Family, and friends of my parents, will have special interest in this post (of course, anyone is welcome to read and enjoy!).
I was finally able to visit Beaufort, SC on the Atlantic coast, where my parents lived when they were first married (1956-'59). Better, I was able to go there when Dad was going, so he could guide. He was accompanying Jeff and Libby, for a weekend meeting Jeff has there; so the four of us explored the area. Beaufort County is specially marked by three features: river channels, islands, and a third feature, the interface between those first two, which morphs back and forth each day. At low tide, this third kind of area is the revealed mudflats of the salt marshes: not particularly pretty, and smells a bit. But at high tide these flats are under water, with only the attractive tall green seagrasses identifying them as something other than river beds.
In Dad's book, he describes their arrival following the honeymoon. It was Mom's first time coming to Beaufort, and it was at low tide:
"Beaufort is a picturesque town on an island fronting a wide bay on the curving Beaufort River. Beaufort county is made up of 66 islands separated by tidal streams and rivers. They were arriving late in the day. As they left the mainland and approached the Whale Branch Bridge across marshy flats bisected by a deep channel, the sun was setting low behind them. They were crossing this branch of the Coosawhatchie River at low tide. And instead of the bordering tall sea grass being immersed in lovely flood, tops bending with the current or breeze, the ebbed tide exposed mud flats stretching down to the water in the main channel, backed on the distant far side by a raised bank of live oak trees heavily swathed with grey Spanish Moss. Nothing else and no one else was in sight. As they crossed the bridge the highway ahead was swallowed by the thick trees and waning light beyond. Marlene was quiet and peering down the road. Dale thought, 'I wonder if she is thinking, "Where in the world is Dale taking me?"' After they were settled in the charming town, Dale asked her if she remembered that approach to Beaufort, and if so, what she was thinking. She laughed and said, 'I remember the exact moment and was thinking, "Where on earth is Dale taking me?"'"
Picturesque Beaufort. The point of land extending to the right,
and just beyond the edge of this pic is, naturally, "The Point."
(No, this picture is not mine! Ripped it from the internet.)
Mom and Dad first lived on The Point, in a two-room apartment on the first floor of a large older house. The house:
The two windows on the front, and three on the side, look out from the two rooms they had. Their entrance was a small porch (barely discernable at far right) beyond that third side window:
A few other shots from The Point, the neighborhood where Mom and Dad rented that little two-room apartment:
Map of Beaufort.
1, 2, and 3 mark the places Mom and Dad lived. The first (1), on The Point, is the two-room apartment pictured above. Bay Street is "downtown" and the main commercial street. "C Bldg" is, obviously I suppose, the church building. The Beaufort Hospital, where Jeff and Scott were born, is at lower left on the map.
Just a few years before Dad came to Beaufort, the church there had built a meeting place. They built it so that it would later be easily converted to serve as a house, and built a small structure to its left which held two classrooms. A few years later, they did indeed build a more typical church building next door. Here though is the original building, in which the church met as long as Mom and Dad were there:
After just a few months in the two-room apartment on The Point, they moved into a rental house, fully furnished (2, on the map). The current fence and accompanying shrubbery were not there at the time.
Jeff was born while they lived in this house.
And here's the Bay Street store where Mom was picking up a few things on Tuesday, after giving birth to Jeff on Sunday (although the building no longer houses the same business). Dad's description follows the photo:
"She was feeling so well on Tuesday morning the doctor said she could go home. For going home, she had packed a pretty blouse and skirt, heels and nylons, and a light-weight girdle, knowing there might be some bulges she would not care to have evident. She did her hair, dressed, got her baby and walked out of the hospital in high heels, looking just smashing.
She and Dale went to a store on Bay Street to pick up some baby things, and she was proudly carrying her new son, attracting a lot of attention. When people asked how old the baby was, they were shocked that she had so recently delivered and here she was out shopping. They were adamant in their advice to get home and get off her feet. It had not occurred to her that this might be pushing things, so she purchased what she had picked out already, chose to forgo further purchases, and went happily home."
In addition to preaching for the church in Beaufort, Dad drove out to a small black church on St. Helena Island each Sunday afternoon to preach. They had originally been meeting in a tomato shed (it was very much a tomato growing area), until one of the women decided a church ought to have a building and she could do something about it. So she built a small building for them. This is where Dad preached for them each Sunday afternoon:
Beyond that little church building was the most seaward island, Hunting Island. It was a place Dad went fishing, and also the location of a landmark they visited on various occasions:
Shrimp boat in a channel among the salt marshes just before Hunting Island:
After some length of time in their second residence, another house (3 on the map) became available at substantial savings in rent, though it was not furnished. Part of that savings provided a few very basic furnishings for the house. Scott was born during their time in this house.
Eventually, they moved away from Beaufort, to Jesup, Georgia.