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December 2010

This month we take a look at life in the Koreshan Unity, long after the death of Cyrus Teed. There isn’t a whole lot of specific information about the beliefs and attitudes of the Koreshans during this time, but it seems clear that even though the “official” line still maintained the belief of the imminent return of Koresh, many, if not most, of the members of the Unity somehow believed that they were simply destined to live a life in community, which they had always done, and that they should continue to follow and study the beliefs and writings of Koresh, but few had any real expectation of Teed’s return.

With that in mind, life in the Unity in the 1930’s tended to lean more towards making it through the Depression and you will note that the tone of the following about prosperity sounds familiar. With that in mind, here is the “Community Current Events” column from January 1934, which would relay information about what took place in December 1933, 77 years ago this month:

Community Current Events – January 1934
By Alafae Stephens
GREETINGS and salutations! Here comes 1934, which, all of us are hoping” will bring” the return of that almost-forgotten man, Prosperity. Pessimists tell us “He’s finished; he can’t come back,” but we don’t care much—just so Santa Claus isn’t dead. And if Santa moves his headquarters from the North Pole down to Florida, as has been rumored, we should have a jolly time the year around. Our Christmas doings must be reported the first thing, as they constituted the big occasion of the month, Sister Rose Gilbert, assisted by Sister Florence Graham, entertained the ladies of the Unity at “El Retire” on Saturday night, the twenty-third. A pleasant social evening was passed in listening to the radio, nibbling raisins, nuts, cookies, apples and candy, and drinking coffee. We had quite a big time of it on Christmas, with pumpkin pie and everything. Mrs. Marie McConnell of Tampa sent a box of large, luscious apples, and Mrs. Lovelle Ahrano, also of Tampa, made us a present of some paper-shell pecans, which were immensely enjoyed. Mrs. L. C. Dillard of Washington, D. C., sent individual cards to the members, as she does every year, and many other friends tendered greetings, adding to the enjoyment of the day. Oranges from Brother Peter Blem’s young trees were a welcome item. Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Berry, both practicing physicians, of Tampa, and Misses Lydia and Marian Pierce took Christmas dinner with us. Dr. and Mrs. Berry’s son, Richard S. Berry, was here for a short while about five years ago, at which time he wrote a thesis on Koreshanity as part of his work at Gainesville University. Sisters Berthaldine and Bertie Boomer entertained with a party on Christmas night at their home in Mirasol Grove. The place was appropriately and attractively decorated; under a small Christmas tree were grouped favors for the guests, consisting of packages of candy, nuts, and fruit-cake. Sandwiches, coffee, and fruit punch were served, after which the assembly sang Christmas carols and other old favorite songs. The close of the party marked “the end of a perfect day.” Mr. Henry Moreland and Floyd visited here on Sunday, November twenty-fifth. At the evening services, Floyd favored us with a flute solo, accompanied on the piano by Sister Edith Trebell. This was in addition to a violin solo played by Brother Laurence Bubbett; these violin solos we have come to count upon as a regular feature of the meetings. On Thanksgiving Day, Sister Bertie Boomer gave a house-warming at “The Hermitage,” the new cottage she has had constructed on the road to the Seaboard station. More than fifty guests were in attendance, many of whom brought presents for the house. Sandwiches, doughnuts, apples, and coffee were served to the company. Mrs. Mary Iden, Sister Florence Graham, and Brother Alien Andrews motored to Miami on Friday, December first, where they visited relatives and friends until Monday. Brother Max Arendt returned on the tenth from his sojourn in the North. After seeing the Chicago Exposition, he visited relatives in Milwaukee, then made a trip to southern California for a short visit with friends there. He was glad to get back to Florida, finding its mild temperatures a welcome change from the severe northern blizzards. ‘ Harry DuBois has recovered almost fully from his attack of pleurisy, which, laid him up about a week. That was as long as. Doctor Frank Wilson would allow him. Brother Claude Rahn ran the filling station while Harry was indisposed. Brother John Watson was the guest of honor at a surprise party held in the bakery on the evening of the eleventh, the occasion being his, birthday anniversary. A chicken dinner with all the trimmings was enjoyed by the guests. Brothers Alien Andrews and Laurie Bubbett went to Miami on Friday the fifteenth, returning on the eighteenth. Brother Laurie’s absence left us without a violin solo for the Sunday services, but we, had an excellent vocol solo by Brother David Richards. Misses Meta Monsees, Lydia and Marian Pirce, and Genevieve Bisbing v/ere visitors here on Sunday the seventeenth. Mr. and Mrs, R. B. Stevens and son David, Miss Hilda Cunniff, Mr. Edw-ard Theegarten, and Brother Henry Silverfriend went on a boat party to Hickory Island, where they had a picnic lunch on the beach. They were lucky fishermen, making a good catch by trolling. Sisters Evelyn Bubbett, Ida Fischer, and Cora Stephens and Brothers Henry Silverfriend and Claude Rahn motored to Coconut on the eighteenth where they visited Mrs. Mary Johnson, Mrs. A. L. Smith, and Erwin Fischer and family. Mrs. Edith Johnson of Minneapolis has arrived to spend the winter season with the tea-garden ladies, Mrs. Camphausen and the Misses Lindberg. Dr. John Seebold comes from LaBelle nearly every Sunday and attends the religious services. Brother John Grier has been uncovering a lot of territory in the vicinity of the laundry, making an improvement in the looks of the place. He finds that bad weeds, grow rapidly even in dry weather. Brother Laurie has been taking his “daily dozens” in clearing the grounds about the Art Hall, and Brother George Hunt’s good work of the same kind continues.

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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