Retro Charlotte

Jonquils from a pickup truck

Jonquil Man Returns: It's spring. The calendar may not say so, but most Charlotteans know that when William Pride parks his truck on Morehead St. near Covenant Presbyterian Church and begins to sell jonquils to homeward-bound folks in the afternoons, summer can't be far off. How long has he been selling flowers around here? "Well," he says, "you can figure it. I'm 57, and I've seen selling them since I was big enough to count money." 1966
Jonquil Man Returns: It's spring. The calendar may not say so, but most Charlotteans know that when William Pride parks his truck on Morehead St. near Covenant Presbyterian Church and begins to sell jonquils to homeward-bound folks in the afternoons, summer can't be far off. How long has he been selling flowers around here? "Well," he says, "you can figure it. I'm 57, and I've seen selling them since I was big enough to count money." 1966 The Charlotte Observer

William Pride and his flowers were such a part of the landscape that the Observer wrote about his death in October, 1985. He was 75.

Charlotte Loses a Symbol of Spring, William Pride

Charlotte's daffodil man will be missing next spring, and springtime will seem less cheerful. William Pride had vended thousands of flowers downtown every year for more than six decades. To countless Charlotteans - even generations of them - the sight of the friendly fellow in overalls selling bunches of his fresh-picked yellow or white daffodils was a certain harbinger of spring.

William "Badger" Pride died Monday at Charlotte Memorial Hospital, where he had been ill for several weeks. He was 75. ... "He did love the selling of the flowers and the mingling of the people. It was so much a part of him," said his son, William E. Pride, 44. His father, son of Alex Pride and Louise Lawrence Pride, was born July 5, 1910, and was reared on a Margaret Wallace Road farm east of Charlotte. For much of his life he lived on his own 10-acre farm on Idlewild Road, where he, his wife of 43 years, Annie, and their four children raised flowers, watermelons and vegetables. His wife died Christmas Day, 1982.

"I been selling flowers ever since I was big enough to count money. About 12 years old when I first went out and sold 'em," he told The Observer in spring 1984. He also vended other crops from the back of a car or pickup throughout the summer - mums, hyacinths, vegetables - at favorite spots on East Morehead, McDowell, Providence Road or South Kings Drive. He was proud of his hard work, his independence and his four children. The two girls, Gwendolyn and Annie, became teachers, he liked to tell folks. And he enjoyed his land, chewing tobacco and easy conversation with customers. Survivors include sons, William E. Pride, James Pride; daughters, Gwendolyn Bostic of Chester, S.C., Annie Turner of Detroit; brothers, James Couser of High Point, David Couser of Pittsburgh; eight grandchildren and one great- grandchild.

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