Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tinker's Nursery

You can barely read the sign but it says "Tinker's Nursery" It is being held by my aunts Irene on the left and Belinda on the right. Standing behind are my uncle Wayne and aunt Anna Dean.

The picture was taken about 1949. They are dressed up and the girls are wearing flowers so it must have been a special occasion.

The sign was made by the girls to advertise my Grandpa Walton "Tink" Fulford's nursery business. He was a commercial fisherman but also grew palm trees.
He started the nursery business in 1947. My uncle Ralph said Tink bought 2,000 coconuts from a nursery in Miami and had the fish house workers plant the seeds on empty lots around his house. Two years later he started selling the trees for five to seven dollars each.

My uncle Wayne said he remembers in the 1950s going to the beach with a large scow, a flat bottomed boat they normally used to haul large loads of fish. Tink had them shovel it full of beach sand to bring back next to the fish house so they could plant coconut seeds in the sand. Tink thought they would grow better in the sand. After the trees got a foot or so high they transplanted them to other lots he owned around the area. In the winter of 1958 Florida had a hard freeze that killed off the coconut trees. Wayne said they had to dig up all the dead trees and then plant seeds all over again. By the time I was old enough to work at the fish dock they were back and I remember having to hoe the weeds around them.

Tink raised mostly cabbage and coconut palms, gathering seeds from the fruit that fell from his trees to grow new ones.

He also grew large Royal Palms and some more unusual varieties. He had several Travelers Palms next to the house which held gallons of water inside, or they did until a boy with a knife came by.

I'd never heard my Grandpa called Tinker before. It was always Tink. At this point, no one knows how he got the nickname. I've asked all my aunts and uncles and my mother's cousins. Irene doesn't remember why they put Tinker on the sign.

Most everyone in Cortez had a nickname and if they didn't someone gave them one. There was a Tater, Cooter, Hoot, Clam Digger, Big and Little Bubbas, Boogie, Bunks, Snooks, Pig, Rat, Sweetpea, Gator, Shorty, Moldy and a Ham Bone just to name a few. I guess with that crowd the provenance of the name wasn't very important.


Anonymous said...

Where was this picture taken? What road? Is it 123rd? Or that area? Also the Nick name thing is so true in our families. There is also poedunk Skeeter Henry jellybean......I know it must of carried on generation to generation

Mark Green said...

I think the house in the back is Capt Billy Fulfords