Oral History – Brenda Coffey – Part 1: ‘Living at Kure Beach’

Compiled and edited by Ann Hertzler

Brenda Coffey

Brenda Coffey

Brenda Lee Fry was named for her mother Mary Lee Tyler Fry; her father was Therman J. Fry also know as “Fundy”. Her grandparents were Charles Brover Fry and Ada Sesoms Fry, better known as Ma and Pa Fry. The families moved here in 1943 when Brenda was a little over 2 years old. It was war-time. Her father and grandfather worked in the shipyard in Wilmington and then moved to Kure Beach.

After the war they ran Fundy’s Restaurant. The restaurant was on the south side of the pier on K Avenue. Brenda loved being at the restaurant. Next door to Fundy’s was a little grocery store run by Linwood Flowers. Next door was the small post office. The first post mistress was Mitsn Saunders somewhere mid 1945 to 46. She heard that Mitsn taught school because she always corrected incorrect English.

Fundy’s Restaurant was open in 1946 and 47. They had a serving bar with stools and probably just a few booths serving 35 or 40 people. Fundy’s menu is shown. They prepared all the food – country-style steak, fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, and snow cones. They had also operated a BBQ house in Lumberton. Brenda’s mother cooked all the delicious desserts including chocolate pies, fried apple pies, coconut cake and pound cakes. Her father had worked for an automotive parts distributor in Wilmington, and later owned his own automotive business for many years.

They first rented an ocean front house, about 4 blocks south of K Avenue. During World War 11, the rent was controlled by the government. Hurricane Hazel destroyed this home in 1954.

Fundy’s Restaurant 1946 - 1947

Fundy’s Restaurant
1946 – 1947

Around 1946 they bought lots at 109 and 113 South 3rd Street from L. C. Kure. The lots were all 50 by a 100 feet. Their houses were barracks from Fort Fisher purchased for almost nothing after WWII. But you had to pay to move the barracks. Brenda’s Daddy had three barracks moved to the lots – one was for a workshop. Her grandparents lived beside them.

The houses had 3 bedrooms, and a long open living room, dining room, kitchen and bath. They had an electric refrigerator, gas stove, kerosene heater, a septic tank and a well. They didn’t have TV until the late 50s. The phone came probably in the 50s – a party line. They washed dishes by hand.

The round, electric washing machines had ringers on the top. Brenda’s mother filled the washer from the house, the wash water and the rinse water. White sheets and other white things were washed first; and then all the heavy wet washed clothes were lifted up and put through the ringer. The water ran back into the washtub and the washed clothes went into the rinse water. The next batch of clothes was put in the wash water. You started rinsing and picking up the heavy wet, clean clothes and taking them outside to hang on the line. Brenda’s Mother wouldn’t let her near the ringer because Brenda might catch her fingers in the ringers.

Her Mother bought groceries from the A&P at Carolina Beach, located on the corner of Lake Park Blvd and Cape Fear Blvd in the building that is now called Ocean Variety. Later the A&P moved to Cape Fear Blvd where the Sea Merchant is located. It was the only place to buy groceries then unless you bought them from the little grocery store beside Fundy’s restaurant.

Brenda gave Kure Beach town hall a copy of minutes of the Kure Beach Progressive Association that describes their meetings in the 1940s and earning money to buy a fire hose and a fire truck (see our December 2011 Newsletter)

There was only one policeman in Kure Beach. The firemen were volunteers. The first permanent doctor Brenda remembers was Dr. Claude H. Fryar at Carolina Beach who moved to the beach 1952. She remembers Dr. Fryar making a house call to give her a shot when she had the flu.

Brenda remembers a passenger plane that crashed near Bolivia, NC on January 6, 1960, when a bomb planted on board exploded in mid air killing 34 people. Pieces of the plane fell on Kure Beach and Fort Fisher. The plane was a DC6, National Airline Flight 2511 from New York to Miami.