Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Annie Over the House

My father, Lawton Howard (1911-2002), often told me about playing a childhood game on Ocracoke Island. “Annie Over the House” was a simple island pastime. One child would throw a homemade ball over the house; the other would try to catch it and then run around the house and tag the first child.

I was amused a few days ago, when the weather turned mild, to see that my grandson and a friend had re-invented the game.

The only difference I could see was that my father's generation didn't have dog ball throwers or fluorescent green tennis balls.

So far there have been no broken windows!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter, a newspaper article published in 1923 titled "Quaintest Town in America," provides a fascinating glimpse of Ocracoke Island life a century ago. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:09 AM

    I remember playing that as a child in Arkansas

  2. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Maybe they can be walk-ons for University of North Carolina. According to It's Only a Game radio show most college walk-ons may be "bench warmers" but they can Say I was on, I played for XYZ University and to some that is impressive and they get hired or they often pursue SUCCESS-ful college coaching careers. Either way being a walk-on better chance of no career ending injury yada yada Just saying this is free career /college advice. Look into it I kid you not.

  3. My Grandfather, Leslie Jones was Sam Jones Brother. The family grew up in Swan Quarter, NC and many of the children moved to Norfolk, VA. It was there that Granddaddy and Uncle Sam worked together at the Norfolk Ironworks in Berkeley. Granddaddy was an attorney there until he and Uncle Sam had a falling out. Uncle Sam was married and had a daughter, Mary Ruth and a son, Howard. They were of my parents age. Uncle Sam spent some years in prison for tax evasion and later was married again to a young German woman who he had a second family with. I remember the last time I saw Sam was at a Norfolk Academy Field Day where his younger children attended school. He was wearing a Stetson style hat with a diamond stickpin holding up one side of the brim. I have fond memories of going to Ocracoke when it was a sleepy little island built up of many houses designed by Sam. His signature style design consisted of centered-skewed windows. An engagement party was held at Sajo Farms for my parents back in 1949 and written up in the Norfolk newspapers society pages. I am often amused when I hear people in Richmond, VA, where I now live, talk so enthusiastically about their summer vacation plans to Ocracoke. I do admit to fond memories and many family stories regarding the Island and have returned in recent years to see all the changes that have taken place. To the best of my knowledge, he is the only family member to be buried next to his horse!


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