Before we bid farewell to Quitman and head on to Perry, we need to backtrack a bit and experience two of the memorable vacations we had while living in Quitman.
In the Spring of 1951, I overheard Dad talking on the phone with his Minister friend, Rev. Frank Nalls. Brother Nalls had been named by the South Georgia Conference to be Superintendent of the newly created Conference Center, Epworth-By-The-Sea on Saint Simons Island, near Brunswick, Georgia. The Center had opened in 1950 and Dad was talking about our family going there for a vacation! We had never had a vacation- the only times away from home had been visits to grandparents and Dad’s brothers and sisters.
Dad got all the information he needed and a time was set for us to make the trip!Pets were not allowed so we had to leave Tippy and Tyke at home; our faithful Custodian, Mr. George Gunter, would feed them.
When we arrived at Epworth, the scenery was breathtaking; it was on the banks of the Frederica river and there was a new drawbridge just to its left end, connecting the Island to Brunswick.
We were to stay in the newly completed Layman’s Lodge, a long single story motel-like structure, paid for by contributions of the laymen of the Conference. It did not have air conditioning, but at night there was a great breeze from the river. All night, the raising and lowering of the drawbridge was just about the only sound heard. It was serene and restful!
Of course, Marvin and i were not there to rest; no! we made friends with Donald Nalls, the son of the Superintendent, and he happily showed us all the interesting places to play; the Tabby house, and my favorite, climbing down the river banks and squelching barefooted in the mud, hunting fiddler crabs and also collecting rocks of various sizes and colors. Dad was none to thrilled with a trunk full of rocks, but he bore it well!
It was early days at the Center; it had not yet found the popularity it now has and so we had the run of the grounds in perfect safety, day and night.
There was a rather small frame house on the grounds which was called the Bishop’s House and Bishop Arthur J. Moore stayed there when he came to the Center. Behind that house was a swimming pool and we were allowed to use and enjoy it since the Bishop was not there at that time. And enjoy it we did!
There was a brick office and dining hall close to the Lodge and in it we encountered some of the best food before or since! Mrs. Cason, the Dietician, really knew how to cook to please! This was our first experience with melt in your mouth yeast rolls and Dad kept asking for refills! But oh, the shrimp, the fried shrimp! This new taste sensation thrilled us all! I don’t remember what else she served during that trip, but those shrimp really stand out after all these 60 years!
Church members in Quitman, the Coopers, offered to let us vacation at their Carabelle, Florida, cottage, Kinfolks Hill; we joyfully accepted and packed the car with bed linens, food, the dogs, Daisy, our nursemaid and set out.
When we arrived we discovered that the cottage was one large room with several small sleeping nooks along one side, a large screened porch used for cooking and eating and rainy day activities, and the bathroom was outside! Another new experience! But that cottage was situated directly across a paved road from the Gulf Bay and there was a paved walkway leading down to the road and then to the water. The Bay was not deep water; we could wade out a long distance before the water was more than ankle deep.
The only creatures with whom we shared the beach and Bay were the crabs! We loved chasing them over the sand and into the water; in short, that area was perfect for small “city” children and their nursemaid!
Later, we got poles with nets on one end and ran around scooping up the crabs and dropping them into a bucket. On one such trip, when my Grandmother Shippey and her Sister Zellie Bush were with us, they worked to prepare the crabs that we brought in and at one point there were 100 deviled crabs spread out on the drainboard, waiting to be enjoyed!
Those were truly halcyon days!
Next time, ” On To Perry”!