Calvin was born on the island on November 4th, 1925. He lives in his family’s homestead on School Road right across from the Methodist Church. The house, which is tucked away amid live oaks and myrtle bushes, dates back to the early 1940’s; the original house burned down in the late ‘30s and had to be completely replaced.
Calvin ran the office for Tideland EMC for 43 years, most of them spent right on the dock (in the building which is now Island Quest gifts) when the light plant was next door (in what is now Kitty Hawk Kites) at the Community Square. For years, he was the Methodist Church caretaker, and “did everyone’s taxes on the island.” He also co-authored a book with his friends, Alice Rondthaler and Anita Fletcher. The Story of Ocracoke Island is still available at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum’s gift shop.
Calvin kindly answered our questions, with some help from his niece, Cindy Gaskins, who has lived with and cared for him since 1996.
OC: Did you always live on Ocracoke?
Calvin: I’ve always been here except when I was in the service in 1954-56. I was stationed at Fort Whittier in Alaska.
OC: Where else have you visited? If you didn’t live on Ocracoke, where would you live?
Calvin: I’ve been to Maine, Tennessee, New York City, and I went to Israel with the church, but there’s no place like home.
OC: What’s you favorite traditional Ocracoke food?
Calvin: Old Drum. And my sister Lucy’s fried cornbread.