Monday, May 23, 2011

A Few Answers

I've been busy for the last several days -- Judgment Day party, Friday night poker, trip to Portsmouth, visiting with family & friends, clamming, cooking, playing with Lachlan -- and I haven't had time to reply to readers' questions these last few days. So I'll address them this morning:

Q: Is there an on going Oral History project ala Foxfire conducted by the high school journalism students? or a grant funded project by the Smithsonian documenting these events of the fabric of the island?

A: There is no large scale, or comprehensive ongoing project at the moment, although Doreen & I are planning to interview several older residents in the next few weeks & months with support from the Ocracoke Foundation. Similar projects have, over the years, been carried out by school students, the Preservation Society, local individuals, and off-island organizations. During the next month Courtney, a Duke graduate student, will be interviewing 70 islanders. I spoke with her for more than an hour yesterday afternoon...and she has scheduled time with Blanche early this week.

Q: Does OI have a recycling problem ---do people recycle ?

A: Yes. Ocracoke islanders and visitors are encouraged to recycle glass, paper, cardboard, and cans. Simply carry your recyclables to the "convenience center" (the "dump") and deposit them in the proper containers.

Q: How did the rowers [the US Life Savers] train ? Did they row together everyday? One would have to be very strong to row a boat with 14 people. Did any member of the friends of [Portsmouth Island] document the restoration project and if so have they posted digital images on the web page?

A: The life savers followed a regimented training schedule. Every day of the week was devoted to a particular aspect of life saving. They were well trained and fit when they were called to a rescue. The US life savers responded to more than 28,000 shipwrecks in the 44 years of their service, and saved the lives of more than 177,000 people (a success rate of more than 99%). I don't know if the restoration project was documented. Maybe one of our readers knows.

Q: "Cute as a bug's ear" it! Is this an Ocracoke saying?

A: I picked this up from Sammy Fortesque years ago. Sammy was a one-eyed Ocracoke carpenter who wore a black eye patch. He lost his eye as a youngster and was fitted with a glass eye. One Saturday night at a dance he had too much to drink and lost the glass eye. He never had it replaced. Sammy was one of many colorful characters who lived on the island in the 1970s. Sammy was smart, funny, and a talented carpenter (when sober). He died several years ago.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the autobiography of Frank Treat Fulcher. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Was this event documented in a published newspaper account? Is there a Community lost and found on the island. I suppose tourists "misplace" items.

  2. Was what event documented??

    Lost and Found notices are generally posted on the bulletin board at the post office.

  3. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Thanks, Philip, for answering my "cute as a bug's ear" question. Your answer was most interesting and I suspected it would be!