Posts Tagged ‘savannah’

Mary Etta’s Purse

Monday, May 16th, 2016

When my grandfather died, we cleaned out his house, and there was just. so. much. stuff. Stuff that felt important and that I knew I should save, and I couldn’t make a decision about at the time. I put it away in boxes, and they ended up in the basement.

The basement flooded.

Much to Todd’s chagrin, none of my boxes of genealogies, family papers, history books, and old photos were damaged. However, the whole basement had to be emptied to do the renovations required to put in new floors and paint, so all of the accumulated stuff is kind of being moved into safekeeping until the renovations are complete. (By “safekeeping” I mean mountains of boxes in our bedroom, foyer, and dining room.)

While we were moving them, Tiller immediately caught sight of one item on top of an open box of photos that belonged to my Grandma.

My great-grandmother’s purse.



I kept it because it’s a classic, beautiful vintage purse. Score. But I had forgotten until we opened it up that I had also kept it because it was a mini-time capsule of my great grandmother’s last years. I think that when she died, her daughters probably just took her purse home, and they couldn’t bare to throw any of it out. (Must be genetic.)

Here are my Grandma Palmer (Evelyn) and her sister, Lessie, at the funeral home. I know it’s morbid and sad, but I don’t care; I like this photo.



She was born Mary Etta Richardson (her mother was Matilda Denmark, which is partially the origin of Till’s name, but mostly we just liked the name), in Liberty County, GA in 1888. She died December 7, 1959. (Pearl Harbor day, and my sister’s birthday, too.) She married my great-grandfather, Horace Ray Butler (Rollie dodged a bullet there) and they had five children. Two of them died as babies, and the stories of their deaths are heartbreaking to hear as a mother.They were older than the three who lived and died before the others were born. The three who lived were: Lessie, my grandmother Evelyn Jean, and Clayton. (I believe he was actually William Clayton.)


Both of the babies are both buried at Thomas Hill Cemetery on Fort Stewart. Here is a photo of Marie’s grave and one of R.C.’s. This gets mighty confusing, because my grandmother would tell me about her mother telling her about losing the babies, and the names above are misleading. According to my grandma, Marie was not pronounced with the common pronunciation. It was “MA-ree,” rather than “Ma-REE.” And there is no french accent to it, just “Little Ma.Ree.” And when my grandmother told me about the babies dying, the boy was “Little R.C.” Not “R.O.” which is what the gravestone looks like, but I am sure that it was R.C. and i think maybe the stone was not well-engraved, because I am sure she knew what her own mother called her dead baby brother. And we never heard a word about “Meldrum.” That makes Little R.C. quite a mystery, as he seems to be named “Meldrum R. C. Butler.” Genealogy nerd me would really like to know what the R. and C. stand for – I think R. might be for “Richardson.” Who knows.

Anyways, a ton of my other Butler, Richardson, Denmark, Shuman, and other families are also buried in cemeteries at Fort Stewart. (I hope to get down there for a cemetery visit, but you have to make an appointment, i think due to the Army not wanting you to get blown up driving around the base. Heck, I could do a whole post just about the people buried on Fort Stewart.)

Whoa. That was one of my more offensive genealogy tangents. Sorry about that. So, here’s the juicy part . . .

I guess the statute of limitations is probably up now on these folks, so I can say that we have not figured out the actual truth, but it is rumored that Horace also had a relationship with another woman (possibly a Sarah or Maude, who was perhaps a Shuman) and fathered a son, but I have never been able to figure out much more about it. People just alluded to it, but never actually gave us any real dirt. (If you happen to stumble across this post and know anything about this other relationship, marriage, or illegitimate child or his descendants, we would very much like to hear from you. I know that’s a long shot.)

Horace and Mary Etta lived in Bryan County, GA, on (as I understand it) the original land grant that the Butlers received in Georgia. My grandmother was born there, near Clyde. When Fort Stewart was created, everyone in their area lost their farms. They moved to Savannah, where both died and are buried.

So, back to the purse. The satin lining is sooo silky.


Tills and I started laying the things in the purse out on the table. Here are the things we found in my great grandmother’s purse:

This really cracked and cool looking mirror. If Mary Etta was anything like my Grandma Palmer, she would not go out of the house without lipstick.



One box of tithing envelopes. I think at the end, she maybe lived with my Aunt Lessie in Garden City, outside of Savannah, because I know she didn’t always attend church out there.


Here is one of the cards inside. I love that they are numbered and have the date on them, so that you don’t miss one single Sunday of tithing.




Here is her wallet:



It contained a lot of medical receipts and newspaper clippings of bible verses and obituaries.

I thought this one was very interesting; A tuberculosis report, from 13 years prior to her death. Negative. I’m curious if there is some reason she would have kept this in her wallet all those years. At the time of the test, she still lived on Stevenson Ave. Daddy would have been about five at that time, and also lived there.


Another bible verse. I can’t figure out why it’s printed so oddly. Are they like bible verse flash cards? Because even upside down, I can still figure out it’s from Proverbs. . . and I missed a lot of Sunday School.


She had the card for the Superintendent of Sunday School. Love the old phone numbers. No (912) back then.


One Walgreen’s prescription. I didn’t realize Walgreen’s had been around that long.


Okay, nerd that I am, I looked up history of Walgreen’s. No wonder they were around so long; They started in Chicago and were allowed to sell “medicinal” whiskey during Prohibition. 

Also of interest: Mary Etta’s doctor was a female. Thinking that wasn’t super common back then, but made me smile.



Quick Google search on Anne Hopkins came up with nothing, but I bet she might have been pretty interesting. And anyone know what that cream is for?


Here’s an obituary for some British dude, William Wright. A boyfriend, perhaps? None of the names look familiar.

IMG_8730 IMG_8731


The next one is sweet: A memorial clipping, of some sort, for Mary’s husband, Horace. He died when Dad was around five. IMG_8733 IMG_8735


One flashy red change purse.


A whole bunch of hair doodads.


I particularly like the packaging for the bobby pins, which did not photograph well, but reads, ‘Gayla 10 cents.’


Here’s a brooch, of jewels in a crown. A few of the jewels are missing.

I really like this old letter opener. Does anyone actually still use these?

And here is my absolute favorite item in the purse. One, unopened, perfectly preserved stick of Beech-Nut gum. 

One pair of vintage bifocals.

I really love that they just folded up her glasses and stuck them in the purse. There is something so sweet and personal about holding someone’s glasses for them. It almost feels like an honor. Someone really trusts you if they hand you their glasses for safekeeping. And there is something heartbreaking about folding up someone’s glasses for the last time and putting them away.

Here I am wearing them. Rollie and Tills both had to try them on and we all did our best schoolmarm impersonations. (Ignore my hair frizz. I just ran.) See any resemblance to the photo of Mary Etta below?

Mary Etta Richardson Butler. October 1888-December 1959. Buried at Hillcrest Cemetery, Savannah, GA. (I guess this photo was probably taken at the Stevenson Ave. house. The house is long gone, I think.)


I guess maybe I will start digging through these boxes as I put them back in the basement after the renovation. I am guessing there might be some related posts in the next few months. History nerds unite. Everyone else just stop reading for a while.

Girls Gone Mild 2012: Tybee Island

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This time last week, I was on Tybee. Gawd, I love that place. Reminds me of everything that is awesome in life: Beach, warm sun, sand, marshes and birds, beer, kids and “yes, Ma’am,” and fresh seafood, and my grandparents, and being a Georgian. Say what you will (and leave politics out of it), but I live in one of the most beautiful states ever. Cities and beaches and swamps and Piedmont farm fields, and pine forests and hardwood forests and wilderness and lakes and mountains. (Seriously. Name another state with both the Appalachians and a monstrously-huge swamp. Alabama, maybe?)

Georgia is who I am. I feel Georgia in my bones.

So, I was excited to spend a few days on Tybee, with my little sister and my dear friends Robin and Vanessa. They’re my “newer” college friends. You know, I’ve only known them for a little over 20 years now. [gulp] Even more exciting was the fact that neither Robin or Vanessa had ever been to Savannah or Tybee. I wish we had more time – they barely got to scratch the surface. Pretty sure they caught the bug, though. They will return. I know it.

We got in on Sunday, after an enjoyable ride down 16, the world’s most boring drive (if you don’t happen to have three of your best friends with you, doing godawful Irish brogues in Dublin, and performing their best machine gun sounds – it’s true, girls really can’t do them – which make your stomach hurt from laughing, and which put everyone’s lives in peril as you struggle to keep the car on the road because you can’t see through the tears of laughter).

Got there, and checked into our condo. (We considered a house, which i would have preferred, but the condo had a heated pool and in early March, heated pool wins out.) Then we had drinks, hit the IGA for provisions. (I could write a whole blog post on just the IGA – awesomely strange people-watching. People drink while shopping for groceries. Hysterical. Oh, and did I mention awesome? They will deliver your groceries to your door, or stock your place before you even get there.) Then we went to Sting Ray’s for dinner. It was good, and they had decent beer and they were open on Sunday and god, i was starving. This is also the moment where our trip catchphrase was born. You know: Every trip with friends has one. Todd went to Tybee a couple of years ago and came back with “Release the Kracken!” They even had their own logo:

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Ours? “I don’t know about you whores, but. . . ”

As in: I don’t know about you whores, but yes. We are that classy. And then we went back to our place, drank tequila, watched The Walking Dead, and made bird statues do weird things to each other.

On Monday, we rented bikes from Fat Tire Bikes. They were so sweet, gave us an “off-season” discount, and we made friends with Joey, a former science teacher, who now works part-time at the bike shop. They also traded out my bike for me when I had an overnight slow leak. Good people.

Lisa and Robin decided to head straight back to the pool, so they piled their bikes in the back of my van, while Vanessa and I readied for a ride, by spending about an hour adjusting our bike seats (I have long legs people!) and she practiced riding in a parking lot next to the bike shop. While we did that, we heard a crash and looked out in the middle of Butler (main st. on Tybee) and there is Robin running in the middle of the road picking up a bike basket that fell out of the back of the van. Yes, my sister likes to floor it. Even when there are bikes, not tied down, in the back of my open van. This happened right in front of the bike shop, which made me laugh my ass off. *No bikes were harmed in the course of this trip. Not sure when Nessie last rode a bike, but i think it had been a while. But, you know, riding a bike is, um, just like riding a bike. It came back to her and then we hit the road and explored and looked at houses and it was fucking awesome.

Then we hit the pool! Not much better than a day sitting around a pool with friends. We also tormented my husband by texting him at work and asking him to be our cabana boy. He is a good egg, my husband. I finished The Scottish Prisoner and started reading Ready Player One.

That night, we had dinner at North Beach Bar and Grill (unassuming building near the lighthouse, but great food and great servers!) And then we went to Huca Poo’s for beer. No link because damn, they need a new website. OMG, i loved this place. Not for those sensitive to smoke (you can still smoke in public places there, which is so weird, even though it wasn’t so long ago that everywhere was like that.) First of all, great bartender, Al. For the Auburn folks, he was a cross between Jared Pearce and my Mama. I don’t know how else to describe him. Red leather barstools, just like they had at The Georgia Bar, back in the day, when that was actually the place to be in Athens. Sweet seats! Pinball. People playing poker at a corner table. That ring toss game that I need to install at the lakehouse. Great people-watching. And DOGS AT THE BAR. There was an actual dog, named Zoe, wearing a plaid scarf, sitting on a barstool at the bar. God bless bars like this. I could live in one. Not kidding when I say i could put it in my top 20 bars of all time. (No, I haven’t really made this list, but i might some day.)

This place is the good stuff.

This place is the good stuff.

Tuesday, we had planned to spend the day in Savannah, but for some reason, everyone slept late and we bailed on that. So, instead, we rode bikes in the a.m. Okay, i had to get my damn tire fixed, and then i rode bikes. We ate lunch at Fannie’s On the Beach. Their onion rings are the best thing since beer. And then the girls went back to the pool and I rode my bike all by myself for a while. No pictures of that. It’s all in my head, though, and it’s all mine. And no one can take it away.

And then i think we had more time at the pool, and then we were tired and we ordered pizza in and drank some more that night. They don’t call us Girls Gone Mild for nothing.

Wednesday morning, Leelee and i got up bright and early and went for a bike ride. It was one of the best mornings I can remember having with my sweet sister. When was the last time you rode bikes with your sibling? There is a magic to it, like you are six years old again. We looked at houses, and talked, and did fashion shoots and action shots (see below) and walked on the pier and laughed.

And on the way back home, i rode past a house and saw my friend Lisa standing out in the front yard! Lisa is friends with my friend Donnie, from college. They live in Savannah, but Lisa has a landscaping company, Plan It Green Design, and she was working on one of the Mermaid Cottages on the island. She is awesome, even though I don’t know her that well. But you know, when you go skinny dipping at a downtown Atlanta hotel’s rooftop pool at 1 am on a Monday night after a Pixies show, you’re pretty fast friends. Anyway, it is a small world and it was nice to hug her neck and say hello.

Let’s see, what else? Robin and i walked on the beach a bit, and then we took Nessa and Robbie to The Crab Shack. I can’t really explain the crab shack. You will just have to go there on your own. Suffice it to say that it is extremely touristy, located down a weird mobile-home/awesome backriver home street, and it has cats, raccoons, parrots, and real live gators. Kids adore it, and adults lie if they don’t kind of like it too. Except for Robin, who doesn’t really eat seafood and was quite unimpressed. I felt a little sorry for her as I sucked crawfish heads and the eyes stared at her as she ate her ribs. I cracked shells and and slurped mussels and pretty much gave into the thrill of killing my own food as i ate it. I am a sucker for a food with a carapace or a shell or an exoskeleton. They are so fun to eat! And then we took photos with the fake gator. Fake gators are always a good time.

And on our last night, we went to the pier and it was a full moon and you could see Venus and Jupiter, i think, and the moon shined on the river. I stood on the end of the pier, looking down, watching the flow of the river make it’s way back out to the ocean. I thought about how good it feels to go with the flow of your heart and your desires, to be like the river, ebbing and flowing with the pull of the moon, and I knew that it is okay to be me, even if I change directions at the damnedest times, and with no apparent reason. I have my reasons, like the tides have the moon.

And then we went back and packed up and planned for a Kamikaze tour of Savannah the next morning. We got up, returned out bikes and said our goodbyes to Joey, and hit the road. I hate to leave Tybee – it pulls at my heartstrings so. The girls wanted to see Bonaventure, so we went there first, and spent a delightful morning walking the cemetery. It is truly beautiful, even if touristy.

And then we got REAL hangry and decided to eat on River Street, which I would normally avoid, but I thought if we had such a short time, they would want to see its cobblestone and the preparations for St. Patty’s that were already underway, and the sweet shops. OHGODTHESWEETS. There does exist, by the way, a peanut butter cup that is too big for me to finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but it is true.

The sad part is that we had to hit the road, and they never even got the chance to walk the squares, which is the true beauty of Savannah, but i am sure they will come back. I know I will. Maybe Girls Gone Mild 2013?

A Tale of Two Sweets

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

We took the kids for ice cream this afternoon. Oddly, Rollie wanted a Sprite instead. Todd and I decided we’d all share a bigass rice krispie treat, too.

Tiller went for the ice cream (birthday cake) and a handful of rice krispie treat, too. Sometimes it was hard for her to decide which to bite from. . . .

I am feeling ungrateful and babyish today. I love my kids. They are fun. But I miss the trips with leisurely walks, and less argument, less potty emergencies. I miss strolling around, stopping for a coffee or a beer. I miss perusing bookstores for an hour at a time, and window shopping, and not having to have a destination or a time schedule.

I know I will have it again someday. I just mourn it sometimes. And it is hard to stay dissatisfied when they look this happy.

Our Weekend in Savannah: Part II

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

As I said, I felt like SHIT on Saturday. Nausea and splitting headache, which i think were due more to lack of sleep than quantity of alcohol. Complete and utter shit, all the same. I told Todd I didn’t want to drink a lot, so that I would feel good on Saturday. He made me drink.

We woke up, ate some continental breakfast, then headed out to get a new digital camera. (Ours finally pissed us off enough to be retired.) Then we had a tasty sandwich at a sub place and headed back to the room for naps. I was disappointed that I was so tired on Saturday – I far would have preferred strolling the squares all day Saturday, but knew I must sleep or I would never make it through the wedding on Saturday night.

We slept for two hours, then woke up, had a snack and dressed for the wedding. The trolley (ring! ring! ring! goes the bell) was picking up at 5:40 for the 6:30 wedding. We rushed around getting dressed and got on the trolley. We picked up more wedding guests at the Mulberry Inn and the Desoto Hilton. I have never seen so many women wearing dead animals in my life.

The wedding was at The Oglethorpe Club. Another beautiful house, right across the street from the original Armstrong College, where my father once attended classes. As we pulled up around the corner on to Bull St., we heard the piper playing. I swear to God, they had a bagpiper greeting the guests on the corner.

We got off the trolley, then proceeded up the stairs (festooned in beautiful greenery and white roses – I think they spent more on flowers than I spent on my whole wedding. There were white roses all over the whole house.) We checked my coat, then went up to the second floor for the ceremony. They conducted the ceremony in an upstairs, wood-paneled, long and narrow room. It was dark and candlelit. The bride wore a beautiful dress, and the the whole wedding party was decked out in Scottish tartan. The groom and his family wore their tartan; the bride and wedding party wore their own. Women wore a tartan sash with a brooch, including the bride. Nice, unusual touch. The piper piped as the wedding party entered. They also had a four-piece string instrument thing going on. The ceremony was very short, which was nice, because about half of us were standing in the back of the room.

After the ceremony, it was off to the bar. The Oglethorpe is a men’s club. I was a little weirded out about things I have heard about it (no black members, no women allowed to walk up the front steps, etc.) All of that didn’t matter – they could have made me crawl around on my knees as long as I could partake of the buffet.

I’m going to throw down the gauntlet: BEST. WEDDING. BUFFET. EVER. There were the usual carving tables, and an open bar, but the piece de resistance was the asparagus/cheese/tomato sandwich/oyster table. If you know me, you know they had me at “cheese,” but if you throw in tomato sandwiches with the crusts (I still call them “the bones”) cut off, I am yours. There were so many different kinds of stinky, blue-veined cheeses that I would have been sick even trying a bite of each one. Todd, meanie that he is, didn’t think it was appropriate for me to put a whole chunk of cheese in my purse at the end of the evening. I am horrified at the thought of the cheese in a trashcan in the basement of the Oglethorpe Club.

Add in a bottomless pan of freshly-fried, hot oysters? Holy crap! I am surprised I didn’t get sick. I spent half the evening hovering around the oyster dish with a bunch of old southern men, waiting for the next batch to come out. I think I impressed them with my oyster-eating prowess. I was so tired that night, that i took it easy on the drinking. Well, I did start at 7:00 or so and drink till 3 something in the morning, but i was a good girl. I felt fine on Sunday. One reason? I ate my weight in buffet. The reception lasted a long time, and people were pretty toasty by the end. I was pretty sober myself, having spent more time stuffing my face and looking at old weapons and pictures of Civil War generals.

In the end, the bride and groom came down the wide front steps of the club as we showered them with white rose petals. Both had changed: The groom was wearing ridiculous plaid pants, a bowtie, and a tam. The bride wore pants and sweater, along with a wide-brimmed hat and her tartan sash as a scarf. The “getaway” car was not a car at all – Definitely the cutest “Just married” getaway ever: They climbed onto a vintage tandem bike, complete with basket and bell, then rode off into Monterrey Square. (I think it was Monterrey Square). Adorable. I got a little choked up, and I don’t even know them.

We took the trolley back to the hotel, then changed, and met people at the bar the wedding party had chosen. I am going to go ahead and say it was possibly the most hideous place I have ever been. Some kind of karaoke bar, attached to a bar that looked just like an Applebee’s. I guess I am a snob, but I am picky. It is bad enough hearing the original versions of crappy rock songs (think Creed or one of those bands with numbers in their names), but hearing drunks butcher them even further was downright painful.

I drank PBRs with Kate (the bride’s sister and Todd’s friend), her husband, and her lecherous uncle from Bogota. They gave up the ghost and headed home. Todd was just kicking it into high gear (for those of you who know Todd, this is the part where he starts stirring his drink with his fingers, and then licking them merrily one by one) and so despite the fact that I was ready to fall into bed, I took one for the team and accompanied him for a few more hours.

We finally found a couple other like-minded guests who decided to venture with us to another bar, Hang Fire. My friend Donnie had recommended this place as having an excellent jukebox, and so when a fellow wedding guest mentioned it as a place where they might go, I jumped at the chance. It was pretty cool, but by the time we got there, everyone was wasted, and they had a band playing, so I didn’t get a chance to check out the jukebox. I did get to see the shocked look on the face of the little South Carolina girl who had joined us, when she saw two girls making out in the corner and about ten guys taking camera phone pictures of them. That actually made the trip worthwhile. She then got into an argument with her date, who had somehow offended her by putting down “Carolina” and “the status quo in Columbia.” They were a riot. We met a very nice Chicago girl who had been living in Savannah for a couple of years and tried to convince us that since we like Wilco we like jam bands. Ain’t gonna happen. We finally walked back to the hotel with the feuding Columbian (of Columbia, SC) couple. I was asleep within five minutes.

I woke up feeling wonderful; Todd, not so much. Ah, sweet feeling of a Sunday morning without hangover or regret. We looked around in vain for somewhere neat to eat, then in desperation and hunger, I phoned my friend Jason, who recommended The Firefly Cafe, which looked awesome, but had a wait of what looked like hours (think Flying Biscuit waits). We went down the street to a J. Christopher’s, which was actually really good, and had IHOP-style bottomless coffee on the table.

On the way, I caught sight of this guy who was carrying an interesting sign. I am guessing he strolls the streets every Sunday to put fear of God into Saturday night’s hangover victims roving the streets searching for a cure; Everyone out on Sunday morning seemed to be a slow-moving student, or a well-dressed churchgoer in a fancy hat. It was Sunday, crisp and bright, and the people were walking their dogs with coffee in hand, and the church bells rang at noon. Lovely morning. Todd looked like death eating a ham sandwich, which only cast into relief my elation at having a sunny morning without kids or hangover.

Some things are indescribably perfect. We had a wonderful time (hard not to without kids), and I didn’t even mention all the six degrees of separation, or the menage a trois come-ons (or so we like to flatter ourselves,) or the Episcopal Mafia. You can see more of our pictures from the trip by clicking on my Flickr link to the right. They should be up some time today.

Oh, p.s.! On Saturday, even with my hangover, we “discovered” an awesome artist at Chroma Gallery on Barnard. I posted about it here on Atlanta Metblogs, as the artist is an Atlantan. If you ever want to see what I am saying about Atlanta, there are links to my posts on Metroblogging Atlanta to the right.

Our Weekend in Savannah: Part I

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

We arrived in Warner Robins Friday afternoon, and dropped off the kids. We just about left skid marks on my parents after setting up the pack’n’play and saying hello to my grandfather. We took Mom’s Honda Pilot, which drives great and is much nicer than our Honda Odyssey. Todd and I have decided that 75 South to Florida is far more boring than driving 16 to Savannah; 16 contains nothing of great interest to look at, but 75 contains a continuous string of eyesores.

We arrived in Savannah around six or so, and had to be at the cocktail party at 7:30, but the trolley (ding ding ding) was picking us up at 7:00, so no shower. You might think that I could get ready in one hour, but I wear it so rarely that I am nearly incapable of putting on makeup by myself. You can ask Todd; It really does take me that long. I would show you how horrible I am at it, but we deleted all the pictures for fear that they would give the children nightmares. Todd, however, looked great. (That’s him at the left.) In fact, he looked so good that the groom’s mother, upon seeing him, asked the bride’s mother, “Who is that handsome man?” We are now working a scheme to knock off the groom’s father, wed my husband to the widow, and put the kids and I up in a Savannah apartment until she kicks the bucket. I promise I am not going to end each paragraph in this post with someone dying off.

The cocktail party was held at The Harper-Fowlkes house, which is owned by The Society of the Cincinnati. I had no idea what this thing was, and I actually really dig genealogy and history: Seems that to be a member of the SOC, you have to be a first-born male descendant of an American or French Revolutionary war officer. Each officer can only have one descendant at a time represent them, so in order for a son to take his father’s place, the father must kick the bucket first. (Left: The Harper-Fowlkes from the enclosed garden in the back.) The house was gorgeous and the food rocked. It was pretty cold, so people pretty much stayed inside, but the smokers (and me) spent a good deal of time on the back porch and in the garden.

At one point, I went to find a bathroom and entered the “off limits” upstairs of the three-story house. There was a really cool open area in the center of the 2nd floor hall that looked down on the entrance hall to the house. I was able to stand in this dimly-lit area and overhear everyone’s conversations; unfortunately, it was mostly old people talking about boring stuff. I wandered around, looking at the oil paintings and weird Society “stuff” – old medals, books, and pins enclosed in glass cases. There were two bedrooms, impeccably furnished, with their own fireplaces, and a society library. The hallway was lit, but the rooms were not. I ventured into them, but frankly, I was a little creeped out. I also went to the landing halfway up the stairs to the third story, but could not see a thing further, and did not want to draw attention to myself by turning on a light. (Note to self: When going to parties in creepy old houses, make like Nancy Drew and bring along a spare flashlight in my clutch purse.) This was all even more disappointing when I spoke with a teenage boy, son of the host and hostess, who told me that he has explored the third floors, attics, and basements of every old house in Savannah – evidently, he has been dragged to a hell of a lot of boring society parties. (That’s a picture of the bride and groom above.)

After the party, we went back to the hotel to change, then met other wedding guests in the lobby. We were kind of hoping to hit some off-the-beaten-path watering holes, but of course we ended up going to some “Irish” bar on River Street, because it was just plain easier than convincing people to go somewhere else and then getting them there. It ended up being pretty fun, and we had a whole upstairs bar to ourselves. (That’s us on the left.) There were probably 15 to 20 of us. We knew two of them, but as the evening wore on, we met every Rhett and Scarlett in the place.

B.T. and Kate, with Todd. The only other two people we knew at the party.
No, I’m not kidding, one of them was really named Rhett. Okay, no Scarletts, but any other family name you can think of, there was someone with that name in the room: I met Rhett and Reeve, Dallon and Porter. Even the women with regular names had another name appended to the first, so that they became Kimberly Gay or Mary Ellen or Emma George. I felt so plain when I had to tell people my name: “Anne.” They looked expectantly at me until they realized it was just that one syllable. I guess I should have been sticking that middle name on the end the whole time, just to not mess with their world.
I am joking, of course – they were all lovely people. One of the wonderful things about a wedding where you don’t know anyone is that you get to meet so many great people, and learn such interesting things about them. (Geologists! Creative Writing PhDs! Lawyers! Insurance Salesmen!) As the evening wore on, we lost most of our party to sleep, and they closed the upper bar, so we headed downstairs for one more drink at that bar. On the way down, I met an audiologist (read: Hearing Aid Salesman) and his two coworkers, who were in Savannah for a convention. They were from Montreal, but one of them was a Frenchman from Lilles. I wowed him with my incredibly terrible French; No, all the alcohol in the world could not give me the gift of comprehensible French. He turned up his nose at my pronunciation until we finally hit upon a common bond – Our children are the same age and it seems that in any language, kids are a pain in the ass, and parents will compare pictures of them anyway.

While talking to the Quebecois and Monsieur Lilles, I overheard the guy on my other side saying into his cellphone, “No, I’m in Georgia.” He sounded like he wanted to blow his brains out. I said, in my bitchiest drunk voice: “Is it really that bad?” He met my eyes and looked like he was about to cry. I said, “Oh my God, are you okay?” Turns out that he and his sister were in Savannah for his sister’s wedding, which isn’t that odd, except that it is his half-sister, whom he had never met before. They have the same father, and they found each other on the internet. While he was at the wedding, he received a phone call from his home town of Portland, and was informed that one of his best friends was killed in a car wreck. So, he was sitting beside me at the bar, drinking to his dead friend, when he received a call that the whole thing had been a horrible mix-up; The friend was not dead at all. He was so relieved he was about to cry. I was drunk and gave him a ridiculously huge hug. He hugged back. Ah, the friendships I have made in bars. He ended up walking back to the hotel with us (he was staying there, too) and bitching about how Savannah didn’t know their cocaine. We bid him farewell in the lobby, and he looked like a lost little boy. (That’s him at the left.)
Anyway, perfect example of the fun and interesting conversations you have when you go to a wedding and hang with people you don’t know. I should point out here that his sister who was married in Savannah is not the same as Todd’s friend Kate’s sister, Emily, whose wedding we were attending. That is how rumors get started.

All in all, a wonderfully fun evening, and did I mention that I felt terrible on Saturday? I felt terrible. Part II to come tomorrow!

Road Trip! Again.

Friday, February 16th, 2007

We are off to Savannah, hometown of my Daddy and his peeps, for a wedding. I am really excited, as it is one of my favorite places in the world. Kids are being dropped off about an hour down the road (don’t worry – we are leaving them with my parents, not just putting them out on the side of the road, although that is sometimes tempting) and then I get a much-needed weekend of relaxation with my husband.