The good old days photos and newspaper clippings brought
back from my recent Savannah visit are still spread pell-mell on my dining table
awaiting my sorting. Thanksgiving Day I and visiting family were entertained
going through them so they have served some purpose. Since I’ve taken a closer
look and found some items might be more interesting as examples of the so-called
GOOD old days in light of the continuing world disasters we’ve since come to
accept on an almost daily basis… or perhaps it is just my passion for history.
Going through copies of old G Southern U newspapers from
when I attended, there were whole editions I’d put away to later clip and save. One
such was a 1955 front page headline “’Dear Brutus’ cast set For Spring
Production” (Don’t ask me what the choice of Capitol letters indicates since I
haven’t a clue.) I was in that play so I clipped and read it. An early paragraph
caught my attention and brought a flood of memories that spanned several decades:
“Darwin Humphrey, freshman, Vidalia, has been chosen to portray Mr. Dearth,’ a
good man who has gone wrong, and in his heart despises himself for it’.” The
last paragraph deals with yours truly thusly: “In the role of Mrs. Purdie will
be Nan Waters, senior Savannah. Mrs. Purdie is: ‘a simple young wife, wistful,
who knows her husband is fond of Joanna’.” The only thing I remember about that
play was being criticized in my portrayal for what I thought was showing
simple and wistful facial expressions as I stood behind a tree spying on them.
Fast forward to the 80s when I was listening to my car radio
and a rather well known Georgia humorist, Lou Grizzard, was doing a bit. I
was shocked to hear him remark that another award winning journalist Georgian,
Darwin Humphrey had several years before (1978) been murdered in the Jonestown,
Guyana masacre. That was the first I’d heard of whatever became of my long ago stage buddy. How could I have missed that fact as closely and vividly as TV coverage
was of that horror show when over 900 members of Jim Jones ‘s Peoples Temple
commune were also killed?!
Simple! His professional name, used for years while covering
the Viet Nam War including the fall of Saigon and as NBC newsman who won four
Emmys and DuPont/Columbia Award, was not Darwin Humphrey but Don Harris.
Sadly, some good old days were not so good after all.
She then showed up, apparently thinking that waiting "someplace
in the general area of" was the same as waiting "at Frogmore".
The remainder of my vacation was a complete hassle after she insisted on taking
charge. They treated me to "breakfast" at a nearby strip
mall... a far cry from a leisurely and scenic brunch on Beaufort Bay. As I
gulped down my so-so she crab soup, Madame Art Association informed me she'd
arranged for cocktails on an acquaintance’s boat for our afternoon... Oh and
BTW invited them to my dinner I had arranged for the evening (and foolishly
invited Mme AA and hubby to, sight unseen, as a thank you for her kindness
to my college mate). I only glared at her news of the latter and informed her I
wouldn't be able to attend her impromptu nautical cocktail party.
Went on to Fripp to check in and enjoy. Took a while for the salty
marsh fluff air, gently lapping Low Country water below my balcony, etc. to
relax me after exposure to such strange manners. Put it out of mind and
telephoned old friends from high school and arranged to ride in with one for my
dinner party. Briefly apologized to said high school friend as we rode to
dinner saying I'd never been exposed to some we were to dine with as they were
the type who thought it was acceptable behavior to invite other strangers to attend a
dinner party as long as you'd been invited so could make no promises about the
company we'd be keeping. "Just roll with any punches, please."
After dinner Mme AA's behavior remained consistent. She and hubby with College mate in tow followed us to my friend's home afterward and came in. Mme AA arranged a
full day for the next but was politely told by my high school friend she had
other plans already. Mme AA undauntedly rushed on to say since she'd be riding
home with me and my College mate, we could meet here first thing on our departure date for a coffee since we all knew where it
was and I didn't know where their vacation trailer was!
Gladly took off for Fripp and bed after such as miserable experience,
hoping I'd seen the last of the woman. Not to be so but I was civil, .. barely. She managed to insert herself into the driver's seat of my car in the later and
final episode so it was with great pleasure that I called her at 5 AM (YES, I'M
AWARE THE CORRECT TIME FOR CALLING CIVILIZED PEOPLE IS 9 AM TO 9 PM) on the last day of MY VACATION and when it went to machine
announced I'd be going to the nearest car dealership to repair an under drag
problem before returning home so she and College mate could ride home with
hubby and the dogs in their pick up.
That woman badly needs an I GOT CULTURE
lapel pin and if Gov. Deal thinks we can't afford to have an Arts Comm. at least require these regional volunteers to take a basic etiquette course particularly if they're from out of state.
I love that 1960s' slogan when the Savannah Symphony Orchestra handed
out it printed black on a large white lapel
button to attendees. It brought a smile and inferred inclusion of everyone, not
merely the usual elite, to their performances. Any reared and educated in
Savannah were taught perhaps a uniquely Savannah saying: “Got is Rot and Gotten
is Rotten” in proper English usage… so perhaps it was more amusing to us. As
I’ve taught and traveled in many other places, I’ve learned got is
apparently more acceptable now.
A decade later my son went to his school’s costume party as a hobo
with a tattered white shirt, askew string bow tie, ragged tails (all reasonably
priced and slightly altered via Goodwill store), five o’clock shadow cum eyebrow
pencil, obviously recycled butt of a cigar, white gloves with holes in some
fingers and that ‘I Got Culture’ lapel button. Don’t remember if he won the
prize but his outfit was a big hit.
The Great Recession recently caused our state government to budget cut
and relieved us of the 'non-essentials' like the Georgia Arts Commission. .
even though it had served the state well through political
contentions such as completion of the relief sculpting on Stone Mountain
without ever losing sight of our heritage of remaining gracious in the face of
aggressive and hostile rudeness. This now former Georgia Arts Commission served
as a sort of aid and clearing house for the entire state for all of the Arts
(visual, musical, literary, performing, etc.).
By 2016 I’d forgotten the ‘I GOT CULTURE’ button but on a
mini-vacation trip to the coast was reminded of that lapel pin in reality. And
it wasn’t even slightly amusing. An artist friend of mine and I set out to our
mutual College reunion's Bar-B-Q etc. just west of the coast with the thought
of making a side trip to the beach. All went well until the next morning when, awakened by said College mate at 8 AM. I looked at her as if she were insane
since obviously she was. We'd known each other for 63 years and never in that
time had I been a morning person. Her mantra was "Early to bed and early
to rise" so I knew never to call after sundown. She knew never to call me
before eleven in the AM. Why on earth would she wake me on the first day of a vacation?
Apparently because someone on her cell phone needed to talk to me!! Really??
I don't remember the exact words she spoke but it was something about
picking up my fellow college mate as she was to stay with them while I went on
to Fripp Island. Nor do I remember my exact words but they were something like,
I'll be having breakfast across the street from my motel on the picturesque bay
so why not pick her up there. I was not rude as Southerners are not naturally
so. Amazingly she, who had a vacation place in Beaufort didn't know where
Beaufort Bay was! Would I bring her to Frogmore instead? (Not Frogmore as in
Queen Victoria's favorite place belonging to the Royal family of the UK but a
two story white wooden structure in the midst of St. Helena's Island in SC.
about 5-10 miles distant from my motel). "Sure".
I drove to the gas station facing the house known as Frogmore and
waited, having no coffee and not eaten but my friend had taken advantage of my
motel's free breakfasts hours earlier. I gassed up the car but still no sign of
the woman. Earlier I'd expressed my
feelings to my passenger about this pushy person who defended her by
explaining, "She is, but she has to be to run our Art Association" (albeit as an unpaid volunteer). My jaw went slack and I said, "Oh, really", but kept the rest of my
thoughts to myself... now mentally adding and
obviously dumb and/or unpunctual woman to my impressions of her. Asked my
passenger to call the woman on her cell and ask where she was as I waited coffee-free in
Frogmore. (To be contd.)
Fresh from what supposedly was my annual Physical Exam, now question if it were elder abuse, a USMC endurance test, the medical profession revolt against Medicare and/ or the recent election or simply sadists enjoying testing me for masochism. WHICHEVER, I managed to get through it while retaining my sense of humor, manners, sanity and life. It went like this and I do not exaggerate:
Instructed to have nothing but water from Midnight until after my exam brought Problem #1. My blood pressure, allergy and thyroid medications are all pills taken by mouth.( I awoke at an hour I normally reserve for an adequate reaction time for, if not an alien invasion of earth at least a foreign invasion of the USA... felt this at least qualified for the latter since I was about to undertake the two most dangerous things an elder can undertake: #2 a bath and #1 drive the Atlanta Expressway System which is the most dangerous in the nation for any of any age… Did I mention, and me without a drinkable cup of coffee?)
Stared at my pill bottles pondering if I dared swallow my medicine. Called the doctor’s office (listened as recording gave the disclaimer telling me if an emergency hang up and call 911, followed by a lecture on arthritis which claimed there were over 100 different types… relieved they didn’t detail each but feared they might, followed by another on the qualifications/ training of Internal Medicine specialists before a human thankfully interrupted and told me to take my meds.
Survived bath, dressed, and with prepacked overnight ‘bag’ drove up to the exit gate which opens automatically to avoid the Home Owners Association being sued for unlawful imprisonment but Problem #2: it didn’t. Considered the cost of said lawsuit vs ramming it when I discovered it also opens when I push the entrance button on my remote so now joined the stalled cars on Ga. Hwy 400 (northern expressway that feeds the Atlanta Interstates)
Navigated both exits to I-285 East and West bur alas Problem # 3: Traffic blocked Exit 3 to my Doctors office and couldn’t safely exit there. Oh well, I'd use the next exit and double back to it. The next exit proved to be ‘Beautiful’ down town Buckhead/ Lenox Square/ Phipps. Speak of urban traffic snarls this is the King Kong of them. Managed to maneuver without a wreck and get back on 400 to my Dr. Office’s exit. Despite the ticking of the clock and hassle of it all, I was pleased to have DONE it.
Next on to parking: there are more hospitals and professional offices with attached parking garages in this area than concrete in NYC (oops exaggerated). Got trapped in the wrong one but managed to escape to the right one but no space available so toured it several times until one opened. Clock still ticking. Got on the first elevator available (though going the opposite direction but exited the parking lot on 8th floor level (the Top) and remembered the secret (no signs) of turning to exit through the rear. Remembered to go around the corner to the left and enter the professional office building’s elevators to doctor’s top floor office,.. all kept secret since there is no signage. Arrived a few minutes before my scheduled 11 AM appointment, Whew!
Beginning hunger pangs so read travel rather than food magazines. Finished two issues of Conde Nast when sign politely reminded me to shut off my cell phone which took away my only time piece. Whipped out my handy dandy electronic bridge game for a few hands to ignore my now growling stomach so got up and checked the time. 11:30 gone and headed for noon this was the longest I’d ever had to wait, here or perhaps ever. Finally an assistant type called me in. This usually started blood and urine sampling which would allow me to eat the snack I’d brought in case this sort of delay happened. Didn't happen. They wished to delay that until the MD saw me. Took all vital signs and usual measurements. Dr. saw and examined me, saw me again, EKGed me and at last took a urine sample after they bled me for about a half liter (oops again) of blood
Long story shortened,.. Returned via the already described nightmare of traffic as efficiently as possible but now am a distracted driver still fasting but cramming snacks down my mouth. Between 1:30 and 2 PM arrived home and stepped from my car stumbling from dizziness to my neighbor's dismay. I recovered my balance immediately assuring I was fine. Surely this Health CARE system can't last. More like survival of the fittest.
Remember when I was surfing the net in search of the good old days? Well, as fate would have it, I sadly found them and I should be finished sorting them just in time for the next US Presidential election. Seems the good old days were recorded by photographers in the form of old pictures and newspaper (remember those) clippings.
My nieces inherited my now deceased sister's home and, after leasing it out for a movie filming, they sold it. These photographed good old days we're pretending I left in the house when I lived there, despite the fact that I shipped them to my oldest son in NOLA. My older niece had them already boxed up for me when I got there on my recent jaunt to the coast.
I'm back now but have only unloaded the top items from said box: a picture of my late Mother, a photo album and wedding album. Mother's portrait presented no problem but the photo album was another matter. I visually scanned all remembering well each event. Some highlights included photos of when my oldest son went with my brother and many others to the Caribbean on bro's sister ship to the Honeyfitz; newspaper and campaign literature on some ex-in-laws who were in politics on the west coast (including one of Robert Kennedy where they supported his Presidential campaign on top of ? Mt. Hood); son's first sailboat, an AMC minifish called Chicken of the Sea ( that name served as constant reminder to him that it wasn't ever to go to sea... only lakes, estuaries and such) etc., etc., etc. ad infinitum. That was 6 days ago and the mess still sits in the midst of the dining table awaiting its fate. Needless to say I haven't cracked the wedding album yet. Once pristine white it's now more of an unmellow yellow from age... as am I.
The moral of this blog is be #$%^$%^careful what you search for because you may just find it.
LOL! I really did… and it added 11 years to my life! Exactly what I, whose
family left the UK in ~1600, needed. Having been stressed beyond words about
choices of this election, I took the coward’s way out. About to hit the road
again on a lengthy trip from the Appalachian foothills to the Atlantic coast, I
cast an early ballot and decided there was no way I was going to chance being
involved in an auto accident and not have a say in our impossible choices for
President. Read Mr. Borowitz’s New Yorker
article and immediately and deeply regretted my haste.
In case you
missed his satire, Queen Elizabeth II addressed the US recently from her
palatial office and made us, US citizens, an offer many I’m sure would welcome.
She offered to restore British rule over us. Wait now and think about it. Her
offer said we wouldn’t have to put up with Parliament and even appeared to
throw Charles and Camilla under the bus, so to speak! She selflessly declared
our social experiment with a Democratic Republic was obviously a disaster as
evidenced by our 2016 Presidential contest. It would be an old fashioned
Monarchy where her rule would be totally Autocratic. Her heirs to her throne
would be William and his adorable children. All we have to do is write in her
name on our ballot. NOW you tell me, YOUR MAJESTY… after I’ve already voted!?