We pile into Heidi’s shiny black Toyota 4Runner in Jacksonville and off we go, zooming across state lines, first Florida, then Georgia, and finally South Carolina, our voices twanging to Doo Wop tunes of the 50s and 60s: All Good Vibrations as miles melt away.
Bouncing along with our luggage are my sisters, Janice and Jean and our daughters, my niece Heidi and daughter Crista, who have masterminded a Mother’s Day retreat for mothers and aunts.
Waiting for us in Charleston are historical venues and shops, restaurants oozing Southern charm, and a rented house in Mt. Pleasant on an island close to Charleston where for four days we’ll relax, exchange stories from the past and enjoy the sites.
There is a separate bedroom for each sister/aunt and a blue attic loft with two single beds and play table and chair, a little-girl hideaway for Crista and Heidi, wives and mothers themselves.
We enter the city in a downpour: flooded streets and a 4-day weather forecast fit for ducks. (I’m talking over a foot of water in the streets grazing the belly of our car!) Fortunately the weather system soon bubbles away into the Atlantic, and we roam the city without umbrellas. A miracle!
Property taxes were calculated by the number of feet on frontage of the house. Thus, modest homes like the one above were narrow and tall. Fancy, opulent ones were also long, narrow and usually three stories high.
Window boxes offer extra garden space for historic homes that don’t have large front lawns. Simply glorious on our first cloudy day.
Charleston with many Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, along with Jewish synagogues, is called the Holy City because of its large number of houses of worship.
How We Saw the City: Horse-drawn Carriage and Rickshaw Ride
Our storyteller/guide with a salty Southern drawl says, “Our horse, Big John, has been imported from an Amish farm in Ohio.” We believe him though we don’t buy his line that he’s originally from The Bronx.
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Our handsome bicycler hunk muses, “These ladies look loaded. What’s my tip gonna be?” (Charleston Rickshaw Company)
The former plain girls’ stash of jewelry and scarves from the Charleston Market on Market Street
Mt. Pleasant Mall on Mother’s Day
“Are these my colors? my sisters ask each other . . . Then I hear: “Remember when we played dress up with Mame Goss’s hats? Or Wedding under the Willows?” Ha ha!
Time to Eat
Mother’s Day brunch at Five Loaves in Mt. Pleasant with (below) a clearly scripted reminder to reflect and share our bounty:
A magnolia bloom (with Janice), foxglove stem and a peacock about to unfurl fan feathers . . . in the gorgeous Magnolia Gardens
A Smidgeon of History from Charleston SC, A Photographic Portrait
Founded by English colonists in 1670, Patriots fought–and won–the first decisive battle of the Revolutionary War here [Charleston] . . . .
Decades of growing strife between the North and South erupted at Fort Sumter in April 1861, launching the American Civil War:
Four cadets from the City’s military college, The Citadel, were among the soldiers who fired the first shots of the Civil War across the Charleston Harbor.
The city has also sustained more than one fire and an earthquake.
Research shows that sibling relationships are the longest-lasting relationships any of us will have in our lifetime. In the natural order of things, our parents will die before we do. We can lose partners and spouses through death or divorce. Typically, our siblings remain.
Road trips, siblings – your comments welcome!
Coming next: My Dad’s Bachelor Trip to Florida