Mayberry-By-the-Sea And the Great Storm of ’93

Here’s some of the fun stuff Mike and I got to do while living on Folly Island. Mike’s boss took the whole office crew (and me) yachting off the Carolina coast. We cruised to a local restaurant, tied up to the pier, and had lunch. I could get used to that. Up front and center is me in the Sally Jesse Rafael glasses (who?), and my lovely friend and concert companion, Harriet (office secretary). Mike’s holding down the rear in the cool shades and blue-striped shirt, and (r-l) Craig and Merritt. My hair (white since my early 30’s) continued to get whiter until someone asked if I was my Dad’s wife. Miss Clairol came calling ever after.

(l-r) Glen, Merritt, and Carl — Carl is now the husband of Harriet since three years ago. One of the guys leaned back expansively, looked around, and said, “Wonder where all the poor folks are today?” The other quickly replied, “Sittin’ in the back of the boat.”

Docked, dined, and ready to embark upon our homeward journey. Sigh. And the end of our short sojourn into the lifestyles of those who could afford it. My, but it was a grand adventure, and a good memory. Found our buds, Carl and Harriet, again on Facebook after Mike and I returned to Georgia. They are still as fun as ever.

A Working Vacation

When I worked at the Pelican Cove RV Park on Folly Beach in South Carolina in 1993, Mike and I were parked at the sea wall overlooking Folly River. The beach was only a couple of blocks in the other direction. In between were two churches, a library, a couple of restaurants and stores, the laundromat, and the city hall. We were close enough to the ocean to hear the waves hitting the shore.

Folly is a barrier island off the coast of Charleston, complete with palm trees, warm breezes, and white sand. At the time we lived there, the island was so laid back it was affectionately known as “Mayberry-By-the-Sea”. Pelican Cove RV Park was later sold and replaced by a boat ramp, and the island now boasts a large fishing pier.

The sea wall outside our kitchen window

But during our too-brief interlude there we had several adventures. It was a little composite world about six miles long and a half-mile across at its widest point. A long bridge connected us — not to the mainland, but to another island. Folly was made to order for adventure, fun, friends, and a vacation-like working environment. It was truly unforgettable.

One adventure we never anticipated, however, was the great spring Storm of ’93, which hit out of nowhere. Parked by Folly River, our 35-foot fifth-wheel Aluma-Lite rocked and crackled in the gale-force winds as waves crashed over the sea wall beside us. In the next spot over, a man had just picked up some visiting family members from out-of-town. Just as the wind became so fierce it seemed nothing could stand up to it, Mike saw the man, bent against the gale, trying desperately to hook up his camper and make a run for it. As Mike bounded out the door I heard him yell, “Hey, man! You’ll never make it across that bridge!” Already, a semi had been blown over on the Mark Clark Expressway and it wasn’t long until power poles were coming down with the spark and boom of transformers blowing. Wind speeds of more than 90 miles an hour brought everything on the island to a standstill. Thank God all the RVs weathered the storm intact.

View from our window during Storm of ’93 at Pelican Cove on Folly Beach, SC

Even the next morning (our cupboards were bare and we had to make a store run), gusts were shoving me off my feet and I had to hold onto Mike’s belt to stay upright. We found one store open without lights, doing a small trickle of business. As we tried to find a few edibles on the darkened aisles, suddenly we heard a theatrically squeaky voice yell out, “Aunty Em! Aunty Em! It’s a twister! It’s a twister!” Then in a monotone, “Has anybody seen my little dog?” It was as funny as it was unexpected, and broke the tension of the hour. Everybody in that store went home skirting downed power lines and blowing debris with smiles on their faces.

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