Friday, September 22, 2006

Recent Questions Answered

Hi. This is Philip back. As many readers have undoubtedly figured out, I was off-island for a week or so. While I was gone Jude kept up with the journal. And she did a great job, didn't she! While I was away I'd check the journal just to see what was going on back home. Jude even continued to write after I returned. I thought maybe I wouldn't get my job back. But now Jude is taking a vacation (this is the time of year we do this, though we often hate leaving Ocracoke during the glorious fall weather!). So I'm back at the computer, posting island news.

I want to share some thoughts about my trip, but I'll do that in a day or so. Right now I want to answer a couple of questions we received while I was away.

A reader asked the following question after my post about the creepy after-dark walk through the "woods" to my office. I mentioned that Euphemia Curtis is buried just outside my back door, and that I pass her gravestone on my walk.

"How did poor Euphemia end up only 10 feet from the back door?" the reader asked.

Well, there are more than 80 cemeteries on the island. They are scattered all over -- along main roads & Howard Street, in back yards, on tussocks here and there, in the woods, and along the sound shore. These are just the graves that are marked and identified. Many of the older wooden markers have rotted away and the graves have been covered over with bushes and trees. Some graves along the shoreline have eroded away. I've even heard tales of at least one person who discovered an old marker lying in the water, under the sand. Then there are the graves that were never marked -- slaves and others without the means to purchase a stone. And don't forget the hundreds of hapless sailors & passengers on wrecked sailboats & steamers who were buried in unmarked graves in the dunes along the ocean (never thought about that when you were lying in the summer sun, did you?).

Anyway, Euphemia was buried on my property in 1882. She lived in the old house that sat where Natural Selections is today. When I purchased the land in the early 1970s (it had been my great-aunt Tressie's garden) it was completely covered with bushes and weeds, and I had no idea there was a grave there. We built the Village Craftsmen in 1973-74 -- we hope with Euphemia's blessing. As I mentioned, she lies just beyond the back door, and is a distant relative, so she's become a neighbor of sorts. Who knows, there might be other graves nearby, but her's has the only marker. So far, they've all been civil to me. I'll let you know if Euphemia or her relatives ever start playing pranks.

Here is one other question we've had in the last several weeks:

"Hey, what happened to the "free" items page? I always enjoyed reading the
stories and hearing who won. When I click on 'free items' it just says 'this
page cannot be found.'"

My apologies to everyone who enjoyed checking on the free items. I decided to eliminate that page for one reason only. This web site is a lot of work. Just writing the daily journal entry can be quite time consuming. And the monthly newsletter is even more work. I often do a lot of research -- in books, notes, and interviews with neighbors. As a result, we are way behind in updating our on-line catalog. We have a lot of new items we want to add to our web site, and we'd like to update many of our photos. We're hoping we can do some of that work now that the season is slowing down a bit. There just wasn't enough time to choose a new free item each month, photograph it, manipulate the photo, add it to our site, monitor the phone, then revise the web page when the item was claimed, etc., etc. We hope you understand.

Well, I suppose it's time for me to end this rambling post. It's good to be back home (though I miss spending time with Lou Ann, of course!). So I'll share more news with you in the days ahead. Thanks for reading our Ocracoke Journal!

You can read our latest newsletter here. It's a history of Ocracoke's historic Howard Street


  1. Anonymous12:05 PM

    I look forward to running into you the week of 10/1. We are renting the Lawton Howard house and you are usually off-island that week. This will be our 3rd year there. Cathy Pleines

  2. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I completely understand your comment about certain projects being time consuming.

    My question is: When are Village Days scheduled this year?

  3. I've missed several recent Civic & Business Association meetings so I've been out of the loop, so to speak. I do not know when (or if) there will be a "Village Days" this fall. However, the annual Art Walk (normally associated with Village Days) will be on Saturday, September 30. 40 island artists will be displaying their work on that day. A free shuttle bus will be available.

  4. Cathy, That's the week of my annual hike in the mountains, so it looks like we will miss each other again. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather on the island!