She guided me to a small room. plus the high ceilings kept the place air cool during the hot summer months. . Now there was history. in came upon a glassed in area. Rockefeller Sr. set up with about six chairs and a wide screen TV. I saw bullets about Chief Tomoka. She gave me a quick run down on the history of Ormond. especially the car races which started in 1903. She slipped in the DVD and I watched fascinated for about twenty minutes. which says something for my acting skills. She thought I was one of THEM.

Newly inflated with culture. . We adjourned to a wide hallway. for such a ruthless businessman. a grand piano dating to the early part of the 20th century. I had just stood on hallowed ground. There just happened to be a photographer nearby. I took a deep breath of the salt air. The tour ended. I was thumbing through a large picture album of Mr. How benevolent! I’ll say one thing. noting the massive fireplace.oops! I mean buzzard. where the walls were covered with photographs of Rockefeller’s family and friends. Included were such notables as Will Rogers and Harvey Firestone. Real craftsmanship existed in those days.No sitting please. a chaise lounge antique chairs. One caught my eye. It was a picture of Rockefeller leaning over a little black boy (his caddy). took out a pair of thrift store sun shades. All the chairs had signs. Lifting my head up. Rockefeller and his descendants. giving the child. for a job well done. (so said her name badge. I went up stairs to what was once a bedroom. gazing out over the Halifax River. I floated down the sidewalk. I made it home. the same land where the richest man in the world had once stood. chest and cabinets. one of his famous dimes.) She picked up the thread of my tour. Pratt. I reached in my purse. sure took great care to clean up his image in his later years. when entered a Mrs. She was accompanied by a family of four. squared my shoulders. I walked down the stone steps.I entered the parlor. And folks the belts held. the old bas. but now was a sitting room. The boards were laid in an octagon pattern. I put them on. I was fascinated by the highly polished wood flooring.

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