Thursday, July 23, 2009

So Many Questions & Comments

We've had a bunch of questions and comments lately, and I've decided to answer them all this morning. Here they are:
  • "Did residents of Ocracoke Island have television sets in the 50s or 60s ?" Television came to the island about 1953 or 1954. Pinta Williams sold TVs and appliances at a small store on the harbor (about where the Harborside is now) until he died in January of 1954. After that Sid Tolson sold TVs. The reception was extremely poor (sometimes you couldn't get anything at all but "snow") until stations in eastern NC erected taller towers. With the introduction of cable tv that all changed.
  • Is the Customs House staffed with the Maytag repairman working a second job? " If there were a full-time appliance repairman on Ocracoke he/she wouldn't have time for a second job!
  • What is the most unusual thing you have found [on the beach]? I'd say the shoes (dozens of them washed up on the beach in the late 1970s) that were destined for Jim Jones' People's Temple in Guyana. They spilled out of a container that was washed overboard from a freighter.
  • "I was on your May tour the night the lady fainted." This would be a great endorsement for our ghost & history walks, except the young woman fainted at the very beginning of the tour, before I told my first scary story. I've contacted her, and she is fine. I don't know exactly why she fainted, but I don't believe it was anything serious. She is planning to join us again on her next visit to the island (at no charge of course).
  • "I need a new insurance agent for the house, car, etc. Can you recommend anyone good?" A reader suggested Sharon Gibbs, agent for NC Farm Bureau. She is my insurance agent, and I am very pleased with her service. In fact Sharon located liability insurance for our ghost walks...just in case someone faints after encountering a real ghost!
  • A reader recently alerted us to this link, about homemade caskets and home funerals: On our ghost walks we talk about Miss Fanny Howard who kept her casket in her parlor for seven years. For some future monthly newsletter I'll write more about Ocracoke's long tradition of home and family funerals. Look for it sometime this winter.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the second half of my father's short journal. I call it Remembering Growing up on Ocracoke. You can read it here.


  1. Anonymous7:29 AM

    Don't know what Miss Fanny did with her casket all those seven years. Lida has hers in the dining room and keeps toys for Lachlan to play with in them.

  2. Philip,
    What other services is Ocracoke in need of?? My partner and I are dreaming of moving full-time to Ocracoke and make a go of it...he is in construction and I am a potter, English teacher and runner/coach. But, we are also willing to do what it takes (which may be quite different from our skill set!)
    Any advice?
    Heather and Addison

  3. Heather & Addison, the best advice is just to come to the island and get to know folks and the community, and to ask around about opportunities...and to be creative. Sometimes jobs are available, and sometimes you have to make your own. If you can afford it, get housing first (that is often difficult), then inquire about jobs.

  4. Thank you, Philip. We appreciate your input!
    We have been to the island 4 times in the past 12 months...the last visit, we did speak to a number of people who are full-timers. (Seems like they all came in the mid-90s.) We'll be back again for a week in September and hope to look into housing--either long-term leasing or buying.
    Maybe we'll see you 'round...
    Living vicariously through your blog,
    Heather and Addison

  5. Great list. Thanks for the insight on Ocracoke.