Monday, October 24, 2011

Georgolina Part II: Savannah Sampler and St. Simon's Sojourn

Following the fabulous Charleston experience, BikerBuck was in a hurry to take the waters of Savannah and also to wrap up the requisite  kilometers for Georgolina.  Arriving in Savannah in mid afternoon on  Friday 10/21, a quick decision was made to forego an overnight there and to do the TIVO version of a Savannah tour.

Hence a trolley tour was the perfect solution.

It was not, however, the perfect platform for photography. Thus the Garden of Good and Evil place remains a pleasant blur in mind and camera.  Nonetheless I was humbled by the history and preservation efforts in that town and perhaps one day Biker and Mrs. Buck may have a chance to go there together and really savor the sights.

Don't Shoot!
With daylight beginning to excuse itself, BB fairly raced down to Brunswick, GA and on to St. Simons Island with the mission of revisiting the scene of the Buckster's most elaborate teenage prank.

Confessions of a teenage dufus.

BikerBuck has been very clear about his attachment to Georgia and South Carolina and his lucid recollections of places and events - the "hallowed ground" of his grade 10 and 11 years.  As it happens, Georgia's petite St. Simon's Island and it's little sister, Sea Isle, are particularly memorable and required a visit (and the requisite bike ride) to refresh, remember and relinquish the memory of the Young Life outing to The Cloister during Thanksgiving weekend of 1958.

The Palmetto is the state symbol of South Carolina. It's generous use on Sea Island, GA is just one more ingredient in BB's "Georgolina" concoction.

Coastal Islands are way flat. The lamppost design is meant to be part of the "understated elegance" of the Islands' real estate developments in the last couple of decades.  Yeah.

Now here's where they combine the practical with the absurd.  As I rode past this bastion of Coastal higher education, I was treated to the sound of a barrage of shotgun fire.  Fact is, it instantly took me back to a  Saturday afternoon near Aiken in 1959 when my girlfriend's father and brother invited me to go quail hunting with them and some other friendly chaps.  I had only meager experience with a shotgun, but I got into the spirit of the hunt and actually bagged a couple of quail - OK maybe they were chickens - it was a long time ago.

I have one or two other recollections of my girlfriend, in golf course settings, but those stories shall sleep with the fishes - if you get my drift.

Honest to Pete, BB remembers the '58 bus ride over the causeway and the boat dock on Sea Island.  There were no fancy homes there then.

OK, so here's the story.  In Aiken SC and many other Christian centric communities in the 50's, there was a very popular organization called Young Life.  Several dozen of us would attend the bi-monthly meetings in the evening at one of the adult director's home.  The meetings were a great diversion from studying at home and was a chance for boys and girls to hang out together in a well supervised and wholesome setting.

An optional event was a retreat to The Cloister over Thanksgiving Weekend, when the room rates were at rock bottom and the kids had the Friday-Sunday time to fill.  And so we piled into a bus in Aiken and they drove us down to the Georgia coast and we all settled in to the beautiful Cloister Hotel.

Honestly I remember the place as beautiful then as it is today.  Mind you, a substantial community of elegant town homes and villas has been developed at the destination since 1958.

So we all checked in and the program started and we guys hung in there and did our best to behave and the girls were all proper and responsive to the leaders' program yadda yadda yadda.  That was Friday.

The girls were in rooms with little bitty windows, but had balconies, so they could hang out and the guys would call up to them and all that.  The only time that the boys and girls were together was in the meetings, and chapel.  The chaperones had been trained in nearby Paris Island as I recall.

By Saturday afternoon the boys were getting bored as hellllO, I mean heck.  After supper, my two roommates and I decided to slip out and walk into the village on St. Simon's and see what kind of mischief we could get into.  Well, the aforementioned chaperones positioned themselves near the bridge and immediately turned us around and sent us back to our room. I'm not certain of this, but I think they actually locked us in.

I kid you not, that is our actual room on the second floor next to the tree.  The windows then were wood frame and we swung them open and escaped to the roof.  I remember crawling over that Spanish tile and managing to get down to the ground on the roof's drain pipe.

We were smart. We didn't go near the bridge.  But we DID go near the bus drivers.  They were bored and feeling cooped up themselves, so we gave them some dough and sent them into the village to get us some booze. Now we're cookin'!

The drivers came back with the hooch and the three of us teens polished it off behind the swimming pool area just as the meeting was letting out.  Time to parr-tee!

Well, the girls were shocked and the other guys didn't know what to make of us.  I tried to get the party into high gear by jumping off the diving board into the pool fully dressed, but all that did was get me dragged out by an adult and rounded up with the other two and sent to out room to sober up while they called our parents to come get us.

We managed to get ourselves together well enough to talk them out of calling our folks.  Each of us was given a task to demonstrate our apology to the group and seek forgiveness. In all honesty, the Young Life folks handled it very well and to this day I wish I had not been so stupid.

This nice guest was out for a walk and noticed me taking the photos of the hotel.  We introduced ourselves and it turns out that she is an architect by the name of Jenny who lives on Kauai!  

And now, good readers, you have learned more that you could possibly care to know about BikerBuck's teen years in the Deep South. The good news is that I'm pau with the autobiography-therapy that my analyst put me on and now I can just go back to being my old broken down caption-writer self. Thanks for your support.

Georgolina indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment