Oral History – Ray Rothrock – Part 2: ‘Kure Beach Rentals’

by Ann Hertzler

Because Ray’s Dad quit the Shipyard when WW II was at its peak, he was called to be examined for the Army. He was 33 years old and had seven children. Ray very well remembers that day his Dad got on the Cattle-Car in Kure Beach to go to Ft. Bragg. His Mother and all the children were standing with his Dad, all crying because they thought they may never see their Dad again. He got back from Ft. Bragg about 2 a.m. the next morning, having walked and hitch-hiked back to Kure Beach after failing the physical.

Ray’s Dad was a workaholic. When he left the shipyard, he went into the reupholstering and refinishing business. After the War Ray’s Dad bought half the Army Mess Hall at Ft. Fisher, a huge building. They took it apart, moved it to Monkey Junction area, and put it back together for the back end of his furniture business. It was across the highway from the Army Surplus Store and sat right where Sanders Road is now.

Ray’s Grandfather and Grandmother on his Mother’s side of the family had built the building which is now the Army Surplus Store and also lived in that building where his Grandfather refinished furniture. With this furniture business on Carolina Beach, his Dad and Mom had a total of 4 business locations, with the others being in Wilmington, all on Castle Street. Ray’s Mother was the seamstress, doing all the sewing for the furniture to be reupholstered in addition to making drapes and slipcovers.

His Dad, Ray, and his older brother Corkey looked after the cottages, staying at the beach all the time. His Mother and other brothers and sisters would come down and spend some time. Ray’s Dad bought an Army Surplus Jeep to drive around the beach which the children really enjoyed. There was no Buffer Zone while Ray was growing up, so the woods all the way to the Cape Fear River was a great place to play and hunt. Sunny Point wasn’t commissioned until sometime in ’55 or ’56.

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