Editor’s note: Another West Volusian has been inspired by our Native Reflections column to share memories of growing up here. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY LEWIS CLARK LONG III
I have been reading and enjoying Bill Mancinik’s stories about growing up here in West Volusia, which have brought back many memories of those times, especially the stories about hunting, fishing and being outdoors.
We have a framed photo hanging on the wall by our computer of my dad, Lewis Long Jr., and uncle, Maynard Bond Long, out in the nearby woods hunting. Another photo shows me, circa 1944, by Dad’s speedboat out on Lake Winnemissett, where he used to engage in boat racing. I think John Duke Ward was his closest competitor in those races.
After reading Sally Landis Bohon’s contribution, which mentioned many people I knew, I decided to share a few memories, as well. For newcomers reading these articles today, it might seem as if these goings-on took place in some faraway land. On the other hand, what things were like even 20 years ago may seem far removed from what things are like today.
My dad, who was a general contractor and built some of the first post-World War II houses in the area, died the day before my eighth birthday in an automobile accident.
Of all the many birthday presents I received the day after Dad’s death, I especially remember getting my first pocketknife from Bill Slaughter, our local constable who, along with Mrs. Slaughter and son Richard, as I recall, used to take us School Patrol Boys camping up to Silver Glen for the weekend.
School Patrol Boys were the ones who used to do what school crossing guards do today. Richard Slaughter later became chief of police for the City of DeLand.
My brother, Raymond, and sister, Margaret, were younger than me, so I felt early on that it was up to me to recall and pass along the stories I especially relished, along with the fond memories of going out into the woods with Dad and friends, and taking along with us our bird dogs Brock, Betsy and Butch for hunting quail.
Boy, were the quail scrumptious to eat, especially since they dined from nature’s gardens.
Since Dad also raised bird dogs, we made frequent trips to our local veterinarian, Dr. Frank Stoudenmire.
A few of the many friends and hunting and fishing pals of Dad’s that I remember were Erston Royal, Tom Flowers, B.M. Johnson, L.L. “Linc” Jacobs, Bill Slaughter, Walter Nordman, Tommy Viers and “Frog,” an African American gentleman.
I still have the book Pistol and Revolver Shooting that Othel Mills gave my dad shortly after Dad got back home from World War II.
These friends and many others from all over the world always seemed to congregate at Tom and Eva Flowers’ home on Lake Beresford, and Eva always had plenty of good food, including biscuits, for everyone.
As Lake Helen’s Mayor Erston Royal used to say, “We had plenty to eat, and we had each other,” in good times or bad.
Other vivid memories are camping overnight with friends, including the family of my first girlfriend, on Coronado Beach (which is now a part of New Smyrna Beach), and we took our dogs along with us.
On other beach trips, we stayed at Allen Cottage, across from the cottage my grandparents Minerva and L.C. Long Sr. owned before the Depression. It was next to the Proctor family’s new cottage, and not too far from the Tatums’ new cottage.
We sometimes stayed at the old Coronado Beach Hotel owned by Mary Stewart Howarth, the first woman graduate from the Stetson University School of Law, who later taught constitutional law at Stetson.
A rather legendary Russian couple, Nick and Ala, who had escaped with their lives from the Bolsheviks in 1917, lived in a nearby cottage at Coronado Beach, and one could tell the time by Nick’s daily walk on the beach.
On Christmas Day in 1953, Nick and Ala gave a member of my family a beautiful present with a card and a note stating, “This stone from Ural Mountains of Russia, called ‘Ordalix,’ was given to me by George Gabrichevsky as a sign of friendship.” (The word “ordilic” means a test of innocence.)
The note, signed by Ala Mazurova, continued, “Stones are more lasting than people, so they can symbolize more than one human affection. As I am passing it to you with a new message of friendship, I’ll keep the feeling it once conveyed.”
Just like the stone, memories last and convey lasting feelings of people and places long gone.
I enjoy reading the stories of these people and places and hope more people will share their stories in The Beacon of what life was like here more than a half-century ago.
— Long, born at the old DeLand Memorial Hospital on Stone Street, lives in Lake Helen with his wife, Caryn. His father was born in the house next door to their Lake Helen home, and was delivered by Dr. Baerecke, the first woman physician in the area. His grandmother Minerva Bond Long was born in DeLand. His great-grandfather M.M. Bond spent most of his life in Lake Helen, and his great-great-grandfather E.W. Bond arrived there in 1880-81.