When the Moon Stood Still
by Susie Burnett Jones
In the small towns of eastern North Carolina in 1928, large families are not unusual. Susie is the fifth of nine children in a strict but comparatively privileged family, headed by a Victorian Father, stimulated by an energetic, happy Mother, and softened by the sanctuary of Granddaddy’s farm just outside of town.
Death takes the third child, and the last is born with Downs Syndrome, but life goes on. A new beach cottage in mid-depression is Susie’s first hint that there is another world out there.
With Pearl Harbor comes the end of an era. Soldiers from nearby Camp Davis use Burgaw as a “French” village during training. The proper password is required enroute to school each day, and the aircraft spotting tower is manned by local volunteers.
At the beach, the boardwalk is crowded with soldiers and sailors from around the world, mingling with natives and workers from the Wilmington shipyard. Jump joints vibrate with big band music while the summer nights are punctuated by the explosion of German torpedos just a few miles offshore.
Susie’s maturing and inquiring mind continually pushes the envelope of her environment; and when high school graduation arrives she realizes that it is truly her “commencement.”
Hardcover: 212 pages
Publisher: Casablanca Associates, Ltd. (January 1, 2003)
“…delightful and informative…I felt like I was hidden away in a tree house reading someone’s diary.” — Marianne Gingher, author of A Girls Life, Greensboro, N.C.
“A wonderful look back at eastern North Carolina’s small town and beach life before and during World War II.” — Betty Debnam, Creator and Editor, The Mini Page, Washington, D.C.
“In a simple, disarming narrative style Susie describes the struggle to define herself in an environment of domination and rejection.” — A.C. Snow, Columnist, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.
About the Author
Mildred Deaton Burnett (Susie) grew up in Burgaw, N.C., spending the summers at her family’s Carolina Beach cottage. In 1945 she was a member of the first post-war freshman class at UNC-G, and in early 1950 she responded to her college room-mate’s invitation to visit New York.
Mesmerized by the City, her intended two-week stay lasted for three years. She worked as a buyer-trainee at Gimbels, studied voice and modern dance, got a taste of off-Broadway as a featured singer in the Originals Only production of Dakota, and spent two years as an interviewer and junior executive at Arthur Murray’s Manhattan studio.
Her Grandmother’s death in late 1952 brought her back down to earth and she decided to return to Raleigh. There she met her future husband, William Davis Jones III, and they were married in 1953.
Two children later she founded the Raleigh Junior Cotillion Club, and ran it for ten years. In 1971 she became president of her family’s land development company, a position she held for 22 years. Always active in church, cultural, civic and school affairs, she also supported her husband’s newspaper career and reared five children.
She and her husband live in Raleigh, perpetually entertained by eight grandchildren. And, even after all these years, she still enjoys that cottage at Carolina Beach, which she shares with her six surviving siblings.