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Author: Cavenaugh, Bernice, interviewee
Author: Easter, Betsy, interviewee
Interview conducted by Thompson, Charles
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2004
Size of electronic edition: 212 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2004.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Wanda Gunther and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-12-08, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Bernice Cavenaugh and Betsy Easter, December 8, 1999. Interview K-0279. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0279)
Author: Charles Thompson
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Bernice Cavenaugh and Betsy Easter, December 8, 1999. Interview K-0279. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0279)
Author: Bernice Cavenaugh and Betsy Easter
Description: 172 Mb
Description: 56 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 8, 1999, by Charles Thompson; recorded in Duplin County, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Bernice Cavenaugh and Betsy Easter, December 8, 1999.
Interview K-0279. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cavenaugh, Bernice, interviewee
Easter, Betsy, interviewee


Interview Participants

    BERNICE CAVENAUGH, interviewee
    BETSY EASTER, interviewee
    CHARLES THOMPSON, interviewer
    ROB AMBERG, interviewer
    UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER
    CHRIS, Betsy's client
    UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Let me just say again I represent the oral history program at UNC in Chapel Hill. And these tapes that we're recording will go into the Southern Historical Collection, which is a library, basically, where there are tapes that people can listen and learn from for educational purposes.
And say there's someone who wants to do a research paper or write an article about what happened with the flood, or even a book, or a video or whatever, they can go and hear the stories of the people who experienced the flood through this. And, anyway, that's one of the purposes. And we hope somehow the community might be able to use this information, too. And, so, if you have ideas about that let us know.
And so, it's—just to start the tape—it's December 7th 1999 and we're in the community of Northeast and we're sitting in a FEMA trailer in the backyard of Ms. Cavenaugh. And you'll have to tell me your whole name. I don't remember your first name.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I'm Bernice.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Bernice Cavenaugh. And this area was completely underwater right where this trailer was sitting right at one time. But, you—if I could I'd like to get you to tell me something about the way you came here first. Were you born in this community

Page 2
and when that was and maybe something about how it was to grow up here if you did. Were you from Northeast always?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. My husband was from Northeast. But I lived about five miles down the road.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you—and when were you born? What year were you born?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Twenty-seven.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What date?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
December 23rd.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Almost on Christmas
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Almost Christmas [laughter].
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And so.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So Chris if you'll do me a favor and try not to comment during the recording. That'd be nice. Okay? But, yeah, I'm glad you're listening. The—so you were—. What was the name of that little community five miles down the road?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I don't know if it had any.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And did you grow up on a farm?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what kind of farm was that?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Just a regular farm. Dad grew mostly tobacco. Tobacco was the main crop. And corn and beans like they do now. And he had a lot of produce. Always said he grew that to keep us all busy. [Laughter].
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you sell the produce, too?

Page 3
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes. He sold it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He was a truck farmer. And how was it? Was it hard growing up on the farm? Did you enjoy it as a child?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, I didn't like to work on the farm because back then it was not like it is now. You know the grass was so terrible they couldn't—. Now they don't even chop it, you know, with a hoe anymore. It was so hard to chop. And they didn't have things to cut up corn. And we had to pick up the corn stalks and things like that. And we—. But during the school season we didn't have much to do because my dad was real interested in us having an education. And so he didn't—. The boys maybe worked a lot. But we didn't, the girls didn't. So he wanted us to do good in school.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. And where did you go to school?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Chinqua-Penn.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. That was the name of it, Chinqua-Penn School. And it was all the grades together?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
All the grades together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
First through twelve?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, they really—. I was the last class that went eleven years. The next year we didn't have a graduating classes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You went all of your eleven years in that school?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that school still there?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Still there but they discontinued that school about maybe five years ago.

Page 4
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that all? It stood there and was used as a school until—. That was an old school.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. It could have been longer than that. But I think five years.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And so after you finished school what did you do? After you finished the eleventh grade?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Got married.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right after school was out?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
After school. That was during the war and my husband was in service. And my teacher had written to Greensboro for a scholarship because I was—I made real good grades. And she was getting this scholarship from college and I really wanted to go. And you know back then those soldiers could really persuade you to get married. So I got married.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. This is right after he got back from World War II?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. We got married before he—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Before he left.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Before he left. Well he was already in service. But we got married when he knew he was going to be shipped overseas.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And he—what year was that when he was shipped overseas and when you got married?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Forty-five.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It was '45 the very last year of the war. Well while he was gone what did you do? Did you live at home with your parents?

Page 5
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I lived with my parents and his parents both. And I worked down at a drugstore in Wallace.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And so that was just for a couple of years, one year he was gone and—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
He was gone two years.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then after he came back is that when you decided to farm? Or had he already—?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, he had already—. I think that was already on his mind. But then we—I had saved all the money he had sent home and we bought a farm in Oakley Bowden. That's near Warsaw.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Northern Duplin County?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Uh-huh. We bought a big farm up there. But—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are you expecting someone? Am I right?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. I just saw—I think it's Betsy.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. I was expecting her.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Hi. Here's Betsy coming in.
BETSY EASTER:
Into the cubby hole. That's all right. Just keep it in the middle and I'll sit on the edge here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's probably plenty of room. That's unlike some microphones won't tip over. That's the nice thing about it. Good for group conversations. So we were just talking about the first farm that they bought up in
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Bowden.

Page 6
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Bowden in the northern Duplin County. It was a big farm. So how many acres was that? How many—when you talk about big—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I don't remember.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Hundreds of acres, [kitty meows] that big?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No, not. [Kitty meows.] I don't know. It might have been between a hundred and two hundred. Something like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And so you stayed there how long?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Two or three years.
BETSY EASTER:
Was I born? I was down ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well while we're on that, how many children are there in all?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Three.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Three in all. And they were born mostly on that—let's see.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. Just Betsy was born—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Betsy was born on that one. And then did you decide to move here to Northeast?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
We decided to move, yes. And, well, the reason we did was because he had relatives there. And they all were selling their farm. That's the reason he went there. And then when they sold the farm and they left. So he didn't want to stay any longer. So we sold the farm and came back down here.
BETSY EASTER:
( )
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's a good reason to come back. Well what did you think when you were gone? Did you miss this area? Did you miss Highway 41 and these two communities where you were from?

Page 7
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
We missed it, yes. We missed it a lot.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what was it about it that was different?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
About this area?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About this community that's different from up there.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I guess where we were it was kind of isolated. There were no people around much where we were. And we were young and so it—we just didn't like being like that with no one around. And then when his relatives—his granddad and all sold their farm—he just didn't—we didn't want to stay there any longer. You know if we'd been older and had more wisdom we probably would have.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And so who all lived here that you came back to at this point? We're talking about a five mile area. How many different family members lived here?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
His parents and my parents and all of my brothers and sisters and all his brothers and sisters.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
All around here?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Most of our relatives.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's a lot of—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Plus everybody was Cavenaughs up and down this road. If it wasn't immediate family you still had all of your distant relatives.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. And did y'all get together regularly so that you saw one another.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You all went to the same church.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, uh-huh.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And is this the church right up here?

Page 8
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Um-hmm, Northeast.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Northeast Freewill—.
BETSY EASTER:
Penecostal Freewill Baptist.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Penecostal Freewill Baptist. And the Cavenaughs as far as you remember all went to that church? They even helped build it. Is that right?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
The majority did.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what year was that built? You said earlier. I forget—.
BETSY EASTER:
Well it was established in what 18 what 50 so or 60 so.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( ). I don't know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
No. We didn't get into the history of the church.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Oh we didn't.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
We got off on other—. That's one of the problems, you know, you ( ).
BETSY EASTER:
But then I also told him we went ( ) the church. No. I probably told Rob that.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. You told Rob.
BETSY EASTER:
They originally built it. It was a wooden church and built the brick church. And then the brick church burned. When? In the sixties. And then rebuilt in what?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, yes, it started it was just a little old church with a little wood heater. But I don't really remember the year. I have a history of it somewhere. But—
BETSY EASTER:
But it was—way back when it was like the hub of the community, I think. Not necessarily so now.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Boys and girls all gathered and—.

Page 9
BETSY EASTER:
Dated, courted then.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So what is the history of the community? How far back can y'all go? How did people talk about this being settled the first time? For instance, is there any—?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I'm sure some of the older ones know. But I don't really know.
BETSY EASTER:
Well I doubt even the older ones know that much that are left. You know, maybe if it were our great-grandparents or something. But—and you know, somebody like grandmother or granddaddy may have known.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I know Russell English has a lot of the history and Doris—.
BETSY EASTER:
Russell is a person that you'll be seeing and he knows a great deal.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. He has some of the facts like that. But as the main thing that we're talking about is how you knew there was this sense of community here and the Cavenaughs lived here and you came back to that. And there was this feeling of belonging that you had that you didn't have up in Bowden. This supper club—have you been part of that?
BETSY EASTER:
The supper house?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The supper house.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. I belong to the auxiliary, the one that established it, you know, together—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Fifty years ago they started—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( ) but I was not active in the cooking and serving.
BETSY EASTER:
Kathleen wanted to know where we were last night. She said only ten people showed up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Last night? Was that the—.

Page 10
BETSY EASTER:
They had a—I guess their first meeting with the ladies auxiliary up at Mrs. Mack's house that you met earlier.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
To talk about renewing the custom. Because of the flood it was discontinued. But now they're starting again. That's what I understand. Okay. So you started—you bought land here. Is that what happened? Or did you move back in with the family members?
BETSY EASTER:
You moved to the Kelley house?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
We just rented when we first came back.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Sold that farm up there and then rented here?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Rented, yes. And then we later moved in a house that belonged to his dad ( ). No, down at the ( ).
BETSY EASTER:
Not the Duke house?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
BETSY EASTER:
You went to the Duke house after you left this house up here.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
That's what I said.
BETSY EASTER:
And then across the road.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So you lived in three different older houses before building up here.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Uh-huh, in '60.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In '60, this house we're right behind. Okay. So by then you had all three of your children by 1960. And all of the family moved up here to this brick house? Okay. How many acres do you have here?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I think it was about forty.

Page 11
BETSY EASTER:
There's a hundred all together. Eighty here, right, and twenty over there?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( )
[Laughter]
BETSY EASTER:
A hundred acres?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( )
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Maybe it hasn't been surveyed.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
You're including all the woods and the ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, what you're saying probably is how many acres there are in fields.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Because you know the agricultural amount. And then Betsy is saying the total amount of swamp and everything. So when you first started farming this forty acres of open land you were growing corn and beans. Did you have tobacco?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. We had tobacco but my husband sold the acreage. He worked out at Steve ( ) and farmed too and then later bought the turkey houses. So he didn't care about tobacco, working with tobacco so he sold that tobacco lot.
BETSY EASTER:
But actually when y'all—when he was working at J. P. Stevens, he didn't have these—he didn't have the turkeys. He didn't have that land back there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So he worked in a textile mill?
BETSY EASTER:
Right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where, in Wallace?
BETSY EASTER:
Um-hmm, J. P. Stevens.

Page 12
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And that—he worked in there and got his retirement there and everything? Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
But, in the meantime he bought the turkey houses and more land back there from his cousin, and then he started farming.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Right. And he farmed and he worked J. P. Stevens.
BETSY EASTER:
Did both.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then you got the turkeys and started growing for Ramsey Poultry.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Nash Johnson.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Nash Johnson.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
And I was a hairdresser.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And so where did you have your salon?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I started across the road. But then when we built the house I had a room built for that.
BETSY EASTER:
My granddaddy had the old store, country store, across the road where the fire building is. And the supper house originally was in that along with the country store. And right in between it was a little room sandwiched between the two. That's where she had the beauty shop. So then my aunt took the supper—. No. The ladies' auxiliary built the community building over there. That's where they started having the suppers. And my aunt took over the supper house that was here and decided to just make it a restaurant and do it five days, six days a week, whereas, the supper house only did it one day a week. So, and then, when they built the house here she moved over here. And forty years almost, I guess, in this house, no thirty.

Page 13
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
In here?
BETSY EASTER:
Um-hmm.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Forty. It was built in '60.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In 1960. So it'd be thirty-nine. Soon to be forty, wouldn't it?
BETSY EASTER:
And she's been out of it for about four years now.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Out of the business? Oh, okay.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
My husband, when he got sick I had to stop and take care of him. So I—. And then later went in and started taking care of turkeys. And I'd never taken care of them in my life.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many years did he have the turkeys?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I think it was '72 we bought the turkey farm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And what was his name?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Norwood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Norwood, right. I should remember that.
UNKNOWN VOICE [Chris]:
Grandpa, Grandpa. He's my grandpa. He's my grandpa.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. And that's Chris, his voice we hear on the tape. The main thing that we're talking about and want to talk about is your memories and experiences of the flood and the recovery and how that has gone. And I wanted to talk a little bit about what was here before we get into what was destroyed. So maybe now would be a good time to talk about your memories of what happened. And, I know Betsy has been active in a lot of this, too. So, you want to start going through the story of how you knew there was

Page 14
going to be a flood and what you were hearing on the news and so forth, and how you began to realize that you had to evacuate and so on?
BETSY EASTER:
We didn't know it was going to be a flood. It certainly wasn't on the news.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well that hurricane, you know, came on Wednesday night.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And tell me the date.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Fifteenth of September. On the fifteenth of September. Well the sixteenth—.
BETSY EASTER:
Was a beautiful day.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Was a beautiful day.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Y'all had high winds on the fifteenth?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Fifteenth. It did a lot of—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It blew over some trees but you still had your houses. They were in good shape. Nothing damaged really.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Sixteenth was a beautiful day. The water wasn't even up at that point.
BETSY EASTER:
Well water was—. It had rained so much that the water was standing and it was gushing in lots of places. Like going down my driveway it was probably that deep.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I think—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Person is here?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( ) go tell her I can't go out.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]

Page 15
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. I paused it during that. So it was a beautiful day on the sixteenth. The water was gushing through the ditches basically but not—and standing a little bit in puddles but not so much that it caused anybody to worry. What did you think when you came outside? Did you think, "Well we got through this one okay?" Can you remember saying that?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Oh yes. I—well I was concerned about my turkey houses, you know. The water from there was behind one of the houses. But I kept looking at it and watching it on down. It was fine. So we went to bed that night and not thinking about anything like a flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That was okay. All day Wednesday no word about the flood.
BETSY EASTER:
Thursday.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Thursday. Did you have any electricity and news at that point? Were you—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No. We didn't have any electricity at that point. Hurricane—we didn't have any electricity after the fifteenth. It went off sometime during the night, I think, of the fifteenth. But anyway on—. We went to bed. Betsy was at my house because of the electricity being off and just staying with me. And so about three o'clock my daughter- in-law from back here called and told Betsy to go look out of the window. And she—her dogs had awakened her because—and so she got up to see what they were barking at. And it was water.
BETSY EASTER:
Good gracious alive.

Page 16
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
So she called and—. So Betsy looked down and it was coming under the carport. So then about four o'clock a fireman knocked at the door and told me to be ready—told me to—that I had to get out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is Thursday still?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
That's Thursday night. That's Friday morning.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Four o'clock in the morning.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Four o'clock in the morning.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A fireman, a volunteer fireman from the community?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. From like the firehouse right up here.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
And said that we had to get out. He said that a truck would be up here after you if you want to go on the truck. But if you don't go now you'll have to go on a boat. That's how fast it was coming up. So I just grabbed the clothes I'd been wearing that day and ran in the bedroom and got my purse. And so we just left like that on the truck. And he took us to his house. It was one of the firemen. He had a big truck. And he took us to his house that's just about a half a mile down the road. The water hadn't come up there. But while we were there the water came up there. It was coming up so fast that we had to leave there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Were the roads still passable at that point in the community?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
They could—some of these big trucks were going down. But mostly then they were using boats to pick up the people. Because when we were up at their house Betsy slipped down and came back to her house and came back to her house and got some more things.

Page 17
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So as I understand it you didn't have time to put any of your valuables away—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Nothing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In a place where you thought they'd be safe.
BETSY EASTER:
Not one thing. And, you know, that's the thing that really got us both or a lot of us, because some people had enough warning had enough sense to know that they still had some time like our neighbors to get some things moved up. Now as far as mother and I were concerned, you know, you just never really felt like water would come in.
But I remember I had taken a box of old pictures from my house that were taken back—they're black and whites from my youth. And I had brought them over here during the hurricane so my daughter could look at them with me. And I remembered they were on the floor. And when they were telling us we had to leave and I'm saying, "I can't go right now. I've got to think through this." Because you know there are some things that need to be taken care of before you walk out of that house. But they kept saying, "No. This is the last ride out and you've got to go." I remember picking up that box of pictures off the floor and putting it on the stereo. And just—. But never thinking really it would come in there. And the thing of it is—what astounded me is how many people really did get furniture up. But then some of us left and never touched a thing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When you left when the volunteer firemen came in, did he really know at that point that this was a disaster in the making? Did you have that sense when he was telling you? Or was it that they were saying for precautionary reasons we better go to

Page 18
higher ground in case there is a flood. Or how did you feel about it? Or did he say, there's a flood definitely coming.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well it was rising so high until, I think, not only we but the firemen were overwhelmed. And they had never experienced anything like that before. And they were not really prepared. So they didn't know, you know, really they did the best they knew how trying to get us out. But I don't think that they really thought it was going to be like it was.
BETSY EASTER:
See what I had been told was starting at around—Skipper Fields had been going up and down this road and Gary Cantrell. And they had been monitoring the water rising. And see I didn't know this until today. At six o'clock in the evening Thursday evening the water was already up in Matt and Earl's building. And they left that night. They had to get out that night. Well, Thursday night.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, see the Duffs over here did too.
BETSY EASTER:
They were out on Wednesday because by Thursday you remember we were picking up pecans and they were all over at the supper—at the fire department. And saying that water was coming up in their house and their yard and they had to leave. And we're going, "Well, poor things."
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
And you know there were a lot of people that went into the church for safety when the hurricane—for the hurricane safety. And while they were there—they were in the fellowship hall in the back of the church. And the water started coming in there on Wednesday night. And they had to go upstairs. And then they brought them here to the fire department. And they brought two of the elderly ladies over here to stay

Page 19
with me over at my house. The next morning they had to get them out and move them to another. And then they had to move them to another one.
BETSY EASTER:
Oh I know, they were like elderly. And they had to be moved about four times.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's got to be confusing to them.
BETSY EASTER:
Bless their hearts while they were sleeping on mother's bed the bed broke down. And I went in there to get them off but because of the flood. You know, the firemen were there to get them. And I walked in and turned the light on, and I said, "You ladies need to get up. We've got a flood on our hands and we need to get you out of here." And one of the ladies said, "Well, Betsy, this bed broke last night. We didn't do anything. It just fell."
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They didn't do anything but stayed in it.
BETSY EASTER:
It just ( ) and her head was way down on the floor. But as far as the firemen they—what I understood was they had these that were monitoring the water coming up. Some of them were in the fire department. So they started letting all the fellows know. But with the emergency management they would not give them an okay to move people out until they started right at about, what, three-thirty four o'clock. They started getting out Mack and Imerana down here next to my house. And then, you know, different ones.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A. M., right?
BETSY EASTER:
Uh-huh, A.M. And then by four-thirty I think they came and got the elderly ladies that were staying with mother. And then they came back for us about five or five thirty.

Page 20
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then where did you go after that? You got in the fire truck am I right about that or another kind of truck.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, actually a neighbor's.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Just a big truck. He took us to his house. It was one of these houses—one of these trucks that you saw next door, the electricians' trucks. He took us to his house. And then when we got there we went to my sister-in-law's in Wallace. And so we didn't- -what was it, two weeks, before we got back out here?
BETSY EASTER:
We walked back in, or I did, Saturday morning after we left Friday ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Eight days then.
BETSY EASTER:
Saturday morning was enough. I finally came down here to the feed mill and I was going to beg somebody to please carry me in. But at that point—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A boat at that point or was it—?
BETSY EASTER:
No, no, because I was surprised when I got there you didn't—couldn't use a boat, but it would take a high truck to get in.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay, so standing water.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. But—. Has he seen any pictures?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, he's coming in the truck now.
BETSY EASTER:
Have you seen any pictures of the flood?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I haven't seen them.
BETSY EASTER:
You haven't?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Your pictures or—no, no one's in the community.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Gracious. When I looked down I didn't know it was like that until I looked at the pictures. Delores had good ones. She had some where my—Betsy had

Page 21
moved my truck and car over across the road at the fire department. And you can just see the top of them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What else do you remember that struck you so much about the pictures when you looked at them for the first time?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I just couldn't believe it when I would see that just the top of the houses. You know, the water had come up and all you could see was the top of the house.
BETSY EASTER:
This—well, when Rob and I were riding around I showed him and told him a lot of things that you missed out on. But one of them was down here at the store that was flooded and across the road there are those big trucks. I saw pictures where actually you could see—. I mean they were in the boat on top of the water and you could see the tops of the cars.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's wild.
BETSY EASTER:
And what struck me a lot [clattering noise] was the beauty—.
ROB AMBERG:
I'm sorry to interrupt. Do you remember which direction that one cemetery that we spotted with the American flag in it?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The one that's ( ) the American flag in front on it.
ROB AMBERG:
Across on the opposite side of the road and there's an American flag on it. It would have been set back off the highway just a little bit.
BETSY EASTER:
Was it that little road that—? Was it the little road that we went down that the church was on?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
I don't think so, no. It's on 41.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I think it was down that way, Rob. I think it was down toward—.

Page 22
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
We're not far from the—. Well, here's the fire department. Where is the restaurant? Is that down this way?
BETSY EASTER:
Uh-huh. It's on the other side of the fire department.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
So it's right here though.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Maybe we saw it while we were in the back on the car because we—.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
No. We were in a truck.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
( )got a new truck.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
No. He was—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
After we got in the truck ( ) that way.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
Okay. I'll be right back though.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. [Mixture of voices. Unable to discern. Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
On the tape and just say—because some other people would be transcribing this. So I want to say that Betsy's mother has now gone out of the room. But Betsy Easter is now going to continue on with the story that we started. But, also, tell some of her own history about growing up in the community and leaving and then coming back. Now how long it's been that she's been here, what her job is, and then get more into the story of the flood.
BETSY EASTER:
Okay. I came back in '90 after being gone for about twenty-five years. [Coughs] Excuse me. I really did not want to come back into this community. But I chose to do that to go back to school. And once school was over with I found myself kind of established and wanted—. I love country life anyway. And I had my own place so I decided I'd just stick it out until I could get to a point I could afford to move.

Page 23
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You went to school where?
BETSY EASTER:
At UNCW.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's right. Okay. And you worked in social work or what was your field?
BETSY EASTER:
Right. Well my degree was in psychology and, you know, I primarily worked either in social work or with developmentally disabled population.
CHRIS (Betsy's client):
I'd like to say something if I could. She works for SS Incorporated in Wilmington, North Carolina. ( ) for SS Incorporated.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Thank you, Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
All right. Let me finish so we can go home and take Chris home. And what has happened is in all of this time I have not really gotten back involved in the community purposefully. You know, I'm—when you've got this many relatives living up and down this road and there has been a lot of bickering.
And I'm just not that kind of person. I'd rather be in the woods somewhere. Bound to a garden or whatever than I had to get involved in that. So I have not been, but I think the people know that I'm a very caring person. And, you know, I'm out in the community working with other people, you know, that are more handicapped and so forth. It's been kind of strange to find myself in this predicament with this flooded area and how I have reestablished a lot of the relationships with the people that I didn't have before then.

Page 24
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you were living here but you really didn't talk as much to people? How about going to Cavenaughs and that sort of thing? You just didn't have the same social circle.
BETSY EASTER:
No. I'd go down to the supper house and get something to eat and bring it—well, I'd get it and bring it back home. I'd go to Lib's once in a while, the woman next door, very rarely, but once in a while. I did not go to the church. I might go to a shower occasionally if I was invited to a baby shower, wedding shower from old friends growing up. But the most part I really didn't want to be associated with. I just planted my trees and tried to stay behind them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But you had—the house you live in is one of the Cavenaugh houses. But it wasn't your parents' house.
BETSY EASTER:
Right. No it was my great uncle. See my granddaddy lived across the road. I have two uncles lived one across from the supper house—or this supper house here. There were two supper houses.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
All right one community one and one privately owned one. I'm getting the picture. And they're both called supper houses.
BETSY EASTER:
Supper houses. That's right. And then another great uncle that was right on the other side of the supper house. And then the great uncle here and the great uncle that lived in that house. So all the brothers—my granddaddy's brothers—lived right around here. And my dad ended up buying that land, the turkey houses and the old house from my cousin, my great uncle's son.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The turkey houses were already on it?

Page 25
BETSY EASTER:
Yes, they were. Those turkey houses are very old. And I've just basically maintained a very private lifestyle until this flood. Now I think evidently in cases of disasters—not necessarily that people are thrown together and come together anymore so. But there's something about it that does bring people together. You can't help it. I mean, you're thrown in together. Everywhere you went after the flood you saw your neighbors. And it was like you know, you'd just grab hold of them and say, "How are you?" You know, "What are you doing?" Because you didn't know what happened to—how many people did they say? Six hundred people up and down this road. You didn't know what happened to them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Six hundred.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, actually, there was between eight hundred and nine hundred throughout Duplin County. But see, there were a few flooded places in Wallace. A few flooded places—. Well there was Chinqua-Penn and, I think, a few flooded places in Beaulahville. But this was the main nine mile stretch that got flooded. And they're—like I said earlier today, there's about five miles of that that's Northeast community.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The other four miles, does it have a name?
BETSY EASTER:
Chinqua-Penn.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Chinqua-Penn, okay. And how do you describe—? Okay. A lot of them are Cavenaughs. What kind of people are those eight or nine hundred? Can you—?
BETSY EASTER:
No. Eight or nine hundred in Duplin. And then there was about six hundred of them—five or six hundred along this stretch here, say five or six miles.

Page 26
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Those five or six miles then, let's talk about them. Were they— how would you describe them if you were to tell people who'd never been here before what kind of people they are?
BETSY EASTER:
Well we wouldn't want to put that on paper.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
[Laughs]
BETSY EASTER:
A community that knew each other businesses too well.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
[Laughs]
BETSY EASTER:
That kind of thing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's why you chose to be private. Now that—. Okay. That tells me something about their close-knittedness. Then what kind of—how did they make a living and what sort of skills did they have? I mean, what kind of lifestyle did they lead?
BETSY EASTER:
The majority of the men are either farmers or some type of self- employment. There are very few men along this road that work out at a public job.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Your father was an exception then working at J. P. Stevens.
BETSY EASTER:
Yes, but, even then he, you know, he still had his farming. That was really what he cared more about than he did at J. P. Stevens.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What sort of skills does that mean that these people have?
BETSY EASTER:
Well they're not—a lot—a lot of the—I'd say a lot of the men particularly are not high school graduates. I'd say probably most of the women graduated from high school. Most of the women in the past—and still a great many of them are—I don't like to call them housewives. But, you know, basically on that order. A lot raise turkeys and raise hogs. The ones that don't are electricians or construction workers. You know, have

Page 27
their own business in construction work. A lot of heavy equipment workers. It is just really hard to find many who work outside the community.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So they rely on their hands a lot for making a living and they—. Are they hunters? A lot of hunters in the community?
BETSY EASTER:
A lot of—quite a few. But I don't think so much now as there used to be.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is there a lot of open area? I mean you say you like to go out in the woods. Is this a community that knows woods skills? Can they—would you put them in a category of people who could survive without electricity better than some people?
BETSY EASTER:
No, not really because you've got a Wal-Mart and that mentality. You know, I don't know if that says a lot to you. But to me it does in that everybody likes— wants to be comfortable. And they are comfortable. They don't make a lot of money. You know, this is definitely not—. We've got three or four people in the community who are fairly successful. But for the most part they're happy with building onto their homes, you know, make it a little more comfortable. Go to Wal-Mart and buy all the latest little gadgets and fill their homes with it. And they have a new car and, you know, everybody's kind of happy. They're content—content and complacent with their lives just, you know—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
As they are.
BETSY EASTER:
But they are not a very friendly community for the most part. Most people stay to themselves. They really do except the church people. And those are the ones that you really have to watch out for.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are they evangelical? In that sense you mean watch out for them and that they're—.

Page 28
BETSY EASTER:
No. How they use their tongue.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. And I probably wouldn't say as much about this if my mother was here because she thinks I'm very critical of the community. And I love the people because I grew up with them and because I love humanity and I know everybody for the— basically are pretty good people. You know, they just never really learned how to make things better amongst their neighbors. And they're not very giving outside of the community. They're—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They care for their own. If there's a funeral—we've talked about that. If there's a sickness in the family, what do they do?
BETSY EASTER:
If there's a terrible sickness people will come by. If there's a death people will come visit and go to the funeral, send food. That's about it, you know, except for what few people work at the supper houses and that kind of thing. But just people really stay to themselves. Although I find much of America getting like that because, you know, ( )—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Absolutely.
BETSY EASTER:
( )
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Maybe worse, I think. Okay. So you said when the hurricane came people began to pull together because they had to.
BETSY EASTER:
It seemed they were pulling together. It really did because neighbors hated neighbors a lot it seemed. And then all of a sudden you were seeing these neighbors sitting across from each other and conversing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
At a—.

Page 29
BETSY EASTER:
At—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A shelter or—.
BETSY EASTER:
Yes, at different places and particularly the church that we ate for so long.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. How about the church? I mean the church tends to be part of the problem. But they also are part of the solution in this case.
BETSY EASTER:
Right. Well this was a different church. This was out in Wallace.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
And what it has led—.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You doing all right?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. He's doing really good today. I'm proud of him. He's—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You're learning a lot today probably.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
Yes, I have.
BETSY EASTER:
( )
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So we're at the Posten Baptist. Why do you think they got involved or what's going on?
BETSY EASTER:
That was one of the first places that they started taking people who didn't have anywhere to go.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
To live?

Page 30
BETSY EASTER:
To stay once they were evacuated. See like in our case, we moved down the road in with a relative or friend for a few hours. And then the water started rising up behind their house. So we went to my aunt's house in Wallace. But many people up and down the road, all of their families live right here. They really—many people did not have a place to just drive right off to, to go to. So they were—.
It was like an emergency shelter. They set it up. They were feeding them. They were getting cots out. And it became a center, actually. So I guess that place probably stayed open for two weeks—two or three weeks. But in the meantime they opened up the elementary school, which was right close by as well. And what we were seeing was a lot of blacks and Hispanics went in that direction to the elementary school.
But we found that the majority of Northeast, the native residents [door opening] and the people who came to church out here were the ones that basically ended up ( ). But then, I think, I don't know if it was the state or the local emergency management closed it down saying that it was not a state run emergency shelter. So they transported everybody over to the elementary school. But I think by that point most people had started finding places to go. So you didn't have but really just a handful that ( ) at Posten.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They actually had cots there set up and—.
BETSY EASTER:
Yes. They had cots and food. And Matt and Earl said today—. See their rest home is right across from that church. So some of the volunteers would go and clean up over there. I don't know about residents. I mean the people who were actually staying there that were without homes. But what happened though during that time they started serving food at nighttime, lunchtime and nighttime for everyone. And then once

Page 31
all the people in that shelter had moved over to the elementary school, it really became where they were cooking meals primarily for these folks. And it just became a regular thing. Every lunch and every dinner they did it. I don't know if they did it on Saturdays and Sundays. Do you know? Did they ever do it on Saturday and Sunday?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
Oh, that's right. They did on Saturday. I don't know about Sunday. But they did that for close to ten or—ten weeks or so. So that was a real central place for people to come together—for the neighbors here to come together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Even though it wasn't here. It was somewhere else. And how far—how many miles away?
BETSY EASTER:
It's four, four or five probably from here. And it's like if you're going back in town where the big Food Lion was on the right. It's right behind there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
It's a nice size church but—.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
Well just a minute.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
That's the only place we could see one.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So that's an interesting event where everybody's getting together. But you're getting together somewhere else. It's like you're all visitors somewhere else. And you see one and all homeless.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
All homeless.
BETSY EASTER:
But it was a way that you could get information. You could find out what your neighbors were doing. You could find out what FEMA was doing or wasn't doing

Page 32
for them. What SBA was or wasn't doing for them. And, you know, where you could cry some and did a lot a laughing. And for a while there they had clothes. They had food. They had water. They had cleaning supplies. So, you know, it was really a central point for anything including food for the soul.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Can we use that as an outline to talk about what you were learning, what you have learned? You said, where people went—that's where you learned where people went. Can you say some of the places you know where they've gone? We're talking about hundreds of people.
BETSY EASTER:
After—?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Can you give some examples of where they went, where they are now, where they're staying? They're not in their homes, but some of the strategies they used— staying with relatives for example.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
As far as Mount Olive—. Do you know where Mount Olive is?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yes, I do.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Some of them were living even in Mount Olive. Some were at Kingsville, Beaulahville, Rose Hill, Wallace, Lyman. They were just scattered. Went with relatives and anywhere they could find an empty house that was furnished. Betsy she had friends in Hickory and Boone that brought her down furniture and furnished her house.
BETSY EASTER:
The house was furnished ( ) by a friend free to start with.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I had some friends that let me have a little—a travel trailer. It was not as large as this to stay in until I could get this one.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But those people even who were staying as far away as Mount Olive might come back sometimes to the church?

Page 33
BETSY EASTER:
Oh, yeah. Well they would come—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
Well they—. See they'd have to come back out here everyday just about to—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Tend to their jobs, you know.
BETSY EASTER:
Or their jobs or to work on their houses or to empty their houses. To try to figure what you were going to do.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So when people came back to their houses they were still working mostly alone as a family. Like when you wanted to clean out your house neighbors all didn't gather around.
BETSY EASTER:
No, no, no, no. Because nobody—. I mean everybody's so inundated with all that they have to do. And then most of them had to worry about their families, family members. You know, whether it was children or their parents or their grandparents' homes. They had to—. Basically what you're seeing is family helping family. Now if you don't have much family then you don't get a lot of help. But within that second week, or actually that first week that we could come back to our houses, there were volunteers from everywhere. So many volunteers you didn't know what to do with them. The Marines came. And that isn't a time when everybody's emotions were to the highest point.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Positive.
BETSY EASTER:
No. Just like very emotional.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Negative. Very emotional.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
We were very confused.

Page 34
BETSY EASTER:
Confused, emotional. You know, you felt like you were really in a fog or in a dream and things are just kind of going on.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. Things are just kind of going on—yeah. All these things are going on around you. You just really were not totally conscious of. You were in there doing it but you just weren't there.
And what happened with me and what happened with a lot of people is these volunteers came in and God bless every one of them. But because we were all so confused—many of us—and just overwhelmed to say the least. We were being told by the state and the local health authorities that everything was so contaminated you couldn't save anything. Throw everything. Don't touch anything. Wear boots, wear gloves, special gloves, da-da-da-da. So, you know, here are these volunteers.
Well actually what happened with myself on Tuesday, my mother and I and my sister came over here for the first two or three days and would pick at things. You know, try to pick through it and try to figure out "what in the world you're going to do" because it was so nasty and gross. Then I remember on Tuesday my daughter from Wilmington came down. And a friend of hers and my youngest daughter and we started cleaning out and pulling out. But, I mean, we worked two or three hours and it was a killer because everything's so wet and nasty. Then the next day my fifteen-year old daughter and I came over and started working.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You have two daughters? Is that right?
BETSY EASTER:
I do. And we—a couple of hours of working and you just couldn't carry but a small load at a time because it was so heavy. And everything in the house is so

Page 35
swollen and so thick and gooey and grimy and nasty. So we were exhausted. Well about that time at two o'clock I remember I told her I said—I don't think emotionally and physically I just couldn't take anymore. And I said, "Abbie, let's go home."
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is a week or so after? Is that when you first went back.
BETSY EASTER:
Right. It was on—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That Saturday you were talking about going back.
BETSY EASTER:
That was a Saturday and the Tuesday following that, the Wednesday following that. And about that time though I saw five Marines walking up in the driveway. So that's when I started letting people carry things about because I knew that it would take me forever and forever. And emotionally I didn't think I could do it.
For that next week that's what happened in both our houses I guess, wasn't it? As a matter of fact, she and I had people come in our houses the same day. So she had to be here and I had to be there. I couldn't see what they were carrying out of her house. I couldn't even see what they were carrying out of mine. And we lost a lot of stuff because, you know, you just—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You're just awed.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
They threw out all of our furniture and—.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, a lot of the furniture may not have been salvageable though. But there were some things that were that were senseless to throw away. But, you know, we couldn't figure out why anybody would throw a sewing machine away that had not been underwater. We couldn't figure out why they would—. There's lots of things, you know, that—. But you just didn't know what to do.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Mostly Marines would have no idea about—.

Page 36
BETSY EASTER:
Well there were church groups coming in by the end of the week, weren't there?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well there was that group ( )—.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. My oldest daughter—. Yeah. That was probably a disaster. The demolition group—the people that I was telling you about. And before they could start pulling everything out they helped us throw things out. And they just came in and. I mean they had that house wiped out in no time. It was gone. And then they started tearing everything out saying that it needed to come out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I saw one woman out next to the road going through a pile out in front of a house. It may have been the owner of the house. Did y'all think about doing that?
BETSY EASTER:
Is that recently?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Just today. Going through the pile—.
BETSY EASTER:
I saw a woman. Was it down here maybe?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yeah.
BETSY EASTER:
I saw that and it's Miss Laura's old building. And they have started finally emptying stuff out of there. And I think it was somebody from the trailer park probably going through it because there was a lot of that. People, I mean, some lady stopped and asked us if they could have the couch out of the pile. And I said—well, it insulted me. It was like, "No. If I can't have it, you can't have it." I said, "Besides that, it's contaminated. You don't want this couch." But the next morning it was gone. So they must have gone back. They took my couch out of my pile.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
When they threw—in my house they threw the clothes in a pile and some of the things, the higher up things—. And my daughter was packing the things that were—

Page 37
they had brought that hadn't been in the water. And I was going through clothes and here comes this Wilmington Star reporter. And there I was looking—.
BETSY EASTER:
Looked like a farm girl.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Looking terrible and sorting out those clothes. So he wrote a story and put my picture of the way I looked then on the front page. [Laughs]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What was the story about?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Just about everything. But one thing that he highlighted was the insurance. He said that I said that I had paid the insurance for, what, fifty-five years and I spit—and I didn't say that. [Laughs] But you know the insurance company was here Monday morning.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh is that right?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You did have flood insurance though?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No, but we had storm—the turkey houses had storm. The hurricaine ruined my curtains.
BETSY EASTER:
But they went around and found things that the storm damaged that was ( ) and then gave her insurance money for that. But I was complaining because our insurance—. And early on, you know, I was feeling like the insurance company's out to come in and bail us out, which was a laugh, of course. But, at the same time, I was bellowing everywhere I went, you know, "Our insurance company is going to take care of this." And then she or I once said something about she had paid insurance for all those many years and had never used it much. You know, just very little. ( )
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This was to ( ).

Page 38
BETSY EASTER:
Uh-huh.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. All right well that—. We got a lot about where people went and so forth. What about SBA? You found out stories from people about that. And you also found out—you mentioned FEMA. And that fits with the insurance companies' neglect. But when did you start thinking that, "Okay, the church groups are giving food and they're giving help that may not have been so helpful at times because they didn't know— ." They didn't have experience with this, it sounds. They just didn't—they threw out everything.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, they were—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
FEMA is supposed to have it—. Excuse me. What were you going to say?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
They were just like—they were like we were because the state health and local health departments, you know, had so frightened everyone because they said that, you know, it was so contaminated everything.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do you think that was wrong? Do you think that it wasn't really that contaminated. You could have cleaned it up with Clorox and it would have been fine? BE and
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Umm-hmm.
BETSY EASTER:
As much as we could we saved things like that. You know, they were saying, you know, "Don't save any plastics." Well I didn't, I guess, because I think mine got thrown away. But there were a lot of things I remember looking at going in that trash pile and saying, "Why does that have to be thrown away? It looks to me like we could clean it down." Your roller chairs that go to your computer table, just nothing wrong with them. And I remember standing there looking at them and just going, "How can I replace these?"

Page 39
But I don't know if everybody was like this. But in my mind because we had heard—this was in the first week after the waters had gone down. We had heard enough by that time to know—. Matter of fact we—most everybody had registered with FEMA because immediately—. We were evacuated Friday morning and by Friday afternoon we were at my aunt's house. And by Saturday night, Saturday we had called, hadn't we?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Who had you called?
BETSY EASTER:
FEMA. Because the word was already coming in—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Call this eight hundred number.
BETSY EASTER:
Yes. Call FEMA. FEMA is your federal emergency management agency.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In Raleigh. Did you call an office in Raleigh or was it somewhere farther away?
BETSY EASTER:
It was the eight hundred number that was given out everywhere.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You don't know where it went.
BETSY EASTER:
I don't know if it was in Raleigh or D. C. or where.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
But my thought was when I'm looking at these chairs and I'm looking at everything else, "Well they tell us to throw it away. They tell us that FEMA's going to take care of us." So—. If I had—see some people waited before they went in and started to throw things out. Not a lot, do you think? Most people pull things out immediately because what was happening was the mold was growing.
I mean by the time I walked in my house on Saturday after it flooded on Friday— and say the flood waters you can tell were here—the mold was all the way up the walls. It

Page 40
was where the water had come, you know, so deep on my clothes hanging in the closet it had already climbed up. A [Telephone rings] leather jacket was totally covered in mud. [Telephone rings]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yeah we haven't talked at all about your turkeys yet. You were talking about FEMA and so on. We'll hopefully get to do that after she finishes.
[BE heard carrying on telephone conversation. Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are all those citizens from the flood area or are some of them separate?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well they're from their church and some are from our church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So we've got everybody back in the room now. And we'll start—. We were talking about the FEMA promise. That's where we left off that you had taken out all of the goods out of your houses reluctantly. You let these other volunteer groups do that. Throwing things away that were plastic and sewing machines and everything, even things that weren't damaged because you had hoped that all this would be replaced. And you had been led to believe that all of this would be replaced by FEMA. And that's where I think we stopped the tape.
BETSY EASTER:
What did you start to say?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you wanted to—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well we had never—. I mean it was through ignorance. People didn't know anything about FEMA in this area because we never had to deal with it. So it was not—. No one had ever been informed. I guess it was just some outsider maybe that said, you know, they will help you build back your house or something.
BETSY EASTER:
You remember Aunt Sue who was talking about somebody over in ( )—.

Page 41
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, but she didn't know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's just rumor at this point that y'all are—that somebody's coming by saying FEMA'll take care of you. There wasn't any government official who was giving you a paper or—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
They hadn't really promised that.
BETSY EASTER:
No. They hadn't promised anything. It's just they're saying, "FEMA will take care of things." And there's some literature ( ) and I'm sure I've got it at the house where it says—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you got that at these shelters, the literature?
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. You know in different places they were passing out. But, you know, it would say that FEMA will come in and take care of things.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
What they do is mostly take of the immediate needs and that's [microphone is moved]—that's mostly what they're—. And that's what the Red Cross does, too, is take care of your immediate needs.
BETSY EASTER:
But see what really got me about FEMA though was that for weeks and weeks you're going down to the recovery center. You're calling the help line. And you're hearing that they will help you out. But you don't know how they will help you out.
And then when they finally do your applications and they send you back a copy of the application they've taken over the phone. And it shows on there that, okay, you're eligible for disaster housing assistance. You're eligible for Small Business Administration loan. You're eligible for this. You're eligible for that. Several different eligibilities, but what happens is—. And see none of us realized this. The only thing that

Page 42
FEMA—when it comes right down to it will do is to help you with housing, rental assistance and the small business loans.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And that's the ten thousand?
BETSY EASTER:
No. The small business is whatever they determine you can pay back according to your value.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And that's—farms aren't eligible for that. Am I right about that?
BETSY EASTER:
No. Farms are not eligible for it. They have to go through the Farm Service Agency ( ) County.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
And then they won't let you have money at the low interest rate if you can borrow it from the bank.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You have to prove that you can't get the loan otherwise for them to give you a loan. Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
That's right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You were telling me earlier before we talked on tape about the FEMA deal that you can take ten thousand or you can take rental assistance but you can't take both. Can you say more about that?
BETSY EASTER:
Well, it started out—. That was not the way from the beginning. Early on it was just you applied for FEMA and FEMA's going to come in and help you out. And then you find out that the help that they can do is small business loan.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And the loan ( )—.
BETSY EASTER:
And they will give you up to $10,000 if your house can be repaired for under $10,000. They will give you that $10,000. You know now that I think about—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
But not if you're having the housing. Not if you get the housing.

Page 43
BETSY EASTER:
Not if—. Well now early on I think that's the money that Bradley and Billy and all of them were getting was that ten thousand towards their houses. See it's been—it hasn't been real level because some people have gotten big amounts and gotten small business loans. Other people have gotten big amounts and not gotten small business loan. Other people get little amounts or no amounts and get a small business loan or maybe not a small business loan. I mean, everybody's treated different.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The SBA loans can be to individual homeowners who don't even have a business?
BETSY EASTER:
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It doesn't have anything to do with businesses.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
But you have to sign over everything you own.
BETSY EASTER:
But many people didn't even qualify for the small business loans. And, yes, you do, if you get money from them you hand over your deed, which is not very pleasant. You know, to think you're handing it over to Uncle Sam because, you know, if you go missing payments then, you know, your U. S. government has your turkey farm or your property over here. But a lot of it I feel like little by little you keep calling and say— you felt there was a mystery behind calling FEMA.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is this still this 800 number—
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That you call. And at this point you still don't know where you're calling.
BETSY EASTER:
And you get different answers from every different person that you talk to just about. You know, to people at the other end at the help line. And one will tell you one week that you're referred to this program. The next week they'll say, "No ma'am,

Page 44
you haven't been referred." Then the next week they'll say, "You've been referred to this program." It's like you're told something different every week. But then—and then they would—.
Macintyre and Charlie Albertson brought some of the FEMA people and SBA and over to the firehouse. And there were a few community people out there. And they told them what FEMA was all about. And I said, "But we know all that. We want to know where the money is." [Laughs]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And this was when?
BETSY EASTER:
And they never told you anything. Huh?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This was when—when the—over here—.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. Mike Macintyre and Charlie Albertson are representatives in—. What's Macintyre, state senate?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
State senate, okay. And this was when? This is recent?
BETSY EASTER:
No. This is, gee, it's been at least six or eight weeks ago, eight weeks ago probably.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But it was just an informational meeting and you wanted to know when are we going to get this money.
BETSY EASTER:
Right. Because we keep hearing—we kept hearing those same stories. So that's not what we really wanted to hear. But then another time they had a—called a community meeting over here and brought in the FEMA and SBA people. And I guess that's when we all finally realized that there was nothing to FEMA except housing assistance.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Trailers like the one we're sitting in. What else besides that?

Page 45
BETSY EASTER:
They would offer a mobile home for up to eighteen months. They would offer the FEMA trailer for up to eighteen months or they would pay rental assistance. But after some people started receiving big checks all of a sudden we started—the rest of us started receiving letters. And it stated that, you know, they—there had been a change because of this situation was so unique and so many people did not have housing. That what they did they were offering—. And this was what mother was talking about. They offered you rental assistance. And they would pay for your rent to up to eighteen months. They would give you a mobile home. Not a FEMA trailer but a mobile home for up to eighteen months. Or they would give you ten thousand dollars. You pay for your own rent out of that. And then if you have some left over you can apply it towards a grant or a loan. You cannot spend it just any way you want to. It has to be applied towards your loan or your grant. So personally I would go for the ten thousand because there would be a few dollars left over after paying the rent. In mother's case she doesn't have to pay rent. She's got the trailer here. So she can apply this to her house. And which is what a lot of people can do if they don't have to pay rent is apply it. See, like with me, I can't apply it to my house. So I'm forced to do SBA loan. ( ) You know, for the fact that you can see that you cannot just go in and with all these homes just start replacing them and building back unless—. Now it sounds like mother might be getting the Mennonites, did you say?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I don't know. They go around and look at different places ( ).
BETSY EASTER:
Oh really? To see whose needs are greater?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I guess. They just did four houses in Duplin County.

Page 46
BETSY EASTER:
Well I would think the elderly have the greatest needs, wouldn't you?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well I think so. But then I don't know how they do it.
BETSY EASTER:
So it's basically saying that there is no money except what little—. Even ten thousand dollars will not build these homes back up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Of course.
BETSY EASTER:
People like my mother who is elderly and does not have the resources. And I guess they all feel that it's nobody's responsibility but ours. The way I look at it it's our tough luck. We just have to deal with it the best way we can. If you build back, okay. And if you don't. What I always called "tough titties."
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well the governor has talked about three hundred and eighty million dollars and so forth. What do you think when you hear these figures again? Is it just more promises? Or do you feel there is something maybe in the future that's coming? What do you think?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I don't know. They've turned it over to the social services what they send to our county. And then they distribute it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
To all the flood victims. So we've gotten what six hundred, seven hundred?
BETSY EASTER:
Right at seven hundred.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Seven hundred dollars.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Per household.
BETSY EASTER:
Seems like probably more like seven—between seven fifty and eight.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
From the governor.

Page 47
BETSY EASTER:
From the governor's relief fund.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
The first time was three hundred and thirty-nine. The next time was one hundred and fifty-eight. And the next time was three hundred and something like that. That's what everybody got. The same amounts. So—and what it is—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Everybody who'd lost their home?
BETSY EASTER:
That first amount was one point six. No. It was six million. It was six million divided between sixty–six counties.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
Okay. And by the time it came down to Duplin County, Duplin County got two hundred and thirty thousand of that money. And by the time every resident who had signed up for—that had been flooded got three hundred and some dollars. Now the thing about this other money, it really is not—. I think it said in the paper this week that it was two hundred and some odd million of that money you're speaking of would go towards housing. Now I don't know in what way it goes to housing. But, you know, when you divide the money up between all of North Carolina that were flooded, it really—. It's probably not going to be a whole lot ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When I hear sixty-six counties and I look at the map of the flood I think, isn't that too many counties to give the money to and—?
BETSY EASTER:
Well it seems like it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's only a hundred counties in the state. That's two-thirds exactly of the state, which reaches to Charlotte. So if each county gets an equal amount—.
BETSY EASTER:
Isn't that the number that you heard?

Page 48
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Maybe that's ( ).
BETSY EASTER:
Well it's sixty-six counties that were affected by the hurricane.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
Okay. Now maybe this is just going to be flood. There are forty-some counties, I think, that were affected by the flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
BETSY EASTER:
And then, of course, some of those counties more so.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( )
ROB AMBERG:
Martin County is northeast corner.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Towards Washington.
ROB AMBERG:
Well, it's north of Williamston, Oak City or—. It's not too far from Tarboro.
BETSY EASTER:
Oh really. ( )
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
It's further east and a little bit north to Tarboro.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
( )
BETSY EASTER:
In the chicken houses?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well speaking of farms—I know we've got to come to a close now. But is there any aid—and have you received any aid whatsoever for the farm? And can you tell me what happened just real briefly to the turkeys? We haven't talked about that. What happened to them and then what—?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
They were down closer to the river than we were. So the water came real high in the turkey houses.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how many turkeys are we talking about?

Page 49
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I had about twelve thousand but that was—. It was a lot to me but then a lot of growers, you know, around here have about sixty thousand ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And if you have twelve thousand turkeys and they grow out well and they weigh what they're supposed to weigh, is there a pretty good sized check that you expect to get from that?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well, it's—. I don't have much left over when I have to pay somebody to help me.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. And all the electric bills—.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
It's—you have enough to pay your bills.
BETSY EASTER:
Well like in her case, she pays herself rent or lease rent every month as her part of the budget ( ). So that's what she lives on besides the social security. And in this case, that whole check was wiped out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. So I'm trying to get a sense of how much—.
BETSY EASTER:
So there's nothing to give her—there's no money there for her to pay herself.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
No rent money for how many months now?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
It will be about nine because it's been since September.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Nine weeks.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
It will be probably six—probably be ten weeks—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
It will be at least six months before I could get any—could get some money because—.
BETSY EASTER:
Probably be more than that because by the time you get them in it'll be—.

Page 50
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
We've got at least a month before I get any.
BETSY EASTER:
Then it's about four months before they're ready to go out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's a man who works for you in the meantime who's—where's he getting his money?
BETSY EASTER:
Oh he has a full-time.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He has another job.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
BETSY EASTER:
He just ( ).
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So what happened? You got a call from your sister saying that there's—
BETSY EASTER:
Well we called back and forth.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Water down there.
BETSY EASTER:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Then what happened?
BETSY EASTER:
My sister-in-law—. Are you talking about that Saturday night?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That sister-in-law.
BETSY EASTER:
I mean that Thursday night.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That Thursday night.
BETSY EASTER:
She called in the early morning, Friday morning. She just called and said there was water—the water was up in the backyard. I take mother's truck and start right down here and realize the water is up to the lights. Back out and we were gone [microphone jostled] by, what, the next two or three hours. So my sister that lives in the house—not the mobile home but the house. She's the one that stayed there. And we kept calling back and forth to—because the phones were still operating at the time—to find out,

Page 51
you know, how fast it was rising. And that's when, what, about three or four o'clock in the afternoon. Of course I didn't tell her. I was talking to my sister and she said, "You know, they were just keeping awake ( ).
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I was trying to get him to go feed my turkeys.
BETSY EASTER:
I know.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Had a generator down there. I was trying to get my son-in-law to do it. But I didn't feed my turkeys. I didn't realize the wind was ( ).
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah. That was over and over and over. She even called the service men and wanted to know if they could go and get her turkeys out. He said, "Nope."
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I get attached to them. They're like babies.
BETSY EASTER:
And they hadn't been fed and they didn't have water and she was just so concerned. And then my sister, I talked to her, and she says, it's deathly quiet. So I didn't even tell her.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And this was on Friday?
BETSY EASTER:
Saturday. They came out Saturday, didn't they?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well it was Thursday night that I was trying to get Tim to go feed them.
BETSY EASTER:
And we left. So was it Friday afternoon that the—. I guess it was Friday or Saturday. They were gone.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Late when you got back and you went to the turkey houses, what did you see?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I didn't even go look.
BETSY EASTER:
I didn't either. You didn't want to see those rotten turkeys in the midst of all that turkey litter. No. I mean—.

Page 52
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Who did see them? Somebody.
BETSY EASTER:
The people who hauled them out. Yeah. We'd drive by down there. But you—. The doors had been left closed and I guess they were still closed. Yeah. They were still closed because one of the things that somebody else on up the road had open the doors and let them float. And that was a no-no. As a matter of fact had even suggested at one point that we do that because she, I guess she thought maybe the turkeys could be saved or whatever. I don't know. But they were stilled closed. So we didn't have to actually see them even if we rode down there. But at one time I didn't notice—. I did at one point later on go down and look at—. They kind of like mingled in with the litter. It was just—. Because what happened, all that water and all that wet swelled that litter up. And it was just real thick in there. And the turkeys were not just like lying on top of it. It was all mangled and stuff ( ) together. So I guess by the time they had drowned the water was up. And when it started coming down both the litter and the turkeys came down together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then there was some help, right? You got Poultry Growers' Association, PGA. Is that how it is?
BETSY EASTER:
Larry Holder had contacted mother. I don't know how that ever happened, do you?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
No, I don't, but he did. He kept calling several times.
BETSY EASTER:
He was a past president of Poultry Growers' Association. So he had contacted mother. And he came—he and someone else came down and had a meeting at the firehouse. And I think that was the day that Mike Mcintyre came. It was. And he for—ever how that happened—he came over here to see mother. And she knew he was

Page 53
coming. She knew he was coming so she had to be here for that entourage. So she asked me if I'd go to the turkey growers', or poultry growers' meeting. And over there they offered—. There were several of us over there that were turkey growers and several of them. And that's where they said they would get up. There were all these people waiting to be called on to come down here. And they did. They came. But they only got one farmer and then they started mother's. And then the state came in, they started doing it. And they had the trucks. And they had to hire the company, an engineering company, I think ( ) haul everything else. So they spent, it was right at ten days here.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
About two weeks.
BETSY EASTER:
Took them to get it out.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well and before that they had these trucks to come in and take off the dead ones.
BETSY EASTER:
Yeah, which were really the top layer.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now these were—. Were these intended for Thanksgiving turkeys? You think that's the schedule they were on?
BETSY EASTER:
It probably would have been, wouldn't it?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
It probably would have been.
BETSY EASTER:
They were ten weeks old?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Eleven weeks old and they probably would have gotten about twenty weeks.
BETSY EASTER:
So see that was two more months there.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
And just about—.

Page 54
BETSY EASTER:
Thanksgiving or Christmas one. Instead it was our Christmas presents, right?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So is there any—? That was one of the last questions, I guess, we'll—I'll ask. And then we can maybe talk another time if we need to. Is there any help for farmers? We said the SBA loans will not go for helping farmers and the FHA. Is there any company help? Is there any other way to have any assistance other than getting the houses cleaned out you're just on your own now or—?
BETSY EASTER:
Well, let's see. You had help from the state to remove the litter.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Well now they will pay seventy-five percent of your clay, to get the clay in.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The clay base?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That doesn't include the shavings, the litter?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Oh they bring the shavings.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And who pays seventy-five percent?
BETSY EASTER:
The state.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Pays seventy-five percent for the clay.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I really at some point am hoping that people can say any recommendations that they have for anybody else who's ever in this predicament. Do you have anything you'd like that to say right before we close? I was going to see if it's—maybe we have a few minutes on tape left. Any things that after thinking about these things so vividly—.
BETSY EASTER:
To do in the next flood? Is that what you're asking?

Page 55
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. What would you tell the state to do? What would you tell people who might be flood victims in another part of the state or something? What would you tell them?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
I think I read in the paper about all these things, places they're going to have meetings to prepare—be better prepared the next time, you know, for the fire department and the officials and all. And so—. And I know that unless it's a lot of years ahead—. I know if it started raining again like it did with Hurricane Floyd you know I would begin to, myself, I would begin to get things put up. And at least your papers and things that you needed to keep, you know. And all your pictures and things. I would do a little something because this time there was no warning. And you didn't really believe it in your—that it would happen, you know. So there was no preparation. But a lot of people probably wouldn't want to live here anymore. There's some, you know, the government's going to buy them out so they can go in another place if they want to.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But you've decided you're going to stay?
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Yes. I'm going to stay.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is where you've always been.
BETSY EASTER:
It's like Max.
BERNICE CAVENAUGH:
Most people are going to stay.
BETSY EASTER:
Max said she's been there fifty-five years. She's not going to leave now.
One thing I would do especially if it happened at night. I would not move my feet out of that house until daytime. They can take you out by boat then, I mean, unless it's rising so fast. But this was like early morning just before daybreak. I would work with everything I had to get everything off the floor.

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The next thing I would not allow anybody to come in my house and remove anything. If it took me a year to empty it out I would ( ). I think one of the things we didn't realize it that how things dry out that—.
I mean even books. When they're covered with that slime you think there is nothing in the world you can ever do to save your books. And I lost a lot of books. But some that I did try to hold out, I've realized just letting them lay around in that house in the open air—. They don't smell real good. And I wouldn't even want to have them in a room with anything else. But, you know, they're still okay. And, you know, once they've dried out you can flip the pages and get the mud and glue for the most part. And a lot of things like that. Once it dried out, it was not that bad. It was dirty. And you want everything clean. You don't want to just bring it back in not clean. But for the most part it can be cleaned.
END OF INTERVIEW