Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Heritage from the Heart - June 2010 Ode to Dad

Ode to Dad

I’m a Daddy’s Girl

Ever since I can remember I have been a Daddy’s girl.  As a little girl growing up in Tropic Terrace, I remember most every night, my Dad would lay on the floor in front of the TV, a couple of big pillows propped against the coffee table (which I believe we still have the table plus the couch in storage) and I would snuggle up under his arm, laying my head on his chest for a full night of TV watching.  My favorite night of all was Sundays…at 7 o’clock … Wonderful World of Color (I think “Color” changed to” Disney” later) Sunday night Disney movie (lasted an hour and started at 7 p.m.  (I think it started out on ABC and then went to NBC for some reason).   We only really had 3 main stations then, ABC, NBC, CBS…later came cable on 44.  Anyway, I had to be ready and in position before Tinker Bell got the show started (anybody who is around the age of 50 knows exactly what I mean)… man those were the days…I bet I am not the only one that thinks that way…

Another strong memory I have of Dad and Lou times was Dance class night from Miss Marion School of Dance.  At that time, Miss Marion’s studio was in the back corner of Sun Plaza downtown on Hwy 19, where 3 Sisters Antiques is today (with the Wash House Laundromat  next door)  Mom had a conflict that night, so Dad was in charge of picking me up on dance night.  Dance night was steak and french fries night too. He would let me bring a friend home from dance and we would swim while he grilled. Great memories…

As I grew up, I always took for granted the safe secure feeling I had.  I was never scared or worried about anything…dad always took care of everything.  Even something as silly as locking the house every night before we went to bed…remembering back…I always remember Dad walking around the house locking up…even still today he does the same routine.  Is that odd?…I guess not… just made me feel safe.

Dealing with friends…there were many occasions,  Christi Allen, best bud and next door neighbor then and now, would come over to spend the night…most of those  nights, dad would have to walk Christi home, in the middle of the night, because she decided it was time to go home…ha-ha… he was so good about that. Ha-ha..sorry Chris…just had to share   Blessings…

Getting older, I decided to go to school at Citrus High School, my Sophomore & Senior year (transferring back to Crystal River in between).  Dad would take me back and forth my Sophomore year because he was the Property Appraiser for Citrus Count and his office was located in the Inverness Courthouse, so it worked out perfectly.  It was at that time I took up his favorite sport, tennis.  Dad played most anything and played it well.  He was the club champion, from what I recall, at Inverness Golf and Country Club. I also became great friends with Brenda Bellamy Blitch when I went to Citrus (better known as Bean to our family).  She was also a great tennis player. I improved but not as good as Bean!  He encouraged me to take lessons and practice, practice, practice.  He was always proud of me, win or lose.

As we grew up, my Dad always insisted on singing the prayer before at our Holiday family gatherings …

Be present at our table Lord
Be here and everywhere adored
These creatures bless and grant that we
May feast in paradise with Thee….Amennnnnnn…..
My brother Huey always sings most the prayer off key….not sure if he can carry a tune or not because he is always silly during that prayer…ha-ha.  If any of the Tolle/Fitzpatrick family reads this, they know exactly what I am talking about…ha-ha…sorry Hugh…but you know it’s true…ha-ha

Dad did just about everything imaginable….from the professional side to the creative side.  Being the County Property Appraiser, Bank President, Real Estate Broker & owner, Builder, developer, sang at weddings & funerals, sang in choirs & solo at church, served on Crystal River City Council to the peanut cookie baker, bread maker, re -caining antique chair seats, refinishing antique pieces …and the list goes on and on…but most of all he was just my Dad…my hero …the greatest man I know…I love you Dad!  Your pixie…Lou

Heritage Village Happenings - September 2010


I don’t know about you, but just last week, as my husband and I sipped our morning cups of coffee, overlooking our beautiful Kings Bay and then again on my late afternoon walks with my dog, down to the 3rd street peer … I started feelin’that feelin’…some of you know exactly what I am talking about…a slight breeze…and the heat is just not so hot… that’s right… fall is teasing us and ohhhh does it feel good!  For many years I have been a part of entertaining our community with events in the heart of Historic Downtown Crystal River, but I must say the Fall events are my favorites!   Being 5th generation, from a family that lives and breathes community involvement, my passion has been entertaining the family in a wholesome environment.   I love surrounding  myself with creative minds, that have a love for Details.  That is why I am where I am today, Project Co-ordinator and Developer of Heritage Village, surrounded by wonderful creative business owners that feel the same way I do.  So mark your calendars and join us for the following upcoming events for September. SuGaBug  play dates go Around the World on Tuesdays(a cultural experience for mom & tots) Market Day with Art,  Saturday, September 11th   (Produce, Plants, Artistic Talent are invited to participate).   Trash N Treasure on Heritage House Grounds, Saturday September 18th  8 a.m. till Noon (treasures new and old);  “Let’s Talk Turkey” (canned food drive for local food banks) starting September 11th thru November 13th and Breast Cancer Awareness Event is September 30th, sponsored by The Cotton Club and Café on the Avenue.  Coming in October…The 23rd Annual Scarecrow Fest  on Oct 23 rd … details next month.  If you would like more information about events and/or Cottage rentals,  contact me at 352-564-1400.

Laura Lou Fitzpatrick
Project Co-ordinator & Developer
The Shoppes of Heritage Village

My Heritage from the Heart - October 2010

Beulah Katherine (Kay) Barco Tolle turns 85

My Mom & Dad
Mom blowing out her candles
On Saturday, September 18th2010, my mom turned 85 years old.  Mom is aging beautifully and is as spry as she was at 50.  We planned a Tailgating theme Birthday Party at Huey & Kathy’s House to watch her favorite team, The Florida Gators, play football.  Mom went out and bought matching Gator shirts, for she and dad to wear for this festive occasion.  The family brought tailgating themed foods and Birthday Cake to celebrate!  I can only hope I am half the amazing woman she is as I grow older!  I love you mom!

Grammer (mom) with her youngest Granddaughter Elisha & great-granddaughter Lilly, all sporting the Gator attire!

My Heritage from the Heart - September 2010

reprint coming soon. sorry

My Heritage from the Heart - August 2010

I am Laura Lou Tolle Fitzpatrick and I have been invited to write a monthly column about Heritage Village Happenings. My family created Heritage Village over 30 years ago, starting with the Heritage House. The Heritage House is the birth place of my grandmother, Edna Eubanks Barco, and built in the 1800's. My grandmothers sister, Ada B and husband Harvey Edwards lived there for many  years of their marriage, after the girls grew up. Aunt B was well know in our community for teaching piano and voice in the Heritage House. To keep their memory and heritage alive, we chose to create Heritage Village with the estate they left our family.  Today, the Heritage Village District houses over 15 unique specialty shops on North Citrus Avenue. I would discribe us as an Artsy group that has an eye for detail. The Village people not only offer unique treasures and experiences but also events that make a lasting memory.

Some of the events we are known for are: The 24th Annual Scarecrow Fest, Trash N Treasure, Let's Talk Turkey, Save the Ta Ta's, Let it Snow, "Egg"stravaganza, Red, White and Blueberry Day/ Patriotic Parade on Wheels, Football Fun Day, Back to School "Kick Off", Friday Night Lights, Market Day with Art, All About Me, Playdates at SuGaBug Kids, and the list keeps growing…

The Events to look for in August are Friday Night Lights, Aug. 13th, Classic Rock DJ/Tom Zapp will fill the air with outdoor music, while shoppes stay open till 7 p.m..  Market Day with Art will be from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 14th. This event is looking for local farmers, artists, and crafters.  Thursday, August 26th is "All About Me".  The Cotton Club and is joined by other shoppes that have speakers to educate those who have an interest in health and beauty! Dr. Richard Castellano, Plastic Surgeon, is the featured speaker for Cotton Club.

If you would like to know more of the "details" about "What's Happening on the Avenue", send your e-mail address to and receive our newsletter.

Laura Lou Tolle Fitzpatrick
Project Coordinator & Developer
The Shoppes of Heritage Village

My Heritage from the Heart - July 2010

My Grandmother… 
better known as MEMA

My “Mema” was born on July 1, 1902. Her birthday was always easy for me to remember…she was on the 1st, my brother, Huey, was the 3rd and of course the 4th of July we will not forget, then Shane, my son, was July 6th… July was a VERY BUSY Birthday month for the Tolle family, when she was alive. As long as I can remember, Mema would never tell her age. Today, of course, I can figure it out…but back then, we really didn’t know the year each elder family member was born, so it was pretty easy for us to just let it go… Every birthday she would tell us she was 39…that was just that… 39 it was!

Mema was a VERY strong and spry woman. She was the rock of the family for many, many years. I was young when my grandfather passed away, so as I grew up, Mema was always involved in our world. She was the younger sister of Ada B. Edwards (my Aunt B), so when I was younger, I remember her coming over from Inverness to stay at the home place (now Heritage House). The long back room was where the dining room was (fireplace on one end), just off the kitchen, was where she slept. Simply a day bed, up against the wall, tucked out of the way…nothing fancy…just somewhere to lay her head. I also remember on Saturday nights, too many to count, we would watch the Lawrence Welk Show at our house, Mema’s or Aunt B and Uncle Harvey’s. Of course being too cool for the tunes from Lawrence Welk, I always thought it was such punishment to have to sit and listen…but honestly, my parents enjoy the reruns today and when I walk into their house with it on, the rush of memories come back…a nice feeling…takes me back … I am sure you know what I mean!

Around elementary age, I remember Mema’s house strongly for lunch. Many of my family worked in the Court House in Inverness, so they all would come to Mema’s for lunch. Man the country cookin’ back in those days was finger lickin’ good! Of course… the only way this was possible (for many years Mema worked at the Court House too) was because they had help in the kitchen and her name was Flossy. Always a large meal… rest a spell, and then back to work they’d go!
As I grew older, Mema loved to take me shopping in Ocala on special occasions. We spent a lot of time at Belk Lindsey on Pine Street, I believe? They had the best shoe department! Haha Two of my MOST favorite stops came at the end…Morrison’s Cafeteria, on Silver Springs Blvd…NOTHING will ever compare to their fried shrimp and tarter sauce (which my hubby got the recipe by googling it and makes it for me on occasion) and then stopping downtown to pick up a Lemon Meringue pie from the Ocala Bakery on the Square, to bring home to the family. That Meringue must have been 4 inches in height…noooo exaggeration…I swear! haha
Baking oatmeal cookies were Mema’s trademark. When she would come to visit our house or Aunt B’s…she would very seldom show up without a tin of her oatmeal cookies for the family. It was a drier cookie made with Quaker oats…not like anything I have tasted today. That reminds me…I am going to hunt for that recipe!

As it was time to finish up high school, I decided to graduate from Citrus High. Making this decision, I decided I wanted to live with Mema in Inverness, my senior year. She was pleased and welcomed the company! I can’t believe I am mentioning food again (no wonder I love food so much…haha) but two of my favorite dishes she would make were Tuna Casserole and…LIVER and ONIONS with mashed potatoes and peas…I know…I was an odd child… what can I say..haha Anyway…it was a great year and wouldn’t of traded it for the world!
During this time, my strongest memory of Mema was at night before she went to bed…I will ALWAYS remember her saying her prayers, not only out load but on her knees at her bed side. Our bedrooms were close and I could hear her praying for each member of the family, every night! She was definitely a Child of God that made a HUGE impression on her granddaughter. Another woman that made a huge impression on me was her next door neighbor, Ruby Kelly. A God fearing, Pentecostal, wife of a preacher man…I remember her faith was so strong! Women of God…no doubt they were.

My parents , in the meantime, built a house on Hunting Lodge Drive, in Inverness, on the Lake. I had left for college, so Mema moved in with my parents. Years later, they all moved back to Crystal River and eventually built the house my parents reside in now. Mema lived with them until she passed away on July 23, 1995. It was rather ironic that Mema passed away at the age of 93, those favorite numbers of hers! I know she is in heaven, watching over us always!

Strolling Down Memory Lane 

In the Citrus County Chronicle
Wednesday, March 28, 1990

Written by Ester Duncan
Chronicle writer

Edna Barco is one of the county’s best known fourth generation natives. Her roots are deep in local history.
A spunky lady who refuses to reveal her age, this daughter of John and Beulah Eubanks was born in one of Crystal River’s most historic homes. The big, rambling dwelling, built almost 100 years ago, is now known as Heritage House and is still part of the family holdings.
Miss Edna spoke of her mother’s parents. “James and Virginia Miller were natives who settle near Crystal River when it was just a crossroads,” she said. “They lived way back in the woods about where the new mall will be located.”
An 1884 list of businesses in Crystal River includes the Miller’s general merchandise store. But the couple was residing there even earlier than that, according to Miss Edna. “Right after the Civil War,” she related, “freed slaves came here looking for work. One of our oldest and best known black families, the Scrivens, arrived then and got along fine with my grandparents. Their children worked for my mother and father, and a granddaughter helped me raise my daughter, Kay. They’re fine folks.”
Mrs. Eubanks and several Millers are listed as founders of one of Crystal River’s earliest churches, the Baptist Church, established in 1904. The Millers donated the original tract of land for the church and a Miller served as the first pastor.
Seated in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Kay Tolle, Miss Edna recalled some of there childhood memories. One of them was the day her father, John Eubanks, went to Brooksville to buy the first car in town and everyone turned out to watch for his return. “I was just a little girl then and was feeling sorry for myself because I had pink eye and had been sent to bed. Miss Edna remembered peeking out the window again and again. Finally she heard the cheers of the crowd and looked out to see a bright red car – a Buick. “My father was at the wheel,” she said. “He didn’t know a thing about a car. They showed him how to start the motor and gave him one driving lesson, then he brought it back himself.” Miss Edna wasn’t sure of the year, but the first automobiles to be registered in Citrus County were in 1912 at a cost of $2 each. Eubanks’ name is listed among the owners.
“Before that they had buggies,” she said, starting to chuckle. “One time I crawled into Dr. Bennett’s buggy and was caught drinking from his bottles of medicine. It didn’t seem to hurt me.”
One of her favorite jaunts was to stop in at her father’s fish house where the spring’s condomiums are located today. Late in the afternoon a launch would return pulling a number of row boats loaded with oysters. “Often there would be singing as the oysters were shucked,” she remembered. “And someone would hand me one of those oysters in the cracked shell. Oh, they were good.”
Summers vacations were especially happy times for a little girl, she said. Her family spent them on Shell Island, an island they owned near the gulf. “I remember how I looked forward to summers.” Miss Edna said. “I’d pack my doll trunk way in advance. The families would stay on the island while the daddies went back and forth to work every day.” The fun she remembered most were the fish fries and oyster roasts. “And when the tide was high we’d go swimming.”
An incident that became a family joke was the time the only cow that was branded as Miss Edna’s wandered onto a track of the Coastline Railroad. Cattle ran free in those days, even through the dusty streets of Crystal River,” Miss Edna explained, saying that the animals were rounded up and separated by brand every fall. “The Coastline paid my daddy for killing the cow and I gave my folks the money to put in electric lights.”
Miss Edna said she didn’t know too much about her father’s people, the Eubanks. “His parents died when he was just a little boy and he was raised by another family. He didn’t have much of an education, but he was good at figures. If you owed him money he knew exactly how much it was five years later.”
She remembered that her mother served meals in the big house the family lived in. “That was customary in those days,” she said. “Hotels and restaurants were scarce in little towns.”
Her mother’s first husband, a Mr. Proctor Willis, died after the couple had built the big house and had a daughter, whom Miss Edna referred to as Ada B. “My half-sister was 15 years older than I” she said. “She used to sew for me and fix my hair, and she was an excellent musician with a beautiful voice.”
Later, Miss Edna traveled to the Carolinas to attend high school because there were no accredited schools in Citrus County at that time and her sister was teaching there.
One Christmas vacation when Miss Edna was home she was invited to a typical gathering of young people. A popular chicken and rice dish was served which everyone called a “purlieu.” “Someone told me who Hugh Barco was,” she remembered, “and that was the first time I met him. The following summer when I came home from school we started going together.” She laughed. “I was a friend of his girl friend and they’d had a squabble. She refused to make up. First thing she knew he was in love with me and we were married the following year.”
Miss Edna said that her husband’s people were old settlers who arrived here prior to 1873. That was the year Nick Barco, her future father-in-law, was appointed Crystal River’s postmaster. He was among those who travelled to Tallahassee to lobby for the division of the Hernando County into Citrus, Pasco
and Hernando. “Folks in this area got tired of traveling sandy trails to Brooksville, then the county seat, “ Miss Edna explained. In 1889, her father-in-law was a pointed to serve as the county’s first treasurer.
Miss Edna’s husband served as mayor of Crystal River two terms in the late 1920’s and early ‘30s. Miss Edna herself worked in the county government service for 38 years. Back in those days when women were expected to stay home and do the ironing she was helping run things as the county assessor’s office. Her husband served as tax assessor from 1945 until his death in 1966, then she finished out his term, staying on to help her son-in-law, Ed Tolle, who was elected to the office and served eight years.
Mrs. Anne May Hensley, who retired in 1988 after 31 years of service as a clerk in the tax assessor’s office, remembers the Barco’s well. “They taught me everything I know,” she said. “They were grand folks to work for.” She recalled some for the early addressograph equipment and the jamming of metal address plates and property descriptions. “Today’s office equipment and that the Barco’s worked with are as different as night and day.”
Mrs. Tolle said of her mother, “I think the reason my mother has stayed so youthful for her age is that she worked with the public so many years. As a result, she’s still very interested in everything that’s going on. She’s always asking my husband about current events.”
When asked about some of the interesting family antiques in her daughter’s home, Miss Edna seemed disinterested. Instead, she brought out a handsome, colored photograph of her grandchildren and their families and concentrated on naming each one of them.
“I had three grandchildren, but Tuffy died when he was 28 years old. But I still have two, one of them is Hugh Eubanks Tolle and his wife Kathy who have three children.” She spoke their names slowly and distinctly: Brandon, Ryan and Jessica.”
After studying the photograph a moment, she continued: “And I have a granddaughter, Laura Lou Fitzpatrick, Kay’s and Tolle’s daughter. She’s married to Pat Fitzpatrick of Inverness who is in real estate and appraising with Tolle and Huey.” She paused and named their children as if she was counting rosary beads: Shane, Erin, Elaina, Elisha. “Those are the rest of my great-grandchildren.” She said, her voice overflowing with the love that only another grandmother knows.
The past with all its memories is precious to Miss Edna. More precious yet is the future – the future of her great-grandchildren.

My Heritage from the Heart - June 2010

My grandfather, through my mom's eyes... 

I am picking up where I left off in May, and also writing about some of my Mom’s memories of her Dad, being June 20, 2010 is Father’s Day.
Hugh Caffey Barco
Katherine B. Tolle's late father
Mom’s father’s name was Hugh Caffey Barco.  Caffey was his mother’s maiden name.  He was born Sept 19, 1897 and died February 14, 1966. He was one of Katherine and Nickabud Barco’s five children.  Four boys and a girl, with Hugh (granddaddy) being the oldest, Claude, Paul, Loch and Minnie (“Sister” was her nickname).  Nickabud (their father) was born May 6, 1847 and died May 22 1927.  Before he was married to Katherine Caffey, he was married to Florida Allen (from the Lecanto area), and had two boys.  Florida passed away at an early age.  

From the stories Mom was told, the Barco family owned approximately the whole block and more, on Crystal Street that houses today the home of Douglas Author Nicolson and others on that block (between the Train Depot and the Crystal River Middle School).  As time passed, they sold parcels of the property.  The home of the Nicolson’s was part of their original home place, from stories Mom remembers.   The original house was two stories, and there was a fire at some point of granddaddy’s life that took part of the house.  Many years later, the Holmes family lived there and raised their boys, Robert and Bill.  It wasn’t until recent years that Doug Nicolson bought the house and restored it, adding a large addition to the back.

Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of history on Granddaddy’s youth but I will pick back up when he married Edna Eubanks (Mom’s mother and my Mema)  After Mema and Granddaddy were married, a house was built for them, which is now the home of “Cakes & Creations” on Heritage Village Grounds, behind the family home place (Heritage House).   From what Mema (Mom’s mom) told her, she thinks  they lived in the “Barco Cottage” for a few years and this was the home where mom was brought to from the hospital.   Remember that both grandparents lived close; in front of their home was the Eubanks, and behind their home was the Barco’s. 

There was a period of time that Granddaddy was the Crystal River Mayor.  The records show from 1926-1927 and took a break and then from 1929-1932.

Mom’s childhood was during the time of the Great Depression.  Business in downtown Crystal River was not good enough to support Hugh and his family.  This forced him to find other work in the Gainesville area, where his sister, Minnie lived.  Minnie had a nice 2 story home two blocks away from the University of Florida.  The 2nd story of her home was used to rent out to boys that attended college at UF.  

Just as Granddaddy found work in the Gainesville area, he had a bad stroke. Mom was around 7 years old at the time. The family moved to Gainesville to be near his doctors and hospital.  Mema helped Minnie run the house full of College boys and later ran a Café, to help make ends meet.  Mom did not like school in Gainesville, so they decided to send Beulah Katherine back to Crystal River to live with her grandparents while Granddaddy continued to recover and work there in Gainesville.   

Granddaddy made a great recovery eventually and they moved back to Citrus County, but on the eastside.   During this time, James Conner won Clerk of the Circuit Court.  Mema took a job, working for him, in charge of all of the County Commissioners.  At this time, mom started school in the 4th grade.

Granddaddy ran a few businesses in Inverness.  In Hernando, he ran a gas station and restaurant for some time. The location was across the street from the lake, just past the only light in Hernando, I believe.  Part of that building is still there, and is made out of Rock.  Later, he also ran a Boxing arena in downtown Inverness, which is no longer there, but was located somewhere between the old movie theatre and the new Courthouse today. 

In 1944, Granddaddy decided to run for Citrus County Tax Assessor and won. Mom felt confident he was Tax Assessor for over 20 years.  Mema (Edna) worked alongside him during that time.  Another funny memory Mom recalls was as you are driving up on the Old Court House, there was a small area with a large Oak tree on the left.  Granddaddy, James Conner and other old timers were known to sit and play Dominoes for hours after work.  It was not unusual for these men to flick lighters and matches to finish up the competition after dark.

Also during this time, Granddaddy started Barco & Daniels in Crystal River.  It was an Oyster and Fish business where Charlie’s Fish House is today.  It had an apartment over the top of it.  Later in time, when my Dad came in the picture, he helped him run Barco and Daniels. 

When Granddaddy took office he had the idea of collecting a tax for the sole purpose of acquiring a hospital.  He worked with Senator James E. Conner to pass implementing legislation. A three mill tax was started in 1949 for this purpose and Citrus Memorial Hospital became a reality.

Some of the events that happened during granddaddy’s term in office was the beginnings of the Beverly Hills development.  The new Florida Power Plant was built in Citrus County, and US Hwy 19 was complete.  

Towards the end of his last term as Tax Assessor, Granddaddy had a heart attack and passed away February 14, 1966.  Because Mema worked alongside Granddaddy as Tax Assessor, she was appointed by the Governor Haydon Burns, to finish up his term.  Because Dad helped Mema in the Tax Assessor office ( when Granddaddy got sick), it was only natural for him to decide to try his hand at politics. He ran for Tax Assessor and won, Mema assisted him for a while. My dad was Tax Assessor from 1966 – 1976.  Today Granddaddy (Hugh C. Barco), Mema (Edna E. Barco) and Dad (Edgar E. Tolle Jr.) pictures hang on the wall, along with other Tax Assessors (property appraisers) in the Crystal River office as well as the Inverness office located in the Courthouse Annex.

Granddaddy was a good man… a Deacon of the Presbyterian Church, while Mema sang in the choir.  They lived next door to the church, on S. Osceola, in downtown Inverness for many years.  Citrus Memorial bought their property (their home was on) and also the Presbyterian church in recent years.  Their home was moved to another location and is still in the Inverness area.

My Heritage from the Heart - May 2010

Beulah Katherine's Beginnings 

With Mother’s Day in May, it seemed only fitting to learn more about my mother’s childhood.  I have definitely decided I needed a tape recorder, which I will purchase very soon, there are so many details and I don't want to miss a thing.  Until then, I don't want to miss another deadline of our newsletter, so I have put together enough to hopefully hold your attention till the next edition, so here I go...

Mom was born on the eighteenth Day of September, in 1925, to Edna E. and Hugh Caffey Barco.  Her given name was Beulah Katherine Barco. She was named after both of her grandmothers.  "Beulah" came from her grandmother on her mother’s side, "Beulah" Aveaduline (nic name "Kitty") Eubanks. "Katherine" after Katherine (Katy) Caffey Barco on her father's side.   She arrived on a Friday morning, at 8:35 a.m. at Marion General Hospital , in Ocala Florida . I did find her weight was 8 lbs but could not find her length.  The delivering Physicians name was Dr. Harry Walters, and his nurses’ name was Brinson.

At that time, there were no hospitals in Citrus County .  Mom said that she recalls her mother (my mema) saying she went to the hospital a couple weeks ahead and stayed a couple weeks after delivery.  She said that is just the way it was done back then!   I came across a letter from Granddaddy, while Mema was in the hospital.  It had “BARCO HARDWARE COMPANY” as the header with “General Hardware, Marine Supplies and Caskets” as the description. Caskets…hmmm...interesting mix don’t you think?  Granddaddy’s Hardware store was located in what is now 554 N. Citrus Avenue .  Schrade’s Taekwondo & Kumdo is located there now, with Mainstreet Gym above. Mom said he & the Sparkman family built that building jointly. The Sparkman family had a dry goods store on their side. Anyway, back to the letter, he spoke of how busy business was at the time, and to gather up the bills, while she was in the hospital, so he can "settle up” and bring Mema and Beulah Katherine home. Ha-ha Today, there is no way that method of "settling up” is possible...lord with the insurance procedures and was so simple back then.   Mom also mentioned that Mema said Mildred Scriven Milton was at the Train Depot waiting for their arrival.  The Depot is located on Crystal Street , downtown, and today home of the Crystal River Lions Club. Granddaddy said that when the train arrived, his horn got stuck and it just carried on!  He always joked that he was making the announcement of her grand arrival... and it was on purpose!  Ha-ha Back to Mildred, she was a petite black woman that was a big part of my memories of the home place (Heritage House)…the best cook EVER! WOW…she must have been VERY young when she started working for them.  She was actually a part of their world before Mom’s birth…trying to calculate…Mom was born in 1925, I recall her being a part of everyday life at the “Heritage House” as far back as the late 60’s (I think even later but I will play it safe).  So over 40 years for sure! I am hoping I can find some pictures of her to share in the future.  By the way, Mema and Granddaddy lived for a few years in the cottage that houses "Cakes and Creations" in Heritage Village today, during the first year or two of Mom's life. 

Another treasure I found, while looking through boxes of pictures, was a newspaper clipping from when Mom turned ONE.  It was titled “Baby Girl Enjoys Birthday Party” and here is what it said “ Beulah Katherine Barco, adorable little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Barco, celebrated her first birthday last Saturday, September 18 at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Eubanks.  The table on which the birthday dinner was served was prettily decorated in blue. Mrs. Barco used crepe paper in artistic arrangement. (Ha-ha this is cracking me up…now I know why details are so important in my world)  The young lady in whose honor the affair was given, could not enjoy the delicious chicken dinner but was given a bone (ha-ha what???) She received some lovely presents, however.  Among them were dolls, pearls, a pretty sweater and money.  Only members of the family were present.”  Ha-ha  Now this article is priceless…WOW… talk about up-close and personal…I am still giggling about giving Beulah Katherine a bone…ha-ha too cute!  

By the way, Mom was an only child, and on the Eubanks side of the family, the only grandchild.  I bet she wasn't a bit spoiled by all the lovin'... During the first few years of Mom's life, they lived in Crystal River , surrounded by family on both sides.  This was a good thing, because some unexpected health problems were about to change the Barco family's life...  Unfortunately, I will have to continue in the June edition because I truly need a tape recorder....hope you enjoyed a piece of Mom's beginnings...
Happy Mother's Day Mom...I hope you are enjoying "your story" and I love you!

My Heritage from the Heart - April 2010

Tolle and Fitzpatrick Family Heritage

Over the years, I have been asked time and time again to share stories of my family Heritage. Friends and strangers walk into the Heritage House, and cottages, at Heritage Village and want to know more about the family that resided there and some of its history. Starting in March 2010, I decided to give this a try and write a monthly journal about my family Heritage, with the help of my family and friends. Not knowing where to begin, I decided to dedicate the March story (turned into a book ha-ha) to my parents, Ed and Kay Tolle and my in-laws, Charles B. & Dorothy Fitzpatrick. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing ! So get comfy and let’s get started…

The month of March has special meaning to both sides of my family. For my parents, Ed and Kay Tolle, it is the celebration of 64 years of marriage since March 14, 1946. For The Fitzpatrick family, it is the celebration of their Irish Heritage and St. Patrick’s Day. I thought it would only be fitting for me to share with you a piece of both sides of my family, and how we became one…

My dad, Edgar E. Tolle Jr. grew up in Lakeland, Florida. He and was one of 5 children, 3 brothers and one sister. Their names were Kendall, Carroll, Donald, Genevieve, and Edgar. Edgar Sr. was the Choral Director at 1st United Methodist Church in downtown Lakeland, on Lake Mirror. He was also the Choral Director at Florida Southern College and had a private practice of teaching voice. My dad’s mom’s name was Sadie. My mom said she was a fine example of a Christian wife and mother. She was a tiny little lady, and their only daughter, Genevieve, was just as tiny. My grandparents passed away when I was very young; so most my memory of them is from pictures and stories.

Skipping childhood for now, my Dad graduated from High School at the age of 16. Started college at FSC but decided to enlist in the Air Force, at 17, with two of us brothers (Carroll and Donald). Dad had mentioned that back then you were tested before enlisting and that he had scored higher than his two brothers that had graduated from college…he still takes great pride in that…ha-ha Dad is well known for his intelligence…his nickname was Whiz, later in college. By the way, this man still does the hard crossword puzzles in the paper every morning with a cup of coffee at the kitchen table…I never was good at those darn things!

Anyway, after serving in WWII Dad returned to Lakeland and started back to college on the GI Bill.

My Mom was an only child and the daughter of Hugh & Edna Barco, raised in Inverness Florida. She was the niece of Harvey & Ada B Edwards of Crystal River. Edna & Ada B were sisters. Edna was my "Mema" and Ada B was "Aunt B" to us kids. Mom was the granddaughter of John & Kitty Eubanks, which raised Edna & Ada B in what is now "The Heritage House". My Mom refers to this house as their home place. Mema was actually born in that house. Even though Mom grew up in Inverness, she spent much of her time in Crystal River, at the home place, with her grandparents. My grandfather, Mom’s Dad, had a stroke, so back then the nearest hospital was in Gainesville, so Mema spent a lot of time there.

For now, skipping childhood, Mom graduated from high school and headed to Florida Southern College, in Lakeland Florida.

Mom was there a couple years before meeting Dad, since he was off in WWII. She said the first time she recalls seeing him, he was sitting on a bench between Joseph Reynolds & Alan Spivey (college dorms at FSC, which are still there today). Mom was out taking pictures and snapped a shot of this handsome young man sitting alone. Mom said Dad must have been flattered and impressed because he asked her to attend a fraternity Open house with him then and there and she accepted. Dating in those days was basically going to watch him play tennis & basketball. She loved cheering him on and Dad was quite the athlete! By the way, Dad was a Theta Chi and Mom was a Delta Zeta. Mom and Dad met in September, got engaged on Thanksgiving, and Married in March…that’s right this romance was over a 6 month period. Wow … that was a short relationship, which by the way, Mema felt it was wayyyyy too short and wasn’t for them getting married so soon. They had not finished college and she had another fella from home, in mind for her daughter. Mom and Dad were "in love" and decided to elope… they had friends help them and traveled to Kingsland, Georgia where they had a Methodist preacher waiting for them to say their "I do’s". They honeymooned in Jacksonville and headed back to Lakeland to live and finish college. By the way, over time, my Dad and Mema became VERY close!

My parents had 3 children, Edgar E. Tolle III, Hugh E. Tolle, and Laura Louise Tolle Fitzpatrick. My parents raised us in Citrus County and they reside in Crystal River today. Their oldest son Edgar E. Tolle III passed away at the young age of 26, after a battle with Cancer. Huey married his high school sweet heart Kathy Andersen & Laura Lou married her high school crush, Patrick Fitzpatrick.  My parents have 7 grandchildren and 5 great grand- children, with one more on the way.

My mother was 4th generation from the Crystal River/Inverness area. My parents chose to move back to my Mom’s roots to raise their family. My grandfather, Hugh C. Barco, was the Tax Assessor but passed away from a heart attack and then my grandmother, Edna (Mema) was appointed his position by the Governor. Mema was very much a part of our lives as I grew up. After Mema gave up the position of Tax Assessor, my Dad ran for the position and won. Before Tax Assessor, my Dad worked many businesses…from being a Teacher to running the family Fish & Oyster Company (which by the way, was where Charlie’s Fish House is today.) There was a point in time that Dad shared an office space, in Crystal River, with a Lawyer by the name of Charles B. Fitzpatrick, a friend he knew socially and talked into opening his Law office in Crystal River. Pat nor I were in this world yet. They had a secretary by the name of Jean Varney, which we later went to school with her children. In my high school years, Dad became the President of Citizens National Bank. He and his good friend Ed Gerrits were in this together. Throughout most of his different business interests, Dad always came back to Real Estate. By the way, Dad still goes to his office at our family Real Estate Company every day, at the age of 86.

Oh by the way,  Miss Dot recalls dad and Mr. Fitz’ friendship started when they played baseball on a City League together, on the East side.  At that time there were only 3 teams (Inverness, Crystal River and Brooksville) that played each other on Sunday afternoons.  When dad and Mr. Fitz shared an office in Crystal River, dad recalls it was at the time when Mr. Fitz was drawing up the papers to legalize First Federal Savings & Loan, in Inverness. This was huge for Mr. Fitz and one of his many success stories of being an Attorney in Citrus County.  On many occasions, when business was slow…Dad and Mr. Fitz would close office and shoot pool at the Pool Hall down the street.   This is where they would conduct business and brainstorm…haha  The Pool Hall later burned down but was near the Water Tower, in Crystal River

My Mom taught school and was also the school Librarian. Between the two, she was in education for almost 10 years. As I grew up, I mostly remember her doing a lot of Volunteer work and being involved in many clubs. She helped form the Crystal River Junior Woman’s Club (on Citrus Avenue), which by the way, a good friend of hers, Dorothy Fitzpatrick, came from the Inverness Club to conduct the Induction of Officers. Mom also helped form ESA, was the first Altrusa President and very strong part of the Miss Citrus County Pageant for years…the list goes on and on…

My parents were great examples for my brothers and I. Growing up in politics, we were always in the public eye and were expected to act accordingly. We were raised in a Christian upbringing and were taught to treat people the way we would want to be treated. My Mom and Mema both raised us to behave because people were watching…Mom said that was true…because they were…ha-ha that was a part of being in the political world I think…Totally off the subject but another thing I remember about my Mema is she always said she was 39, every birthday she was 39…ironically she died at the age of 93 (the reverse). Also, we were always called her "partner". She loved life and her family and we loved her.

As you can tell, Mom and Dad were socially involved on both sides of the County...Dad worked in Inverness & Crystal River for many years, so his connections were very wide spread. Being raised on both sides of the County, Mom had strong strength in the community as well. Our county was small enough where everyone knew your name! Through the years, as you have read above, my parents were connected with the Fitzpatrick family, long before Pat and I knew our families even knew each other…Now to give you some history on the Fitzpatrick family…here goes…

Going back in time, my husbands parents, Charles B. & Dorothy Burkhalter Fitzpatrick were Irish Catholics. They were the proud parents of 5 sons… Mike, Spike, Timmy, Kevin, and of course Patrick.  When I came in the picture, Miss Dot’s mother, Beatrice Burkhalter Engel, lived next door to them. Miss Dot was one of two children, Bobby being her brother, lives in New Orleans today. Granny Engel was a tiny little lady that was as sweet as pie. She was adored by all who knew her! Her grandsons were the light of her life, there was no doubt! She lived a long healthy life and passed away at the age of 103, in 2005, under her daughter’s care. Mr. Fitz has one brother named Bob. He used to visit ever so often through the years, when I came into the picture. Bob had a deep voice and bald. My kids would refer to their brothers as Uncle Bobby or Bald Bob…ha-ha

Miss Dot is a very strong Irish woman that is very proud of her family.   Her son’s are her life and she gave them every inch of her being. She was a  volunteer as well and was a leader in the Cub Scouts (as if you wouldn’t imagine with 5 boys) one of the founders of the Pink Ladies at Citrus Memorial Hospital and one of the original organizers of the Woman’s groups in Inverness Golf & Country Club. She is a delightful woman and known for her jolly sense of humor. She is a book of family stories that will make you laugh until you cry. Personality is what she is full of and I think Pat is most like his Momma in this way.

Mr. Fitz was a well known Lawyer & Irishman in our community. I recall many years he would dress in green from head to toe on Saint Patrick’s Day. He would even go as far as dying his hair green .  He always made statements with his attire, which made him stand out in a crowd! He was a very intelligent, confident, charming, and handsome man. Needless to say all the boys took on his many wonderful qualities as well. I will have to say though, in my opinion, Kevin was most like his Dad, when it came to entertaining the public with his style and charm, but looking back at pictures, when Mike was in his teens, he was the spitting imagine of him in looks.

Dating the youngest Fitzpatrick son was not approved of when I was in high school, by either of our fathers I recall. I think they thought I was too young at the time (only 3 years but that was a lot back in high school). It wasn’t until one 4th of July, we both were home from college, that we had our first date (by the encouragement of Pat’s brother Timmy). That night was the first night of the rest of our lives together. We both went back to college after that week-end. Patplayed football for the Clemson Tigers, in South Carolina and me at Florida Southern, in Lakeland Florida (following in my parents footsteps). Long distance romance only made our hearts grow fonder. Pat asked me to marry him and we said our "I do’s" in Crystal River at the Plantation, out on the point, where many weddings are held today. I married my lucky Irishman, Patrick, on June 7, 1980. This June, we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. We have 4 beautiful children that are now married and blessed us with 5 amazing grandchildren (and one more on the way).

A large family was something Pat and I both wanted, so we wasted no time after we got married. Our first child was a son, Patrick Shane Jr. and was born on July 6, 1981. About 18 months later, a daughter, Erin Kathleen was born. My Dad and Mr. Fitz were very proud grandfathers. I recall them both, along with all the brothers at Citrus Memorial waiting for the new arrivals. Mr. Fitz loved watching his Irish legacy grow! Our third Daughter, Elaina Kristine, was born on September 5, 1985…just a few months before Mr. Fitz was hospitalized and passed away on New Years Day…1986. Spike, the second oldest son, became the father figure of the Fitzpatrick family from that point on. He also continued to practice Law in the family Law Firm of Fitzpatrick & Fitzpatrick, which he was very well respected. Our family continued to grow with our forth and last child, Elisha Katherine, which she was born on my birthday…November 18, 1986.

For many many years, prior to Mr. Fitz’ death, the Fitzpatrick’s were well known for throwing St. Patrick’s Day Party’s.  Of course you wouldn’t dare show up without your green on. Some would wear a touch of orange for fun, just because that was a "No No" with the Fitzpatrick’s Catholic background. Many years after his death, they still continued in his honor… Kevin, and his wife Adele, carried on the tradition for a few years after it became too much for Miss Dot to continue alone… like I mentioned earlier…Kevin was most like his Dad, so this was only fitting for him to carry on the family tradition. Just a few years ago, our son Shane and his wife Alyse have picked up the tradition where his Uncle Kevin & Aunt Adele left off, by throwing a St. Patrick’s Party… in honor of their family heritage.

Today, as of 2010, three of the 5 brothers are no longer with us, leaving the book-ends Mike (oldest) and Patrick (youngest) to carry on their family legacy. They were all Amazing men that are missed terrible. There are 13 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren (one on the way to make 7). My life as a Tolle and Fitzpatrick has been an amazing journey so far, the stories are priceless and will live on for generation to generation. I am proud of my heritage and hope you enjoyed a piece of my life. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad and Happy St. Patrick’s Day Miss Dot! Erin Go Bragh !