Interviewee: Ginger Edson
Interviewer: Jennifer Garrett
Date: October 28, 2004
Ga: Today is October 29, 2004, and I am interviewing Ginger Edson about the
Flavets. To start off, where are you from, Ginger?
Ga: Can you briefly describe how your life changed after the onset of World War II.
Gi: I don't remember how old I was. Yes, it was definitely different. My mother went
to work in one of the boatyards. It's the first time she had ever worked. It was
within walking distance of our house. It was a little bit different. It didn't make an
impact on me that much.
Ga: About how old were you at that time?
Gi: It was 1941, 1942? Nine or ten.
Ga: When were you married?
Ga: How did your husband's service impact your life?
Gi: How did his ... ?
Ga: His service in the war.
Gi: He'll tell you he was from Jacksonville. He graduated from high school when he
was seventeen. He went right in the service. He wasn't old enough to get a job
and [had] no funds for college. He came out of the service after two years when
he was nineteen. We met at the University of Florida.
Ga: When did he return from the war?
Gi: He went in 1946 and got out in 1949. Then he went to Jacksonville Junior
College. Then he came to the University of Florida.
Ga: You met at the University of Florida?
Ga: What year did you start going to the University of Florida?
Ga: Where did you live when you first went there?
Gi: Mallory Hall.
Ga: That must have meant you must have been one of the first ones to live there.
Gi: I think we were the third group of girls to live there.
Ga: How many years did you live there?
Gi: I lived in Mallory one year, and then Grove Hall, which was a barracks, the
second year. Then I went to summer school one summer and lived in Mallory.
Ga: Then you were married your junior year?
Gi: Yes, sort of. I was classified, but I only went two regular years, plus a summer
Ga: A university cheerleader of this era concluded, they, meaning the veterans, have
no school spirit; all these people are interested in is getting an education. Why
was an education so important to you?
Gi: I think that you knew that, with an education, you would probably get a better
paying job position. That was true. Veterans were more serious about it. Of
course, I wasn't serious, because I wasn't a veteran. I was there to have a good
time, and I did.
Ga: When you got married, did you decide to stop going to school at that point?
Gi: Actually, Jim was going to graduate the year before I would. There was no point
in my continuing. Plus, funds were limited when we got married.
Ga: What did your husband study at University of Florida?
Ga: What did you expect after you got married and you were looking for housing?
What did you expect your life would be like?
Gi: Oh yes. I expected it to be wonderful. When you're young, you always do, don't
Ga: Did you know how much longer it would take your husband to graduate?
Ga: Did you have any concerns about finding a place to live?
Ga: Can you describe a typical day for you once you were in the Flavet?
Gi: It was work. I was the Secretary of Food Service Division. Jim, of course, had
classes. After his classes, he worked. He was at the Austin-Cary Forest. We
really had very little social life, because we both worked. Then, at night, he had
to study. We didn't know any of our neighbors. We would speak, but as far as
socializing, I don't think there was a whole lot of that done.
Ga: How did you handle the transition from being a university student and then
moving into the Flavets as a wife?
Gi: I loved it because I was with students all day in Food Service. I still felt a part of
it. Of course, with Jim going to class, he was in the Reserve and we had some
social functions with the Army Reserves. It was just delightful.
Ga: Where did you live just before moving to Flavet? You mentioned that you had to
be married before you could apply?
Gi: We lived at 915A SW 6th Avenue. I always laugh about how many addresses
you can remember.
Ga: Is that just in a house that you rented out?
Gi: It was a garage apartment owned by a fellow called Coy Thomas. He owned a
lot of real estate. It was convenient and very nice.
Ga: Was it hard to find that place? Compared to how easily you might find a place to
Gi: No, I don't think it was then as much as it might be [today]. Of course, there
weren't all the apartments. There were no apartments. That was a garage
apartment. As far as apartment buildings, there were none.
Ga: Then you mentioned that the second semester you went into the Flavets? Why
did you decide to move into the Flavets rather than staying where you were.
Gi: Two reasons: cost, much cheaper, and more convenient.
Ga: Do you happen to remember how much you were paying before Flavet?
Gi: I think, and I'm not positive, but I think it was $60 a month.
Ga: Then Flavet was. . ?
Gi: I don't know, it was $30, $40.
Ga: Was Flavet the kind of the thing you were used to as far as the accommodations
and the interior and the kitchen and everything else?
Gi: Yes. Everything was furnished except the linens and dishes and pots and pans.
It was clean, well-maintained. [There was] nothing fantastic about the furniture,
but then we wouldn't expect that.
Ga: Can you describe the interior just a little bit more in detail, like what the floor was
like and the ceiling.
Gi: I don't remember the floor. I know we had one window in the living room. There
was one in the kitchen. In the bedroom, I think there was one or two windows. I
can't remember the floors. It was painted off-white, the interior.
Ga: Were you able to change that?
Gi: We weren't motivated to change it. We knew we were only going to be there for
six months. There was no time anyway.
Ga: You said it had one bedroom and one bath?
Ga: The bath was in your unit?
Gi: Right, our unit.
Ga: The furnishings came with it?
Ga: What did the kitchen come equipped with?
Gi: It had a table and I know it had two chairs. I can't remember if it had four. I know
it had two. It was very small, compact.
Ga: What kind of appliances came with it?
Gi: The stove and refrigerator were there, and the hot water heater. We didn't have
anything to do with any of that.
Ga: Were all the apartments the same on the interior?
Gi: I didn't go in any of the others, but I think there were some that were two
bedrooms. Some of these people had children.
Ga: You were living in Flavet Three, right?
Gi: Yes. 236T. We were upstairs.
Ga: Were the stairs outside of the building or inside?
Ga: When you approached the building, was there any kind of lobby area where you
went into the stairs?
Gi: You just opened the door and went up the stairs.
Ga: When you walked to your apartment on the upstairs, was that hallway on the
interior of the building?
Gi: Yes. We were on the left and there was an apartment on the right. You either
went in one door or the other. We were on the left.
Ga: How many apartments were in your block?
Gi: I don't remember.
Ga: Were there any optional amenities on the interior?
Ga: I've read over a copy of one of the lease agreements that states that electricity
was provided in the rent. Is that correct?
Ga: If you had certain appliances like an ice box or a washing machine or a waffle
iron, electric fan, that you would be charged extra. Do you remember?
Gi: We didn't have any of those.
Ga: The telephone, I'm assuming that you didn't have a telephone?
Gi: We did not.
Ga: Where did you go to use the phone?
Gi: Working at food service, of course, I had access to the telephone. I didn't really
have that many people to call. I could call my mom or Jim's folks. That was
okay. His name was Bert Graham, who was in charge of Food Service at that
time. It was great because we did the football tables. It was very interesting.
Ga: Was there anything that you did to kind of make the apartment more livable?
Ga: You had most of your plants on the inside of the apartment?
Gi: Oh, yes.
Ga: Were there any kind of gardens outside that you could have used? You said you
didn't really have time for that anyway.
Ga: Were there any issues with sound within the unit? Like hearing your neighbors
or anything like that?
Gi: Not that I recall.
Ga: Did any residences aid in the maintenance of the structures?
Gi: Not that I know of.
Ga: Were you allowed to have any pets?
Gi: I don't know, but we did not have any. Whether you were allowed, I don't know.
Ga: Can you describe the social life at Flavet Village?
Gi: It was non-existent. I know one time we were coming down the stairs and the
people below us, I think we just said hello, and they said, we're going out to
dinner. Jim said, your wife has a better job than mine.
Ga: Did you feel like a lot of the wives worked that were in your building?
Gi: Oh yes, most all of them were.
Ga: Did you know anyone in the Village before you moved in?
Ga: Did most residences there have similar backgrounds as you?
Gi: Not knowing them, I don't know.
Ga: When a holiday came up, would you usually celebrate it there in Flavet or would
you go home?
Gi: [We would] go home.
Ga: Which home did you go to?
Gi: Either one. We rotated. We would go to Jacksonville sometimes and Orlando.
Ga: I've read in the archives that there were movies shown at Flavet sometimes. Do
you recall that?
Ga: Do you recall the laundry area?
Ga: How did you do your laundry while you were there?
Gi: You know, I don't remember.
Ga: You don't really keep up with anyone that you met there at Flavet?
Ga: Do you remember if there were any church services or anything like that?
Gi: I don't.
Ga: What did you do for recreation while living in Flavet? I know that you said you
didn't have much of a social life, but surely there must have been something.
Gi: Jim was active in the Sigma Chi. A lot of their functions we would go to and
some at my sorority, although I wasn't still in it. We would participate in that.
Ga: What were the age ranges of the residents in the Village?
Gi: We were some of the younger ones. I would have to say the fellow that was
going out to dinner, I would have to say he was late twenties, early thirties. I
have no idea. Some of them were older even, depending on how long they'd
been in the service.
Ga: Was there much diversity within the residents of Flavet?
Gi: I don't know.
Ga: Were there any minorities living at Flavet?
Gi: No. There were no minorities going to the University of Florida, if you want to
know the truth, in the 1950s.
Ga: There was an incident noted in the Flavet Board of Commissioners meeting.
Were you familiar with that Flavet Board of Commissioners?
Ga: It was talking about one of the resident's maids and whether or not she could use
the Flavet laundry. Did you or anyone that you knew there have a maid?
Ga: Apparently someone had one at one time. Were there any single veterans living
Gi: I think you had to be married. Otherwise Jim could have moved in before we
were married. I think you had to be married.
Ga: What happened when one of you got sick? Could you both go to the infirmary?
Gi: We never got sick. I never have been in the infirmary.
Ga: Did you know anything about the volunteer fire department in Flavet Three?
Ga: I've read that there was a newsletter or kind of a newspaper running through the
Flavets. Do you remember anything like that?
Ga: Did you ever notice anything having to do with the UF radio station in Flavet?
Whether it was ever broadcast there?
Gi: I don't know. I listen to it now.
Ga: Did you feel safe living in Flavet?
Gi: Oh, yeah.
Ga: Do you recall any crimes while you were there at all?
Ga: Do you know if there was a neighborhood watch group?
Gi: I don't know.
Ga: Did you feel that there was a sense of community within the Flavets?
Gi: Yeah, I think so, even though we weren't active socially. I don't know how much
other people did. We felt safe there. We'd say, I live in Flavet.
Ga: Why do you think that was, that people were proud?
Gi: I think everybody was there for the same reason, to get an education, and
everybody was a veteran. I think we just had something in common.
Ga: Dean of Students R.C. Beatty was quoted as saying that there was a low divorce
rate in the Flavets. Beatty's explanation for this was that the veterans of this era
have something in the way of character. Can you describe what you think he
was talking about as far as character goes and what kept these families
Gi: I think most of them were there for the same reason, to get an education.
Remember, divorce was not as common fifty-something years ago as it is today.
I did not know anybody divorced. If they were, I don't know about it.
Ga: You kind of alluded to the fact that that may be related to the ambition, the drive.
Gi: Motivation. Nobody's making you go. You're there because you want to be.
Ga: What do you think that motivation stems from? Was there any reason behind
that? There was a large boom in the number of people going to the University of
Florida at that time, even more so than before the war. Do you have any idea
what factored into that?
Gi: I started out thinking I was going to be a journalist. This is what I wanted. Then,
later on, after a year or so, it occurred to me, if you want to be sure and get a job,
you'd better switch. So, I did, to education. My parents had never gone to
college. I was really motivated. I think a lot of people in my age group were in
the same situation. Handwriting had become on the wall to get a college degree.
It's much better for you financially.
Ga: Did your parents support you in that?
Gi: Yes. Oh yes, they were delighted.
Ga: What were the rules that were in place for living in Flavet? Were there any?
Gi: None that I know of.
Ga: Was there anything you can think of that you would have gotten thrown out of
Gi: I don't know that anybody ever was. They could have been, but I wouldn't have
known about it.
Ga: Do you recall any kind of disciplinary actions being taken ever?
Ga: If you had a complaint at that time, did you know where you could take the
Gi: I guess if I had a complaint, I would have found out, but I didn't.
Ga: Did many residents own vehicles at that time?
Gi: Yes, I think most of them did. The parking was right out in front of the building. I
think most of them did have a vehicle of some sort.
Ga: Did you have a vehicle?
Ga: Were there any traffic problems?
Ga: Were there any kind of unwritten rules or codes that residents lived by, such as
certain times to be quiet?
Gi: No. Actually, everybody there was an adult. It's not like we're talking about
Ga: I read about the mayor and commissioners of Flavet Village. Do you know if all
three Villages had separate mayors? Do you remember anything about the
Ga: Were there any controversial issues among the residents of Flavet Village?
Gi: None that I'm aware of.
Ga: We're going to move on to some economic questions. How much of a concern
was money to you when you lived in Flavet?
Ga: How did most people living in Flavet afford the rent? I understand it was much
cheaper than other places.
Gi: Oh yeah. I don't know how they afforded it. Jim worked, and I worked, but we
didn't have any of the luxuries, but we could afford the rent. We ate a lot of rice
Ga: You were there in 1953?
Ga: I read that most of the people were on the G.I. Bill. Would you agree with that?
Gi: Yes, that's true.
Ga: Can you give me an idea of what kind of expenses made up your budget at that
Gi: Of course the rent, electricity was paid, so that wasn't a concern. Food, which
really wasn't a big concern, because I could have all my meals at the university
cafeteria free. We weren't able to save anything, but we didn't have any of the
Ga: Working in food service, you didn't have to cook a lot? Or did you work there, eat
there, and then come home and cook?
Gi: If Jim had a meeting for some reason, I could have dinner, three meals a day.
Normally I would come home and we would have dinner at home.
Ga: Where did some of the other wives work? Do you recall?
Gi: I know there was one who was a nurse. That's the only one I'm aware of.
Ga: Did they have child-care there at Flavet?
Gi: I don't remember.
Ga: Did you expect that your financial situation would change after graduation?
Gi: We felt like we'd be more secure. When you're just starting out, you're not at the
top of your ladder.
Ga: You didn't feel like you'd all of a sudden be making much more money and living
Ga: It was just an issue of job security?
Gi: Up until Jim graduated in the first part of June, he had expected to go into service
because they were calling his age group in and he was in the Reserve. Thirty
days before he graduated, that was eliminated. He had not submitted any
applications to any company. Of course, that was a concern.
Ga: Was he able to find a job?
Gi: Oh, yes. But most of the people were submitting applications and sending in
their resumes. We didn't do any of that because our future was not there in the
Ga: How did your experience living in Flavet influence your life? Did it in any way?
Gi: No, not really. I felt very fortunate to be there.
Ga: Would you assess your experience living in Flavet as a positive experience?
Ga: Were there any negative aspects of living there that we haven't talked about?
Gi: Don't forget, I was a bride. Everything's wonderful.
Ga: Is that something you felt like a lot of the wives felt?
Gi: I have a feeling most of them had been married longer than we had. Just the few
faces that you would see, they were older. I was delighted to be there.
Ga: Can you suggest any other individuals that might be helpful to this paper?
Ga: Is there anything else that I haven't asked you about that you would like to talk
about having to do with the Flavets?
Gi: No. I think you've pretty well covered it.
Ga: Thank you, Ginger. Thank you so much.
[End of the interview.]