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November 2014

Everyday life in the Koreshan Unity… Here is the December 1922 (describing life in November 1922) “Community Current Events” in its entirety. With the mid-term elections taking place, it is interesting to look back at some issues from 1922.

Some Political Issues Decided; an Enjoyable and Varied Program “Was Given Thanksgiving Night
December 1922
THE COUNTRY’S ATTENTION has been riveted during the past month on candidates and election results, and it was no less so with us here in this southernmost part of the United States, only ours was more local than national. The principal issue to be decided here was whether the people of Lee County were in favor of county division at this time. There was considerable dissatisfaction over the successful candidate in the primary, so much so than an independent candidate came out to contest the election, over the issue of county division, but the results were unmistakable, the majority favored it. So this issue will undoubtedly be enacted into law at the coming legislature and Hendry County will become a reality, with LaBelle as the county seat.

Another issue which caused considerable dissatisfaction was that of county commissioner for district number three. There is only one party, practically speaking, in Florida, and that the democratic. A candidate winning in the primary is almost equivalent to his being elected. But. this year the unexpected happened, the defeated primary candidate, besides many others who seemed to be in a position to know, preferred charges of gross irregularities against the successful candidate over the way things had been con- ducted at Naples, and the matter was taken before the judge of this district, but the judge, for some reason or other, refused to allow the ballot box to be reopened. The name of Mr. A. M. Smith, the defeated primary candidate, was again placed on the ticket to run against Judge Wilkinson, the present incumbent, and we are glad to state that Mr. Smith won by the small majority of seven votes. Estero is situated in district number three, and we supported Mr. Smith, both in the primary and the general election, and we believe he will make a conscientious officer and will devote his energies to the best interests of all concerned.

It is customary in the Unity to hold a caucus the night before the election, to inform ourselves as to the merits and demerits of the candidates up for election and decide whom we will support. After reaching this decision, our vote is cast as a unit. So in a close race the Unity vote is a deciding factor, which emphasizes the axiom that “In unity there is strength.” The Koreshan Unity cast fifty-seven votes in the last election. Dr., Price was chosen to act as chairman of our caucus, a position he is eminently fitted for, and in his jolly manner the business was transacted with dispatch and good order.

In “Reasons for Thanksgiving,” by Moses Folsom in the Jacksonville Times-Union of Nov. 26, we read that: “President Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation while the capital of the nation was in New York.” This, we are told, was done the third day of October, 1789. The thought occurred to us, of all the people in the world today that can be truly thankful, none can claim more than Koreshans for having found the absolute truth as revealed to us through our beloved Master and exposited in his wonderful Science of Universology. The last Thursday of November of each year is set aside as a national holiday; but inasmuch as we are grateful to Him, not one day in the year, but the entire 365, for what he has done for us, we observe it like any other (with emphasis on the Eighteenth of October, the Master’s Natal Day) in the performance of use to the neighbor. However, the matron stressed the point in the pro-visions, of the day, and in the evening a merry entertainment was given in the Art Hall, in which dull cares had no part.

The opening number was “The Landing of the Pilgrims.” Sister Berthaldine Boomer read extracts from the November Mentor of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. At the conclusion of her reading the stage curtains were drawn, revealing a tableau portraying the landing. A benediction was offered and songs sung by the Pilgrims in thanks for their safe arrival. This; number was a winner, and many wished a flashlight picture could have been taken of it.

Two humorous short plays were enacted, the first being Maud E. Hall’s “The Scrubtown Sewing Circle’s Thanksgiving.” The cast was: Sisters Rose Gilbert, Ella Graham, Bertha S. Boomer, Florence Graham, Bertha M. Boomer, and Barbara Ehrisman, and each did their part well. This play was hilariously funny and concluded with the following in concert.

“We know we are guilty of shamming ’tis clear,
We feel not so old as we’ve tried to appear,
But just to amuse you ’tis surely all nght,
And so we will wish you good night.

The other play was entitled “The Physical Torture Club,” by W. N. Bugbee. The cast represented a family by the name of Bangs and the parts were taken by Dr. James Russell Price, Mrs. Price, their grandson, Harl Price Cook, and Sister Edna Schwmdel. The daughter (Sister Edna) was what might be called a “physical culture crank” and was very anxious for her brother to follow in her footsteps, so they performed their exercises, but the boy ..was too mischievous to make much headway. The father, who was terribly afflicted with rheumatism, wondered if these exercises wouldn’t help his rheumatism, and after a little urging decided to give them a trial, the whole family taking part. From this to the end the play was a scream- in more senses than one; needless to say all four played their part as if they were professionals, to the merri- ment of all present. Other interesting numbers were the children’s humorous recitations and song, accompanied by their teacher, Sister Marie Fischer, on the guitar. All that could participated in the grand march. Next was two quadrilles, the first one by eight sisters, and the second one all brothers, both under the direction of Brother William Fischer. The orchestra played a number of selections during the evening. The entertainment came to an abrupt, but very humorous, end when the lights went out before the last dance was finished. This joke, if intentional, was enjoyed as much as any, all retiring after spending a most enjoyable evening.

Our boat, “The Estero,” which has been on the ways for needed repairs, was recently launched and made the first run to Fort Myers in many months for the purpose of inspection by government officials, as required by law; it returned with a cargo of provisions for the Unity store. The fruit crop in Florida this winter is most excellent. This year the Flower Grove is shipping their fruit by truck, as are many other shippers. However, “The Estero” has been booked to haul fruit from a number of groves here.

We have gone as far as we can for the time being with our new power house. The cement floor was laid recently. The engine after a few additional fittings, is ready to turn over; the auxiliary engine with air tanks for starting purposes is now installed and ready for business, but a circulating water tank will have to be erected besides putting on belting and other accessories before the plant will be ready for operation. These will come in due time.

What child doesn’t thrill over a circus? and many grown-ups, for that matter. Well, we are glad the children of the Unity, through the kindness of Mrs. Edith Trebell, saw Sparks’ circus that came to Fort Myers recently, and all report having had a most enjoyable time.

Mrs. C. Newcomb and daughter from Colorado are guests this winter at the Campbell home in Estero. Mrs. Newcomb is a sister of Mrs. Campbell, and at one time was an active member of the Unity.

Mr. Louis Bessemer, of Washington, D. C., recently made the Unity a two days’ visit. .Having spent many of his boyhood days in the Unity, he returned to it with much enthusiasm and was delighted to meet our people again. He represents the Radcliffe Chautauqua organization, with headquarters at the national capital. His love for Koreshanity is greater than ever and he said Estero is the apex of the thought world. His work brings him in contact with the fore-most business men of the cities he visits and whenever the opportunity presents itself he proclaims the great work carried on at this center. His coming to us at this time was most refreshing; the only fault we found was that his stay was entirely too short.

Lili Lehman, in her book “How to Sing,” says: “The true art of song has always been possessed by such individuals as are dowered by nature with all that is needful for it—that is, healthy vocal organs, uninjured by vicious habits of speech; a good ear, a talent for singing, industry, and energy.”

It was our good fortune, in company with a number of other brothers and sisters of the Unity, to listen to an artist possessing the above qualifications. The artist in question was Miss Helen Davis, who, in company with Mr. Victor Young, composer-pianist, gave a “Joint-Recital” with the Edison Re-creation Phonograph, tendered to the music lovers of the county by the Parker Book and Music Store of Fort Myers, Fla., at the Gwynne Institute on Wednesday evening, Dec. 6.

Mr. Young made a few preliminary remarks about some of the wonderful things Mr. Edison had contributed to humanity, and stated that for years Mr. Edison had cherished a desire to produce a phonograph that would re-create the human voice, and that he and Miss Davis were there that evening to demonstrate to the audience the success of the invention, they to be the sole judge. He stated also that of all the instruments to re-create the most difficult was the piano, and the test would be more with the voice than with the piano.

Miss Davis’ first two numbers were: (a) “The Quiet Road” by Speaks, (b) “No Sir!” by Wakefield, and there it was; singing with records of her own making, blending perfectly without a perceptible dif- ference, with the exception of the movements of her lips. She sang five more -numbers with the phono-graph. For a moment during one of the numbers the lights were turned off, and when turned on again there was no singer on the stage, but the effect was just the same, proving unquestionably that Mr. Edison almost had made the impossible, possible,—that of re-creating the human voice.

Mr. Young, likewise, accompanied records of his own making: (a) “Little Shepherd” by Debussy, (b) “Crescendo” by Lasso, and (c) “Improvisations of Old Songs,” his own composition, and several other selections. We have already stated the difficulty of re-creating the piano, but nevertheless the artist’s playing was scarcely perceptible with the record. The thing that impressed us most in the performance, however, was the consummate skill of the artist, every movement and touch synchronizing with the record. It was truly an event, as both were artists of the first magnitude.

The program concluded with two selected groups of songs by Miss Davis without the phonograph, accompanied by Mr. Young, and two selected numbers by Mr. Young on the piano. In these the artists were not restrained, but everything ad lib. We don’t recall the titles of their selections, but it will be some time before the effect produced will be effaced .from the memory. Miss Davis has a rich, flexible mezzo-soprano voice, also perfect diction, with all the delicate gradations possessed by the best artists. We can only think of the artists’ mission to Fort Myers at this time in the words of the poet:

“0 Music! sphere descended maid,
Friend of all pleasure, wisdom’s aid.”

[This article was originally published in November 2011]

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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