Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Stormy School Trip, 1981

In the Spring of 1981 Ocracoke students in grades  3 - 4 made a field trip to Winston-Salem. They spent the first night at Reynolda House, the mansion built by R. J. Reynolds, where they enjoyed viewing art...and playing billiards, bowling, and racketball. The next day they toured Old Salem, then spent the night in Chapel Hill. In Chapel Hill they enjoyed lunch at the Rathskeller (sad to say, this popular eatery closed in 2007), then visited the Morehead Planetarium. That evening the students were treated to a magic show.

On the way home they stopped in Raleigh to tour the Museum of Natural History and the Old Capital Building.

As much as everyone enjoyed the tours and the sights, it is probably the ferry ride leaving Ocracoke that most of us remember best (I accompanied the group as a chaperone). This is Ray Waller's account, as published June 10, 1981, in the Ocracoke Island News:

"The trip started out badly. The ferry ride across to Swan Quarter was a little rough [definitely an understatement!, but then this was written by a native islander] due to a storm, and almost everyone got seasick. There were times when the boat rocked so much that the sky was all that could be seen out of one window while the water was all you could see from the other.... The children had hoped to have a picnic lunch on the way and had packed lunches, but this was made impossible due to the weather."

I spent most of my time helping one student or another to the bathroom, where the doors to the stalls were often swinging violently from one side to the other. In time, when there was nothing left in most of the student's (and most of the teacher's and chaperone's) stomachs, nearly everyone stretched out on the seats and fell asleep.

It was a memorable trip!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of whale and porpoise fishing on  the Outer Banks. You can read the story here:


  1. Anonymous8:25 AM

    The Mansion built by R J Reynolds. really. I know this was not the subject of this post but one has to pause, did R J Reynolds really swing a hammer? The architect designed the edifice and back then skilled tradesmen had a hand in the construction no doubt. Now the money , the money R.J. used --where did that come from... oh yes, the cigarette smokers of your fair state and throughout the country. Smokers, many puffing away on unfiltered smokes. Sure Native Americans introduced Sir Walter Raliegh to tobacco but these peoples were not chain smokers??. We have all heard about the peace pipe.. really how often did they Use that Thing??? If one extrapolates from the chapters of history er Not Very Often LOL. I hope those students learned something from that trip. It would be interesting to read an essay from some of them recounting the events. Also , has the trip been an annual trip for the following classes?

    1. No, this has not been an annual trip.

  2. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Anon. 825: What a way to start your day. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Anonymous11:45 AM

    9:09 am I think a reality check is a great way to start a day. The reality is RJ Reynolds made a fortune from cigarettes.