The "Vanishing Culture Project" was a Florida Humanities Council grant to capture the oral histories of longtime residents of Cortez. The project also produced several stations about the folkways of the fishermen of Cortez that are placed around the village and a mural painted on the side of a prominent fish house in the community.
"When you go into another man's territory you've got to fish like he does. You've got to learn to fish like they fish or you won't catch nothin'. Everybody learns. Every community fishes different."
Albert "Junie" Mora was born on March 3, 1930, to parents Albert and Estella Mora. He grew up in a family with a rich fishing heritage, with his grandfather, Joe Mora, being a notable figure who lived on an island north of the Skyway, known as Joe's Island. Junie himself followed in his family's footsteps and became a fisherman, a profession he shared with his brothers Virgil and Joseph. Junie married Judy Perry, originally from West Virginia, and they had three sons: Scotty, Mark, and Tracy. His childhood was filled with memories of playing with friends who, like him, grew up to be fishermen. Some of these friends included Popeye Lewis, Robert Lewis, Wally Lewis, Junie Guthrie, Richard Roberts, Jill Capo, Wyman Coursey, Walter Bell, Buster Bell, Calvin Bell, and Jap Adams.
Scope and Content Note
This interview with Albert "Junie" Mora, conducted by the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage as part of the "Vanishing Culture Project," provides a rich oral history of the fishing culture in Florida. The interview covers a range of topics, including Junie's personal and family history, his experiences growing up in a fishing community, and the changes he has witnessed over the years. The interview begins with Junie sharing details about his family, including his parents, wife, and children. He then discusses his grandfather, Joe Mora, and the island named after him. Junie also reminisces about his childhood friends, many of whom became fishermen, and shares anecdotes about the challenges they faced, such as dealing with mosquitos. Junie also talks about his early experiences in fishing, including working for Tink and the joy he found in the work, regardless of the pay. The interview also touches on his family's mealtime traditions and the professions of his siblings. Overall, the interview provides a valuable insight into the life and experiences of a fisherman in Florida, contributing to the understanding of the state's fishing heritage and culture.
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