G M From an ad in the 1949 Boca Grande Journal: “Gasparilla Island Dairy, Port Boca Grande, Fla. January/February • 2017 • GASPARILLA ISLAND 63 the dairy. “I was finishing up with unhooking a cow from the milking machine, cleaning her up, and he asked me if milk really came from cows," said Bell. "I told him yes, and he asked me to prove it. Well, the dairy had cats, and one was sitting a bit away from the cow I was working with, and ZING, I aimed and shot her with a little milk. She started licking it off, and the sailor was shocked. I asked him, ‘Didn't you know where milk comes from?' He said yes, and that he had even seen cows on field trips and in the zoo, but just couldn't imagine that something that tasted as good as milk actually came out of a cow. The cows were pastured south of the oneroom schoolhouse for black children that was located where the south entrance to Boca Bay is today. There was no fence around the school, so the cows would often end up in the schoolyard. According to Florence Jelks, a former island resident who went on to work in the Immokalee school system as a counselor and principal for 27 years, after school all of the black children would go down to the dairy to have ice cream. While the dairy produced milk, the ice cream was actually shipped in from Tampa. “Gordan loved that place,” said Bell. "There's no going on vacation, no forgetting and you can't just not feel like it when it comes to milking cows. Cows have a precise internal clock, and they know when it's time to be milked. The ones at the dairy would get in line, by pecking order, and stand outside the milking shed waiting. Each one knew where its place was. If you took too long, the cows would actually start leaking out milk on their own." Mr. G had a brother, Franz, who had notoriously bad eyesight. “During the war, when his number came up for the draft, he went in,” Bell remembered. “Just as soon as they tested his sight, they rejected him and sent him home. But Franz, he wasn't the type to just sit back, so he volunteered for non-combat positions in the Army. Even though he couldn't fight because of his eyes, he could help." Capt. Robert Johnson also has fond memories of the dairy. He once recounted a tale he remembered well regarding the old dairy. While there were plenty of female cows to provide the milk, the dairy only had one bull, a gentle being named Dolly Valor Knight. Johnson recalled an accommodation that had to be made for the bull, who was small indeed for his breed. “They built a platform for him to mount, so that he could perform his job,” said Johnson.
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