Once upon a time, a world of wonder and magic existed in a tiny neighborhood located . . .
Behind the Alligator Farm
by Denise Barrett Olson
Once Upon a Time The Buccaneer Lodge Chopsticks & Moonlight Sonata Pirate Gold! Driving Along in My Chevrolet Summer Haven Wilbur The Farm Talking Turkey
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by- nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a request to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.
! Publisher ! Author !
Moultrie Creek, St. Augustine, Florida
Denise Barrett Olson For additional information about this book and the topics discussed, visit the Book Notes page at the Moultrie Creek Gazette.
A very special thank you to Liz Tamanaha at Paislee Press. Her delightful scrapbook kits have been the design inspiration for this book. I would list the kits I’ve used here, but I think I’ve used something from just about all of them.
You’ll find her blogging at Paislee Press and you can buy her kits at Oscraps.com.
Most tourists visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm pay little notice to the narrow, tree-lined road they use to get to the attraction’s parking lots. A short drive down that road will introduce you to one of the most interesting neighborhoods on Anastasia Island. Old Quarry Road – as it was re-named in the 1970s – was first used by the Spanish to drag large blocks of coquina from the quarry at the presentday Amphitheater to Quarry Creek. From there the blocks were loaded on barges and floated across the bay to be used in the construction of the Castillo de San Marcos.
The Buccaneer Lodge
Centuries later – in May 1917 – Alfred Day bought a parcel described as:
Beginning at Quarry Creek, highwater mark, run thence along old Light House! Road, 222 feet, thence northwest to land of Hite, 190 feet, thence west to! marsh, thence along Marsh, 350 feet to point of beginning.
He built a house looking out over Quarry Creek and the marsh surrounding it. The three-story house was large with wide eaves and wrap-around porches to shade the rooms on the lower floor. The construction used local resources – coquina for the foundation, heart pine and cypress for framing, cedar shingles for siding and palm tree trunks as pillars to support the porch. It had 12-foot ceilings and each room had windows on at least two walls to best catch the sea breezes. The house was built for summer comfort – the only heat consisted of two fireplaces and later a floor furnace in the living room. The property was bordered on the north and east sides by the Heckscher estate with woods to the south.
In 1940, the estate of Alfred Day’s widow, Laura, sold the property to Adolph Bittner. Mr. Bittner created the Buccaneer Lodge in the house and managed it until October 1952 when he sold the house to William and Marjorie Barrett (our parents) and moved back to Germany. I’ve tried to get more information about “the Lodge period” but haven’t found much yet. Although many locals from my parents’ generation remember it for luncheons and private parties, city directories during that period don’t mention it.
ura Moving in - Tot & baby Ma
At some point during the time Mr. Bittner owned the property, “old Light House Road” became Young Avenue and was extended across the marsh to connect with Coquina Avenue. Quarry Creek was only a trickle of water at our end and was no longer used to define the property line. There were only four other homes on Young Avenue with lots of woods and marsh to keep children occupied. We had plenty of wildlife – raccoons and armadillos, owls, wild pigs and even an occasional alligator. For several years our only source of water came from an artesian well located on the property behind us. Because this was “sulfa” water, we had the Culligan man visiting frequently to replenish the water softener. There was a cistern under the house and at one time all the gutters emptied into it. On the back porch a hand pump was used to draw water from the cistern. I’m sure before there was such a thing as water-softening, the rainwater was put to good use.
playing in the fountain se ni De & by alt M n so Ty head was opened. created when the well
My younger sister and I were still preschoolers when Dad had a small barn built at the back of the property and bought each of us horses. He then went back to sea leaving Mom to deal with the horses and all the kids they attracted. The horses were the first things to go when Mom and Dad were divorced in 1959. The house’s large porches served many purposes. Grandma’s wicker furniture – with a little help from some old sheets – became castles or forts on rainy days. Many a production was staged on the porch including the magic show where my cousin and I were going to saw my sister in half. [Fortunately for her, Mom decided to check just what it was we were planning to do with that saw.] It was also a great place for birthday parties and other noisy functions.
g the dog in sh a w lp e Link has h
puppies for a str oll.
Many of my memories of that house have to do with sounds. You knew it was getting close to dinner time when the National Guard cannon was fired during retreat. I remember laying in bed in the early morning stillness listening to the shrimp boats. I could hear them motor from their docks on the San Sebastian River, up the bay, through the draw at the Bridge of Lions and on until they passed the old Spanish fort and turned to head out the inlet. Of course there were lots of animal sounds – from the alligator farm came the rumbles and moans of the alligators during mating season and the screams of the peacocks. The raccoons were always arguing with each other out in the marsh and the owls frequently added their voice to the conversation. In the background to all of this was the sound of the surf. Once the traffic and other noise of the day settled down, the surf was always there.
Link & Jean Maltby with Caesar
After our parents divorced, Mom closed in one side of the porch to make a classroom for the kindergarten she started. For close to 10 years, her school provided income while allowing her to be a stay-at-home mom. It was the only room in the house with both heat and air-conditioning thanks to a window unit installed during the construction. As a result, it became our “Florida room” each summer after school was out. While it was a great thing for the family, it did destroy the much of the beauty of the house. In the early 60s the neighborhood started to develop. Just beyond our property, they began filling in parts of the marsh to build homes along Coquina Avenue. Across Young Avenue a small development was built in “our” woods – you can see the before and after difference in these photos.
Billy, Denise & Maura
At one point, the city dug up the street to install sewer lines supporting some of this development. Under the old live oak just outside our driveway gate the construction crew dug up the bones of two Indians. Since Indians had been involved in the quarry operations during the fort construction and signs of an Indian village were found just behind the alligator farm, it wasn’t surprising to find Indian remains in the area. Then someone happened to remember a story about a pirate – I can’t remember which one – who was coming to see the governor of Florida about some kind of amnesty deal. This pirate expected a double-cross so according to the story he buried his treasure on the south side of a live oak tree on Anastasia Island – and killed and buried his two Indian servants with it. That announcement brought out every metal detector and shovel for a 10-mile radius – keeping the neighborhood in chaos for weeks. Of course, there was no treasure – just a lot of disappointed treasure hunters.
We weathered many storms in that house. Most hurricanes came from the Gulf and had lost much of their punch by the time they got here. Flooding was the biggest concern so our house – built with a high crawl-space – was the logical place for friends and neighbors with houses built on slabs. This worked well until Dora came to visit in 1964. Because Dora was coming at us directly from the Atlantic, Mom decided to head inland for this one. Although the house was not damaged, we lost several trees on the property – one just missing the house. We were all glad we didn’t stay for that storm.
I left home when I enlisted in the Air Force in 1972. I was home for holidays and leave – and long weekends once I was stationed in Mississippi. I drove – with one other person – non-stop from Omaha, Nebraska, for my sister’s wedding. The reception was to be held at the house so you can imagine the work that went into getting it ready. I spent most of that vacation polishing brass doorknobs and silver trays and scrubbing anything that could be scrubbed. The wedding was beautiful and the house looked glorious. Some point after that the city changed Young Avenue to Old Quarry Road. For years they had tried to pave the road, but that would have required cutting many of the old oaks and cedars that lined it. The residents fought hard to keep the trees. Finally an arrangement was made to pave the road while leaving the trees. Fortunately, most of the character of the old road is still intact.
Mom died in 1983 and we sold the house soon after. Several years later the new owner made a deal to use the house in a movie. The movie – Illegally Yours – never made it to theaters but occasionally shows up on movie channels. The old kindergarten classroom figures prominently as the family kitchen. I was in Germany when it was finally released and someone sent us a home-made video tape. At some point during its journey to us, the tape lost all its audio. Didn’t matter – it was less distraction while we looked for local landmarks and friends who had been hired as extras. The house has been sold several more times and each new owner has worked to restore it. The classroom is gone and the porches returned to their original glory. The yard has been landscaped beautifully. We’ve gone back once – when it was featured in a Christmas tour of homes several years ago. It was a delightful visit.
We lived an enchanted childhood in a glorious old house built for family living in a world that no longer exists. Who in their right mind would allow children to roam the woods, marshes and roads unsupervised day after day? Can you imagine a scenario today with five neighborhood children – all with the measles – camped out in one house while they recuperate? Cellphones? Our parents got us headed home by ringing the bell the hung outside the back door. Each family’s bell had a distinctive clang. The house still thrives, but it is no longer the home of our childhood. That world no longer exists, but today each of our homes includes the essence that made the big house so special. It’s called family.
Bill Barrett and Denise playing Chopsticks
This is one of my favorite childhood photos – my Dad and I playing Chopsticks. Actually, I’m playing twofinger Chopsticks while he’s playing Heart and Soul. Like many kids from my generation, music lessons were a part of our education. We all took private piano lessons for years and my brother and I both played instruments in the band – clarinet for me, saxophone for him. My favorite piano teacher was Mr. Van (I can’t begin to spell his real last name). He was also my band teacher in junior high. He would take groups of students down to Daytona Beach during the summer for a London Symphony Orchestra concert at the beachfront band shell. (The LSO still
comes to Daytona every other year and are enjoyed by all.) My band career ended when I went to high school, but I continued piano lessons for a while. Dad once told me that if I could play Moonlight Sonata, he’d buy me any car I wanted. I got the first movement down, but my fingers just never were able to master the second. These days about all I play is the radio, but those years of music lessons gave me a deep appreciation for those who do have the skill – and the soul – for making music. And, I’ve had a life-long love for the London Symphony. As for my dream car . . . I bought it myself. It just took a few years.
The road in front of our old house has a history almost as old as this city. Huge coquina blocks were dragged from their Anastasia Island quarry down this road to be loaded on barges and floated across the bay to the Castillo de San Marcos construction site. The road is lined with ancient live oak and cedar trees creating a tunnel effect. Several times the city tried to pave the road, but residents fought to keep the trees until finally an exception was made to city code allowing it to be paved at less than “regulation” width. One of those ancient live oak trees shaded the road right next to our driveway. In the early sixties, a construction crew digging ditches for sewer lines found the skeletons of two Indians under this oak tree. This generated lots of local excitement. Archaeologists were called in to review the site, the remains were removed for study and the construction crew was finally given the go-ahead to continue their work. The ditch was dug, pipe was laid and things returned to normal – almost.
Someone remembered a story about a pirate – I don’t remember which one now – who had been offered amnesty by the Governor of Florida. This pirate expected treachery when he met with the governor so he decided to bury his treasure before he got to the city. According to the story, he and his two Indian servants buried the gold on the south side of a live oak tree on Anastasia Island – then he killed the two Indians and buried them with the treasure. He was right to take precautions. Instead of amnesty, he was arrested and later executed so his treasure was never claimed. Well, you can imagine what a hornets nest this legend stirred up. People were out in front of our house all hours of the day and night trying to find the treasure. As soon as the police chased them off, more
would show up. Our parents were highly irritated by all this commotion but we kids loved it. Pirates! How could you not love pirates! It would be weeks before things settled down again. The reality check is that about 100 yards east of the now infamous live oak tree is the remains of an Indian village – probably where the quarry workers lived during the fort’s construction. On the west side of our property – at the edge of what was then Quarry Creek – those Indians would harvest and clean oysters and clams for their meals. It’s not surprising to any of us that Indians would be buried in the area. Not surprising, but not near as interesting as pirate gold.
Driving along in my Chevrolet...
The Chevrolet Corvair was produced from 1960 to 1969 and was one of the early "compact" cars. It had an air-cooled engine that was located in the rear much like the Volkswagen which was also quite popular at the time. There was a convertible model which is where Dad gets involved. Dad loved convertibles. Dad bought one of the early models one summer while he was on shore leave. My parents were divorced by this time, but Dad would take us for a month in the summer if he could arrange his leave during that period. If not, we would visit his sister's family in New York or even his brother's family in the Canal Zone. This particular summer he sent Mom airline tickets to New York and told her to only pack pajamas as he would take us shopping up there. So Mom put my sister and I on the plane and off we went to the big city. Dad's grand plan was to enjoy a short visit with his sister's family then pile the three of us - my sister, my cousin and I - into the Corvair and head off to Florida. At the time my sister was about 8 years old, I was 10 and the cousin was oldest at 12. We had a great visit, did lots of shopping and were ready to head off on this great driving adventure. We didn't get far.
Hayride in North Salem 1961
Denise, Suzie & Maura - North Salem
1961 ew York City N in g in ee ts Sigh
Somewhere near Williamsburg, Virginia, the Corvair's engine blew up. While the car was being fixed, we spent several days at the Williamsburg Lodge. It had all the amenities we needed - a big swimming pool and a bar. All three of us were fascinated with swimming pools. Even though the ocean was almost at our front doorstep, we REALLY loved swimming in pools. After an early morning swim and breakfast, Dad would send us off on rented bikes to explore Colonial Williamsburg. The only dangerous traffic was horse-drawn wagons and carts so it was the perfect baby-sitter for three giggling bundles of energy. After spending the day exploring every nook and cranny of Colonial history, we would get back to the Lodge in the late afternoon, go for another swim, have dinner with Dad and then konk out in front of the television in our room. We were having a ball! This routine continued on for several days until the local Chevrolet dealership finished the repairs to the Corvair. By this time, Dad had had all the little girls his sanity could take and he was ready to get to St. Augustine. He piled us into the car, put the top down and off we went. Virginia to Florida is a long trip on high-speed interstate highways, but back then there was only the scenic route down U.S. 1. That trip normally took two days. As the afternoon got later, we started pointing out every motel with a nice pool to help Dad make a good choice for the night. He was having none of that. He was determined to get home that day.
Sometime around midnight he pulled into the driveway and unloaded three sleepy little girls on Mom. That was our first - and last - road trip with Dad. We had a blast!
as remembered by Caroline Barrett Baumhart
For many happy summers, my brother rented a five bedroom cottage, perfectly situated on a finger of earth between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway in Summer Haven where we lived the carefree life of beach bums, operating a small hotel. It was routine and necessary to do a house count each morning to feed whomever was going deep sea fishing with the Captain or those who just came for R & R for a night or two - male or female - sleeping wherever they could curl up. Everything was idyllic. Bubba, my brother, provided a well stocked larder which the grocer delivered. The laundry truck came once a week to collect and deliver our clean needs and at our disposal was his Karman Ghia convertible, Chris Craft runabout, row boat with outboard motor, plus any kind of fishing gear to catch all the gifts from the water if one was lucky - fish, clams, oysters, conchs, and shrimp. Sitting on the porch, a 20-cup coffee urn brewed our life’s blood - only out of operation when we slept. My brother’s month-long vacation each year was the only way to be with his family. It began when the children were young. The girls - Denise, Maura, and Suzy about seven and Billy perhaps three - extending into their teens. Mother was the Major Domo with Bubba and I pulling up the loose strings, getting bait, fixing fishing line, and keeping tabs on the three girls, the neighbors three boys, and protecting busy little Billy from serious sunburn or falling off the dock. The real wheel that made all the magic was our cheerful black jewel, Eloise, who was a marvelous cook. She arrived each morning via bus from town and each night someone would drive her home either by car or boat. The day’s uniform was a night shirt with robe or a bathing suit making the laundry detail real easy.
Bill and Denise finish off a bowl of popcorn
Tee, Cob and Maura
Denise and Maura
ning kingfish Maura’s award-win
My other brother, Cob, and his family then lived in Jacksonville. Their daughter, Lisa, was then about a year old. They would visit often with relatives from Savannah. Two other families who owned cottages in the Cove were there each summer - the Duponts and the Zaharias - who had children our girls ages. This association was a very pleasant one for both adults and all the children. The day’s activities naturally were water-involved. As they grew older, water skiing and a boat ride for a treat at Marineland - all looking like little Indians chucking down the river - added to our fun. To add competition to the busy days and entertainment for the evening, we had a ceremonial each night after dinner. On an old string mop stick placed in the flag brackets on the edge of the front porch, we would hang the underpants of the one who brought in the catch of the day. This was truly a great and coveted reward accompanied by sacred rites. With lighted candles on the serving table, the winner filled a bowl of river water to bless the luck one. Next everyone would form a line with dish pans, pots, and spoons, beating them madly and yelling. Louis, one of the neighbor boys, blew his bugle and everyone marched around the porch to have the special one’s forehead anointed with the river water. We then marched to the flag pole to hang his pants on the mop announcing the Champ for the day. The noise was deafening for the whole Cove during this ritual, but everyone knew silence would soon follow with bedtime.
Denise cautiously handling a crab
Bill, Maura, Suzy and Denise returning from an adventure
nise Maura, Bill and De
Maura shows off her crabbing skills
Then there was that unforgettable night - morning actually - when Bubba informed us the mullet were running. We all went out a high tide (3:00 am) to catch a real treat. With a lantern on the bow of the boat - for what reason I do not know - Denise, Maura, Suzy, Bubba, and I piled into the boat. When we reached midstream shortly after leaving the dock, we were engulfed in what seemed to be a rain of fish jumping into the boat, hitting us in the face and body. All of us were screaming - unbelieving what was happening - then aware that all cottage lights were going on and our neighbors were appearing on the water’s edge. Not one line ever went into the water, but we had a feast of delicious mullet and grits for breakfast - all from the bottom of the boat. Paul NEVER believed this fish story no matter what - and perhaps others would doubt this experience also, but it is a true adventure of the fishes that didn’t get away!
Maura , Suzy and Denise, Billy
Maura and Su zy ret urnin
g from Marinela nd
Billy and Lisa
Link, Den ise, Suzy , Maura with Bab y Billy
We Southerners love our pork. From country ham to sausage biscuits to pulled pork barbecue to ribs, there's few family functions that don't include pork in some fashion or another. This is quite true in our family too and often the pig becomes the story of the event. As a result, we've even given him a name . . . Wilbur. Wilbur has been reincarnated several times over the years, but that just makes it easier to tell the story - any of the stories involving him. Wilbur made his first appearance in the late 1950s - the Christmas after my brother was born. He was born on Halloween so Christmas was the perfect time for the family to come together and celebrate the arrival of the first son.
Tot, Caroline, Min and Paul
Tot and Caroline
Dad was at sea and wouldn't be able to get home but that didn't keep him out of the planning process. He contacted a local grocer and ordered all kinds of food to insure this would be an unforgettable celebration. In addition to the turkey and beef normally served at Christmas, Dad also ordered a suckling pig. Our stove couldn't roast a suckling pig - the oven was way too small and there were all the other dishes to cook - so Mom asked a local bakery if they could help. They were more than happy to oblige but neglected to mention they had never done anything like this before. It was a pig and every good Southerner knows what to do with pig meat . . . Or so we thought. Instead of roasting it arranged upright with the popular apple in its mouth, the bakery had it laying on its side. It wasn't stuffed so as it cooked, it collapsed. Although it wasn't the prettiest presentation, as Mom said later, it tasted divine. So, it was arranged on a huge platter and brought to the table.
Denise, Suzy and Maura with Wilbur
There was hope for the pig until sister Maura - ever the outspoken one - took one look at this creature and announced to all the guests present that it looked just like the neighborhood dog that had been killed by a car a few days earlier. That comment sealed its fate. Mom was not one to waste anything so I'm sure the pork was salvaged one way or another. While a beautifully arranged suckling pig will create a memorable meal, I doubt many people would still be talking about it 40+ years later. In our family, this is where Wilbur attained immortality.
Fast forward several decades and, after listening to Aunt Caroline complain about having to buy and lug bags of manure to fertilize her garden, my husband jokingly threatened to get her a pig. Thus began The Wilbur Wars of the late 20th century with each combatant threatening to get the other a pig. Hubby won the first skirmish when he found a battery-powered pig that walked on a leash. This became Caroline's Christmas gift that year. The next year, she attempted to give him a real live Wilbur even going so far as buying one and bringing it home the day before the Christmas function. Fortunately for us, the pig had some health issues and had to be returned to the farm. Her stories about trying to keep Wilbur, the piglet, in a bathtub kept everyone entertained that Christmas. The verbal artillery continued to fly back and forth across the Creek until Caroline's death in 2001. Stories of Wilbur continue to entertain young and old alike. We are all waiting for him to make his next appearance and add another episode to the family legend. It's only a matter of time.
Caroline and the next Wilbur generation.
To us it was always just The Farm. Many summers Mom would pack us all up into the family car and make the 500+ mile – pre Interstate – trek to the tiny community of Holland, Georgia, to enjoy the pleasures of rural northwest Georgia. We always looked forward to those trips. Just after the Civil War, our Barker great-grandparents bought land on Kincaid Mountain – just south of Holland – and began raising their family. Our grandfather, Dolph, was born there. Mom, and her brother and sisters, were born just up the road in Lyerly. Grandmother Lois moved the family to Tennessee several years after Dolph died, but did not sell the Barker home place in Georgia. As her children grew and left home, they began wandering the country. Uncle Tom served as a Seebee during the war. Later he traveled the country working as an electrical engineer building power plants and other exotic (to us) projects. Mary and Lin spent time working in Tennessee, Florida, New Orleans and Georgia. Although Tom was married briefly after the war, Mom was the only one with children. Aunts Lin and Mary never married. When Lois retired, she and her three single children returned to Georgia. The old home place on Kincaid Mountain was no longer habitable so the family bought another farm a few miles up the road. The new property bordered the little country church where the Barker family was buried. The house sat on a hill with Kincaid Mountain rising behind it. It looked out across the valley towards Taylor’s Ridge. This was The Farm of our childhood.
Denise and Maura farming with Uncle Tom
There were many “chores” to keep us occupied – feeding chickens, plowing fields with Uncle Tom and picking vegetables for meals. There were kids our age in the neighborhood for entertainment and we easily adjusted to country living. Each summer there would be at least one special excursion. One year we panned for gold at Dahlonega. We made several trips up Lookout Mountain to “see” Rock City, ride the incline and visit Ruby Falls. Of course we visited the Choo Choo in Chattanooga, but we also visited the Civil War battlefields in the area – Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain – and learned that our greatgrandfather fought in both. A lot of my memories are just snapshots – one picture with little else to back it up. . .
Cabin Mark Strawn’s
Tom Barker with Kudzu and Alfalfa
A big family picnic at Cousin Marcus’ cabin. The cabin was built next to a spring so the front porch sat right at the edge of the water. We were fascinated with the outhouse. There were lots of border collies used to herd cattle on the neighborhood farms. One summer Mom bought a puppy which we brought home with us. Nina was one of the best dogs of my childhood. The other was one of her pups. After they began raising pigs, one of the sheds was turned into a smokehouse. I remember the hams hanging from the rafters and the heavenly smells. Cousin Rob Dan’s bomb shelter. I don’t really remember what it looked like, just how “progressive” (it had an entirely different meaning back then) he was for having one. We Florida folk couldn’t have one, because we couldn’t dig more than 3 feet without hitting water.
Several years after grandmother died, they sold the Holland farm and bought another in Chattoogaville – a few miles away. This farm backed up to the river and had a huge spring on the property. It was a beautiful place, but the house was right up on the highway. For years they worked on that house – transforming it from a four-room farm house into a split-level with suites for each of them and multiple parlors to hold all their collected treasures. By this time we were working adults and only able to make short visits – no more long summer vacations. I lived in the Macon area for several years after leaving the Air Force and I loved going up there for weekends. We didn’t do much – walk the farm, visit neighbors and cousins, enjoy the fall color and eat lots of good food – but it was always a welcoming place. I always made a point to go up there for Columbus Day weekends. We’d drive through the countryside enjoying the fall colors and tramp up to the Old Home Place on Kincaid Mountain. As a child I vaguely remember the remains of a chimney, but by this time even that was gone. Still, there was something spiritual about the place – a friendly, relaxing and welcoming feeling. I’d always come home from these visits with my car full of both fresh and canned vegetables – and often some special dish or baked treat. These Barkers have moved one last time – to join the rest of the family at the little cemetery in Holland. The Chattoogaville farm was sold, but the Old Home Place is still in the family. It’s our connection to the people who are no longer with us.
Last sunrise at Chattoogaville
Over the decades, the folks up at The Farm went through several different growing phases. First there was cotton and when that collapsed they were growing various subsidized crops to try and replenish the soil. I remember the hog phase, the sheep phase, the cattle phase and especially the turkey phase. I still have the scars from that one. During our visits to the farm, it was our chore to feed the chickens and gather eggs, so when the turkeys came along we first thought they were just big chickens. WRONG! Turkeys are mean! At that time we were close to turkey height - giving them the attack advantage. One pecked me in the face - just missing my eye - and leaving a scar that is finally beginning to recede into the wrinkles. We quickly learned to stay out of their way - and carry a stick at all times. We did learn to appreciate those turkeys when, just before Thanksgiving, a 35-pound fresh turkey packed in dry ice arrived on the bus. This was before the days of UPS and FedEx. Many a package was shipped by bus or Railway Express. In our case, the bus worked faster than most of today's ground shipping - if you were savvy to the schedules. In small town America of the 1950s and early 60s, the local Greyhound agent and railway agent could schedule a shipment from departure to destination - making each connection to keep the package moving and not stuck in the freight room. It wasn't unusual that a package from the farm arrived in St. Augustine the next day.
Mary, Cob, Lin, Tot with Denise and Maura, and Bill
A 35-pound turkey is a sight to behold. It's also a lot of food for a family of five. It was delicious - the first five or six meals - but started getting monotonous real soon. So, when the 38-pound turkey arrived just before Christmas, we were a little less than overjoyed. We were still eating turkey well into February. From then on, Mom would serve turkey either at Thanksgiving or at Christmas, but never again at both.