By Alfreda Bowden Clark, writer, Lake Effect
Carmen Gill and Tangia Smikle are residents of Lake Lorna Doone. Their neighborhood and the park near their home is named after one of the earliest property owner’s daughter’s favorite novel, Lorna Doone, written by English author, Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869.
Carmen and Tangia reside in the home that was once owned by their parents Clemietine McClendon and John Henry Hill. The Hills purchased the home in 1967 when Carmen was nine and Tangia was six. They have two older sisters Maxine and Alvenia who previously graduated from high school, prior to the family’s move to West Lakes. The family was led by loving parents that were rather protective and sheltered the girls in their familia bond.
Carmen describes herself growing up as a tomboy that was also a bit reserved. The family moved after Carmen was in the third grade and it was quite an adjustment for her because she came from a predominately African-American community. West Lakes, was integrated and fitting in took some time.
Tangia had a very different experience. She only knew integration. Her parents and older sisters understood segregation and had certain concerns but they allowed her to participate in sleepovers with her friends from Rock Lake Elementary.
Carmen and Tangia went on to Jones’ High School which was a family requirement from their father. After graduating from high school, Carmen went on to FTU (which is now UCF). She majored in Communications and worked for an attorney’s office, then served on staff for the Clerk of Courts for 31 years. Carmen’s son Alex, created the original design logo for West Lakes. Tangia went on to the military and participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She lived in Tennessee for awhile but always knew that she would return to care for her parents. Tangia has worked with FedEx since 1987 and has one very special daughter, MyLynn.
We are seeking stories from residents to share the history and legacy of West Lakes in a memorable coffee table book. If you are interested in participating please contact West Lakes Partnership at 407-955-4243 or info@ westlakespartnership.org ■