The Gift. Edisto Beach 1931

“When oonuh dey yuh, oonuh dey home”—When you are here, you are home. – Gullah saying

Lee Fishburne House Edisto Beach SC

Lee-Fishburne Shack, Edisto Beach, SC

This is a story about a gift.

The year was 1931 when a newly married young couple from Sumpter set off on their honeymoon. The road to Edisto Beach from the mainland was a long, arduous one. They crossed to the island on a one lane wooden bridge, built close to the water, that had only recently been completed; it had taken seven years to finish. Before that, you waited for the boatman to ferry you over the Dawhoo waterway. I love the story of nearby “Whooping Island,” called that because one ‘whooped’ to get the boatman’s attention. (And hoped he’d return for you!)

“To get to the beach, one had to open and close seven cow-pasture gates and travel by a deep-rutted dirt road”, their daughter tells me. She sent me a photograph of the little house, and told me the following story: Arriving at the sea finally, the newlyweds prepared to honeymoon in the small ‘shack’ built by their parents, which which was simply “a shelter from the elements”, she explained. Simply love and bright clear starlit skies of this island would have to get them through. This was the Lee-Fishburne shack, the first and only little house on the beach then. It was the beginning of Edisto Beach, as a family summer resort.

The newlyweds were greeted at when they arrived by Gullah native islanders, whose ancestors were slaves on the Sea Island Cotton Plantations. They brought the gift of a live chicken, for their supper.

The story inspired my small watercolor painting. The idea of this hospitable exchange between cultures and neighbors, which has been my own experience eighty years later on this island, my home near the sea, is a story worth repeating.

I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

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Posted in Arts & Culture, beauty, creativity, Food, Gullah, South Carolina History, sustainable living, travel
2 comments on “The Gift. Edisto Beach 1931
  1. I love your watercolors. I want to see more here!

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Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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