Title: Dr. Tommy Ruth Waldo
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024719/00001
 Material Information
Title: Dr. Tommy Ruth Waldo
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Waldo, Tommy R. ( Interviewee )
Zino, Joe ( Interviewer )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: March 22. 1973
Copyright Date: 1973
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00024719
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Full Text


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

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

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
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Fair use limts the amount of material that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
the University of Florida

AL 64A Side One
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My name is Joe Zino from Oral History class at Gainesville High School

and I'm interviewing Dr. Tommy Ruth Waldo at719 NE 1st Street, Gainesville,

Florida. This is the 22nd day of March 1973 at approximately 1:30 pm.

Z: Dr. Waldo I'd like to begin by asking a few questions about your

early life in Gainesville. Do you remember how long the Boulevard

took to build.

W: I don't remember the building of the Boulevard actually. I remember

skating down a hill near the boulevard.

Z: Uh huh, and...

W: And I remember that sometime during my early childhood the uh, two

houses that are therg one near the boulevard and one in which the

Picards live now were made out of a barn, they were two halves of

a barn. And I remember after the sidewalk was built, skating down

that hill.

Z: When the boulevard was being built, do you remember any type, did they

have any type of powered equipment?

W: I really don't know.

Z: You don't remember if they had gas engines?

W: No, I don't remember at all about that.

Z: Has the Boulevard changed much in the 50 years since it was constructed?

W: Not that I can remember, of course, I believe a duck pond was added.

Z: So that means that the duck pond was man-made.

W: The duck pond was, was added, yes, and I believe the uh, the walls

to the branch have been, have been added, I'm sure they have.

Z: Did you way life, did your way of life change as a result of its being

AL 64A Side One
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W: Not that I can remember.

Z: When, when it was built, did it have any, you know, after it was

built did you have any short cuts or, you know, any, you know shorter

ways to get through after it was built, or excuse me before it was

built then?

W: No, I went to Kirby Smith School and I think uh, I would go around

in front of what was then the Hotel Thomas or in back of the Hotel

Thomas to get to school.

Z: Did people have recreational activities on it?

W: I'm sure children have always played there. My only memory of it

is skating down that hill. I think I stayed in my area rather than

get... uh I lived at uh, what was then 332 Columbia Street, and that

is now NE 7th Avenue. And so I lived at 214 NE 7th Avenue and I

stayed fairly well within the two or three blocks of the house.

Z: About, about what time did they change that street.

W: Well now that's changed since uh, since I was married so that must

have been in the forties, or even the fifties, we went on the quadrant

system sometime in there. Because this house number used to be 905

NE Main Street, and it's now 719 NE 1st Street, it's the same house,

but we have a different address.

Z: What was your social life like during the twenties.

W: Of course, I was a very small child and my social life mainly depended

on playing dolls and taking piano lessons very early.

Z: Didn't you ever have any um, weekend activities such as, picnics?

W: Maybe so, but my family was not wealthy we had very limited means and

AL 64A Side One
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my father was uh, paying for the house at the time. Uh, Mrs. Newell,

for her husband Newell Hall is named, financed our house and then my

father paid her and it took about a third of his salary every month

so we lived a very fruegal life.

Z: Did they have any theatres or movies at that time yet in Gainesville?

W: I think the Lyric theatre was on.

Z: What was the Lyric theatre?

W: The Lyric theatre was down uh, beyond Mike's bookstore on NE, well it

would SE 1st Street. But there was a Beard's theatre but it was not

in, the building was over Cox furniture, but it was not used as a

theatre in my childhood, it was already out of use, but I know the name.

Z: When they say the Lyric theatre, that's one part I don't understand,

is it, was it a movie theatre?

W: It was a movie when I knew about it, it was the only movie in town.

Z: Of course it was silent.

W: Well the talkies came in in my childhood, what were they 26? When were


Z: About 27.

W: Yes, I so, the movies I saw were talkies.

Z: Do you know of these people that worked for the Hotel Thomas if any

of them is still living right now?

W: I don't know about the people who worked there, but I know some of

his children of uh Major Thomas are still alive. Margaret Thomas

Hawkins is alive and uh, Clearance Thomas, he lives over on the

Boulevard right now, he's alive, and it seems to me Phil Thomas is

alive, I don't know where he lives.

64A Side One

Page 4

Z: What were your memories, are your memories of it's being built?

W: Oh the hotel was there all the time. It was years, built years

before I was on the scene.

Z: What was it like when the football team came?

W: To the hotel?

Z: Uh huh. Any celebrations or...

W: I don't know. the Ho, you understand that the Hotel Thomas in my

very young childhood was a home, the Thomas' lived there, it was

not a hotel until they sold the house. And then Phil Thomas who

was a son of Major Thomas, much older than I am, uh, managed uh,

managed the place when it became Hotel Thomas. And about football

I don't know. I do remember in my childhood that used to have

victory parades up and down the street at the University, uh down

University Avenue... pajama parades and that sorta thing, bon fires.

Z: Could you state any names of the people that worked at the Hotel

Thomas such as waiters,gardeners, maids that still might be the same

occupation today, or if not, what occupation did they go into?

W: I don't know at all, but you could ask some of the Thomas'

Z: Do you um, know any of the people that lived there at all, and do

you still keep in contact with any them.

W: No, no. Unless Mrs. Tomlinson might be able to tell you. Mrs. Tomlinson

lives uh in the 100 block of NE 7th Avenue about a block, small block

from my house.

Z: What was she.

W: I don't know but she worked for Major Thomas I think for a long time,

or the hotel. I just... it was, I didn't know her that well, I knew her

AL 64A Side .One
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as a neighbor. But as I remember she did work over there until

she retired.

Z: How have these people made life more comfortable by living in

Gainesville that worked at the Hotel Thomas?

W: Uh, since I don't know any of the work people, I can only speak about

the Thomas children that I've known I speak of them as children,

they're older, much older than I am, and they all received part of

the estate of Major Thomas was an early developer of the city and

I think uh, he as I understand it didn't make as much money as he

might have because of the uh, he had to experience the Depression.

But his children received some of it I think when they sold the

property. That's the only thing I know and Mrs. Tomlinson has a,

I \1\f5 (/I i in the house I mentioned. If she

wasn't, his employee, I think she was.

Z: Do you remember anybody else they might not have worked at the Hotel

Thomas but they might have been around when the Hotel Thomas was

a Hotel and per se, and um, they made life more comfortable in

Gainesville today, such as they might be bankers or...

W: I don't know a thing about that sort of thing. I did know several

older people who retired at the Hotel. It was very much easier for

them to live in that place. It was a, because look, there were meals

there and uh, several older people who disposessed when the hotel was


Z: People who worked there were fed there?

W: I just don't know a thing about that at all.

Z: How was food purchased and stored during your life in your home during

AL 64A Side One
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the twenties.

W: We had a refrigerator.

Z: Electric?

W: Yes.

Z: And in order to get it you went down to the store and bought it?

W: Oh, we had very good service. We bought groceries from Mr. George

Dell, who had Dell groceries. He delivered. Call him and say

Mr. Dell we need... he would deliver it in just a few minutes. A

very wonderful convenience.

Z: Where was his store?

W: His store was down near uh, across from the old Beard building, the

Beard Hardware, for a while. And then it was down near uh, oh across

from what is, what used to be the Livery and what is now the, what is

it he City Court, I believe... down on the branch near Kirby Smith


Z: That's I think the Federal Building.

W: Uh huh, it was on the eastern University Avenue.

Z: You're right.

How was it prepared, such as stove, you know...

W: My family had a gas stove. With artificial gas, propane.

Z: And did you have any other type of storage before you prepared it

other than the refrigerator, like did you dry meat or...

W: No.

Z: Did you have a pantry?

W: Oh, we had a store place but not a pantry as such. My mother always

wished for one though, but we didn't have one.

AL 64A Side One
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Z: Um, how was your delivery of milk? Did you have a man deliver it?

W: The milk came with groceries.

Z: You didn't have it separate then.

W: No, not usually. I think one year we did but not usually.

Z: What was meal time like?

W: Oh it was a very nice time. I was an only child my family was i

C(j 2ji we had a very pleasant time. My mother would cook it, was

a very good cook.

Z: Did you have lighting throughout the whole house?

W: Yes.

Z: Electric lighting?

W: Yes.

Z: Did you have a telephone?

W: Yes, 1112.

Z: That's all of the numbers there were on the phone?

W: Uh huh. My friend who lived around the corner had the number 414.

Z: That was alot easier than today.

W: Yes, and we'd just say, operator, please give me 414.

Z: Oh you didn't have any dials?

W: No, didn't have dials.

Z: Did you have heating in your entire house or was it central heating?

W: Uh, we had the facilities for heating the entire house but we did

not heat it. In the winter time we heated up the fire.

Z: Do you think the weather has changed since the twenties?

W: I do.

Z: I know alot of people say that. You know, that the weather has changed

AL 64A Side One
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alot. Of course, they say you' know, earlier times, years ago the

weather was uh, warmer and now its getting colder longer in the year,

W: My mother uh, thought, my mother couldn't wear wool when we first

came here, we came in the twenties from Texas and she couldn't bear

to wear wool. And then there were some years when it was very cold

when we felt we had to have wool and then now it seems to me it's

warmer again. And I judge by the wool because I very seldom ^ --

Z: Has this been the same house you've always lived in?

W- I've lived in this house since I was married, in 1941.

Z: The house before you were married, is someone still living in that


W: Yes, my parents still live in the house I grew up in. And this house

that I live in now belonged to husband's grandparents. It was willed

to my husband's aunt. My husband's aunt rented it for one year before

we were married, and then we bought it from her, uh no we rented it from

her three years and then we bought it, and I've lived in it ever since.

Z: How has the home that you were brought up in changed from what it is


W: Not very much except we added a roof.

Z: Didn't you change any type of electricity or plumbing?

W: We've, uh, changed the heater once, and we changed to electricity for

cooking but it's very much the same as it was. My father had a rose

garden in the back and he had a beautiful, even today, he always did.

Z: What were the change of home life, what was the change of home life

when someone was sick?

AL 64A Side One
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W: Then?

Z: 'h huh.

W. When I was sick, of course, 'my mother took care of me. There was one

time when I was very young, all three of us were sick at the same

time. That was a very difficult time. We had a bad case of the flu.

We had a nurse to come in and stay with us and it was a necessity but

it wasn't very convenient because she'd go off in the car at night,

in our car and she wouldn't take care of us, but we had to have her,

Z: Did you do any like, you know, special things when someone was sick

such as, you know, you couldn't go into a specific room or, you know,

were any specific meals served?

W: Well)my mother would bring my meal to me in bed. Uh, it was just, it's

a very small area as I say in the winter we closed up the

except on special occasions. It's a house that's dividedA long house.

can be divided right down the middle. So that's what we did, we'd

live J.i the r pc- during a cold winter.

Z: Did you have a family doctor?

W: Yes, Tilmer, and Dr. Maynard... Dr. Graham.

Z: Did he make house calls?

W: Yes.

Z: Excuse me. Did he make house calls?

W: Yes, uh huh. Of course, Dr. Graham was later because he is the age of

my husband.

Z: How long did you have to wait before he came?

W: You tell him and he'd come right out, I think the service was excellent.

No problem.

AL 64A Side One
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Z: Like now days when doctors don't.,ake house calls.

W- Right.

Z: Do you remember the new hospital being built?

W: lUh, yes. Cause both my children were born in the old hospital. I

don't remember anything specific about it, J just remember it was

built, and I think I was on a new wing for my son Pat who is now


Z: Do you remember how long it took from when it was, when it was being

constructed to when it ended?

W: No, no.

Z: After it was built, did you ever use it?

W: My mother-in-law was in it, and I was there briefly for a small surgery

over a Thanksgiving weekend aboutwhat, six or eight years ago.

Z: Were there any drug stores near you?

W: We used to order from _-c is all we had.

Z: What type of medicines were used?

W: In my childhood?

Z: Uh huh, that's what I'm speaking of now is your childhood.

W: Very few, we didn't uh, well I was really not that sick. I was not

a sickly child after I grew up to the go f ten or so. I was very

frail and I was quite small, but I hadAwhooping cough and bad measles,

but after that I don't remember much pt 4* flu and

So just Cdo. ( LAt? ve 0 44 o kx

Z: Was the majority of medicines prescription or were they easy to purchase?

W: I think they were prescription,

Z: Did they have as many as today, uhm, 'medicines that you can buy over

AL 64A Side One
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the counter without a prescription.

Wl I didn't uh, ever investigate that j / i

Z: Do you have any old home remedies that your mother, you know, used

on you?

V: Mentholatum. I had hay fever terribly andentholatu eased it.

The uh, membranes in my nose would hurt.,(,V" /l or

something like that.

Z: You hearAabout, um '-eA pills.

W: No, not at my house. My mother's not much of a, not much t=-armedicine

Z: What did you do as children to make up work when you were out sick

from school.

W: I read all the time, I was a book child anyway.

Z: Were you given assignments, uh, to make up or bring home?

W: I don't remember, I was usually very well up with my work.

Z: How did children get to school?

W: When I went to Kirby Smith it seems to me I walked some of the time,

I think my father took me in the morning and I walked home. But when

I went to Junior high school, and what is now...

Z: How did children dress for school?

W: Oh I was thinking about this the other day, we've been having recently

the wars about the dress code. Back in my time too there were some

dress code problems about, it had to do with sun back dresses. It's

almost history repeating itself. You ought to read about...

Z: I didn't think there was... my mother told me that, she said when she

went to school she remembered wearing long black dresses.

AL 64A Side One
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W: Well no, I just wore school, uh, washable things most of the time or

wool in the winter and uh, 3 never did wear sun back dresses because

w was red headed and I couldn't take the sun. I couldn't, my skin

was fair and"& couldn't take sun. So it didn't really concern me

but I do remember the problem.

Z: How did, you know, kids in those days wear sandals or..,

W. Yes, yes I wore sandals,

Z: Um

W: I wore aosaekes too I remember.

Z: What's a ?a ae

W: I saw some advertised in a book the other day. They're Mexican shoes,

woven Mexican flat shoes.

Z: How much homework did you have?

W: I had quite a bit, uh, I uh, the school was very, it was a good school

academically quite good. I had quite a bit of homework and I, it took

uh, well I took music all the time too, so I was busy d I think I

took speech lessons, -- I had a busy schedule.

Z: What did you study?

W: I took four years of Latin, I took uh, English, of course, every year.

We read a Shakespeare play every single year. From seventh or eighth

grade on up to twelveth, through twelveth I took history and uh, some

Civic, math, some chemistry... it was straight academic subjects.

Z: Were teachers in those days do you think stricter than teachers of


W: Well I don't have any knowledge about teachers of today in the high

school, but I know the teachers were very demanding.

AL 64A Side One
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Z: You're lucky.

WV Very demanding, it was a good school,,. it was, there was no nonsense.

Z: What high school did you go to?

W: It was Gainesville High.

Z: What year was this?

W. I graduated the year P,I. opened, 34, so I helped to, I uh, I paged,

I was a guide at the new P.K. school the year it opened.

Z: How long was the school day?

W: 3:30, 8:30 to 2:30.

Z: And how long did you have for lunch?

W: I think an hour, I'm not sure, I think I came home for lunch, I think

my father would get me and bring me home at lunch and then I used to

be back at school at 1:25.

Z: How long was the school year? Do you remember ?

W: Well I remember that uh, it was supposed to be nine months and during

one of the years I think it was my uh, senior year, the state ran out

of money and uh, we were about to loose our creditation because we

would only have eight months, they were a month short on the money, so

the families got together and contributed something like eight or nine

dollars a piece and we were able to have the nineth, the nineth month

and'we did not loose our creditation.

Z: Well what did you do during the summer?

W: I took music and I practiced hours and hours. I looked, and I read a

great deal.

Z: Didn't you ever go swimming?

W; Oh yes, we went to 'Magnesia Springs quite often.

AL 64A Side One
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Z: What did you do on family trips?

W. On family trips sometimes we'd camp out and uh, my grandparents lived

in Texas so we'd go there every other summer. But uh, we went to

California once or twice, we went to Arizona once or twice. We always

went west.

Z: Did you have a family car?

W: Yes.

Z: Do you remember what kind and year it was?

W. We, my father traded every two years because with his work being a

4 O r* he had to be on the road a great deal. But after a

while, after I was ten or so we had two cars. My mother would take

the brand new car and break it in and my father would, uh, take the

one that ws a year old, so we went on that system for a long time.

They were hevrolets.

Z: Were they cheaper on gas than they are now days.

W: Oh yes, we couldn't afford to do that with cars nowdays, but uh, it,

daddy was on the road a great deal and thought that, he kept books on

it two or three times and he found that it was the most economical thing

to do.

Z: How about manufacturing them, the parts... did they last long then

than they do now?

W: Oh sure they do, yes. I'm positive of that n.erything was built to


Z: What was the majority of the road 'made of during the twenties?

W: Well now you see VIm talking about late twenties and early thirties,

must have been because I was very young in the early twenties. Um, I

AL 64A Side One
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do remember that when we moved to 'Florida we came across some very

bad roads and we had a Model T then, and we came across what was

known as the Cordory Road in Lousianna, It was just a group of planks

across the swamp, it was pine trees across the swamp, and we bumped

across those pine trees. And then when we went back to Texas to see

,my grandparents we marveled that we crossed Lousianna in half a day

because this was two or three years later.

Z: Wasn't that wearing on your tires?

W: Oh yes, it was very a very slow trip, very agonizing trip.

Z: Did you ever ride the trains?

W: The trains to the west are very difficult, They still are as I under-

stand it, although I haven't tried it lately. They're, they, they're

puddle jumper trains. They stop at every place, and then the connections

are very bad. Sometimes you have to trade, uh, change trains. So we

usually took a car when we went. Then we all three could go.

Z: Where from in Gainesville did you go on that train, did you board from


W: Uh, in Gainesville... to go west you usually would have to ride the

train to Jacksonville, and we boarded down in front of the White house

there, down in, what used to be the e Hotel, it's now the

Citizens Bank. A hotel some, i think the train station

was right where the Florida Bank, the uh, First National Bank is.

Z: Do you remember what it cost approximately?

W: No.

Z: What type of service was there on the train, food sleeping?

WV, Uh, I think you could have a pullman car or you could get day coach,

AL 64A Side One
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And uh, I think it was a long, hard trip, that's the main thing I

remember, aboutA You could go from here to New York very easily, but

you couldn't go from here west easily.

Z: Why would it be easier to go to New York rather... '

W: Because the train goes straight from Jacksonville to New York,

But uh, even today to go to, out west is difficult on the train, because

of the connections.

Z: Were automobiles sold here?

W: What is it?

Z: Were automobiles sold in Gainesville?

W: Oh yes, uh huh.

Z: Do you remember any vague price range?

W: No...( en if I bought a car yesterday I probably wouldn't remember...

(rices I don't remember very much.

Z: Did you buy often from Wilson's?

W: Yes, uh huh.

Z: What did they sell during the mid-twenties?

W: It was a department store, it was the main department store.

Z: Did they...

W: And the daughters, uh, the original Wilson people just died in the last

few years. Miss Rafie Wilson lived down from this house about three

doors across the street, or two doors across the street before she died.

She just died about four or five years ago and she used to live up, uh

where the city hall is now, the old Wilson home when I was a child. I

didn't know her parents cause she was an old lady when I first 'moved.

Z: How about Beard's Hardware?

AL 64A Side One
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W: Yes, we bought at Beard's.

Z: What did, what kind of things did you buy at Beard's.

W: Well, paint, nails, hammers, all sorts of tools, bicycles.

Z: Just for conversation, did you buy for instance light bulbs from

Beard's or Wilson's, where'd you buy light, uh not specifically Beard's

or Wilson's, but where would you buy your, say light bulbs?

W: I think you'd buy those at the uh, Woolworth's or some place, I'm not

sure, or maybe the grocery store, I'm not sure at all.

Z: Did you invest, or did your parents invest for that matter, land any


W: No, we didn't have very much to invest, my father was on a professor's

salary and it was not high. As I said, he was buying a:lot yes, and

paying for a home, yes, but not extra land.

Z: How did people earn a living, for instance what type of jobs?

W: Well, my father was a professor, he was eventually the head of Horticulture

at the University, he was head of the department. My father-in-law

who was killed when I was a child, he was my, he would have been my

father-in-law if he'd lived, was a dentist, Dr. Waldo. And he had come

here from Washington, he married a local person.


AL 64A Side Two
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Z: Do you remember what the average per week or per hour was, do

you remember, you know, what the, if there was a minimum wage?

W1 No, I don't, my father didn't work by the hour, of course he worked

by the month, he got paid by the month, And uh, there were some

years there during the depression when the state didn't have any

money to pay us. And as I mentioned the grocery store a while ago,

Mr. Dell, carried most of us who were connected with the University,

he would simply charge the groceries to us cause he knew that we'd be,

we'd have the money sooner or later, so he carried us on credit

until we did get the money. There were some hard years there. And my

father had a very meager salary by today's standards, but at the time

we felt very fortunate to have it, when there were so many people out

of work.

Z: Were there some jobs that were paid by the day such as common labor?

W: Oh yes, yes, uh huh.

Z: And who were they hired by, the city?

W: Well I'm sure there were some of the city. We, uh, well some people

I knew hired maids part of the week or all of the week and uh, or

maybe hired a yard boy for a few hours during a week and the wages

were not high at all. You could get people to do labor around the

house at that time. /
(etcri 9 D
Z: Was, when you say, wei there was labor around the house, you mean

was there a type of, more ess pan-handling of people? I'm saying did

people come up to your door more less as salesmen typef.?

W: Sometimes yes, yes uh huh, yes they'd come to the house and ask. And

we would quite often give them food, but we usually didn't hire people

AL 64A Side Two
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like that, we usually hired somebody we knew. We'd.give them a

sandwich or something to,.,

Z: How was the stock market crash, did it effect your family in any

specific way?

W: No, except as it effected the state as a whole, And I don't think

the depression ever hit 'lorida as hard as it hit other places, Cause

this, the economy here is different, We did, as I say, have to wait

on our salary, but the state finally made good my father's salary.
Z: What kind of city government was there?

W: There was a city manager and I know that because my, my friend's father

was the city manager for a long time, Mr. Cairns, George Cairns, C-A-I-

R-N-S, was the city manager for a while. And also there was Mr.

Mobley, who just died recently who was the city manager for a while.

Z: Was there a mayor?

W: Not, not then, not when I was a child.

Z: How about the city council?

W: I think so, yes.

Z: Was there any type of signing board for zoning or was there, or was that

under, overtaken by the city council?

W: I think that was done by the city council, but I'm not really sure.

Z: What kinds of laws were there about Sunday sales?

W: Well, we didn't, it was a dry county of course, see the liquor sales

were non-existant except in illegal ways and uh, most of the stores

closed on Sundays, just as they do now, in fact more of them closed

then, We didn't have these great big shopping centers which keep things

open, They used to have some kind of arrangement where one or two of

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the drug stores would stay open. They'd take turns on Sundays.

Z: You mentioned liquor laws, what was,.,

W: It was just a dry county,

Z:: There was no liquor sold at all.

W: No, right. Anybody who, who had liquor would get it across the line.

Anyplace down across, well everywhere, Ia' sure, Anywhere you get

out of Alachua County it would be possible to buy liquor. So people

who drank would buy things across the county, across the county line.

Z: What were the penalties if you were caught with liquor?

W: I don't know, really. I ought to know because my husband was city

judge for a while, but I really just don't know. I think there was

alot of, uh, looking the other way on the part of the law.

Z: Do you remember approximately what year that this specific thing, dry

season, you say, was abolished?

W: No, but it's been within recent years.

Z: Uh, uh, I'm speaking of liquor in Alachua County,

W: When it was abolished?

Z: No, when it was um...

W: When it was opened... well that's been within recent years it hasn't

been too long ago when it was, when the ban was abolished, I don't know

the year, but it hasn't been very long ago.

Z: When they did have liquor, and it wasn't illegal.to have in Alachua

County was it sold in depart, not department stores uh, super markets...

W: When it was legal?

Z: When it was legal?

Wi I don't think so, I think they're still sold in package stores and I

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think uh, the people who sell it have to have licenses.

Z: Howmany men were there on the police'department?

W-. have no idea, I don't know.

Z: Do you know any specific police or..,

W: Well, I et one the other day that was on the force when my husband

was city judge. I just had a break-in in y house and my car was

just stolen so I had dealings with the police recently, and there

was a lieutenant named Glenn Smith who remembered my husband as city

judge, So uh, and Phil Joiner, of course, was the police chief when

my husband was city judge. He's just retired from police chief.

Z: Was there a jail in Gainesville?

W: A jail? Yes, uh huh. Mr. Toyly was I believe the jailer, the man

who is now a hundred and one, there was an article in the paper about

him the other day.

Z: And he lives in Gainesville?

W: He's, he's still here, he's a hundred and one. I think he's been quite

ill lately, but there was a whole article about two weeks ago in the

Gainesville Sun ,about Mr. Toyly.

Z: Was the crime rate high or low in Gainesville during the twenties

compared to other counties?

W: I'm sure, I don't know, but I never felt threatened.

Z: Then you felt, ou were safe to walk the street at night.

W: I'm sure it was I was very small at the time and I was in bed by

eight o'clock.

Z: Was it rare to hear of a roory?

W. Oh yes, uh huh. I know people who just have started locking their doors

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in the last two or three years. People just live in an open house

all the time, Very much different today than what it use to be.

Z: Was the punishment stricter or easier than now?

W: I don't really know, I don't have, I know my husband was, when he

was county, or city judge was very careful to be uh, he wanted to

be fair, he was a fair-minded person and he was very anxious to be


Z: When he was city judge, what year was this about?

W: It was in the late, it was in the forties. He died in 1950.

It must have been from 45 or something like that,

Z: We were planning a museum exhibit for the month of May and we wondered

if you had any items that we could borrow to use at the exhibit, such as,

newspaper clippings of the Gainesville Sun, pictures of the Hotel Thomas

social life such as picnics, something about the Seagal Building, clippings

maybe about the crash of the stock market, clothing and fashion at

that time, photographs of the Boulevard, kitchen utensils such as

coffee grinders, uh, if they have, if you have any printed announcements

of plays, public events... do you remember having any.

W: I don't know. I have some things that I've kept, uh they don't go back

as far as what you're interested in probably. I have, uh, some things

that belonged to my husband's mother who was a very ardent custodian of

things that pertain to uh, her family and the town.

Z: Is she still living?

W: No, she died in 1966. But I might have a few things, I'm just not sure

right now whether they'd be things that would be worthy of display or


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Z: Well we'd be contacting you again probably in late April to find


Wz Alright, fine.

Z: Are there some aspects of life you would like to talk- to us about

in the twenties in Gainesville?

W' The twenties?

Z: Or the early 30's.

W: Uh huh.., what kind of things would you like, are you interested in?

Z: Were there places)let's say to eat out, resturaunts.

W' There were very few places to eat out. The Primrose Grill has been

there since I was a child, and the father of the man who owns it ran

it when I was a child. They've had good food all these years. Mrs.

Alford has had various places to eat all around town, the most recent

one was the Tower House which 4r was located down, uh, on the spot

where the library is now. But uh, the hotel had places to eat for

a while, and then for a while thet/1(' C( 0 CEhotel till it was torn

down. But the places to eat were very, uh very rare, it was hard to

find a place to take someone out to eat that had uh...

Z: What about people who came in off the road?

W: Well they, they would uh, mostly cafeterias, we did have uh, two cafes

downtown, but uh, the nice places to eat were really quite rare until

just very recently as a matter of fact. The uh, I think one, that's

one interesting thing is that uh, I played for the Baptist Church, I'm

the organist at the Bhptist Church, and it, two years ago celebrated

it's hundredth anniversary as. a church, And at the time we were re-

constructing some history, as a matter of fact some of the people down

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there might have some of it to give you, because it does involve

Gainesville, and we realized' that the church in it's present location

has only had two organists, one was Claude Murphree who was here from

the time he was a freshman until 1958 when he was killed and then I'm

the other one. And I've been there since 1958 as the organist. 'My

,husband's mother was organist at the Methodist church for 48 years

Dhe was, she played from the time she was a girl until um, not oh,

sometime before her death and she felt she had to retire. 'Ky husband's

father was a, not only a dentist, but he was a singer. He used to

go around on the circuit sometimes and sing.

Z: What's the _circuit?

W' Well it was a, this was a travelling show, that was sorta like a T,V,

spectacular in person. They went around with a tent to different

places and took really good programs they weren't cheap things like

carnival they played really good programs with music and plays and

so Dr. Waldo went around on that sometimes when he was not, when he

was on his vacation...

Z: How about church functions, did you go on church picnics?

W: Yes, sometimes, right, uh huh. Mostly my life has been involved with

the academic and the musical world because I taught music for years and

now I teach English at the University. So.)- -c- /)A*

Z: You're the person I have to speak to.

W: Are you coming to the University?

Z: Hopefully.

Z; 'Um, I'm gonna ask you, if you don't mind a few opinion questions.

AL 64A Side Two
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W: I'll try.

Z: Could you tell me some of the advantages and disadvantages of living

in the Boulevard area in the twenties? 'z /. {j

W: In the Boulevard in the twenties it was one of the, it was the beautiful

place in the city. It uh, was,.. well, it was just a beauty spot,

When nobody was thinking about beauty, the beautiful, the Boulevard

area was beautiful. And my father, who lives now three blocks from

the Boulevard was very noted for having a beautiful yard when nobody was

interested in having a pretty yard, nobody thought that Florida would

support this kind of growth, thought it was just sand and soil and

that was all it was good for, but daddy fertilized it and made it

a little beauty spot in one place. Now everyone has an interest in

yards it seems.

Z: Could you tell me the advantages and disadvantages of living in the

Boulevard area in the seventies?

W: The seventies? Uh, the disadvantages right now is traffic. The traffic

is very bad down there. It's recently, the streets have recently been

made one way and even that I think is difficult because it, it makes a

bottleneck on one part of it.

Z: That's what your father was telling me about.

W: Uh huh.

Z: If you could have chosen a time to live in your life, would you rather

have been a young person in the twenties or in the seventies?

W: I'm afraid I'd take the time I grew up in. I think it's a, I think that

uh, they're mixtures in both times, We were a little niave, we were too

niave in my time. But we had a placid life and we had time to look at

AL 64A Side Two
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birds in the yard and practice music and get rest and read books and

uh, we had time to enjoy simple things, And we, I think appreciated

what we had because the things came to us with, they didn't, they

weren't just handed to us, we had to work for what we had. Uh, I

never felt danger, I wasn't afraid at all. And uh, I'm afraid now,

that I feel fear, and I feel fear for young people, and feel fear for

all of us. Life is just more complex and it's more crowded. Now that's

not to say I'd give up the television or the models of tape recorders,

these things I would like to have back in the other time. I think life

was simpler then. I think you may be enriched now by many of these

things we have.

Z: Do you think that Gainesville in the twenties was equally racially


W: We certainly didn't have integration but there was alot more genuine

affection between the races than there is now. I think, uh, I, I really

don't know I know in my work that students who are black, and I have

them in my hall three or four black people, and I know them, some of

them but, I used to have some black people I was genuinely devoted to.

Uh it's a different, it's just a different situation.

Z: Was it rare or odd in the twenties to have um, a black professional, or

a minority professional?

W, Of course, I was a child and wasn't conscious 6f these things, I was

very small in the twentiest I remember the thirties. It was rare, yes,

but you did have people who, who rose. They had to uh, they had to

usually to go away somewhere to go to school and they went to Florida

A & W,. But we had a girl, a very wonderful girl, this was a case in 40,

AL 64A Side Two
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a girl we were very devoted to who worked for us to make some

,money, during the 30's, And she was a college person, she was getting

her master's degree up at A & M, and she worked for us part time. We

were genuinely devoted to her, and she was devoted to usI think. And

we knew her and wished her well when she got a teaching job, and she

went on to bigger things. She worked for us C09 (E{ /OQ

Z: What year did you, uh, get your PhD?
I 1
W: My PhD I got in 61, in 60 after my husband died I went back to school.

Z: What do you have your PhD in?

W: English.

Z: You went to the University of Florida.

W 'UTh huh, uh huh. I had two small children so I had to uh...

z: .^^ / ^ffs/c zy....

W: I had to find a way to take care of them and I had to, I uh taught in

music for a while, I got this in five years and I got my PhD in 61.

Z: Well I'd like to thank you for your time and if you have any, you know,

items for the exhibit that I spoke of, we'll be contacting you late in


W: Alright.

Z: Thank you.

W: Thank you.


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