Tag Archives: Cumberland Campus

Remembering O.Z. Tyler, Epic Poet on Willow Branch Canal

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A quarter century ago, the ancient epic poet, “the Colonel,” opened his Tudor style home on Willow Branch Canal to a poet in his 20s. Orville Zelotes Tyler, Jr. wanted to be to America, to the South, to Jacksonville what Homer was to Ancient Greece, and his subject was Osceola, the Seminole leader who’d resisted the U.S. Army and was only captured under truce. 

Prissy’s Forgotten Arborteum

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I’d ask Prissy Bowers, were she still here. Jessie Lynn-Kerr wrote her obituary. On January 12, 2002, The Florida Times-Union headlined it, “Cheerful Clown Bowers Dies at 76.” She’d fought cancer for 16 years, one year fewer than she’d worked on her book. Dozens of clowns attended her funeral at Avondale United Methodist Church in full costume. The sign that once identified Wildling Arboretum has vanished, but these trees rise still. And a few of their broken markers.

Florida Junior College, What the Beginning Looks Like, the Chance to Create a New World

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“It was not a frivolous time. We felt like we were doing something really important. You couldn’t help but feel that way.”

In idealistic camaraderie, they built a new curriculum and course outlines from scratch, socialized until late in the night, and discussed what books their students should read.

Erstwhile underground bomb shelters opened up. In one building “down toward Park Street,” FJC headquartered its Experimental College.