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Title: Louis Pennisi
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Title: Louis Pennisi
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Pennisi, Louis ( Interviewee )
Miller, Joyce ( Interviewer )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: November 2, 1976
Copyright Date: 1976
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Bibliographic ID: UF00024698
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Cover
        Cover
    Interview
        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
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

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

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of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
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For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida

































ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


INTERVIEWEE:
INTERVIEWER:


Louis Pennisi
Joyce Miller


DATE: November 2, 1976














M: I would like to start by asking Mr. Pennisi about
his business, because I understand that he has owned
his business for many years, and what it was originally,
before the lunchroom, I think something related to an
ice cream parlor.

P: I started in ice cream, just making ice cream to peddle
on the street. I had a push cart that big.

M: Okay, so you were talking about when it was a push
cart.

P: That was 1920, and I started very small, selling ice
cream on the streets until 1931. After the third year
I was here I had a horse and wagon to catch the customers
outside of the city, just around paved streets. We had
a few paved streets around the courthouse square. Outside
of that it was sandy, and I couldn't go with the push
cart so I had this wagon made. I had it loaded with ice
cream. We sold one load a day, except Saturday maybe
two loads for the push cart and then the wagon came
in twice on Saturday.

We sold out everyday until 1926 or '27. Then the ice
creams and the factories started coming to Gainesville.
And so the business kept going until 1928, pretty good.
After that, it began to go down a little because
there were so many ice creams shipped in here
from different towns. It started right
here in Gainesville in 1925. [Carl E.] "Tootie" Perry
started a little plant close to where Iwas. So there
was competition. So I decided in 1928 to go into the
hamburger business. Since then, I have been in the
hamburger business. Then in '31, I quit making ice cream.
I bought ice cream from somebody else for a few-years. Well,
we still have ice cream now. I quit in '31.


M: At that time, what was that street called?

P: Virginia Avenue. We've been there ever since. We
were talking about a street in Gainesville. At that time,
there was no paved street in Gainesville. No way to
get from Gainesville on paved roads or slatted roads














from either Jacksonville, Ocala, or Palatka. Any road
you -took. to go was just a sandy road. From here to
Ocala took all day.

M: When you first opened your hamburger business, how many
people could eat there? How many seats were there?

P: When I started the-hamburger business there were very
few people that come in anyway, because in those days
the working people were taking their lunch with them.
The only business was on Saturday and Sunday. During
the week we made very few sandwiches.

M: You were open on Sunday?

P: Oh yes, for almost fifteen hours a day, sometimes more.

M: How did the Depression affect you as a restaurant owner?
What were the prices like?

P: Well, when I started selling hamburgers, they were ten
cents. The price of a hamburger was ten cents when I
started, and later on we 6nly sold for six more
months. Eggs were so cheap that a friend of mine,
coming by from his place to go uptown with two buckets of
eggs, couldn't even sell them. So, he came by me and
said, "Are you going to leave those eggs?"

He suggested that I put a sign in there that said, "Eggs,
two sandwiches, fifteen cents." You know, sell two
egg sandwiches for fiften cents. I started that. Then,
in about a week or two, I sold all the eggs. It was a
bargain price. But then, people asked me for hamburgers
and eggs. One of each. That's why the hamburgers started
after the eggs. We sold eggs and hamburgers, two for fifteen cents,
for years, I guess it was up in 1937, '38 something
like that. Well, just before the war, we had a good ten
cents trade for awhile, a couple of years maybe. Then
the meat started going up, the eggs started going up, so
I had a fifteen cent price for years. Today, I can't
remember the .dates everytime I went up a nickel.
on the hamburgers. Today, it's fifty-five cents all the
way. Plain, mustard and onions, are just forty-five cents.














M: What kind of people would come into the restaurant on
Saturday and Sundays? Would it be families?

P: Yes.

M: Was Maggie Tebeau's school fairly close to your place?

P: Yes, over there by the Commercial Hotel.

M: Did you ever get people from the school?

P: Well, I was selling ice cream then. I don't think they
bought any ice cream from me. But the children bought
ice cream sometimes. They didn't buy ice cream like
they did attheother schoolhouse over on University
Avenue. And from then on, different ones were built.
But that was the only schoolhouse and I was oh, selling
ice cream to them, sometimes during recess.

M: Did you advertise for your restaurant in the newspaper or
was it just by word of mouth that people knew your restaurant
was there?

P: I would advertise. I used to advertise for ice cream too.

M: Do you recall your competition, like the Primrose?

P: Well, the Primrose had meals. We never did sell meals.
We sold sandwiches. We did start hamburger and eggs on
a plate, and sold them for a while until the war broke out.
Then we had so much business, it was a lot of work to do.
So we just quit the plate service, quit serving the hamburger
on the plates. For thirty cents, we served two hamburgers,
two eggs, a bun, butter, a big slice of tomato, onions,
lettuce, anything. IThat was a real meal for that price.

M: I sure wish it was like that now.

P: Your hamburger was just like it is today. It has never
changed its formula. The hamburger has never changed.

M: So, the people who would want a full meal might go to
the Primrose, and those that wanted a hamburger or a
sandwich would then come to your place. Were there any
other eating establishments in the area?














P: Well, the hamburger places were scarce too. We only
had a few restaurants. The only thing we had beside
the Primrose Grill was the Alachua Cafe. Well, we
had a few restaurants, but not very many. Today, there
are more restaurants on thirteenth street than there
were in the entire town.back then. We, have ten times as
many restaurants now as we did back then.

M: Did you live in this home in the '30s?

P: No. The first three years I lived in the hotel.

M: At the Commercial?

P: At the Commercial Hotel. I had a shop down there in the
back. When I moved to this present location, there was
a small place in the back, and I lived there. Then I
got married, and they built a place for me. This guy
that owned the place built a living room. It was pretty
nice for those days and times.

M: What year was this?

P: That was in 1927 when they built this. And I stayed there
until the fire of '33. So, I had to move. At this time,
I bought a house on Main Street. I still own the lot there.
Then, when I had the fire I had to move into my house
because the fellow that was building the new house was
a friend of mine. Naturally, I wanted to move into my
house instead of moving into another house. li'had to
move into something because the building was totally
destroyed. It guttedzthai inside. I had to go somewhere
else. So, I just gave notice to this fellow to move out.
So we stayed there.

M: Was the fire that broke out at your place in 1933, in
your own room or was it in the whole area?

P: It was in front of the building where we were doing
business. At that particular time, I wasn't making ice
cream, and I had this uh, the first Frigidaire with a sixty
gallon capacity. That one was unique. After the ice, salt,
and everything like that this was a real joy to have to
put ice cream in and freeze it. I was selling ice cream














for parties by the gallons. So, that was real handy.

But it was the belt that got it in them days. The first
ones didn't have a safety that they have now in the re-
frigeration boxes. It was belt driven and one night,
the belt was dragging and caught fire.

I was alseep in back. There were two doors, one to the
store room, and one in the ice cream room, where they
made the ice cream. In the living quarters there was
another door. I discovered the smoke about 3:00 in the
morning.

M: What kind of protection was there? Was there any fire
service that you could contact?

P: No, just the fire station. We had a fire department.

M: Was it the one that's located on Main Street now?

P: We called it East Main where the old post office building
is. The station was right on the corner, opposite from
Mike's Book Store.

M: I know where that is.

P: That's the only station we had in them days. The other
one on Seventh Street started later on.

M: Did they get there in time to save any part of your
building?

P: They couldn't save anything inside because there was
too much smoke. The whole thing was gutted, I had lost
everything, and we didn't have any insurance in those
days.

M: So you started over.

P: We had to start it completely over.

M: On top of that, 1933 would be about the time of the
Depression, on top of everything else.

P: That's right. It was during the Depression. I got














started, I didn't have any money; I was in debt.
All the stuff burned in the store but I had a lot
of good friends in the business. They sold me candy
and stuff like that, so I started right on.

M: Did you have to take a loan from the banks?

P: Nope. I started just like that.

M:, I know a lot of people mention Gus Phifer's bank.

P: My uncle from Orlando came by, heard that I had a fire,
and he gave me seventy-five dollars. I paid him back
later on, but he gave me that seventy-five dollars. That
was like $750 now.

You take frying pans. I got two frying pans in there and
I don't know how many millions of hamburgers I fried
in those two pans. They only cost $1.35 a piece and I
still got them. I tried different ones but those two
frying pans give better service.

M: How much would it cost you if you were to replace one
of those frying pans today?

P: Well, I don't have any idea. It's stainless.stedl, and
I really don't know. But I've tried some frying pans
that cost around seven or eight dollars, and these
wouldn't dd the service that these two do, right now.

M: You sold milk and Coca Cola, I assume?

P: Right.

M: Did you get the Coke through the local plant?

P: Yes, the Coca Cola plant.

M: What were you paying at that time for it wholesale?

P: Eighty cents.


M: For how much?















P: A case of twenty four.

M: Did you get that from a local dairy also?

P: Oh, yeah.

M: Do you recall which dairy?

P: It was Beville's Dairy and Padgett. We used to get milk
without it being pasteurized in them days. We get
it in the bottles and half pints. We sold them for a
nickel, pints were a dime. They only charged us seven
cents and two and a half cents for the half pints.

M: Where were those dairies? Were they locally in Gainesville,
or were they further out?

P: They were local. They had a dozen or more small dairies
in them days.

M: Did you buy your own personal milk from those places or
from somewhere else?

P: Well, I bought some from them too, but I believe I bought
most of it from Padgett when I was making ice cream, buying the
ten gallons cans that it came in. That raw milk had a gallon
and a half, almost two gallons of cream on top. Little of
it was actually milk. They called it raw milk in those
days. We didn't know it from raw or any other kind, that's
all we knew, that kind of milk.

M: When you moved from the Commercial Hotel to the other
place, where you are located now, what buildings were
surrounding you? What was in the area?

P: Well, the same ones that are now. One was Tootie Perry who
built a plant at App's Corner, over on the block he had
the ice cream plant already. Right across the street from
me there was a lot, a corn field that someone used to plant
corn, squashes, cabbage, and what have you. Then
they built a Coca Cola plant right across the street from
where I was. That's the only addition. The ice cream
plant and this Coca















Cola plant were the only addition and right now the Coca
Cola plant is still there, but it is no more a Coca Cola
plant. There is people living in there now.

M: Living there as a home now?

P: Yes, for years that was a Stock plant (Otto F. Stock Dry Cleaners.)
The Coca Cola plant was sold to Stock. He stayed there and had
the laundry, I mean the cleaners, dry cleaners for years.
They took it away from the Stocks Citizens Bank and sold it to
somebody else, and I really don't know who owns that build-
ing now. Many boys are living there now. That's
all I know.

M: Do you recall any of the people who came into the
restaurant? Ar, regulars?

P: I can't remember but we are serving hamburgers right now,
to the fourth generation.

M: The fourth generation of people of your family.

P: That's right. The fourth generation comes in there
today and buys hamburger.

M: So, you really are an establishment in Gainesville. Did
you ever get any University of Florida students that
would come in?

P: Yes.

M: Would they walk to your place from the University?

P: Well, some used towalkhere, others had cars. But most
of them are local business people and folks from
nearby small towns. They comel'from Newberry, Archer,
and Melrose.

M: To eat at your hamburger place?

P: Yes.

M: That's !a pretty good reputation.

P: Well, they still do it. From generation to generation, they've
been coming in here. They are still coming inhere. They















probably don't come like they used to years ago, because
they can go to different places. We have many places
in town now.

M: Did you ever hear of an eating place called the Black
Cat?

P: Yes.

M: Where was that?

P: That was on the corner of University and Fifteenth
Street. In fact, the Black Cat was a friend's of mine,
Bud Mizell of who is know with First Federal. When he
was going to the university he was coming in there
eating hamburgers, he told me that he was going to
start a hamburger stand right there. He started with
a case of Coca Cola and one gallon of ice cream that I:
sold to him. We sold ice cream in a tub, with ice pack
and stuff like that. He started with that. In a week's
time he had a little shanty there, just a small shanty.
I can't describe it because there's nothing like it
in Gainesville now. Things like that used to be all
over on the edge of town. It was just a little old
building with a screen all the way around it. It was on
the corner of University Avenue and Thirteenth Street,
I believe.

M: Is that the corner where the Flagler Inn is today?

P: It's the other corner where the book store is. That's where
the Black Cat was. That thing went up like a balloon
and it grew and grew until he got a brick building.
During those days, there was no inspection, no law. Any-
body could start a hamburger business or anything
they wanted. They could start a small business easily.
That's whbre he started with a gallon of ice cream and
a case of soda water. Don't know if he got gas or not
but he was selling hamburger then.

M: Do you happen to recall what yearhe opened it?

P: I believe it was 1928,or 29.


M: What happened to it?














P: Well, Buddy stayed here. He's the one who started
it. He and his brother came from West Florida. I
forget the name of the town right now. But I knew
all of them. And they stayed here after they graduated
from the University of Florida. Buddy himself was in
business here. He was an agent for an oil company.
He just died a few years ago.

M: Do you know when the restaurant went out of business?

P: I don't believe it was more than ten years ago. I
really don't remember. But they had a big
business.

M: Do you recall the College Inn by any chance?

P: I remember that too.

M: Do you remember the man who owned that?

P: Yes.

M: What was his name?

P: His name Was Clyde English.

M: Is he the one that recently passed away also?

P: Yes.

M: Let's talk about some of the storesin Gainesville besides
restaurants? Where did you do your grocery shopping
in Gainesville in the '30s?

P: Well, I would do most of it right across the street at
Sam Mixson's. They had a small grocery store. That's
where we bought our groceries. They had four more around
the courthouse square. Chester Harrold was one and I can't
remember the other names.

M: Piggly Wiggly was somewhere downtown.

P: Well, Piggly Wiggly came in later, but there was few
grocery stores around here. [Edward K.] Fagan had a
grocery store, and George Dell did too. Those were the
biggest grocery stores in town. MIxson had a store














right across the street from ours. He did a tremendous
business on Saturdays. Saturday night, people came in and
did their shopping and during the day they bought rice,
potatoes, bacon and cheese. You could get a big slice
of cheese or five slices of bologna for a nickel.


M: Would these stores be open late at night, or would they
just be open during the day?

P: They'd be open until twelve o'clock on a Saturday night.

M: Would they be open on Sundays?

P: No, they were closed on Snndays. Every store in town
was closed.

M: Did you ever buy anything from Cox Furniture? That was
located in that area, wasn't it?

P: Same place as it is today.

M: And what about clothing? Where would you go to buy
clothing?

P: Well, there was Burkhim men's clothes.

M: Where was that?

P: It was around the courthouse square, on the west side.

M: Was Wilson's there at the time?

P: Yes, Wilson's was there. There were a few more clothing
stores in the area. Herman Halstein had a store on the
old Virginia Street. It was on Second Avenue, East.
Then there was H. M. Chitty's, who sold plain suits
and shirts for men. Then there was A. Buns Five and Ten
Cent Store right next to Chitty's. There was McCrory's
which came in later on. Right next to that was L. E. and
Ruddy Smith's jewelry store. There was somebody I used
to know real good, I can't remember the name. There used
to be a women's millinery store right there on the side of
the square.














M: Well, you mentioned a lot of the stores that were
around the square and your place was very close to them.
Do you recall the 1938 fire? Did you come out to see
it?

P: Oh yeah.

M: How did you know there was a fire?

P: There were fire alarms all over town. Everybody knew
there was a fire. In those days, fire was nothing like
now. They used to all go for that.

M: What reaction did you have?

P: Well, people talked and sat around the courthouse square
when Cox burned out. Thomas Hardware Store over there
on the side had a big fire too.

M: Were you ever fearful that it might spread to your place?

P: No, I was too far from it. The fire I had was in '33,
way down there on the corner where I'm at now. The store
was a frame house.

M: The '38 fire, then, was more a social event.

P: Yes. Cox burned out before he moved to the corner where
he is now. It used to be a drug store, McCollum Drug
Store.

M: Where was Cox at that time?

P: He moved in there after the fire.

M: What are the other things that have post cards and things
Parker?

P: That's where Cox's was, around in the neighborhood. I
don't know if it is in same building, but right there.

M: Then he moved down later after the fire. What did you
do for recreation in your free time? Did you ever go swimming
to the springs in the area?

P: We didn't have very many springs way back then I first came
in. We didn't even have a Glen Springs until later on.














M: What about theatres? Did you ever go to the theatre?

P: Yes, we had the Lyric Theatre.

M: That was located where?

P: Over there where Jim Hope [Electrical] building
is. That's where the Lyric Theatre was.

M: Do you recall any of the movies that you saw in the '30s?

P: I just remember they had a continuous show about Pearl
White, and things like that. We used to go see cowboy
pictures, maybe two times a week. When they had a good
show, everybody was talking about going to see this,
I'd go.

M: How much would you pay for a ticket?

P: Oh, about ten or fifteen cents.

M: How many hours would you be at the movies? Would it be
all day or would it be like today, for two hours?

P: No, it was maybe an hour and a half.

M: What about some of the big events in town? Do you recall
the Tung Oil Parade, by any chance?

P: Yes, I.remember the parades. Well, the biggest event when
I first came here was the Gainesville Sun. The Gainesville
Sun was right across the street from Commercial Hotel where
a pool room is.now. One of the buildings was the Gainesville
Sun. The Gainesville Sun would get up high over there an
announce the world series and things like that. That
was a big event.

M: Would everybody sit outside and have cokes and listen to
it?

P: That's right. Another big event was election time. Gainesville
had the score board and things like that to announce.

M: Would 'women come too, or would it be mostly men who would
go in front of the building?














P: Well, mostly men. Very few women in those days would
come out like that. But they did for different occasions,
like ball games and things like that. I don't think
they came out very much.

M: I know that you have been very active in your church.
Where was your church located?

P: On University Avenue.

M: Do you recall any of the major events that your church
did at that time?

P: Not very much.

M: Were you in any social clubs in town?

P: Well, I did'.belong to the American Legion. American
Legion used to have quite a few things going on
then. Not having cars we used to picnic at Sunnyside
Beach on Coupen Lake. We would raise a p6le with a side of
beef and barbeque out there.

M: Where is that?

P: It's on Palatka road about twenty miles from here on the
other side of Hawthorne. We had parades and things like
that.

M: Where did they meet at that time?

P: We used to have a band around the courthouse square and
University Avenue. There was shirt-tail 'parades and
ball games. They would come downtown around the square
and things like that. That was a big event. Another
big event was for the single men to meet the trains
on Main Street where the First National Bank is now.
In that corner used to be a depot. There were trains
in there and everybody would come in and see who was
getting in and out. There was a big crowd around there.
In fact, Iused to sell ice cream to people in the trains.
Boys would get a bunch of cones and go in there.

M: They would sell while the train was stopped there?














P: Yes. My biggest salesman was Barfon Douglas, the lawyer
now.

M: Is this in the late '20s or was this still in the early
'30s?

P: That was in the late '20s.

M: Do you recall the Dixie Hotel, also called the Kelly
Hotel, and now called the Seagle Building? Do you
recall what the Seagle Building looked like in the
'30s?

P: Seagle Building?

M: It was across from the Florida Theatre, on University
Avenue, the ten story building that was only nine stories
at that time and not completed?

P: That's right. That was the John Seagle Building. I
know the people that carry the name and they got the Seagle
Building out there at Ninth or Tenth Avenue. That's
Mrs. Seagle, she died not so long ago. That's her
building over there. I don't know if it still goes
by that name?

M: Yes, it's a living. . .

P: Fraternity house?

M: Yes. They still call it the Georgia Seagle Building.
What about the cost of living during the '30s? How
much would a house on Main Street cost you at that time?

P: Well, we had a boom over there for a while. The rent went
up. But before that the rent for a house was maybe fifteen,
twenty dollars a month.

M: The boom took place about when?

P: It went up in 1945 or 1950 to fifty dollars.
That was a big rent in those days for any family to pay
for a house.














M: Then fifty dollars would be a lot. Did you know any of
the people who ran city government during the thirties?
Did you know Hal Batey [City Commisioner], or [H. Milton]
Baxley [City Commissioner], or [Benmont M.] Tench [County
Commissioner], or any of those people?

P: I sure did.

M: What do you recall about them?

P: Well, I knew Baxley from Platka. I was in Palatka before
I came here. In fact, I was doing business over there
for awhile because I had a store in Palatka for awhile
after I come out of the army. I knew Baxley from there.
He was representing another company, and when he come in
here he was with Gainesville Candy Company. I believe it
was the Gainesville Candy Company in Palatka. I really
don't remember. But I remember Baxley.

M: He worked for the Gainesville Candy Company?

P: He worked for the Gainesville company as far as I know
in those days. I really don't know if he was the
manager or what.

M: He was later elected mayor?

P: Uh huh.

M: Do you recall his first name by chance?

P: I should know. I can't remember right now.

M: That's okay. How did you feel now that you were a member
of the town. The university was also important in
Gainesville. Do you recall what the feeling was between
the towns people and the university people? Was it a good
feeling or was there resentment that the university was
here?

P: To my notion, the university and the town always were friendly.
When they called disputes or something like that, it was
small stuff. I believe the University of Florida has always
been appreciated in the town, especially by the businessmen.















M: Did you ever attend any of the university activities, such
as football games?

P: Yes. I used to go to ball games when they had a small
field. We used to play Stetson and small colleges in
Georgia and all around. They used to draw 15,000 people.
That was a big crowd in the '20s.

M: Was the stadium at that time at the same place as it is
today?

P: It was in there, but it wasn't nothing like this.

M: It wasn't as spectacular then. How would you dress to
the game? Would you dress casual or would you get
dressed up to go to a football game?

P: It would just depend on how the weather was. If it
was cold weather. . .

M: Then you might dress up with sweaters.

P: For football games.

M: Do you recall any controversy about the cross-Florida barge
canal in the '30s at all? Do you remember that being
mentioned at all in the '30s?

P: It was in the paper. It was controversial, a thing like
that.

M: That's about it?

P: Yes, that's all.

M: One of the peopleI talked to recently told me that there
was an epidemic of malaria in the '30s, and said that
they had to send out mosquito inspectors to check for
still water. Do you recall that at all?

P: Yes. They used to inspect every place in town. That was
in the '30s. We had standing water.. The inspector would
come in and would overturn buckets of pond water, and you
would have to do away with it or clean it up. In fact,












18


the Coca Cola people over there had a fountain and there
was some mosquitoes in there and they had to dry that
up. The inspector had to do something with that. I
remember they used to go all over town with a cup, and
things like that, and inspect the water that was standing
still.

M: Did anyone in your family have malaria?

P: No.

M: Do you recall any other major diseases in the town?

P: I can't remember any in Gainesville. The main thing was
colds and things like that, a bad cold. But Ican't
remember malaria and diseases like the flu.

M: Did you ever know any black members of the community,
such as Charles Chestnut or A. Quinn Jones?

P: Charlie Chesnut was one of the best customers Ihad
when I had the ice cream and hamburger shop.

M: Was he allowed into your restaurant to eat?

P: Well, in those days, we had a separate place.

M: A separate room?

P: Uh huh. A separate room.

M: They were allowed in, as long as they sat in the separate
room?

P: That's right.

M: Charles Chesnut, Sr. would come in frequently and eat?

P: Yes. There was Dr. [Robert B.] Ayer and several of
his brothers and his family. I knew them all. I knew
quite a few black people in those days. I forgot their
names, but I remember the Chesnuts and White. I used
to know a-lot of preachers too. You know, black preachers.














M: What about some of the professionals in town?
Did you have a doctor in town?

P: Well, we bnly had four or five doctors, real medical
doctors, in those days.

M: Who was your doctor?

P: Well, Dr.Tillman was one. On occasion I had to go over
there for an examination. I think I bought some
insurance. But it wasn't because I-was sick because I never
got sick in those days. I was lucky. Not like now.
I remember Dr. [George E.] King, and Tillman.

M: Do you remember Dr. [W. C.] Thomas?

P: Yes, very good. He delivered all four of my children.

M: Were any of them bornin the '30s? They would be a little
bit later wouldn't they?

P: In the '30s. It was the first unit they built at
Alachua General.

M: Uh huh.

P: My first boy was born in there.

M: The first one was born in the hospital?

P: All four were. But the first hospital that was in Gainesville,
Alachua General, was built just a few years before my
boys were born.

M: In the '30s?

P: Right.

M: What about a dentist? Did you have a dentist in town?

P: Yes, Dr. Nixon and Dr. Tench.

M: Now, is that the Dr. Tench that became mayor? Was he the same
Dr. Tench?















P: I don't know if he is kin to him. He must have been his
brother or something. He .was a different Tench. They
could have been brothers, but I'm not sure now.

M: Where was his office? Do you recall?

P: I believe it faced First Street over there by
Wilson's.

M: It faced the Episcopal Church?

P: No, next to the front part of Wilsons. It was smaller
in those days. I believe there was an eye doctor
downstairs. The telephone company was in the same
building.

M: So, the phone company and a lot of doctors' offices and
Wilson's were all in the same building?

P: That's right.

M: What about lawyers? Did you ever meet or have an occasion
to see a lawyer in town in the '30s?

P: Ah, let's see. We didn't have very many lawyers in those
days. We had a few. Itknew Zack Douglas in the '30s.

M: Now, I understand that even during prohibition there was
much moonshine in Gainesville in the early '30s. Do you
recall that at all?

P: Oh, yeah.

M: Where would someone go to get moonshine?

P: There used to be one place that some friends of mine
used to go on the other side of the prarie. Back in
there, somebody was making the best moonshine in the (
Gainesville area. I used to hear that. They had them
all over town.

M: Well, being today is voting day, and we talked about this
before we started the tape, do you recall voting in the
'30s? How would you vote? Would there be a voting booth
or a hand ballot? Where would you go to vote in the '30s?














P: We had the booths but nothing like now. We had a piece
of paper and we would write a name in there and put them
in the box.

M: Where was your precinct located? Where did you go to vote?

P: The first time I ever voted in Gainesville was in '28. I
voted at a place which now is Robinson's Grocery Store. He's
got all of those stores combined now. Robinson's Grocery Store
used to be a polling place in one of those buildings.


M: When did you vote?

P: Well, Ivoted there until I moved here.

M: Until you moved to this area?

P: I have only voted in two places since I have been here
in Gainesville. I don't know whether it was '28 or '25,
I can't recall anymore.

M: Well, is there anything else you would like to tell me that
I didn't mention? Something you would like to say in
general about the '30s? Anything I left out?

P: Well, I used to give my wife the grocery money every week.
Six dollar used to buy all the groceries for us every week,
except maybe eggs and milk. I used to get them.

M: Was that just for two of you or for the whole family?

P: The whole family.

M: How many people were in the family at that time?

P: Six.

M: Six people and six dollars a week.

P: Of course children, but that's all. Six dollars was for
grocery, what she called grocery, she went buying. All
the groceries she wanted for that much money. In those
days, we didn't eat steak like we do now. People didn't
go for it. We ate chicken and things like that.














M: What did you eat instead? What did you eat a lot of?

P: We ate different things, like canned salmon which used to
be about ten cents. It's eighty cents or a dollar
now. We used to eat more stable goods.

M: My parents remember eating a lot of potatoes.

P: Potatoes, macaroni, and beans. We don't even think
about it now. We used to eat them. Wienies used to
be so cheap. Everything was cheap.

M: So, it's been a big change. That's why I am trying to
find out more about the '30s to be able to see what the
change is, and to have it recorded in history before
we lose that period. I really wanted to thank you for
giving up your time this afternoon. I know you are very
busy. You have had a lot of people come to see you this
afternoon and I appreciate you and your wife in letting
me in your home. Would you mind now if I used the
material on this tape recording for my research?

P: I wouldn't mind.

M: It's a pleasure talking with you. I just said the answers,
the first things that come to my mind. A lot of things
that I could tell about Gainesville since I have been
here that I couldn't remember. A lot of interesting
things. Sometimes, when somebody calls them to my attention,
the old folks, you know, remember this, remember that. But
really I forget all about it until somebody like that
stirs my memory.




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