Write Again…Memories of the Outer Banks

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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Our little family lived on the Outer Banks for a number of years.

More specifically, in Manteo, on Roanoke Island.

Let me ask my Incomparable First Wife to share a few memories of those times with you:

In 1967 we moved to Manteo. Bartow was hired to be a teacher and football coach at Manteo High School. I was expecting our first baby, Sarah. Our address was on Little Street which is now Wingina Ave. where Manteo High School is located.

We rented a part of a house from Dr. Zittle. The Zittles had a small apartment attached to their big house. He was a biology professor in Pennsylvania. His interest was in growing all kinds of plants. Their front and back yards were full of plants and bushes. So many that you couldn’t really walk in the yard.

Our moving day was in June of 1967. My mother, grandmother (MaMa) and cousin Pam went along to help us move in. MaMa was quite taken with Dr. Zittle’s yard. She decided to make an arrangement for the fireplace. The long stems with the unusual looking leaves were really different.

Dr. and Mrs. Zittle visited Manteo that summer after college was out in June. Dr. Zittle one day asked me if I knew what had happened to a bush he had in the yard. I asked him what kind of bush was it? Maybe I could have identified it. He said it was a eucalyptus bush. Not knowing what that was I said no I hadn’t seen it. He described it and the way the leaves were formed. It still didn’t register with me until I went into the house. Lo and behold there it was. MaMa’s arrangement in the fireplace of the missing eucalyptus! I made sure that arrangement disappeared quickly.

While living on Wingina we met to lovely sisters, Mrs. Biggs and Mrs. King. Those two ladies included me in jam making and helping teach me how to cook seafood.

One evening after football practice a young fella named Timmy came by with a gift for the coach. The gift was a huge lobster! I had no pot or bucket large enough to hold it. Timmy and I decided the best place to put it was in the sink. No sooner had Timmy left then that lobster crawled out of the sink and onto the floor. Its claws were not banded like you see them today in restaurant tanks. He followed me around with his claws trying to grab me. I got the broom and managed to put him in a corner. I called Mrs. Biggs for help. My plan I told her was to knock him in the head and bury him before Bartow got home.


She immediately said “NO! I’ll be right over.” She came into the house with the largest pot I had ever seen. My first lesson in cooking a lobster happened that night. When Bartow came home from practice, we had a fine feast of lobster dipped in butter. What a treat that was!

Often years later people would bring brought us lobsters and all kinds of seafood fresh off the boats. I had a large pot by then and was ready.

On July 8, 1984 Manteo hosted the North Carolina’s observance of America’s 400th Anniversary commissioning of the Elizabeth II. The Elizabeth II was a replica of a 16th-century sailing vessel built and berthed at the village of Manteo. A piece that ran on July 8, 1984 in the Washington Post stated in depth the history of the first landing by English settlers in the New World on July 13, 1584.

And we were there, our little family. Well, not there for that first attempt at establishing a colony! I mean, we were there during all those events that took place. Governor Jim Hunt, Princess Anne, Walter Cronkite, along with other dignities enjoyed the celebration. That was a special time of remembering.

Thanks for letting me share some of our memories of the past 57 years.

We hope you’ll meet us here next week.