Village People

Thank you, Anne Marie, Catherine, and Jimmy Hagood for your grace and favor including us in the village, on the hill, in the river, and on the beach. It’s always an honor to be included.  Always

 

There used to be a good number of them

Small summertime villages where Lowcountry folks went to escape oppressive heat, to ward off summertime miasma, meaning mosquitoes and disease, with ever present sea breezes, and to laze on the water

Most of these summer village perched on bluffs by rivers near the ocean

Some were destroyed by hurricanes

Some were destroyed by war

Some were destroyed by encroaching developments

Edingsville on Edisto

St. Helenaville on St. Helena

Legareville on John’s Island

Secessionville on James Island

Rockville on Wadmalaw

Gathering places

Collections of houses

Wide halls

High ceilings

Cross ventilation

Broad piazzas

Southerly and easterly facing

Catching prevalent breezes

Today, only the village of Rockville remains in its original incarnation

Founded in the 1780s

img_9169
Typical Rockville home: broad piazza facing the water

 

Rockville is located on the southern tip of Wadmalaw Island on the Bohicket Creek which dumps into the North Edisto River.  Breezes from the Atlantic Ocean keep Rockville consistently cooler than Charleston

About ten degrees cooler

No kidding

Air conditioning not always needed

Heavily shaded lots

From Cherry Point at one end to Adams Creek at the other, the Village of Rockville contains a collection of old houses, Grace Chapel (Episcopal/Anglican), Rockville Presbyterian Church, and the Sea Island Yacht Club

One of my wife’s best friends from childhood grew up there. She spent a lot of time there with her friend running wild and free

Thanks to our pals Hagoods we are included in some wonderful times in the Village

The Hagoods’ house is the oldest in the Village

One and a half stories tall built on a tabby foundation.

Tabby, too, is a thing of the past

That ancient building material, concrete really, made with burnt oyster shells slaked with lime, ash, and more oyster shells.  Allegedly taught to early Spanish settlers by the Indians and then the later English settlers who corrupted the Spanish term tapia to make it tabby, it stands the test of time

It’s endemic to coastal South Carolina and Georgia

And, it’s been the foundation of our friends’ family place since the mid 1700s

img_9159
How firm a foundation

 

Built to last

All of the old houses in Rockville were built to last

My distant cousin, the late Episcopal Bishop of South Carolina, Albert Sidney Thomas, retired to Rockville and owned one of the houses on the water

Wish he’d left it to my side of his family

So what’s so great about Rockville?

Well, everything

The breezes from the Atlantic

Storms across the marsh

Competitive porch sitting

Rocking in a hammock

Watching the boats go by

Jumping off the dock

Visiting

Tubing

Water skiing

 

img_9157
Tubing in the gloaming

 

Delicious meals from Dawn to Dusk

Ham biscuits

Grits and bacon

Frogmore stew

Ribs and ‘cue

Slaw

Homemade ice cream

Not worrying about where the children are

Trips to Deveaux Bank, a state-owned bird sanctuary, where the beach is perfection and pretty much deserted, excepting most weekends in May and June

It’s where the North Edisto River meets the Atlantic Ocean

img_9171
It don’t get no better

 

But, don’t dare bring a dog with you on the boat

Dogs are not allowed on that fragile sandbar

Even if you think you are entitled to bring the dog as a service animal

We don’t care if your diddy told you he went there when he was young and dogs were allowed

According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, twenty-five (25%) percent of Atlantic brown pelicans on the East Coast nest there

Twenty-five (25%) per cent

A quarter

Of

All

The

Brown

Pelicans

On

The

East

Coast

A quarter

They were on the brink of extinction fifty years ago

Don’t call it comeback

Been here for years

In addition there are

Royal terns

Least terns

Wilson’s plover

Sandwich terns

Black skimmers

Tricolored heron

Snowy egrets

Great egrets

Gull-billed terns

Willets

Oystercatchers

Ibis

Sea gulls, the laughing kind, that swarm over any human gathering with food

John James Audubon would have loved it

But, you just come on out with your pooch and ruin it for everyone else, please

All day hanging out certainly is the reason to go to Deveaux

Ok…may be it gets a little better

Collecting shells

Building drip castles

Staying cool in the water

Walking around the island but not crossing into the bird sanctuary

Watching Atlantic bottle nosed dolphins strand feeding

Looking for that turtle who swims in the slough

Eating fried yard bird

Devouring boiled peanuts

Applying lots of sunscreen

Actually….it gets better every time

Catching up with whomever lands there on a weekend

It’s always like old home week on Deveaux

Leaving the beach better than you found it

Packing out trash

Laughing

Talking

Telling stories

Basking in the love of friends

Realizing how good we have it

It’s one of the last bastions of locals that has yet to be overrun by crowds of bachelorette parties, snooping hoards, and the shrill voiced from off

 

img_9705
Wetter is better

At night, it’s always fun walking down to the Hall (the Sea Island Yacht Club) to see what’s happening there

Walking to visit other folks who live in the ‘ville

Or who are down for the weekend

There’s no trespassing as everyone knows the area between the houses and the water is meant for strolling

The Rockville Regatta held every year in August marks the end of the summer regatta season in the Lowcountry. It’s the last hurrah of Summer

Since 1890, that annual boating event has attracted hundreds of locals to observe on land and hundreds more to raft up in boozy flotillas on the water near the race course to be harassed by the local wild life officers for public drunkenness and not having enough life preservers on the boat

“There is no way you’re going to Rockville,” many a parent has said to a child that first weekend in August

Behaving badly well into our 30’s or 40’s

But, there’s still the party at the Hall

If you’re a Rockville type of person, you get it

If I have to explain that, then you’ll never get it and you’ll never be

In recent years, there have been additions of pools to some of the houses

In recent years, folks from off have scooped up some of the houses

The once large shrimping fleet has been greatly reduced over the years, but Cherry Point remains a wonderful place to get local swimps

The current Mayor is a local attorney who grew up in Rockville

He’s my age

So is one of the other Council Members

Their task is to make sure nothing changes in Rockville

img_9190
Grace Chapel

Church at Grace Chapel harkens to an earlier age

The Altar Guild adorning the altar with cuttings from those hydrangeas growing under the oak tree

Windows open

Overhead fans

Handheld fans

No more than three verses sung for any given hymn

Sermons to be short and sweet

Dogs wandering in during the sermon. All creatures great and small

Ditching out after Communion because the boat needs to get into water as soon as possible

Refreshments and fellowship on the grounds

Carpenter Gothic

 

The paucity of people in the village makes it an excellent place to teach driving skills

I taught our oldest how to drive on the old Rockland dirt road with little traffic and enough ruts to keep things slow. Rockland, Rockville, The Rocks. All the same but with different names. Welcome to the Lowcountry

I’m sure I will be teaching our youngest to drive on the same dusty loop

Rockville still has a lot of families with the same old Wadmalaw connections

If I win that lottery or get this stuff published one day, then it’s either a house at Pawleys or a house at Rockville

Too bad I can’t get a ticket at Mr. King’s Grocery.  The store is closed, but the building remains with old Sunbeam Bread metal signs over the door.

At this stage of the game, I’m leaning towards Rockville

My family will never adhere to Mr. Stipes’ directive from his lyrics about that town in Maryland

“Don’t go back to Rockville”

Perish the thought

 

img_9186
Dayclean over Cherry Point

 

 

2 thoughts on “Village People

  1. Oh boy..now you’ve done told the world…best kept secret.
    You did a great one here.
    Loved the prose and the pictures.
    Made my heart sing..and your parting shot..dayclean..indeed.❤️❤️
    Thanks, Hamlin. Another jewel.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.