I’ve never been one for neatness – in my dress, in my handwriting, in my housekeeping, in my prose. I blame this lackadaisical attitude on the South’s losing what a few of our stubborn old folks still insist on calling “the War Between the States.” Don Doyle’s fascinating study New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860-1910 details Charlestonians’ postbellum refusal to do business with Northerners, unlike the folks in Atlanta and Nashville, who resumed trading with the victors and flourished. Meanwhile, on the coasts, we sat around with empty pockets talking about the good ol’ days while the paint peeled from the clapboard of our houses. With no money to keep up appearances, the heat aiding and abetting our lethargy, we became tolerant of a certain sleepy seediness. There are many exceptions, of course, but I am not one of them.
I prefer hodgepodge to uniformity, black-eyed susans to manicured lawns, the eastside to the westside of Folly Island (though the westside also has delightful pockets of funkitude). Although you constantly hear how Folly has changed – and it has – many homes and lots tucked away on the east side from Second to Ninth retain a rustic tinge – a vibe I have come to call paradoxically rural Folly.
Here’s a brief tour
Now that the majority of the mainland has been barred from the island, things are extremely quiet, no ear-splitting sirens, no whooping and hollering, no thumping bass notes blasting from climate killing jacked-up trucks.