Monday, January 11, 2016

Blanche Howard Jolliff

Regular readers of this blog know that my cousin Blanche has been both an inspiration for my passion to collect and document Ocracoke history and traditions, and also a wealth of information about the island, its people, and its culture. She lives on Howard Street, in the house in which she was born. Blanche recently received the Ocracoke Cultural Heritage Award from the Ocracoke Preservation Society.

Photo by Peter Vankevich, October, 2015

I happened to be in Berlin on December 8, which was Blanche's 96th birthday. Unfortunately, she stumbled and fell five days earlier, and broke a bone in her leg. Surgery to repair the break was successful, and she is currently undergoing rehab in Nags Head. Amy and I stopped to visit her on my way back from the airport last week. She was in good spirits, and hoped to return home as soon as she is able.

I know Blanche would enjoy receiving belated birthday cards, get well cards, and/or congratulatory cards while she is mending. You can send her a card at P O Box 176, Ocracoke, NC 27960. Be assured, the cards will be delivered to Blanche in Nags Head.

The latest issue of The Mullet Wrapper, Ocracoke Preservation Society's Newsletter, included this information about Blanche:

"We are pleased to announce that Blanche Howard Jolliff  is our 2015 Ocracoke Cultural Herigage Award recipient. This award was created to honor the people or organizations that have been active in preserving the unique qualities of Ocracoke's history and culture.... [Blanche] has always had a strong interest in the past and a remarkable memory for stories she has heard; down to minute details such as what day of the weed the incident occurred or what color shoes someone was wearing.

"In addition to her vast store of knowledge about Ocracoke history and people, she has a kind generosity and graciousness that endears her to everyone she interacts with.... Because she has been so interested in Ocracoke history since she was a young girl, she knows not only the stories from her lifetime, but also the stories of her parents and grandparents. And, because of her copious notes to go along with these stories, much of Ocracoke's cultural life and history has been preserved for future generations...."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here:


  1. Anonymous9:44 AM

    They say I have to go to rehab, I say I'll go go go, To bad Amy Winehouse has written for a different issue of rehab. Has Blanche ever heard that song? she may get a chuckle out of it.

  2. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Appreciate the update, Philip, AND the lovely photo of "Cousin" Blanche. Sorry to hear of her injury, but it's good to know she's on the mend. My wife is a nurse practitioner who specializes in geriatric care. She LOVES working with patients in this population, and a favorite question is "How old do you FEEL?" Many cite numbers decades younger than their calendar ages, and I suspect Cousin Blanche would likely rank among those lucky to report remaining young at heart. I'm addressing a card to her this very moment. I hope your efforts on her behalf help lighten the burden of her recovery and bring a smile to her face. Count me among your readers who sincerely appreciate learning more about Ocracoke via the efforts of people like you and Cousin Blanche.

  3. Anonymous8:13 AM

    I hope your cousin recovers fast but on another note, I read where she received the Ocracoke Cultural Heritage Award from the Ocracoke Preservation Society. Since she is your cousin and you over this "society" isn't that conflict of interest? Once again, I wish her well.