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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Alex Lundy
Interviewer: Sudye Cauthen
September 14, 1988
C: [This is Sudye Cauthen] speaking with Alex Lundy in Alachua,
Florida, on September 14, 1988. Mr. Lundy, the first thing
I need to ask is your whole, exact name, and your birthdate.
L: I was born February 14, 1915.
C: And your full name?
L: Alexander Lundy.
C: Where were you born?
L: I was born in Gainesville; that is where I was born. But my
mother says that I was born in Alachua County, which was
Mount Nebo. I would say my birthplace was Mount Nebo.
C: Were you born at Mount Nebo?
C: What was your mother's full name?
L: Pinky Elizabeth Johnson.
C: Was Johnson her married name?
L: No, it was her maiden name.
C: Pinky Elizabeth Johnson. Was your father Mr. Lundy?
L: My father was named Charles Lundy.
C: And they lived at Nebo?
L: Yes, they lived a Nebo.
C: When was Pinky Elizabeth Lundy born? Do you know?
L: In 1900.
C: Was she just fifteen years old when you were born?
L: Right. In February.
C: Were you her first child?
L: No, I was her second child. My sister is two years older
than I am. My sister, now, she was born Yes 1900.
My mother was twelve years old before I was born. She [my
sister] is two years older than I am. My only sister. She
was the first. She was born in 1914, and I was born in
C: What is your sister's full name?
L: Florence Elizabeth.
C: Is she still living?
L: No. She died.
C: Are your parents buried at Nebo?
L: No. My father is buried in Daytona Beach, Florida.
C: What year did he die?
L: My father died in 1946.
C: How did he come to be buried in Daytona Beach?
L: Because all of my brothers had possession because they owned
some property in Daytona. So my father stayed up with them.
which was my oldest brother, kept him there. He
got sick, and when he died they buried him there.
C: Do you know how old he was when he died?
L: He was about eighty-two.
C: Do you know exactly his birthday?
L: Not really. I think he was born somewhere in 1836 or 1837.
C: That would work out to age eighty-two in 1946. [1836 from
1946 is 110. Please verify.] Now, when did your mother
L: My mother died in the year 9.
C: Where is she buried?
L: She is buried in Mount Nebo. She died in Indianapolis,
C: How did she get there?
L: She married a man, [what was his name?] and they
moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. That is where she died.
C: That was after your father died when she married again?
C: How many children were there in your father's and mother's
family? How many brothers and sisters did you have?
L: My sister and myself were born out of wedlock. My father
had seven children before my sister and myself. They were
older than [we were]; we were the two youngest ones. We
were born out of wedlock.
C: Well, now, did your father have a different wife before your
L: Yes. We had an older sister and brother. They were
C: He was married to another woman before he married your
C: But your mother, Elizabeth, and your father, Charles, are
L: They are my parents. Right.
C: And then later did he marry your mother?
L: No, he did not. That is why I say my sister and I were born
out of wedlock.
C: But your mother gave him his name.
L: That is right.
C: So you did not live together as a family? Charles Lundy did
not live with your mother?
L: No, he did not.
C: Well, what was the family that you grew up in?
L: I grew up with my daddy's brother and his wife. They raised
my sister and their [own] children.
C: So your mother let them take you in?
L: That is right.
C: Was that because she was so young?
L: Yes, I guess so. She was really about thirteen years old.
C: So who were the parents? What were their names?
L: W Lundy and C. E. Lundy. They were barristers.
C: And they were your aunt and uncle, your father's brother and
C: Where did they live?
L: They lived in Mount Nebo.
C: Was that a farm?
C: So you started out there at their place.
L: Well, she had to do it. This was my grandmother and my
grandfather. See, my grandmother raised me until I was
about fourteen years old. I am ahead of myself in the
story. My mother gave me to my grandmother when she was
Pinky Elizabeth Johnson?
C: Pinky Elizabeth Johnson was your grandmother?
L: She was my grandmother. Right.
C: Your mother gave you to her.
C: How long did you stay with her?
L: I stayed with her until she died. I was fourteen years old
when she died.
C: Where did she live?
L: She lived in Mount Nebo.
C: Well, did she live on a farm?
C: Was your grandfather there with her?
C: What was his name?
L: Tobias Johnson.
C: Do you know their birthdays, your grandparents?
L: No, not really. My grandfather died in 1921, so you can
figure it out. I think he was seventy-two when he died, or
C: How about your grandmother?
L: She died in 1928.
C: How old was she?
L: My grandmother was seventy-nine.
C: So your first memories are on the Johnson place, your
C: They had a farm?
L: No. My grandfather worked on a farm. My grandmother really
was a housewife. She did not work on a farm.
C: Whose farm did you work on?
L: Minnie Shaw.
C: And did he live on the Shaw place?
L: That is right. We lived on the Shaws' place.
C: And that is Connie Shaw's husband. Is that right?
C: What is your earliest memory of that place?
L: My earliest remembrance of that place where I really knew
where I was, I was about six years old.
C: And what were you doing when you knew where you were?
L: Running up and down the dirt road playing.
C: What kind of game were you playing?
L: This was with my sister. We would play ring play together.
My grandmother had some washtubs. They washed outdoors.
They had a wash place outdoors, and she would discard some
old tubs that were rusted out. My sister and myself would
get in those. Both of us were small enough that both of us
could get in the same tub, and we rocked the tub back and
forth. That was our way of riding a horse. Then we would
play ring plays together until, I guess, I must have been
eleven years old. My mother came and got my older sister
and took her away from me. That left just me with my
grandmother and grandfather.
C: Do you remember your mother's coming?
L: Yes, I do.
C: What was that like?
L: My mother came and got my oldest sister in 1919. That left
me with my grandmother.
C: Why did she come and get your sister?
L: Because she said it was too much pressure on my grandmother.
C: Did you want to go too?
L: I wanted to go too, but she would not take me.
C: Did your mother have another family to run?
L: No, there was nobody but herself.
C: So she had to support your sister then.
L: Right. She took my sister to Clearwater, Florida. She was
cooking for a family in Clearwater, Florida, and she took my
sister with her. So there was nobody besides my grandfather
and grandmother but me. From there she took my sister with
her to North Carolina--Asheville and Hendersonville, North
Carolina. She went up there during the summer to cook for a
family that was living down in Florida.
C: And then she finally married this man from Indianapolis. Is
L: Right. Now, she sent Sister back home, and then she went to
Kentucky. This man was a Kentuckian. She went and brought
Sister back home and left her with my grandmother and with
my aunt and my mother's sister and her husband. She went to
Kentucky and she married this man. They moved from there to
C: Who did you have for a playmate after your sister went away?
L: I did not have anybody but myself.
C: So what did you do then?
L: I played around. My grandmother took me halfway to school,
and I went the rest of the way by myself, which was at Nebo.
C: There was a school at Nebo?
L: It was still in Nebo.
C: What was the school called?
L: It was called Mount Nebo Elementary School, as far as I can
C: How many grades did it have there?
L: They went through the sixth grade.
C: Did you go through the sixth grade there?
L: No, I did not. After I think I passed the fourth or fifth
grade, then my mother came and got me and Sister again and
took us to Clearwater with her. There we stayed until we
were old enough to come back to Alachua and go to high
school. That is where I graduated from.
C: Well, now, did your sister start in school at Nebo with you?
L: She did.
C: Who were some of your teachers there? Do you remember your
L: Yes, I do. It just came to me. MANNY HUGHES.
C: What was she like?
L: She was a good teacher. We were in a two-classroom
[schoolhouse], and she was the principal. She had an
assistant principal, and he was a man. MOSELEY; we called
him Professor MOSELEY.
C: And he was her assistant?
C: What did he do?
L: He taught the lower grades, which we called back then
C: Is that where they teach you to read?
L: That is where they first teach you to read on the chart. We
start with the chart. You were home, and when you first
went to school you were called "on the chart." [laughter]
C: Is that the ABCs?
L: That is the ABCs. Then you went from the ABCs to the first
book, which was the primer.
C: Do you remember your impression of the ABCs when you first
had to look at them?
L: Well, I did not think too much about it. I guess I learnt
something about it when they taught me, when they had you on
the chart which they called the ABCs. I guess I gained
something from that. Then after you learnt your ABCs, then
they promoted you to primer.
C: What was the primer like?
L: Learning to read.
C: What were the stories about?
L: "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush," "Little Sally Walker
sitting' in the saucer."
C: What is the rest of that?
L: "She is in mourning for some young man."
C: What kind of a game did you play when you said that rhyme.
L: We played ring play.
C: There were people get in a ring and hold hands?
L: You get in a ring and play ring plays. Oh, if my memory
serves me, we had a plays that you called hide and go seek.
You would hide, and we had a place where we would box
ourself in, and we would play hide and go seek. The other
guy, which would be the master of the hide and go seek, and
we would hide, and he would be looking for us. We would
beat him back to the bench where we first started. Then we
won. That is what it was like.
C: That is how i remember it.
L: Which was very exciting for us in those years because that
is about all we had to do.
C: Who do you remember playing with?
L: Sally Hall was one of my classmates. Elmo Hall, and the
Dobie girls, ELVINA JULIE, and she had a sister named
ESSEMAE Dobie. And the Hayeses--Alphonsa Hayes, Stephanie,
and they had a sister named Lenore Hayes. And Sara.
ESSIMEE Sams was Sam's girl, and her brother. What was his
name? WILLY SAMS. Those were some of our playmates in
C: Did you have a girlfriend when you were young?
L: Yes, I did. Called myself every little thing. [laughter]
Oh, Lordy. MELVINA Hayes, which was one of the Hayes
brothers' sister, was my girlfriend.
C: What made her your girlfriend?
L: Well, because we would get our lesson together, and we would
play together more so than would the other children. We
would play together.
C: Was she your age?
L: She was right at my age. We were the same age.
C: What has become of her?
L: After she grew up she left her parents. She left alone and
went to Savannah, Georgia, and that is where she has been
ever since. She went to Savannah, Georgia, and she married
there. She has been there ever since. I see her
occasionally. I have not seen her now in about seven or
C: That is nice to know. When I say Nebo School to you, what
is the first thing that comes to your mind? What do you
remember most about it?
L: The most [important] thing that I remember about the school
in Nebo, [from] which we were three miles away, [was] I did
not like it. [laughter]
C: Why was that?
L: The first thing about it [was] they would have a hard time
getting me to school because I was afraid of rain. If it
rained, they had to pick me and take me to school.
C: Why? Were you afraid you would melt?
L: No, I just was afraid of bad weather. If I was home and it
started raining or thunder and lightening, I would be in the
house with my grandmother someplace. And if it start
lightening, then I would go up under the bed until it was
C: Did you ever see lightning hit anything?
L: No. But I just was afraid of lightning. And afraid of
C: So they had to force when it rained.
C: Did you ever get caught in a bad rain?
L: Yes, I did, several times. This was my sister and myself.
If we left [home] and it was just sprinkling and get half
way to school and it start raining real hard, I would turn
around and go back home, and she was not able to catch me.
C: How many children were there at Nebo school?
L: Oh, approximately a hundred.
C: That is a pretty big school.
L: It is pretty good. It was two classrooms.
C: Did the principal teach one of the classes and the assistant
taught the other one?
L: Right. Our first teacher, which was the principal, was
MATTIE HURST. She was the first that I can remember. She
was the principal. Then she had a man which was the
assistant to her, MOSELEY. I think you got his name. She
was the first teacher.
C: What was the school you went to in Clearwater?
L: I went to an elementary school.
C: That was for two years?
L: That was for two years.
C: Was it different there?
L: It was quite different. In other words, we were out of the
city limits into what you call a rural area, and in those
years we only had one teacher.
C: In Clearwater.
L: Right in Clearwater, which we were out of the city limits in
a rural school way out of town. Things had not grown like
they are now. We were out here in what they would call a
subdivision now. If you go there now, all that would be in
this area. We lived in an orange grove.
C: Did you eat the oranges?
L: Yes, we did. We lived in an orange grove way out of
Clearwater about three miles in a little town which was next
to Clearwater called Largo, Florida.
C: How did you get around for transportation?
L: We did not have any transportation. We walked wherever we
wanted. When I had to go to town--my grandmother was still
living then--[I rode a bicycle my grandmother gave me]. I
was about eleven years old then, and she bought me a
bicycle. I was riding to the town, which was about three
miles away; they called it WABASSO.
C: Was that where you learned to ride a bicycle, in WABASSO?
L: Yes, that is right.
C: I bet you were delighted with your bicycle.
L: I really was delighted. I had some friends that were a
little older than I am, and they taught me how to ride it.
But before I got a bicycle, my grandmother was still living,
and she was taking care of us while my mother worked. These
other boys had a bicycle, and I did not have one. I would
run behind them and want to ride their bicycles. My
grandmother refused to let me go. But sometime I would slip
off, and when I did I would have to pay for it.
C: How did you pay for it?
L: In a spanking. [laughter]
C: Who did the spanking?
L: My grandmother!
C: What kind of spanking did your grandmother give?
L: She would get a belt and whip me.
C: So you remember that.
L: Yes, I remember that. So she found out that did not do so
well, so they finally bought me a bicycle that I could ride
with the other boys.
C: Now, was this your mother's mother?
C: What was her name?
L: PINKY Elizabeth Johnson.
C: She is the one that you wound up living with. Is that
L: Right. She died when I was fourteen years old. She died
after we came back to Nebo when I was fourteen. I lived
there with my grandmother and my uncle and my aunt. My
grandmother still had charge over me until she died. When
she died I was fourteen years old.
C: What was that like, when you lost her?
L: Oh, I liked to [have] died. I wanted to go too.
C: Oh, my.
L: I really did. I am serious. I said, "I ain't got nobody
else in the world but my grandmother," and I tried my best
C: How hard did you try?
L: I cried day and night. Me and my sister both cried day and
C: How did you get over it?
L: Well, they finally coaxed me by telling me that she had to
go. "Maybe you are going to have to go, too." That kind of
calmed me down a little bit, but it still bothered me for
two or three months before I could get over it.
C: Is her grave at Nebo?
C: We are doing your sister some consolation for each other?
L: Yes, we were great consolation for each other. I was
fourteen when she died, and my sister was sixteen. We went
together to school together, and we were almost like husband
and wife. We just loved each other. We have stuck
C: And then after your grandmother died, your mother had gone
L: When my grandmother died, my mother was still in Clearwater.
Then after she died my mother left and went to Kentucky--
that is where she married this guy from Kentucky--and they
moved to Indiana. The sad part about it--you are going to
tape it anyway.
C: Do you want me to turn the tape off?
L: Well, not really.
C: OK. It is up to you.
L: But the sad part about it [is] after they had been together
about twenty-five years, they got [into a big fight]. She
had a nice home in Indiana. After about between twenty-five
and twenty-seven years they got into a big argument, and he
fought her. I was in the army at that time when they had
the big fight. She wrote me a letter and told me about how
he had jumped on her and they had a big fight and he beat
her up. So I was in Spokane, Washington; I was in Fort
Lewis, Washington. [FORT LEWIS IS JUST SOUTHWEST OF TACOMA,
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STATE. PLEASE VERIFY.] I was in
the army. So I got a leave from the army, got on a train,
and went to Indianapolis, Indiana, where my mother and
stepfather were living. I talked with him, and I told him
about my mother. He said, "Well, I am not going to put my
hand on her anymore." I said: "Well, if you do, I am going
to see you. If you ever put your hand on my mother again, I
am going to come and see you." So I called my sister and
told [TAPE RUNS OUT. WHAT DID YOU TELL HER ?]