Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

February 27, 2012

St. Simons Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

The air still had the aroma.  The wind still seemed the same.  The beach had changed very little.  And my mind began to recall so many happy days in this place.  I stood on the pier gazing across the water and the beach to the lighthouse.  That truly ignited my memories.

That lighthouse — certainly unchanged!  It has stood since 1872 and is still in operation.  It is the oldest brick structure on the island.  It was a replacement for the first lighthouse that was built in 1808 which was destroyed by the Confederate Army.  There are 129 steps you can climb for a spectacular view of the entire island.  But . . . these legs won’t carry me that far these days!

The other end of the island provides so much history.  Christ Church . . . the congregation traces its origin to 1776.  And the John and Charles Wesley memorial.  And don’t overlook Fort Frederica.

The beautiful canopy of live oaks continue to adorn the island . . . and live oaks live hundreds of years.  Just imagine . . . some of the trees covered me as a boy when I played beneath them.  Imagine the stories these trees could tell!

Oh, much had changed!  It had been over forty years since I had visited this place of my boyhood, teenage years, and as a young adult.  But landmarks, streets, and so much had not changed.  There was no possibility of getting lost — especially around the pier, the lighthouse, and the small town — which is now called the village because of so many  commercial establishments in other parts of the developed island.

But it was St. Simons Island!  Some things would never change for me — at least the geography and certain locations.  The bridges to the island across the marshlands and rivers are now modern concrete bridges — not the old wooden bridges from which I would fish.  There are now some tourist shops, and many, many restaurants in the village.  It is still small — but not the small shopping area that was the life of the island.  I could recognize many of the old buildings — but only a couple of stores that remained in the buildings where we would shop . . . the tackle shop and the hardware store.

The pier had been replaced — but on the exact spot of the old wooded pier. That pier in yesteryear was a wonderful place for catching crabs that would later be cleaned and boiled in the yard and not in the house. Looking at the beach, beside the pier toward the lighthouse, I could see myself playing in my mind’s eye. There were so many memories from my teenage years and as a young adult when I would visit there — the playing with stingrays (read about this in another blog).   I can never forget becoming old enough to come with friends and no adult supervision!

Were there any good changes?  Without a doubt!  The water was not the same — the drinking water, I mean.  I recall the sulfur water . . . it smelled.  You smelled it when you bathed . . . you almost gagged when you tried to drink it . . . and brushing your teeth — forget it! I found myself not only wanting to recapture many of those past days . . .  but perhaps being a little envious of those who live in this wonderful place all year.

St. Simons Island will be one of those romantic and idyllic places at the top of my list.  Such memories!


(You might be interested in an earlier blog about St. Simons Island.  Stingrays and Blimps


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