Floride Moore Gardner Alumni Scholarship
Established by friends of Floride Moore Gardner, Class of 1936, this scholarship is intended for education majors of GC. Dr. Gardner remains very active at Georgia College and in the Milledgeville community. Because of her dedication to GC, she was awarded the Alumni Service Award in 1982.
Below is an article about Floride Moore Gardner by Pam Beer for the Women of Interest Column in the Baldwin Bulletin.
Women of Interest: Floride Moore Gardner
Every community has them--the people about whom fond stories are told and retold long after they've passed from the mortal plane. Floride Gardner will be one such remembered person in Milledgeville, remembered for her indomitable spirit, gracious wit and unceasing dedication to preserving the history of the place she has called home for almost 90 years.
"It's important to remember your history because it's your life. I'm one person but this town has a life and I'm part of that life," said Floride, approaching her 90th birthday. "I know it because I've lived a majority of my life here. Some people would say that I never really left."
Born Floride Moore to parents May Allen Moore and father Charles Leighton Moore, Floride embodied the joining of two old Milledgeville families. Floride's grandfather, Jerry N. Moore, started The Union-Recorder newspaper when the Federal Recorder merged with another newspaper to become the UR. Floride's mother was an Allen, and was the oldest child and daughter of the founders of Allen's Invalid Home.
Floride, who said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, said her life centered on her going to school. She began kindergarten at the Peabody School when she was just four years old, and continued straight through, finishing the 11th grade at age 15 and then enrolling in what was then called the Georgia State College for Women. Back then, Peabody was a demonstration school for GC, a place where teachers honed their craft.
"I knew about student teachers. We knew when they were doing well, and when they weren't. We always behaved strictly if we knew one of the credit (main) teachers was coming, or the principal," Floride said. "I was part of the teaching process."
Because so many college students were perfecting their teaching skills, a variety of subjects were offered from the first grade on, such as music, physical education, home economics and Maypole dancing.
She remembers that it was not until she was working on her master's degree did she have the opportunity to go to school with boys. She also did not have the chance to go to school with African Americans, who had separate schools.
"One of the best things that has happened is that we moved to a single school system for black and white people," Floride said.
After graduating from GSCW in 1936 with dual majors in elementary education and home economics, Floride taught in Shady Dale, Cochran, then Brunswick. After receiving her master's degree from the University of Tennessee, she taught briefly at the University of Alabama before moving on to the University of Georgia, where she taught home economics education for 15 years. She completed her doctorate in New York City, taught at UGA for another year, and then taught at the Teacher's College for several years. At age 46 or 47 (she can't remember which), having returned to Milledgeville, she married Paul E. Gardner, the manager of Atlanta Gas Light Company.
Even having spent so many years away from Milledgeville, it was still home for Floride, who had never voted outside of Baldwin County. She has witnessed many changes over the years.
"Milledgeville was small enough and slow enough that everybody knew each other, black and white, and knew where they lived," Floride said of her childhood days. "If any child misbehaved, someone would say, for instance, 'Floride, your mama wouldn't like you doing that. You'd better go on home now.'"
Passing time brought change, as Walter Williams developed Carrington Woods and other neighborhoods, expanding the boundaries of the city. The old days of Mr. Barnes' personally-owned streetcar that transported people back and forth to Central State on the railroad tracks that ran through town gave way to a bustling downtown where Georgia College is "expanding so it is just eating up the town." New homes are being constructed all over the county, as Floride discovers on her travels weekly with friends.
"I like to ride around Milledgeville a lot to see what's going on and where they're building things," she explained. "I don't know know where the people are coming from that they're building all these houses for. We don't have a new industry."
Floride is fond of saying that she has boasted in the past sharing Milledgeville with five generations of family. She does have five generations buried in Memory hill Cemetery. Although she will be buried in West View Cemetery next to her late husband, her name and important dates will adorn a stone marker in Memory Hill, along with those of her siblings, because she understands the importance of leaving a path for future generations to follow as they search for their forebears.
Her love of history and her understanding of the importance of preserving what was for the generations that will follow served her well when, in 1994 she was appointed to a committee to place markers on unmarked Memory Hill graves with death dates prior to 1939. Ten years of effort resulted in 350 grave markers, and an indexing of the graves in Memory Hill. in 1998 Gardner, along with history enthusiasts Susan and Hugh Harrington, edited a book entitled "Historic Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville Georgia, 1804-1997."
Floride, who exercises several times a week at the Wellness Center (and who takes no medication because she has no illnesses, she says), is continuing to pour her soul into the community she has considered home for approaching a century. Although her work took her away from Milledgeville for almost 40 years, she returned to contribute her strands to her family's threads that are interwoven into the fabric that makes the history of the area she loves.