Kent: Today is August 15, 2001. This is Judith Kent speaking from the Holden House in Bunnell, Florida. Joining me today are Mrs. Audrey McKnight and Mrs. Norma Turner. Ok, first of all thank you ladies for joining me today. I understand that you have been friends for a long, long time. How did that come about?
Turner: [We met] in school. We went all through school together. I was a year ahead of her. When I was in the second grade you were in the first. You lived right across from the schoolhouse.
Mc Knight: Yes, I lived right here in this neighborhood for a long time and I can tell you a lot about this [Holden] house. I grew up with Alta Jane, Holden’s daughter. Mrs. Holden had Easter egg hunts and everything under the sun here.
Turner: Of course, it was a beautiful yard.
Mc Knight: Yes, we played out there. They had hammocks between the pine trees out there. They had one of those swings, I forget what they called them but they had seats that faced each other and they went back and forth. We were always doing something here, when I was a child. This little room in here [points to a storage room]
Turner: Was that the playhouse?
Mc Knight: Yes, that was their playroom. She had a table and chairs and little dishes in there. We used that for our tearoom.
Kent: So you had tea parties there?
Mc Knight: Oh yes, we did.
Kent: What other games did you enjoy as girls?
Mc Knight: Well, I can’t remember most anything. Well, we used to play hopscotch and we used to play hide and seek and one called, “kick the can”. I remember that one.
Turner: There was one called May I. You said, “May I?” and what ever it was
Mc Knight: You can take two giant steps or baby steps.
Kent: Red Rover, come over?
Mc Knight: I don’t remember the name but I remember playing that one.
Kent: Did you have chores to do when you were girls?
Mc Knight: I didn’t because I was the baby in my family. The one next to me was eight years older than me, and that was Pete, my brother. I had four sisters and they did everything. My mother was she wouldn’t let us do much because she wouldn’t let us waste anything. She was afraid we would waste something if we tried to cook or anything. We would mess up and waste food. I do remember having to dry the knives and forks. That was part of the dishwashing I had to do, just drying the knives and forks, the silverware.
Kent: How about you, Norma?
Turner: Well, I was the oldest and the only girl for many years. Momma had a change of life baby who is three years younger than my son. I helped when I wanted to. She would say to me, “Which would you rather do, make up the beds and sweep or clean up the kitchen?” I think that’s what interested me in cooking. So often I would think we had a big wood stove with a warming closet up on it I would say, “It would be so nice if we had something sweet.” And Daddy sez, “Well, go out to the smoke house and get a jug of syrup and make a cake.” I liked those cakes we made out of that syrup and baked in an iron skillet. They were so good and crusty around the edge!
Kent: This was on a wood stove?
Turner: Yes. We had what was called a warming closet and a reservoir was a tank that was attached to it so that you had hot water.
Mc Knight: We didn’t have one of those. As far back as I can remember my mother cooked on oil-stove kerosene. We had a thing called a safe, which was just a cabinet with screen doors on it where she kept bread and pies and things like that.
Kent: To keep insects away?
Mc Knight: Yes.
Turner: We had to bring water in. We had to go outside to pump water. One time we had a pump on the end of the back porch. But most of the time it was in the yard because it wasn’t easy to find a good well of water. We spent a lot of time doing that [fetching water].
Mc Knight: Well, as far back as I can remember, Bunnell had a water system. But the first one they had was terrible! The water was awful, but we used it.
Kent: Awful in what way?
Mc Knight: I remember what we had . . . we had to take baths in a washtub. On the back porch there was a kind of a bench, like a shelf. On one end it had a faucet and an enamel wash pan, wash bowl. We used that a lot to bathe in between Saturday night baths.
Kent: Was it bad the way it smelled or tasted or what?
Mc Knight: Well, I can’t remember too much about that but I know that when I was a child I had a series of boils. Other kids did to, and they said it could have been from the water. Somebody said they found rats in the tank and different things like that. You know how stories go around. Whether it was true or not, I don’t know because that was so long ago. I was real little; I didn’t know too much about it.
Turner: We always had a well out in the back, out in the barnyard and they didn’t worry about it being so clean and pure. I can remember saying, “Daddy, that water is so dark looking!” He said, “It won’t hurt the horses.”
Kent: So you had a different experience because you weren’t living in town.
Turner: Yes, I lived out in the country.
Mc Knight: It wasn’t very far out, but it did seem like the country.
Kent: What was it near that we would know today?
Turner: The high school. I was born right down there. The road was called Heath Avenue. What do they call it now?
Mc Knight: Bulldog Drive.
Turner: I resented them changing that; I didn’t like them changing it. So I was born in a little frame house down that road.
Kent: Tell me a little more about your family. [Norma] You said you were the oldest. Where did your parents come from? Were they here?
Turner: My dad was born in Espanola, if you can believe that. His father and mother had lived in San Mateo, and the last four (there were nine of them) five were born in San Mateo and then they moved to Espanola. Espanola was quite a thriving place. It had a [train] depot, a nice depot. It had a hotel and there was a . . . remember “Live and Let Live Camp”?
Mc Knight: Yes I do. We called it a tourist camp.
Turner: Yes, it was a tourist camp. That’s what we called it. They also had a restaurant and grocery store. Anyway, that’s where Daddy was born. Grand Pa decided that he was going to move. He lived where the Tribune office I mean the News-Journal [Newspaper] office is right where you turn to go down there. So we spent time there when Daddy was building our house. And I grew up in a house by the airport because the Brick Road used to go right in front of our house. We grew up as other kids did. Daddy had a few cows and hogs out in the woods that ran wild. I think people would object to that now. They had hogs and in the spring of the year they would set up trap pens. The old sow would go in there to get the bait that was left for her and all her little pigs would go in with her. People were honest then. If their hogs were in there they had marks in their ears that were registered at the courthouse if other people’s hogs were there they would honor them and mark their ears, because they knew everybody’s marks. So I learned to drive quite young so I could drive Grand Pa to the hog pens. Momma couldn’t, she was home with the little boys as they were growing up.
But then, as we were growing up, World War II came along. Bill went into the Sea Bees and he spent two terms over in the Pacific. He went into Guadalcanal right shortly after the Marines were supposed to have it under control. The reason they went in was that the Marine Corps didn’t have a construction outfit. So they attached his Sea Bee outfit . . .
Mc Knight: That’s what the Sea Bee did. They built airports.
Turner: So they went in there and Bill said it was still quite dangerous. When he moved in there he said the Japanese really did have poor eyesight because when he would be operating they would be grading off an area for an airstrip he said they would shoot at him. You could see the oil haze but they had silencers on their guns. Then he went to Bougenville and then came home because he developed some kind of fever. Then he went back again before the war was over and he was on Okinawa when the war when peace was declared.
Then the next one, Custer joined the Marine Corps just as soon as he finished high school. He and Dexter Knight joined the Marine Corps. Later, Tommy joined the Navy while he was still in school.
Mc Knight: Your Mother, tell her where she came from.
Turner: Well, as far as Momma, Momma was a Swede. [Florida] Crackers kind of resented the foreigners; I don’t think that Daddy’s family accepted her quite readily. Then before it was over with they realized she was smarter and nicer than they were some how. She was born in Anoka, Minnesota. Her grandfather no, her father my grandfather had decided to move away from the Swedes and just be out on his own. He was from Sweden, too. He came from southern Sweden and Grand Ma came from northern Sweden (where they had six months day and six months night). They had an entirely different life but they met in Minnesota. They had lived in Indianapolis for quite some time. My Grand Pa was a tailor. That’s where they lived until Momma’s mother died. He [Grand Pa] was disconsolate and didn’t want to stay there any longer. His father-in-law was there after his mother-in-law had died and so he came here and left Momma with some friends in Kentucky. He came down here and homesteaded a place off SR 100, back of where the Winn Dixie is. It was known as the Jeppson Homestead. So Grand Pa homesteaded a little place close to the place I was born, out there on that Heath Avenue. He was quite old, I guess. He died and he’s buried out there at the airport, and somebody pushed sand over his grave. Momma lived at that Jeppson Homestead and had to walk all the way to school. One time she boarded for a while. Do you remember Mrs. Sears that lived right down here?
Mc Knight: Old Mrs. Sears? Yes.
Turner: She owned that place out by that bar and Momma boarded with her.
Mc Knight: Yes, she lived out there before she moved into town.
Turner: Yes, Momma boarded with her, but she didn’t finish school. I think she finished the eighth grade. She married Daddy when she was seventeen and I was born when she was eighteen.
Kent: How many siblings do you have?
Turner: I have one sister and four brothers. I am the oldest and the other sister is the youngest.
Kent: How about your family [Audrey]?
Mc Knight: My family came from South Georgia. I guess you know all about I.I. Moody who settled all this place. My father came here to work with him. He came here in 1903 and he went back to Georgia and brought my mother and the children they had here. So, all of us have been here since 1905, of course I was born later on, in 1917. We have been here a long, long time. My father worked for Mr. Moody and worked in turpentine. Mostly what he did was always connected to timber. He got to be an accomplished sawyer. In later years a man named Cody had a stave mill out in the Espanola no, the Bimini area it might be.It wasn’t St. Johns Park because it was between SR 100 and St. Johns Park. They made staves for barrels that they packed potatoes in. That seems strange now, to put potatoes in something that heavy. But, that was a flourishing business for a long time.
Turner: I can remember when Daddy grew potatoes out there where I was born, at that little house in the field. I can remember in later years when we lived up by the airport he stored the harrow and cutaway and all the farm equipment they used that was pulled by horses. But I thought it was so much fun and he let me at one time stencil the top of the barrel after they filled them up with potatoes. You put the top on them and stenciled the top.
Kent: And then they would go by rail?
Mc Knight: Yes, they would bring them into Bunnell. We have pictures
Turner: right out there by the depot Is that the picture that has Mr. Doc Deen where they were loading potatoes? We have one of those pictures someplace. I don’t know where it is.
Mc Knight: Well, anyway, my mother was an accomplished seamstress. She could make anything. She never used a pattern; she could just look at a picture and make it.
Turner: She made a lot of pretty things for people. She made things for me when I was growing up.
Mc Knight: She made when Margaret Muzyka married Jack Clegg she made all of the bride’s maid’s dresses. Pearl says she made Margaret’s dress. I didn’t remember her making the bride’s dress but I know that she made all the bride’s maid’s dresses because it just about put her in the hospital. We just clamped down after that; we told her she just had to slow down. She never charged anything for anything. If she had charged what it was worth she would be a millionaire.
Kent: She just did it for the joy of it?
Mc Knight: She just loved to sew.
Turner: Well now, who is the oldest? Was Hob the oldest? Tell about him.
Mc Knight: My brother he was it used to be called Tax Assessor, which is now Property Appraiser. He was that for two terms. He married and had two children. I don’t know if you might have known Shelton Barber, [his son] he was in the court here for a long time. He was my nephew. My brother died in 1932, he was 32 years old and died from typhoid fever. I had four sisters. One sister died right after they moved to Florida. She’s buried out at Espanola cemetery. My mother couldn’t even go to the burial because they had to take her on a wagon out through the woods to get to the cemetery. The cemetery was already there because some of the graves there are a lot older than hers. She is buried there.
My oldest sister was Marybell. She married she worked for this man here in Bunnell he was a lawyer and he had an office here in Bunnell. She worked as his secretary. The next sister was a schoolteacher. She taught school for 49 years. The one next to her, she did office work. She died with cancer. All my family is gone but me.
Turner: And then Pete
Mc Knight: Yes, he was my youngest brother, the one next to me. He is the one that used to take me everywhere. He would take me to the movies and he taught me how to dance. He was just real good to me although he was older. He was eight years older them me, but he was so good about taking me places.
Turner: You know what I remember? He played piano at the theater in the old silent movie days. I thought that was great. I was really impressed.
Mc Knight: He taught himself how to play. He played by ear but he read music too. I think it was when he graduated from high school he played a piano solo.
I started to say about my sister when she worked for Mr. Varne as his secretary here in Bunnell, he was married and had children I remember when my birthday came around I thought I should have a party. So I invited all the kids around the neighborhood, everybody, a whole bunch of kids. They all came to the house and Momma was just flabbergasted. She said, “What in the world are you doing?” So anyway, she sent my brother Pete up to Mr. Varns’ office where my sister worked and she came and got us all and took us to Mr. Holden’s Tea Room (as they called it back in those days) and treated us to ice cream. So that was my party. Momma was really outdone with me about that, pulling that little stunt.
Turner: I think that we should tell her about the fact that we were watching the [Flagler County] courthouse being built. Now where did you live, right over here? [Points across the street.]
Mc Knight: There used to be a house here on the corner where that Jiffy store is now. The house on the other corner is still there. Mr. Moody built that house. They call it the Allen House now. There was a little cottage between the Booe house on the corner and the other house and that’s where I lived for a long time when I was a little kid. One experience I remember was one of the houses on the corner where the ( I don’t know what’s there now, a tire place, I think) it was a gasoline station, you know.
Turner: Are you talking about A. C. Roger’s lunchroom?
Mc Knight: No, on the next corner. Well, anyway there was a nice home there and that’s where the Varns lived. Her folks lived in Deland and they were visiting over in Deland; they were away. Something happened coals of something in the fireplace or something fell, and anyway it set the house on fire and it burned to the ground. I was scared; I never will forget that. I’m scared to death of fire to this day and that is the reason. It was really a traumatic experience!
Turner: Did they live there before they lived in the house down here, where the drug store is?
Mc Knight: Yes, after that burned, then they moved to that house.
Turner: I can first remember them living there.
Mc Knight: Anyway, I can remember Ria Allen Johnston she was three years older than I am anyway, she gathered all the children and took us to what used to be the Pine Grove Inn and set us on the septic tank and told us stories and kept us entertained while the fire was going on while they were trying to put the fire out. I remember Mr. Osborne, he had a butcher shop here in Bunnell. It used to be right across
Turner: right where the Baptist Church is now.
Mc Knight: He was the fire I guess he had charge of the cart with the hose on it. I remember seeing him roll that cart with that hose, that fire hose on it.
Turner: You’re talking about Mr. Brockett? No, Osborne was there before Brockett.
Mc Knight: Yes. Osborne had the meat market. It had nice little living quarters on the right hand side and the left hand side was the meat market.
Turner: When we lived at Mrs. Hanse’s house I would run out the alley and did most of my shopping right there.
Mc Knight: My mother, she always loved to go shop for groceries. It seemed like back in those days she learned to drive, which was kind of unusual for a woman of her age in that time. My oldest brother taught her how to drive. But anyway, it seemed like we went to town every day to buy groceries. We would stop at Mr. Osborne’s and she bought meat there. I started to say something else
Turner: Well, I was thinking about down town, it makes us sad to see Railroad Street gone down because those houses were so nice. What made me sick was when they covered up the hotel. It was such a pretty little building.
Mc Knight: I wish we could find those pictures that Duane had. He had blown up pictures of that street with all those nice homes along there and all of them had rockers on the porch with white linen tiebacks on them. It was just beautiful.
Turner: That hotel [The Bunnell Hotel] some people say that it was built when people started to come in here after they had organized some realty.
Mc Knight: Mr. Moody advertised. That’s where that “Home Builder” , that book [The Bunnell Home Builder, a periodical] They would advertise up north and people would come here just to see the land.
Kent: Kind of like ITT.
Mc Knight: That’s right. It was the forerunner of ITT.
Turner: On that street is the big Cochran House. The Cochrans came here fairly early and Shepp says they stayed in the hotel which they called the Halcylon [ Formerly the Bunnell Hotel] until their dad built the house. Mr. Lambert’s house was built before theirs, wasn’t it?
Mc Knight: Yes, they claim that the Lambert house is the oldest house in Bunnell. I don’t know if that’s true or not.
Turner: That’s what I’ve always heard too. Down this way from the hotel was Dr. Carter’s house. It was such a lovely home.
Mc Knight: You know, that house had three stories. Back in the thirties it caught fire. That’s when Mr. Bessant got electrocuted trying to help with the fire and stepped on a live wire. After that they took that top story off.
Turner: It looks nothing like it did then.
Mc Knight: It has been whittled down so now it looks like a little toy house.
Turner: Dr. Carter was the first well Dr. St. Peter was here [first] Dr. Carter was our family doctor for years.
Mc Knight: Dr. St. Peter delivered my husband in 1916. Dr. Carter delivered me in 1917.
Kent: Where were the deliveries, was that a home delivery?
Turner: at home. I was delivered by a midwife; Aunt Emma delivered me and the two oldest boys.
Kent: Is that right? Tell me more about her.
Turner: Aunt Emma, well she must have
Kent: Was she really your aunt?
Turner: No! We were taught to respect elders. I don’t care whether they were black or white. We always called them aunt or uncle. You didn’t call them Mr. or Mrs. but we called them aunt and uncle. I remember Aunt Emma had delivered us and she delivered many children who were in my age group at that time.
Kent: Black and white?
Turner: [Nods yes.] She lived down by the highway that goes through here. I remember I would go to see her and take her some little something. I recall that she had a wedding ring on her middle finger and it was brass and her finger was all green; that worried me. She had honeysuckle vines on the end of the porch and she had a little swing and she would often sit out there. We had a lot to do with the black community. I remember Fat Jack and Pearl Davis who lived on down that street what was it called? they changed it to Martin Luther King Drive, I think. Uncle Albert was born in slavery. He used to cut coontie fern. Do you know what coontie fern is?
Turner: It grows wild out in the woods. It is a pretty fern. Before they grew all these ferns, leather leaf and all that, those were the things [ ferns] people used. People cut them and shipped them for wreaths; especially military funerals used coontie fern. Uncle Albert worked for Uncle John and I remember asking him [About emancipation.]. He said, “It was kind of hard for us because we were accustomed to having things provided for us, such as it was.” He said that when the war was over and you were out on your own you had to find a place to go and you had to learn how to make a living.
Kent: And he was able to do that.
Turner: He was just a child, see. But we grew up with these black people. I knew all of them on that street.
Mc Knight: My mother-in-law had a black woman that helped her. She called her Aunt Something, I don’t know what it was now. She always had black help in the house. Now my mother was entirely different. She had no help; she did everything. We did know one old black woman who used to come to the house and help wash sometimes. My mother washed outside. We had a washhouse. When I was six years old we moved from where we lived here to the corner of Anderson and Lambert.
Turner: That house still stands. Did she have a boil pot in the yard?
Mc Knight: Oh yes! She had a washhouse, and she had three washtubs, one for soap and two rinsers. My father always worked with machinery and he would have grease on his clothes. So she had a wash pot out in the yard for years, boiled his clothes out there. When she got rid of that I don’t remember why now, but she did later on when he was still working she would boil them on the stove in the house.
Kent: What kind of machinery would he be working on?
Mc Knight: He worked in mills, mostly. I guess his legal term was a millwright.
Turner: I can remember we had my family always planted a big sugar cane patch. When I was quite small we just had a big boiler that would set out in the barnyard. But later on Grandpa enclosed that with a brick flue and everything like that and it was really nice. Momma boiled the clothes in that. She would rub them first and then put them in there. She called them the boil suds or something. She would boil them, and then rinse them. She would put bluing in to make them white, and of course she hung them on the line.
We also used to cook syrup when would have cane grinding time. Many people would come by. There were big rollers and you would push the cane in and usually there would be a horse or a mule that pulled a big sweep around that ground it. Then you put that cane juice in the boiler and cooked it until it became syrup; many people did that. I wanted him to have a candy pulling like I had heard people would cook the last batch of syrup. But he would tell us toward the latter cooking or even one of the others, he would say, “Go and get you a sweet potato and scrub it real well.” We would do that and he would drop it down into the syrup. Boy, they were great candied yams!
He [Her father.] had the blacksmith shop that was down there where you had to turn the grinding rods. We made brown sugar and we always had a garden. You were self sufficient in those days.
Mc Knight: Well, living in the city we didn’t have anything like that.
Turner: She was a town girl.
Mc Knight: I can tell you a little story about my husband and sugar cane.
Kent: Hold on just a minute, I think this thing [recorder] is going to turn itself around. We might lose a little bit of that story.
Mc Knight: When we get wound up we don’t know when to stop.
Turner: One thing reminds you of something else.
Kent: Sure. That’s great. Now that I said it, it’s not going to do it. OK, we’ll just go ahead.
Mc Knight: Well, when my husband was a teenager, a young teenager, he had a friend called well his name was Luther Powell but we all called him “Boob”. Well anyway, on the corner across from my house somebody had put a thing to grind cane. I don’t know what they called it. It had a long pole out there and usually they had a pony or donkey or something to pull it around. Well, my husband grew his own sugar cane; he did have a patch behind his house. Well they took the sugar cane and brought it up here and they were going to make cane juice. That’s something I never did like, but anyway, that was the big thing. They pushed that thing [the press.] around and they ground it all up and had a big jug of cane juice. My husband told the other boy, “Since I ground up all the cane, you can carry the juice.”
(His mother named him… but he hated that name.) Everybody knew him as Jr. And Luther said, “I’m not going to carry it!” Jr. said, “If you don’t carry it, I’ll pour it out.” “You won’t do that” [Luther said]. Jr. turned it upside down! [Laughing.]
Turner: He was in my grade. I think you should say something [more] about him because I’m proud of Jr.
Mc Knight: Well
Kent: What was [your husband’s] his given name?
Mc Knight: Jesse. (I know you know Genette at the title company well her husband is my son. His name is Jesse.) But Jr. never did go by [the name] Jesse. When he went away when he was in the service everybody called him Mac everybody that knew him away from Bunnell called him Mac. Anyway, he wanted to get in the Air Force. We already had a child, my daughter. She was about three or four years old, I guess. He signed up to get in the Air Cadets (they called it then). He got in, and to make a long story short, he finished the training, and flew. He was a pilot on a B 24. He flew 35 missions over Germany [Tearing.] and came home! He made it home!
Kent: That was a hard time.
Mc Knight: Yes it was. He had some experiences because he almost got shot down and had to land in Brussels (I think it was). But they got out of there some way. He got another plane and flew back to England. He was based in Norwich, England.
Turner: He was always patriotic. When we were kids in school he was.
Mc Knight: Let me tell you something funny about that. You know how Jr. loved the South (most of the boys back then did). We went to St. Augustine to see Uncle Tom’s Cabin at the movies. [Laughing.] We didn’t have a theater here then. Anyway, Marge Mc Kenze and I she was a friend that I grew up with we just clapped when the Northern soldiers were getting ahead. Anyway, we were just clapping and carrying on for the South, I mean for the North. He got so mad at us, he told us off all the way home.
Turner: We fought the Civil War over again in school with him and Luther and all those boys and I was into it too because you see Grand Pa Durrence wasn’t old enough to be in the war, but his father was a soldier and captured and all that so I was well indoctrinated with all that Civil War stuff.
McKnight: My great grandfather fought in the Civil War. That’s how I joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy under his name but I didn’t know anything about him. All my relatives were in Georgia and back in those days you didn’t travel much back and forth between Florida and Georgia. So, I didn’t know much about them.
Kent: What was your life like when you were a newlywed?
Mc Knight: Hard times!
Turner: We had Depression days.
Mc Knight: My husband had a dry cleaning place.
Turner: We called it a “pressing club.”
Mc Knight: Half of it was living quarters,it wasn’t a very nice place. But anyway, I fixed it all up least I thought I did and we lived there for a while. I forget what I started to tell
Turner: She wondered what it was like in our early-married years.
Mc Knight: I remember Bruz Gordon had a little grocery store on the opposite corner from us. Junior would give me $5 a week for groceries and we had plenty to eat for that $5.
Kent: Did you have a garden too?
Mc Knight: No, we never did have a garden.
Turner: They were right down town. They were right on that railroad street that we are worried about.
Mc Knight: Well, I’ll tell you, when we came back after the war Jr. and George Allen got a lease on the airport out there and they were going start a flying school but it never got off the ground. But, we lived out there. My husband came home one day and he brought these little bitties that he got at the post office. Somebody had ordered them and didn’t want them.
Turner: You may call them little chicks but we call them “biddys”.
Mc Knight: He brought those things out there and we raised them. I would clean some of them and bring them to Mrs. Ward’s grocery store. I did a lot of things back in those days and when I think about it I don’t know how I did it. When we moved to Flagler Beach we had a little grocery store and a hardware store. Flagler Beach had nothing out there then. That was between the “Boom Time” and the fifties. I got to where I could do anything in that meat market except cut pork chops. I never could hit anything with a cleaver in the right place. I had quite an experience.
I’ve done a lot of things. I went to work in the Court House. Camie Lynn, a friend of mine had worked there. She called me one day and she said, “Do you want a job?” I said, “Doing what?” “My job at the Court House”, she said. “I can’t do that.” I said. “Well, yes you can.”(That was in the Clerk’s Office.) I said, “What will you do?” So she said,”I put my application in at the bank and got a chance to work there.” I went in there and went to work for Ralph Harbert who was Clerk of the Court. I started there in ’56 worked until ’59 there.
Then I went to work for Mr. Alford who had the abstract company in Bunnell. I worked for him and going back during the War I worked for Mr. Alford while Junior was overseas I worked for Mr. Alford and stayed with my mother. Diana [her daughter] and I stayed with my mother. Then after he [her husband] came home I quit. But I did go back to work for him [Mr. Alford] in ’59. I worked until he sold out to the Creals and Billy Wadsworth and H. V. Peavy. I stayed on and managed the abstract company for them. They sent me to Daytona to Mary Karl [Vocational] School, which is the forerunner of DBCC. [Daytona Beach Community College]. I didn’t want to go, and Billy said, “I want you to go, cause I don’t know if H. P. could pass it [Insurance Broker’s licensing examination] or not. But, we both passed it and got our licenses.
Turner: There was an article in the paper the other day and a picture of Mary Karl. She was the one who was really behind that vocational school.
Kent: So what credentials did you have when you finished that?
Mc Knight: We didn’t have any college credits or anything, but I was prepared to take the state exam for insurance license, insurance broker’s license. I passed that. I helped out H. P. Peavy who owned the Flagler County Insurance Agency. He was interested in the insurance end of the business. But later on, I bought out Mr. Creal’s interest in the abstract company. Dick Watson, an attorney from St. Augustine, owned the other half of the stock. Later on, after my son came to work for me, we were able to buy [Watson’s] his stock. And when I retired, we gave my son half the stock and he bought the other half from me, so that’s how they own that.
Turner: That’s the business right next to here, you know? [Flagler County Abstract Co.]
Kent: Uh huh. So you have been involved in all kinds of things.
Turner: Yes, she was a busy little bee.
Kent: You had just the one son?
Mc Knight: Yes, I have two children. My daughter was born in 1939 and my son was born in 1947. There was eight years difference in them. One was born before the war and one was born after the war and the war is still going on. They don’t have anything in common. They love each other, but
Turner: They are just entirely different. Johnnie [her mother’s “change of life” baby] is like my child, she isn’t like a sister, there was so much difference in our age.
Years ago we had baseball teams. We had a lot of things going on and during the war years. The reason I met Rodgers, my husband His uncle, A. C. Rodgers, on the corner here had a gas station and lunch room that was kind of a gathering point for the little town. He and Mr. Kudrna who had the Chevrolet place were managers of the ball team. Well, they got talking about things that they needed and they needed someone who could weld. So, A. C. called Rodgers or wrote him so the next time somebody went up that way he came back. He had been working after he quit school as a welder and mechanic. He was really clever with tools and everything so he never went into the service. I remember when the Draft Board said, “We can’t draft him because he is the only one here to take care of all our old broken down equipment.” That’s the way I met him. So we had a ball team, we had a lot of things in those days.
Mc Knight: One time we had, I guess you would call it a professional ball team because they paid those players from Jacksonville, Roscoe Lynn and the Copeland boys.
Turner: I had a crush on one of those boys; I don’t remember what his name was.
Mc Knight: I remember. What was the oldest ones name? Ed Copeland is the one that married Lettie Johnston. I can’t remember the older boy’s name. He was crazy about my friend Marjorie Mc Kenzie. I would sit there in the living room and watch them. I would think, oh she is so lucky to have that good-looking man. Margie always had older men always seemed to like her. Someone named Rolly Perk
Turner: Well her husband, the one whom she married, was he much older than her or not?
Mc Knight: No, I don’t think he was a whole lot older than her.
Turner: We had a lot of things in those days. People worked like six days a week and they came to town on Saturday evening to shop.
Mc Knight: I was just thinking about that, go ahead.
Turner: Everybody visited. We had the [train] depot across there and it had It was a pretty building. I was mad when they tore it down while I was away from here. Women would gather there often times on one end and the men would sit out on the platform and visit. There was a barbershop and poolroom in the back of it in the main building down here. People gathered on Saturdays and really enjoyed visiting with one another.
Mc Knight: We would always go to town on Saturday night and get a good place to park. We would sit there and visit with people, back and forth. The kids would run into what they called the Mercantile, which was kind of a department store right where Hanson’s furniture store is now. They would run to the drugstore and get ice cream.
Turner: We had two drugstores at one time, for a good while. We had a number of things. We had nice restaurants. You remember Mrs. Mc Kenzie had the restaurant by Holden’s drug store?
Mc Knight: Yes, she first had it around the corner.
Kent: When did things start going down?
Mc Knight: Well, you know as I said, we moved to Flagler Beach in 1951. At that time I sort of lost track of everything in Bunnell because it was like moving to a foreign country to move to Flagler Beach. The old road was bad between here and there.
Turner: It was an old washboardy road that wasn’t paved.
Mc Knight: I don’t know. We had the store [In Flagler Beach] and we had a store in Bunnell, too. My husband worked in it and I sort of ran that little store in Flagler Beach. I didn’t know very much about hardware never did learn very much about that but I took care of the grocery store. I was just so tied up in that I didn’t have time to take part in anything in Bunnell. In fact, I started after my husband died, seven years ago last May [Tearing.] Two friends of mine took me out to lunch one day [voice breaks] and said, “Why don’t you come back to church?” I started coming back to the Methodist church that I grew up in and I’ve been going there ever since.
Turner: Well, so many of your friends, people with whom you grew up still go there. That makes a difference.
Mc Knight: Yes.
Turner: Well, during all those years Rogers was a mechanic and someone in Palatka just insisted I think Kik Night persuaded him to go over there. We stayed over there a year or two and I thought, “If the good Lord will let me get away from Palatka and I won’t go back.” It was a really country town. Some others might consider us country, but we didn’t think we were country.
Mc Knight: My sister lived there a long time. It was sort of divided into people who thought they were hotsy totsy, you know, hoity toity and then there was all this other riff raff.
Turner: It was interesting to go to town on Saturdays. They would gather around the Court House. I would park and listen to them. They used such bad grammar! We didn’t stay over there but a year or so. When we came back Rodgers worked at the Ford place for a while. Then he went back and worked for Mr. Kudrna until Mr. Kudrna sold the shop out and we moved to Las Vegas from Bunnell.
Kent: That was quite a change.
Turner: Yes, that was quite a change. Our son is a musician. When he graduated from high school he went to school up at FSU [Florida State University]. That was the beginning They had an excellent Music School, I guess the Music School is still good. He didn’t graduate from Music School; he got a chance to go on the road traveling with bands, so he traveled with a number of bands. I remember once he said, “I want you and Daddy to come to New York cause I’m going to get off this band Charlie Spevack’s band, I think, or one of them, tt was the Big Band era he said, “I’m going, several of us are going to Vegas.” So he moved to there. After he was there a while he persuaded us to move out there. We lived there for 13 years. I rather liked it, you know. You hear all the sordid tales about it, but I could go with him to work. One time he was playing for a relief band. It would relieve the regular hotel band in a different hotel each night. I could sit in the light booth or sit in back of the band, but it was too loud to sit there. I could sit in the light booth and I would make a loaf of bread or something to take to those old guys. Sometimes the opening act would be pretty bad and Charles would say, “I’ll meet you at the back door at a certain time.” Then I would go and watch. So after it seemed that we got settled there, he started traveling with Frank Sinatra. So I said, “Well, if that’s what you’re going to do we may as well go home.” So we came home. Rogers was old enough to retire. So we have been back here ever since.
When I was out there I was busy in church all the time. I’m a Mormon, an LDS, and I enjoyed it out there because there were a lot of them and we had a lot of activities. There were many things I was involved in. Then we got permission to meet at what we call the Civic Center that’s now called City Hall. Then we bought a little church house and then we built a church house down back of the elementary school. So I have been involved in that. Then we organized the Flagler County Historical Society and I was in on that. I remember we met at this woman’s house. I don’t remember her name because she has been married several times.
Mc Knight: Audrey Darrow. She was Darrow then.
Turner: And so, we organized that and I’ve been involved in that ever since. We wanted to preserve Bunnell and so we have Pioneers of Bunnell. There are not many of us left. One of the requirements was that you must have been born or lived here since 19.
Mc Knight: Before 1940 something, I think it was.
Turner: Yes, before 1940. So many of us old timers are gone. There are not many left. We have such a gracious good time reminiscing. You know, “Remember when”? We meet here [at the Holden House] monthly.
Mc Knight: My granddaughter called me and asked me if I could go out with them Thursday night for her birthday. I said, “Well, Vanessa, I would love to go, but that’s Pioneer’s night.” I said, “I just can’t miss that.”
Turner: We do have a good time here, we really do.
I have to tell you, the years I worked in the school really had a bearing on me. I wanted to be a schoolteacher and my grandfather had this tailor shop in Minneapolis then. He was going to send for me and I was going to stay with him and go to the University of Minnesota. Well, his business failed, you see it was ’34 and the crash had started. So, I had filled out applications and things. Mr. Booe had things to see if I could go to .it wasn’t FSU then it was Florida State College for Women. But they had people just scrambling to get there so I didn’t get that.
There was an opportunity to prior to the WPA it was called the FERA, Federal Emergency Relief Association, I guess. They had women working in sewing rooms. They had men that worked and did a lot of things. They built the Civic Center, they built the jail house out there and a number of things. Women were working in the sewing room. Well, they had a program they wanted to institute for underprivileged children. So Kate Lord and I were hired to do this. We borrowed Mildred Lewis’ car and went around the county and interviewed people about their children. They were pre-school age (we didn’t have kindergarten then). They would put the children on the buses and we would meet the buses at the school and put them on one bus and bring them all up to the building that used to be our school building. That was interesting. The children would come in and often times they were dirty. One of the things we did, we put our pennies together and bought a washtub and a rubbing board. Then we got the ladies Well we didn’t have any money for cloth, so the people at the theater do you remember that old French couple at the theater? we asked them and they let us sponsor a show. I can remember we were advertising some western thing that we thought would appeal to the people. We were hanging on the running board of the car shooting blanks. Well, blanks don’t make any noise, so I got some of Daddy’s real pistols and we shot them up in the air and all that stuff. We had a good turnout and made some money, so we bought some material and the ladies in the sewing room made clothes for those kids. They would come in and we would put them in that washtub bathe them and wash their clothes. We first hung them on a bush and then we finally got a little clothesline out here. So, we did that and it was interesting. The FERA [Federal Emergency Relief Act]director was in the same building and so was nurse. So if the children had any sores they could take care of that. We did that a year. Then the next year they were going to continue, but that failed. So in the meantime I met Rodgers and married him. Then I said we moved to Palatka and then back here ever since.
Kent: How did you get involved in the school lunch program?
Turner: I wanted to be a schoolteacher, see? I would do anything to get to work at school. When Charles [her son] started to school I worked with the lady who had the school cafeteria. It was privately owned and operated then. That was Nellie Teeters. I wanted them [the children] to have more than that. I wanted it to be part of the school system; that was important.
So, when Charles was in the third grade, his teacher was a rather old woman and she had a frail child and her husband was quite old. At Christmas time he got sick or the child got sick and she had to resign. People who had been in the education system left to go to war plants to get more money. So, it was hard to find schoolteachers, so I suggested to Brady Wadsworth (who was Superintendent) that the Methodist preacher’s daughter I said I know she has a degree in drama why don’t you ask her? She stayed a week or two, and she said, “I can’t do this.” And then Marie Corley, she went and stayed a week or two. They didn’t have anyone so Brady Wadsworth said, “Norma, you’re the room mother. You go up there and take care of those kids until we find someone.” They didn’t find anyone, so as not to foul up the whole system they issued an emergency certificate for me. So, I taught for the rest of that semester. The School Board offered to loan me enough money to go to school, and oh, I wanted to go! But I had a husband and a child, so
Anyhow, that next year the US Department of Agriculture put its bid in and everything [the school lunch program] began to be controlled by that so they hired me. I felt like I could make it a part of the school system. It was good; I was smart enough. I could learn about vitamins.
Mc Knight: How many years did you do that? [Manage the school cafeteria.]
Turner: I was up there over twenty years. That was a long time. When we started off we had one person and then the other that wanted to cook in a pot instead of doing it the right way. And then when Edna Kendal drove the school bus, her husband was on the School Board. She didn’t make enough money driving the school bus so she wanted to work in the cafeteria, too. She was bossy but we had a lot of fun. We coached basketball one year. We took our basketball kids over to Lake Weir and spent the weekend. We just did a lot of things. After the other senior classes were graduating, if they couldn’t go out of town [we took them] on these trips many times. I even went with the band once. Maybe you went too, [Audrey] over to Lake Weir. We would rent these cottages and they had a little dance pavilion there and it was just fun to go over there. I would go with them to chaperone and feed them. I did that a lot. And then Charles played tennis and Helen Deen and I one of my neighbors that I grew up and grew old with we traveled all over the state following the band and tennis. All those years I stayed at the school until we moved to Las Vegas.
Mc Knight: Let me tell you something about my daughter. She got into the high school band when she was in the third grade. She majored in music in college and taught elementary school music for years. In fact, she just retired; this October will be a year ago that she retired after twenty-five years of teaching in that one school. She had taught in the Washington D.C. area for seven or eight years up there.
Turner: I can remember when she was little she would go on the band trips. You probably were tied up doing something else. I would watch out for Diana.
Mc Knight: I was tied up with that old store and Buzzy [her son, Jesse] was little.
Turner: There was a little Hart girl too.
Mc Knight: Judy Ann Hart, those two.
Turner: So I would watch out for them. I remember when we went to the governor’s inauguration and nobody got anything to eat. Sanford raised all that celery. We were walking around chewing on celery sticks.
Mc Knight: The main thing that Diana always told me about that trip was one of the majorettes fainting. Oh, what was her name? She lived in the house that was moved over here where the bank is now.
Turner: I know who you mean.
Mc Knight: What was it? Mc Ghee, Mc Ghee. Anyway, she couldn’t get over that girl fainting. She thought that was terrible. She was just a tiny thing then. She went on all those trips and I couldn’t go with her. But Norma was good enough to look after her. She went to Stetson her first year. She transferred to well it was Carnegie Institute of Technology then, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Turner: I didn’t know she went to Stetson.
Mc Knight: One year, her freshman year and then she got a degree in elementary music and another degree in performance. She taught music for a long time. The last few years she got kind of burned out teaching the kids over and over.
Turner: Well not only over and over, but the parents don’t require them to do the things that we did.
Mc Knight: She took a sabbatical and went back to well not back, but she went to the University of Florida and got certified to teach elementary school. She taught several years in, what do they call it? Drop out prevention.
Turner: I’ve had fun too since we came back here, When I was out in Las Vegas I would go up to Salt Lake. I have a brother who lives up there. I would spend a week at a time and go to the genealogy library where they do all this family research.
Kent: We need to stop here a minute. [Changes tape.] [Tape #2]
Mc Knight: I’ve never been good about keeping things orderly, you know, keeping old things organized. Like today, I went through a box full of pictures to try and find a picture of Bunnell. I do have one or two in here [Points to album]. Most of it was [pictures of] my two granddaughters; I have so many pictures of them.
Turner: What was I talking about?
Kent: You were talking about genealogy study.
Turner: Oh, I spent a lot of time there, tracing my ancestry. Then we moved back here and our church built this nice building and we have a genealogy department. It is called the Family History Center. So, I was in charge of that for a long time. I worked there until my husband Rodgers’ health got so bad that I couldn’t drag him around continuously. That’s what I spent a great deal of time on. We had all these old Flagler Tribunes here. We wanted to do something, so someone from the University of Florida came and got them and they have been microfilmed. We have them in that office. I wanted to take them to the church house to see what kind of machine we have to buy to have here at the Holden House to use those things. That’s one of my goals for the next week or so.
Kent: We want to get a copy for the library, also.
Turner: It has been interesting to be involved in this house, hasn’t it?
Mc Knight: Yes, it has. You have been active here a long time before I got on the Board.
Turner: The county was going to tear it down. The whole thing was going to become a parking lot. They tore down that building [points to the lot next door] and I loved the Pine Grove Inn. It was one of the first hotels here.
Mc Knight: Wasn’t Canakaris the last owner of that?
Turner: I don’t know. After it was used for an apartment house. Tommy and Patsy lived there for a while when the Stanish (what’s his name?) had the gas station.
Mc Knight: Pie.
Turner: His family lived there and then it became the funeral home. There was a branch out from St. Augustine, Craig’s Funeral Home. And then, I guess they tore it down while I was away. I couldn’t believe it!
Mc Knight: I can’t remember. It seems to me that Canakaris bought it and tore it down.
Turner: He could have. Didn’t he buy the Bacher house and tear that down, too? That was a lovely big home.
Mc Knight: Oh, I loved that place. I used to go there when I was just a little kid. Mrs. Barker had chickens and Momma bought eggs from her. She would send me over there to get the eggs. She put them in remember when Oatmeal came in round boxes? She always put the eggs in one of those. She always gave me a piece of sponge cake. That was the kind of cake she specialized in. But it was delicious!
Turner: Well, you remember at one time the Pinholsters lived in that apartment there. A number of different people lived there.
Mc Knight: My brother and his wife. They lived there when they first got married. It was a huge home, a beautiful home.
Turner: Mrs. Pinholster would often times send me who was it after they moved out there, the man that worked at the Mercantile in dry goods. They had a cute boy.
Mc Knight: Teal, Mr. Teal.
Turner: They were the ones that lived there. And Mrs. Pinholster was good friends with them and she would give me a little note and I would go. I loved their floors because they were so pretty.
Mc Knight: It was a beautiful house. When you went to the front door and looked there was a hall with an apartment on the right hand side and their living and dining room and all was on the left hand side. You could look down that hall and at the end of the hall was a door with an oval mirror, and that was so pretty.
Turner: As a kid I can remember in Grand Pa’s old place, when you started up the stairs you went up so many steps and there was a little landing and you turned and there was a picture of a castle.
Kent: A castle?
Turner: A castle. I was afraid because the water was rough [in the picture]. I can remember that. Yeah, gracious.
Mc Knight: Well I’ve kind of got active in the church in Bunnell. My husband, he had a lot of trouble right after he retired. We were going to take trips and we were going to do this, that and the other because we both retired about the same time. He got colon cancer.
Turner: He worked for the Florida State Road Department, too.
Mc Knight: Yes, he worked for them for a long time. He was working for them when he retired. Then we went to the Watson Clinic in Lakeland and they found this huge tumor. He had that surgery in the hospital there. Then he had another one and between the two he had cancer on his neck. That’s when he had twelve weeks of radiation. He really went through the mill. He survived all that it affected him pretty bad but he was still able to get around and drive the car. He had a little Volkswagen Van. He loved that thing. He would drive that and we would go to Daytona in it. [Tearing, voice breaking.] And then, in 1989, at Christmas time, I went to the UDC [United Daughters of the Confederacy] Christmas party. I asked him, “Do you think it is alright if I go?” He said, “Yes, you go ahead. I’ll be alright.” I was home early and went into the bedroom, his bedroom and he had had a stroke and wet the bed. Anyway, we got him to the hospital. I remember it was bitterly cold that Christmas. He was there about a month in the hospital. Then he came home and he was in bed for almost five years. He had a tube in his stomach.
Turner: That was hard because he was such an active person.
Mc Knight: I don’t know. He survived. He handled it real well. I don’t know how he did it but he did, because he was always kind of short tempered. But he just changed. He was so nice to everybody all the time he was sick. You know, his mind was just as clear as a bell the night he died.
Kent: Did you have help taking care of him?
Mc Knight: Yes, I had help around the clock just about. I was with him sometimes by myself but not much. He was a big man; I couldn’t handle him.
Turner: He was a big person.
Mc Knight: Yes, I was fortunate enough to be able to keep him at home and we got a hospital bed. He had this tube in his stomach with a pump and everything.
Turner: I have my husband home now. He has Alzheimer’s plus the fact that he can’t walk around. Last year I fell and broke my hip. I had a bout with cancer since I’ve been home, colon cancer. I have a hard time taking care of him. He was in the hospital. He broke his arm after I broke my hip. I put a hospital bed in the living room and he was sleeping in the bedroom. I bought a twin bed and moved the hospital bed into our bedroom because he was roaming around. I take care of him and it isn’t easy. There is this woman in the church who had worked when she was out in Utah in some kind of home for aged people. She knows how to handle him. That gives me a little respite. That’s how I’m here today.
Mc Knight: During those five years, almost five years, I had a hard time keeping good help. Toward the last there I had two women who were really good. They took good care of him. [Voice breaks.] Like I said a while ago, after he died Helen Deen and Pearl Blakely came and took me out to lunch. They said, “Why don’t you start back to church?” So I started back to church and I sat by Helen every Sunday in church. I’ve been going ever since. It has been a lifesaver.
Turner: Helen has been a good friend. She lived next door to me. She and I used to travel around and then she got to going to church with Helen.
Mc Knight: Well, I’ve been well enough and active enough that I have been able to go and take part in things.
Kent: So you see that as a real support system?
Mc Knight: Yes.
Turner: Well, that’s the same way I taught the Adult Doctrine Class for fifteen years until last year when I fell and broke my hip. I was involved in that Family History Center and then for three years I taught Seminary. In our church Seminary is from 6 to 7 o’clock in the morning for high school aged kids. We teach them before they go to school. They are high school age, and I like that. I like it when they have that ginger in them! I really did!
Mc Knight: I said long ago I wished I could write something. I’m trying to write something. Patsy, you know, your sister-in-law is the historian for the church. She has been using all of those old records that Leona had. I told her about this little incident when we lived in this little house so close to the church. I remember starting to Sunday School there when I was about three years old. Eula, she was Eula Moody then, Eula Moody was later Fuller. She taught our Sunday School class. She was just a young girl. We sat in the pulpit well I guess where the preacher stands is really the pulpit but anyway there was this beautiful bay window in that old church. We sat on an old ironing board on two boxes. There were four or five of us kids that she taught. I’m going to try and write that up for her to put in the history of the church.
Turner: That will be nice. I’m trying to write something. When I was leaving to come back to Florida they wanted me to tell something about it. So I wrote something called, “Memories”. Charles said, “Momma, I’m going to tape that.” I have been doing this anyhow. I have a little satchel full of things and I have a whole thing about Grand Pa Durrance, where he was born and all about his life. And then my Grand Pa Jepson, I’ve got all those things. I could do a whole book on my family.
Mc Knight: If you’ve still got time, I want Norma to tell you this story about when her Grand Mother died. That is history to me. You know, you were talking about the cooling board and then they laid her out? I want you to tell her about that. I thought that was so interesting.
Turner: Oh, yeah. It is interesting. I was seven years old on the seventeenth of December, and she died on the twentieth. She had been quite ill. She was a little short, fat woman. She had this pot stomach. I liked to lean up against her, but she had no lap for you to sit on. We knew that she wouldn’t live long, and her youngest daughter lived in Green Cove Springs. She came over here. I think she brought two Mormon missionaries because they were there and I don’t remember how they got there, so I’m assuming that. Anyhow, we were expecting Grand Ma to go and they built a fire out in the yard. The family was all sitting around out there, visiting and talking about times past. Well, Aunt Sing, one of Daddy’s older sisters, and Uncle Arthur, his oldest brother were in with Grand Ma. They decided they would take the pillow out from under Grand Ma’s head and let her go. Well, somebody stepped in about that time they told Aunt Eva and Aunt Eva screamed. I can remember her screaming. She ran back in there and put the pillow under Grand Ma’s head. Well, Grand Ma lived for another day or so after that.
The day she died, that was my first experience around death. Well, it really wasn’t my first, but the one that I had more opportunity to be involved in. Mrs. Stuckey and Mrs. Anglin came to bathe Grand Ma and dress her. Daddy came to town to order the casket. It was going to come in on the train and we didn’t have any embalming or anything like that. But that night it got cold because it was December. So Daddy came to town we had a little old Model T truck or “skeeter” [An old vehicle stripped down to the chassis.] or something he came to town and bought ice. They chipped that ice up and put it in jars. They put sawhorses and put these boards there. Then they put her on that and covered her with a sheet and put these jars all around her to keep her cool. Then the next morning Mrs. Anglin and Mrs. Stuckey came to dress her. They dressed her and put her in the casket.
People didn’t buy all these lovely flowers that they do now. But, the Stuckeys always had flowers and Louie Stuckey always had a yard full of flowers. They had a fernery at one time, so she brought these flowers and this fern and they made a spray to go on the casket. I remember that we rode to the funeral she was buried up in our family cemetery in Espanola we rode with old Mr. Byrd. Wasn’t he one of the first legislators?
Mc Knight: Yes, he was a representative from this county for a long time.
Turner: He had a Model T Ford and we rode with him. F. L. Byrd. But those were really some things for a child.
Mc Knight: I thought that was interesting because it goes back to the ways they did things a long time ago.
Turner: You did for one another. We do things for one another now, but we do it in a different way. We don’t actually do, we buy things. We carry food. But, think of going in and dressing someone? Well, I helped dress Momma. So, you can do a lot of things when you have to. But things have changed.
Kent: Well, the importance of friendship hasn’t changed.
Turner: No, it hasn’t. You know, we tease because nearly all of the Pioneers are Methodists. I tease them every once in a while. My husband came with me one night [to a Pioneer dinner meeting]. We were eating in the kitchen because he hasn’t been able to control his arm after he broke it. I said, Rogers, we’re going to eat in the kitchen so we won’t spill crumbs.” I said to them, “You Methodists get through with your meeting cause the Mormons are in the kitchen.”
Mc Knight: I guess Pearl [Blakely] is the oldest Pioneer left, isn’t she?
Turner: She is going to be 89 in a few days.
Mc Knight: I called her and I said, “Pearl, do you think you are going to be able to go to Pioneer’s Thursday?” Oh Yes! She said, “Norma wants us to get chicken.” I said, “Yes, I talked to Norma.” I said, “I’ll get the chicken.”
Turner: We have different things that we are kind of famous for, but we’re just kind of tired of all those things. I like that chicken. And then usually I’ll make some kind of home made bread, and then people bring salads and deserts and all that. We eat and visit and have the best time. We hate to go home that night!
Mc Knight: Our little crowd is shrinking so.
Turner: I think we are going to have to raise the age to 50 to include more people.
Mc Knight: We tried that once and nobody was interested. I think that Charles and Buzzy [their sons] came one time and that’s the only time they ever came. It’s just not convenient for them because sometimes they don’t get out of that office until eight o’clock at night.
Kent: How many people would typically be at a Pioneer’s meeting?
Turner: Eight or ten.
Mc Knight: Something like that.
Turner: I was thinking of writing up a little history the other day, about when we began.
Mc Knight: When we first organized, over at the Civic Center (City Hall) we had
Turner: We had twenty-five or thirty people.
Mc Knight: And they have all died! Oh yeah. We had a big group.
Kent: [Mrs. Mc Knight] You are the eldest person who was born in Bunnell?
Mc Knight: Yes, that I know of. I don’t know of anyone else.
Kent: You and the county share a birthday, almost.
Mc Knight: Yes, because I was born really in St. Johns County, because I was born in May and the county was created in July of that same year. 
Turner: Yes, I was born in St. Johns County. I didn’t like that, I wanted to be born in Flagler County.
Mc Knight: You know, I remember when Junior tried to get his birth certificate I guess it was when he going in the service he had to get a delayed one because he didn’t think about this being St. Johns County when he was born. When I got mine, I applied and it shows on my birth certificate that I was born in St. Johns County.
Turner: Well, I applied and I had to get a delayed birth certificate. I had to have affidavits and all that stuff.
Mc Knight: I forget who he got for affidavits.
Turner: But it was so interesting to know that I had this “cracker” dad and this little Swedish momma. Momma had a little touch of class about her, she really did. She maintained a little bit of that.
Kent: Well, thank you so much for sharing these memories, it makes Bunnell a more interesting place for me.
Turner: Well we are interested in doing something for Bunnell. Somebody said [do something about the] entrance to the town. The south entrance, those crepe myrtles have been gorgeous this year. I have enjoyed them so much. They’re building another big building down there, I don’t know what. It says something about office space or something. I go to that grocery store. We used to have what, three or four grocery stores? Now we have one, and when I go down there I notice that’s being built. And then the overpass, whatever they are doing up there I don’t know what they’re doing.
Mc Knight: I think they are going to four lane it. I don’t know what they are going to do with that old part, whether they are going to leave it or not.
Turner: I don’t know either. That’s been there a long time. Somebody had an article in the paper recently about it. They said it [The overpass that spans US1] was built in the forties. I remember times were hard then and I was still in high school.
Mc Knight: They built that before the forties!
Turner: They were building that when I graduated from high school because that was the year that Daddy walked one time when our old car broke down. He walked to work there.
Mc Knight: Yes, I remember Bobby Moody fell off the side and hurt his back when they were working on it
Turner: Did you ever get to go down there and slide on the side of it? I didn’t ever get to do that because I lived in the country.
Mc Knight: No, but we used to go up there and park because there wasn’t anything it was just there. There was just a dirt road up to it and nothing on the other side. There wasn’t any highway. I remember I had a date with Jimmy Jenkins one night. He was the Methodist preacher’s son. The first thing he wanted to do was go up there on the overpass. We went up there he wore glasses he took his glasses off and put them in his pocket and I knew he was getting ready to neck, I guess. I said, “I’ve got to go home, Jimmy. I can’t stay up here.” I cut that short!
Turner: You know they used to take these pieces of cardboard or a piece of tin and slide down it, some of them told me. It sounded so exciting!
Mc Knight: I never did see that or do that.
Turner: But you knew everybody in the county at that time, everybody that had a few cows. That’s when I met the Sparkmans and all those people. Daddy worked for some old Mac Donnald man, gathering his cattle. But with my brothers all scattered around my two oldest brothers have died. My youngest brother’s health is bad and he lives at the beach.
Mc Knight: You know he and Patsy came to XYZ [a club at the Methodist Church in Bunnell] Monday? I didn’t even recognize him. I thought, who is that man? Anyway, when I realized it was Tommy I went and spoke to him. But he was getting around there and enjoying himself.
Turner: Well, he has had all kinds of things. He has to take some kind of iron shots now. He probably knows more about the lay of the land in this county than because he worked for Dewey Moody as a surveyor all those years.
Turner: Back in the hard times during the Depression years, so many people lost their property. My family did. People would go to the courthouse and it would be advertised. Well, sometimes if they had a friend in the courthouse they would let them know. Some of these people bought up so much of the property for fifty cents an acre.
Mc Knight: Remember when bought up all that land in Flagler Beach, tax sales certificates? Somebody said, “Why didn’t you buy up some of that land?” I said, “Beause we didn’t have any money.”
Turner: Yes, because I love Flagler Beach, too. Do you remember the little old airport? I’m sure you do.
Mc Knight: Oh yes. I remember the day that Lindberg landed out there. My brother got wind of it someway I don’t know how and we went.
Turner: You went to the beach to see it, I guess.
Mc Knight: Yes, they took us.
Turner: Well, I got a little sassy that day. All these cars were going by and Momma wondered what had happened. So, she said, “Let’s get in the car and go to the beach.” I said something snappy to one of my brothers or something and she wouldn’t let go. And I had admired Lindberg and that Amelia Earhardt.. They were my idols. I didn’t get to see Lindberg. I didn’t even get to see the plane. I remember that we had a Victrola you know a phonograph and you could order records from Sears. I begged Momma to order one. It was called, “Lindberg, the Eagle of the USA.”
Mc Knight: I remember when Lindberg made the flight across the ocean, you know, the headlines were in the paper. Back in those days they didn’t have communication like they do now, so my Dad didn’t know how to pronounce some things. He went out and picked up the paper and said, “Lineberg landed!”
Turner: Well it is kind of sad in one way because we want to spruce it up [Bunnell] and get things going here so that the streets look better.
Mc Knight: You know what? I think we waited too long.
Turner: Seems like we might have. We have political things going on in the city. I know you know or have read about it. This man who was the city manager came over to visit with us. I was quite impressed with that man. But then he tried to hire the sheriff that had gotten fired and all that and got into a lot of political stuff. That kind of bothered me; I don’t know where we can start. We as Pioneers would like to select some little project. What I would like to do is over there on Rail Road Street and we couldn’t ever afford to do that. What would it take to tear that covering off that hotel?
Mc Knight: I don’t know what you would find underneath it. People in Bunnell
Turner: We sat back on our laurels and let other people do things and we didn’t.
Mc Knight: I remember way back when the Bunnell Mercantile Company was across the railroad tracks. There is a picture up here of that building. It was a department store. They sold everything. They had ready-to-wear clothes, men and women’s shoes, dry goods, everything.
Turner: They had Peters’ Weather Bird shoes. I remember seeing that little bird.
Kent: Do you think that it was when I 95 came in instead of US1? [routing traffic away from Bunnell ]
Mc Knight: Well, I 95 killed a lot of the service stations went out of business.
Turner: Yes, we were just gasoline alley before. People got a little more money. They wanted to go someplace else to shop. Now you know, I read this in the paper some place I don’t know when, some local thing, that prices for example Wall Mart and K Mart (they had to close down out in Palm Coast) you pay a little more than you do in Daytona. They can take advantage of the situation where people are nearby. As you say, I don’t see many people from Bunnell shopping at Harris’ [a market in Bunnell].
Turner: What we are talking about is some of the homes that have been here for some time. Especially down this [Moody] street.
Mc Knight: Yes, the Deen house was built in 1917, I guess because Mary Ketus was born they moved not long after she was born and she was born in November, 1917. I guess they built it in 1918.
Turner: The house across the street is old, and the Moody house has been there since I can remember. They apparently moved from this house to that house.
Mc Knight: Yes, they did, they built that during the boom when he was making money off all his land at Flagler Beach.
Turner: And that little house Uncle Bob Deen lived in it when I was a little kid. That was my favorite house in town. It was covered with shingles and painted green and had little narrow windows. I thought that was
Mc Knight: The Grimes lived there when we was in high school.
Turner: Yes, those were some of the places. Mr. Holden who lived here, now he would be a pharmacist, then he was a druggist, we called him. Actually, he doctored the people in this county. They would go in there and tell him what was wrong and he gave them medication. But, they did a lot of things. We had little clubs. I used to think when I was a kid when I got grown I would join the Palmetto Club. Remember them? Those old gals that were in the Palmetto Club, they bought us a curtain for our stage at school. Then they put “Donated by the Palmetto Club” on it. I was so indignant about putting that on there. There were a number of those.
Mc Knight: It was red velvet, wasn’t it?
Turner: Yes, trimmed in gold fringe.
Mc Knight: And gold letters on it.
Turner: She and I were honor students when we finished school.
Mc Knight: Norma was valedictorian of her class and I was of mine. Norma was talking about wanting to go to college. Oh, I wanted to go so bad! My folks just couldn’t afford it. The best thing they could do was send me to business school.
Turner: Well, that was good to even do that. Because you see, that was really Depression days.
Kent: That was because of the times, not because you were a girl?
Turner: No, because if I had gone, I would have gone to Florida State College for Women, which is FSU now.[ Break, tape reverses. ]
Turner: Which one, Billy [Wadsworth] or the old man? The old man.
Mc Knight: Anyway, I went to Tallahassee with Betty Wadsworth and spent a week with her up there. She went to all these rush parties. Mrs. Wadsworth made me spend every penny I had going to the beauty shop and getting my hair fixed to go to these parties. I said, “Lord, if I could afford to go to college I couldn’t afford to belong to a sorority. I wouldn’t want to if I could.
Turner: Well, you probably were independent. When Charles went to school up there he wouldn’t join those things. He didn’t have time to be bothered with that.
Mc Knight: Neither one of mine joined a fraternity or sorority.
Turner: He [Charles] found some old crazy musicians like him and they rented a house.
Mc Knight: Well, when Buzzy [ her son, Jesse.] went to FSU he went on scholarship because (I forget what it was called) he stayed in a house sponsored by the Rotary Club. They had so many students there and they had a grown person supervising them. They had to do all the cooking, buying, cleaning and everything. That’s where he learned to cook.
Turner: Well, guess what? Charles made one record. The record business went out years ago, they had these sorry things, hillbilly as we used to call it. You know, western kind of got into the country music so it is country western, so maybe some of those aren’t too bad. That wasn’t our forte. Well, he had this one record and he said, “I know that it’s not going to sell. My kind of music won’t sell.” So Frank [Sinatra] said that he would direct it. So Charles picked out the choicest musicians in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and he made this record. Well he sold some, but they didn’t sell All at once now, on television they are bringing back records. Charles has gotten some calls, they want to use his record.
Mc Knight: Great! Buzzy has his record, he’s had it for a long time.
Turner: He’s got pictures of Frank directing it. You could sell that, even. One time Charles likes photography. Oh gosh, he wants one of these new cameras. He has liked photography for so long and (all this stuff is going down). Frank gave him a satchel full of camera stuff. He has some that is better than that now. Our son lives in town now. His health is bad, but he is nearby anyhow.
Kent: Well, I think that we can wind this up. You have given us
Turner: I know you’re not going to write this whole thing down, but I hope that we have given you something that is food for thought.
Kent: Very much so
Mc Knight- Turner Biographical Information
Interviewee Audrey Barber Mc Knight was born in Bunnell, Florida in 1917, the year that Flagler County was formed. She attended the local school during the Great Depression and was valedictorian of her high school graduating class. Her plan to attend college was thwarted by the Depression. She married Jesse [Junior] Mc Knight and bore two children. While Mr. Mc Knight served in World War II she worked in a local abstract title company. Following the War she and her husband worked at various ventures including a poultry farm and grocery store. In 1951 the family relocated to Flagler Beach where they established a second grocery and hardware store. Mrs. Mc Knight managed that store for several years. Later she worked in the Clerk of Court’s Office and then returned to the abstract company. She attended the Mary Carl Vocational School in Daytona Beach, the forerunner of Daytona Beach Community College where she qualified to take the licensing examination to become an Insurance Broker. She continued to work in and manage the abstract title company and eventually bought out the other partners. She cared for her husband during his five-year terminal illness. Although she still resides in Flagler Beach, she has renewed her friendships in Bunnell, particularly with her life long friends at the Methodist Church where she has renewed her membership. Both she and Mrs. Turner fondly recall the time when Bunnell was a thriving community, and would like to have some part in restoring historical landmarks. She is an active member of the Flagler County Historical Society and the Bunnell Pioneers.
Interviewee Norma Durrence Turner was born in 1916 on her family farm located near today’s Flagler Palm Coast High School. Her childhood differed from Mrs. Mc Knight’s by virtue of that rural setting. The Great Depression and World War II were forces that shaped her life and that of her cohorts. As valedictorian of her high school class, she planned to study teaching at the University of Minnesota, but the Depression intervened. She worked in a Federal Emergency Relief Act program for disadvantaged preschool children for one year, then married Rogers Turner and had a child. When the child entered school she began to work in the school cafeteria, which at that time was a private enterprise. Two years later School Board issued her a one-year emergency teaching certificate to fill a vacancy in her son’s third grade class. Believing that the school cafeteria should be part of the school system, she worked with officials to develop and organize the lunch program. She managed that program for over twenty years, and participated actively in many other areas of school life. She and her husband relocated to Las Vegas for several years to be with their son, a musician. While living there she was very involved in the Mormon Church and became interested in genealogy studies. Returning to Bunnell, she renewed her church activities, teaching and organizing their Family Studies genealogical center. She is a founding member of the Flagler County Historical Society and the Bunnell Pioneers. Today she is the primary care giver for her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She values life long friends and maintains those friendships through her activities at church and at monthly meetings of the Bunnell Pioneers. She plans to record more of her memories to preserve local history.
Credibility of the Interviewees: Both Mrs. Mc Knight and Mrs. Turner are believed to be reliable sources of information concerning life in Flagler County during more than eighty years of their lifetimes. Their white, female perspective is apparent in the stories that they tell. Their shared experiences allow them to validate with one another when in doubt about events in the past.
Interviewer: Judith J. Kent
Ms. Kent is a member of the Friends of the Library of Flagler County who has volunteered to participate in the Historical Project as an interviewer. A resident of the county since 1995, she is a retired nurse educator. She gained her interviewing skills in her undergraduate nursing studies at FSU and master’s program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she majored in Counseling. Throughout her thirty years of professional nursing and teaching, these skills were practiced in both inpatient and community settings of the baccalaureate-nursing program of the University of Miami.
Technical Director: William Ryan
William Ryan’s concern for preserving Flagler County historical documents and photos was the impetus for the Library’s History Project. Mr. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Buffalo. He has had a varied career in journalism and photography. He was a reporter for The Buffalo Evening News, editor of technical publications and magazines for Ansco Photographic, then CEO of several professional/technical companies in the professional photography area. Prior to retiring to Palm Coast he was the owner and CEO of a company specializing in digital photographic recording. He was a national program lecturer and teacher for The Professional Photographers of America, holding a “Craftsman Degree” in that organization. He did research in the beginning days of the Internet, and followed its progress to the present time. His expertise in photography and related technology are apparent in the website that created and maintained for Flagler County. He is an active and valued member of the Friends of the Library.
Clegg, John A. A History of Flagler County. John A. Clegg. Bunnell, Florida, 1976.
Dupont Land Co. Haw Creek: Florida’s Call to the Farmer. Dupont Land Co. Dupont, Florida.1920(?).
Holland, Mary Ketus Deen, Ed. Unto This Land: A History of the St. Johns Park Area of Flagler County. St. Johns Park Pioneers. Bunnell, Florida,1987.
Wilson, Catherine P. Wickline. A New Beginning: A Picturesque History of Flagler Beach, Fl. [Flagler Beach: Catherine P. Wickline Wilson], c1998.