Front Cover

Title: Interview with Jim Hudgens (March 28, 1989)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006676/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Jim Hudgens (March 28, 1989)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 28, 1989
Spatial Coverage: 12099
Palm Beach (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006676
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Palm Beach' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: PBC 52

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
Full Text

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
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For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.

Interview With James M. Hudgens by Susan Hudgens
on March 28, 1989

Susan Hudgens
April 26,1989

SH: Hello.

EO: Hello.

SH: Hello.

JH: Hello. This is Jim Hudgens calling for Susan.

SH: Hi, Daddy.

JH: Hi.

EO: Hello.

SH: I've got it, Liz.

EO: Okay.

SH: Let's wait until she finds her receiver to put it back


JH: Yeah. Good morning.

SH: Good morning. How much time do we have?

JH: Whatever time you want.

SH: Well, I'm not sure where we're going with this, but we'll

just start.


JH: Okay.

SH: I'm here today interviewing -- wait a minute, I'm going

to do this again. This is Susan Hudgens. I'm at 3100

S.W. 35th Place in Gainesville, Florida, interviewing

James Maynard Hudgens by telephone in his home at

70 Colony Road in Jupiter, Florida. The time is 8:13

on March 28, 1989. Mr. Hudgens .

JH: Yes.

SH: Would you please state your full name and spell the

latter two names.

JH: My name is James Maynard Hudgens, M-A-Y-N-A-R-D


SH: And, could you tell me where you were born?

JH: Memphis, Tennessee.

SH: And, did you have a lot of family living in Memphis,


JH: No, I had no family living in Memphis, Tennessee. We

actually lived across the Mississippi River on the West

Side in Earl, Arkansas.


SH: And, what was the reason for your being born in Memphis

if you lived in Earl, Arkansas?

JH: That was the closest hospital facility.

SH: That makes sense.

JH: Earl was a little town of about 2,000.

SH: Of about 2,000. Could you tell me a little about your

parents? Could you tell me their names and where they

were from originally?

JH: Mother was Margaret Beatty Hudgens, originally from Earl,

and Maynard Jordan Hudgens, originally from Hulbert,

which was, again, just across from Memphis.

SH: Is Maynard a family name that goes back further than your


JH: Maynard is a family name, I don't know how far it goes

back. I know that Maynard had an uncle by the same name.

SH: What did your parents do? What did they do for a


JH; Well, they most recently -- well, I'll go back a little


bit. Mother was in the insurance business most of her

life and basically casualty insurance as a secretary and

then an underwriter. My dad had a number of jobs.

Earliest job I know of was that he was a rigger, that is,

he prepared cables on Liberty ships that were being used

in the Second World War.

SH: Uh hmmm.

JH: Then he was in the Navy in the South Pacific for a while.

After that he worked at a cotton gin, worked as a carpenter.

He's had a painting business. He's worked at paint shops,

and the last, oh, I guess fifteen or sixteen years of his

life he worked at Lowes in Wilmington, and at the time

of his leaving was assistant manager.

SH: That's Wilmington, North Carolina?

JH: That's correct.

SH: Okay. What took them to Earl, Arkansas? Do you have

any idea?

JH: Well, I really don't. That was the place where Margaret

lived, and the two places were relatively close together,

so I guess they just chose Earl as a convenient place.


SH: Oh. How long did you all live there? Did you grow up


JH: Oh, I lived there until I was about six or seven. I went

to first grade in Earl, then moved to Clinton, North


SH: And, how long did you live there?

JH: Well, let's see. I lived there about three years, I

guess, second, third and fourth grade. So, maybe a little

bit more than three years.

SH: So then you moved to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina?

JH: Yes, moved to Wrightsville Beach, and started the fifth

grade at Wrightsville Beach.

SH; Okay. Do you remember -- what is the earliest birthday

party that you remember? Did you have birthday parties

when you were little?

JH: No, I don't remember birthday parties when I was little.

I think the earliest one I can remember -- I must have

been about ten or eleven.


SH: Ten or eleven.

JH: Uh hmmm.

SH: And that would have been at Wrightsville Beach?

JH: Yes.

SH: Okay. I've heard stories about you going down to the

corner soda fountain and buying yourself an ice cream

cone when you were very, very small. Do you remember

this at all?

JH: Well, I remember going to the corner store which must

have been about two blocks away when I was living in Earl,

so that must have been six years of age or so, and buying

what we used to call an Eskimo Pie. It's ice cream on

a stick covered in a chocolate dip.

SH: That would be vanilla ice cream on a stick covered with

chocolate dip?

JH: Yes.

SH: Oh, hmmm. Who was the first teacher you remember in

your early schooling?

JH: I guess the first teacher that I really remember at this

point was in the seventh grade and it was Mr. Fladd. I


remember being very fond of a teacher in the first grade,

but I don't have any idea of what her name is.

SH: Did you enjoy school?

JH: Well, I don't know that I enjoyed school. I didn't dislike

school, but certainly in the early years I must've

enjoyed school.

SH: In the early years meaning up to about the seventh


JH: Up to the seventh or eighth grade, yes.

SH: I guess that's pretty typical. What kinds of things did

you enjoy plAying when you were little? Do you


JH: Well, I used to play army, which was fairly typical. And

I used to play knights in armor where we would carry

swords and use trash can lids for shields. And we would

joust. Not on horseback, of course, but we would cut

bamboo sticks for lances, and would play like knights of the

Round Table.

SH: Would you joust on foot or on bicycles?


JH: Oh, on foot.

SH: On foot.

JH: We never were clever enough, and probably not brave enough

to do that on bicycles. (laughs)

SH: (laughs) Did you ever get hurt doing that?

JH: Yeah, I got hurt several times. I didn't get speared with

the lance. Fortunately, nobody had lost an eye, but you'd

get hit with your shield, at least.

SH: Well, that sounds like a lot of fun. Um, what other

kinds of things do you remember doing later for fun?

JH: Oh, the kinds of things I did later were being out in the

boat in the marsh, going over to the beach to friends'

houses, playing in the water. We used to swim a lot, and

would swim across Banks Channel where we lived at

Wrightsville Beach. And skiing. Some fishing also.

SH: How far would it be to swim across Banks Channel?

JH: I guess it's probably a quarter of a mile, maybe a little

bit more than that.


SH: And did that worry your parents? Or did they know?

JH: I don't think they knew it. They would have probably

been worried. There wasn't much boat traffic in those

days. I guess there would be -- during the week you could

swim across the Sound, and probably never see a boat.

And on the weekend there would be a few boats, but not a

lot of traffic.

SH: Did you live with just your parents, or did you live with

other family members as well?

JH: No, my grandmother, my mother's mother, lived with us for

quite a while.

SH: And what did you call her?

JH: I called her Mom.

SH: Mom. And was she also from Arkansas?

JH: Yes, she was from Earl, Arkansas.

SH: From Earl, Arkansas. And did she live with you all your

whole life?

JH: Well, she lived with me up until, hmmm, up until the time

that she died. That must have been late, I mean, early

sixties. Probably 1963 or 1964.


SH: Okay. Did you work as a school person while you were in


JH: Yes, I did things like mow lawns and clean lawns, and I

made doormats out of Coca-Cola caps, and had a little

nursery and planted Royal Poinciana and made cuttings

of azaleas and sold those, and then, when I was about

fourteen I got a job at Newell's which was a shopping

center on -- the only shopping area on Wrightsville

Beach at that time. And I got a job working at a soda


SH: Oh.

JH: That was a summer job.

SH: A summer job?

JH: Right. And that was a good job because I would have an

hour or an hour-and-a-half off from lunch, and would

usually go by boat, so on lunch hour we would go skiing

or boat riding and then come back.

SH: So you would come back to work all wet and salty?

JH: Well, I'd dry off, put my clothes back on.

SH; Oh, okay. How do you make a mat out of bottle caps?


JH: Well, it's really simple and very crude. You take a

board the size of the mat you want and turn bottle caps

upside down and with small nails, nail them to the board,

line them up in rows. It makes a very effective scraper.

SH: Oh, but not for bare feet.

JH: Not for bare feet at all.

SH: So how long did it take you to collect your bottle caps

enough for one mat?

JH: Oh, it didn't take long because bottle caps were the things

that were used in those days. There were bottles all

drinks, and no canned drinks. So we'd just go up to the

local service station and ask for their bottle caps.

They'd dump them out in a bag for us and take them home.

SH: Well, that's convenient. How much did you sell your mats


JH: I think they were probably sold for a dollar or two.

SH: Oh! Well, that's great.

JH: Yeah.

SH: When did you graduate from high school?

JH: 1960.

SH: And what high school was that?

JH: New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina.


SH: Did you do any special activities in high school?

JH: The only special activities I was in was marching band

and symphonic band.

SH: And what did you play?

JH: I played -- originally I played clarinet, then I switched

to saxophone, tenor sax.

SH: Who was your band leader, do you remember?

JH: Yes, in high school it was Bill Adcock.

SH: Bill Adcock. Did you do any playing after high school?

JH: Yes, I played in college. I went to a junior college

called Wilmington College at the time. We used to call

it Isaac Bear University because it was in the Isaac Bear

building. And I played in a dance band and then formed a

dance band where I played mainly alto sax.

SH: That sounds like fun. Can you tell me about your schooling

after high school and past Wilmington College?

JH: Well, two years at Wilmington College. Then, after I

thought I knew an awful lot I went to work at a test

facility where we were testing out equipment, making fresh


water out of salt water. Converting salt water into

fresh water. I worked in the lab, and worked outside

sometimes at the great salary of two dollars an hour.

Then after about two years of that, I finally figured out

I wasn't going to go very far. So I went back to school.

Wilmington College was then a four-year college. I

finished there. It's now the University of North Carolina

at Wilmington. So I got a four-year degree there, a

Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in chemistry, and

let's see, after I moved to Columbia, South Carolina,

and worked with Allied Chemical for about two years, I

went back to graduate school as I was working. Went to

graduate school for two years in the Masters Program.

SH: And that was in Columbia?

JH: In Columbia, South Carolina, right.

SH: At University of South Carolina?

JH: Yes.

SH: Okay. After school, did you stay in South Carolina, or

did you go back to Wilmington, North Carolina?

JH: No, after school I went back to Wilmington, North Carolina.

I got a job offer from a person who was putting together

a consulting firm, and that's what I was trying to do in

Columbia, and was planning on doing very shortly. So I


came back to Wilmington.

SH: So that was your original objective?

JH: No, the original objective was simply to get into the

environmental consulting business, mainly in water quality.

But when I was visiting in Wilmington, I was talking to

my major undergraduate professor, Jim Parnell, who said

that a person named Dave Adams, who I'd met before, was

trying to do the same thing, why didn't we get together

and talk? So in over the Thanksgiving Weekend, I believe,

in 1969, I went over to Dave's house and we sat outside

for several hours talking about the new business forma-

tion. I decided to join him and come to Wilmington.

The reason we wound up in Wilmington was Dave was on the

White House staff, and it was about the end of

Mr. Humphrey's term. Dave was from North Carolina. He

had family close to Wilmington and he wanted to be on the

coast. And, of course, I had family there and wanted to

be on the coast, so it was kind of a mutual thing.

SH: Could you give me a kind of definition of environmental

consulting, and what that entails?

JH: Wow. Environmental consulting is that group of -- I

u\dv'; say group of sciences because that's -- that doesn't


fit the structure, but environmental consulting is provid-

ing services relative to the environment, and we deal

mainly with the natural environment, not the man-made


SH: Um hmmm.

JH: To determine what impacts a project may have on the

environment and/or to guide development to have the least

impact on the natural environment.


Birthday Parties 5

Birthplace 2

Bottle Cap Mats 10, 11

College 12, 13

Environmental Consulting 13, 14, 15

Eskimo Pies 6

Grammar School 5

Grandmother 9

High School 11

Jobs 10

Jousting 7, 8

Middle School 6, 7

Parents 3, 4

Water Sports 8, 9

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