The Diary of Sue Austin








COMMUNITY LIFE - Marsh Causeway

COMMUNITY LIFE - 1933 Hurricane


COMMUNITY LIFE - Socialization


Commemorative postcard of the Creeds High School Class of 1932. Click the image to expand.

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The Class Prophecy


Knots Island Diary

by Sue Fentress Austin


I had spent the day in study wondering from whence I was to gain that all-important information – the future of the Class of 1932. Finally I seized a book and retreated to the swing on the porch. The day was ideal, warm breezes gently swayed the branches to and fro. With the exception of a chirp now and then from some bird everything was calm and quiet, so quiet that I soon felt myself getting drowsy. I fell asleep and began to dream. I dreamed that I saw standing before me a messenger who bade me follow him to the mansion of Osiris. Eagerly, I trailed him to find myself before a beautiful carved door, which sprang open at my touch. Sitting in a far corner of the room lined with huge volumes was the prophet Osiris who wished to know if he could help me. Quickly I told him that I wanted to know the future of my classmates. He took from the shelf nearest him a large blue book with "The Future of the Class of 1932 " engraved on it in golden letters. He told me to read.

With great anxiety I opened the book and turned the leaves. The first name to catch my eye was the president of our class ALVAH WATERFIELD. Wondering what the future held for him, who had so nobly served our class during the Senior year, I read the page. I remembered that Alvah in High School desired to be a railway mail clerk. Now he had been chosen President of the Great United Railway.

The next page was a picture of a beautful home with rose bushes, vines and shrubs on the lawn. I wondered who could be the owner. Of course, my curiosity got the best of me. I scanned the pages to find the answer which gave me a terrific shock for it said that the owner was Mr. & Mrs. RODNEY LANE. And let me add that Mrs. Was Miss FRANCES NOSAY.

On the next pages I read how ALVAH JONES as promoter and sole owner of a chain of gasoline filling stations had become one of the greatest financiers in the Oil Industry. Every station along the Atlantic was owned and controlled by Alvah. The name Alvah L. Jones in large lighted-letters was everywhere evident.

Eagerly I turned the leaves to read that an attractive young lady had won first prize with her painting in an art exhibit in Chicago. Surely you can guess who this was MARY RUTH WHITE, the talented member of our class.

As I turned the next pages I was amazed for lo and behold Miss LILLIAN ETHERIDGE’S name stood out more than all the rest. My eyes ran over the page as quick as lightening but it was a surprise I just couldn’t take it all in at one glance. After reading it several times I found out that she had been teaching in one of the largest high schools in the State of Virginia and at last had become princpal.

I read farther and found that an-up-to-date beauty culture school had been opened in Norfolk. Many pupils were enrolling for a special course in The Art of Applying Make-up, which would be taught by the experienced and capable Culturists, Misses MILDRED DOXEY and BESSIE EVERTON.

As I turned the next leaf, I read of this rich lady of New York winning a most unusual lawsuit. The facts of the case were quite entertaining but the exciting and thrilling part was that the capable lawyer she had employed was none other than my old classmate MELFORD GRIMSTEAD. The article summarized the various successes that Attorney Grimstead had made in his law career. It also hinted that his name was being seriously considered for filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court of N. Y. State.

On the next page I found a most attractive picture of a modern, up to date library. The reading material related how this had been transformed from a rundown, dilapidated library to the present one, and that change had been due to the efficient capable librarian, Miss RHETTA NEWMAN. The article stated that all interested in becoming a Librarian should refer to Miss Newman, as she was authority on the subject of library work.

I was anxious to know what NITA BRUMLEY was doing so I turned the pages until I discovered her name. There I found that she entered the noble vocation of house keeping in a lonely secluded spot on Knotts Island. Nita believes that everyone should have an avocation as well as a vocation so she willingly and happily became the partner with a prominent specialist in duck raising. She is extremely happy in business partnership as well as social partnership.

The next page gave me the future of one who was the teacher of home economics - who could be - ah! Yes, GRACE WILLIAMS She was making quite a success of her chosen profession in a large city high school. Gossip rumored that she was soon to have the chance of putting into practice that which she had been teaching.

As I read the next page I was quite astonished to find that WALTER MUNDEN after crossing the sea of matrimony, had become quite settled and had lost all of his former desires to flirt and wink at girls. Instead I find him sedately riding the roads of Princess Anne County telling the people how to raise pigs and chickens.

My eyes roamed the various pages until I sighted the name MILDRED LANE and what do you suppose I found her doing? She is teaching typing at the Norfolk Business College, and is making quite a success. I was not surprised to discover this, as I remembered that in High School days, Mildred was eager to do clerical work.

Being anxious to discover what our friend Miss VERA MUNDEN was doing I thumbed the pages until I found artistic sketches of a sun parlor, breakfast nook and a living room. Beneath each sketch was painted the following: These designs submitted to the “Home Beautiful" by the noted Interior Decorator “Mrs. W. B. Munden". In fine print was written Mrs. Munden the former Miss Vera Munden has not allowed domestic duties to interfere with her great artistic ability.

The next page was about music. As I don’t know much about music I didn’t know whether to read it or not, but after debating several minutes I decided I would. And it told about Mrs. Jones, or Miss RUBY HALSTEAD teaching music to HAROLD JR. and Peggy Anne.

It is noted that ADELL BRUMLEY is not mentioned in the Class Prophecy as she was the authoress. Note too it is presented complete, with its numerous grammatical errors.

Now for some "faded" glimpses back into the past about our 1932 graduates. These remembrances came from some of the surviving class members.

MEDFORD GRIMSTEAD Drove Knotts Island bus to Creeds, paid to drive and kids respected him, only child, got what he needed, very serious.

WALTER MUNDEN All Vera’ s, flirt, jokey, funny, good boy, nice and good as he could be, jolly

RODNEY LANE Cuddy old bear, slow, got along with others, finished everyone’s gum, find it lying on any desk

FRANCES NOSAY Nice, particular, neat work, caring, quiet, wanted to be good, serious, likeable

ALVAH JONES Alvah Jones Afllicted, pleasant, liked Nita, would bring Nita candy bar to School, put it way in back of Nita’s seat, she would find the piece of candy and didn’t know who was doing it, he kind of watched her, went on for a long time, Nita began to expect the candy. A next door neighbor, studied together, his little sister Mary Elizabeth was a happy child

VERA MUNDEN Sweet, liked Walter, happy, cheerfull, friendly, loved her, attended college

NITA BRUMLEY Inseparable with sister, Adell, loved her, adored Miss Bracey & Louise Luxford, both teachers at Creeds, detested English Lit, attended college

ADELL BRUMLEY Most quiet, loved her, she loved gum, good with English Lit, attended college

MILDRED LANE Friends with Nita, one of the math whizzes, loved competing with the boys in math, loved her, busy

GRACE WILLIAMS Pleasant, cheerful, had boyfriends, was adopted, got what she wanted, straight forward, spoke her thoughts, smart, she was a Waterfield, hard life at first, game warden shot through the marsh and killed her father and brother, attended college, became teacher

RUBY HALSTEAD Played sax, at lunchtime kids would go to her father’s store and purchase frozen Milky Way candy, really good friend, got what she wanted, attractive, good worker, dated Alvah Wateriield, good friend of Nita’s, fun, remembers getting an apple from Ruby’s father’s store at Creeds and eating it on the way to Ruby’s house to spend the night, smartest in class, nice clothes, attended college

ALVAH WATERFIELD Clown, fun, would imitate Amos & Andy and make all laugh, kidding, funny faces, thought the world of him

MARY RUTH WHITE Played piano in "band", guard in basketball, she was her daddy’s special little girl, artistic, hung out with Rhetta, great friend, graduated at 16, father on School Board in 20s

RHETTA NEWMAN Best friend, pretty, mother paralyzed, good friend with Mary Ruth

HAROLD JONES Called "Jonsie”, pleasant, good boy, cut-up some, caring

BESSIE EVERTON Nice, very poor, cordial, quiet, short, blonde

Lillian Etheridge was a classmate as mentioned in the Prophecy, but for some reason was not present Commencement Night.

The ’32 graduates attended a school that sported an orchestra. Pupils would line up at the door of the auditorium and march inside. There was a violin, some type of guitar, piano, sax and maybe a few other musical instruments. Lessons cost about 50 cents and were conducted during the school day.

The pickup point for one Knotts Island girl was in the school yard. The dust at this stop was so terrible that it would flood the interior of the bus, making breathing a chore.

Mary Ruth was the Giftorian at Graduation. She gave out little gifts, which cost l0 cents apiece, to all graduates. Mary Ruth made each purchase herself.

Lunchtime was outside and usually the kids ate off car bumpers. Mostly there were home-made sandwiches such as scrambled egg with cheese or just hard boiled eggs to eat. The luckier children had allowances and could make purchases at nearby stores. Candy, Coca-Cola to drink and ice cream were favorites!! Even loaf bread was available at both stores.

The outside toilets were near the boy’s ball field. The girls’ was first, a two-holer, and the boys’, a few feet further. All the girls would go in a bunch because they didn’t want the boys to know who was going.

There was a Literary Society but many students did not participate because they were too shy or scared to stand up and talk about the most recent book they had read.

School probably "called in” at 9 o’clock and “turned out" at 3.

Doctor Nicholson gave all the girl graduates a thimble. ln today’s world, a 17 year old wouldn’t even know what a thimble was, let alone how to use it!!

It might be noted that few young ladies left Knotts Island to further their education beyond the 11th grade. It meant living away from parents and siblings and often cost the parents boarding costs. Many simply could not afford to send their children away. Some girls over the years prior to the 1930s did however: Pauline (White) Munden and Edith (White) Waterfield boarded in a home in Poplar Branch. Mamie (Waterfield) Harris also left the Island. Belle (Simpson) Cullipher stayed at Oceana with a relative.

Classmate Ruby Halstead liked Lester Waterfield from Knotts Island. Lester was blind and unable to attend school as his friends did. He was always part of the "crowd" and was very well-liked. He was very intelligent and did not seek or even appreciate anyone’s help. Lester and Alvah Waterfield, both, liked Ruby. Adell’s diary mentions this event: Minnie didn’t want Adell to go out riding with her special fellow, Bill Fentress, alone and made Nita go along. Bill was taking Lester over to visit with Ruby. This irritated Bill to begin with that Adell always had to have a companion ride along. But on one occasion, when leaving Ruby’s house, Lester stumbled going down the steps. Bill grabbed Lester’s arm and they both went down! Lester was furious and cussed his old buddy out. All poor Bill could say was, "Lester, you were about to fall and I was just trying to help." Nita and Adell acted like the typical teens that they were .... nearly died laughing!


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