I’ve never written a play. But if I did, I’d make the setting the front porch of our family’s beach cottage. All the stories told there span five generations and hold histories that are slowly fading. My great grandfather, Keating Felder, bought a then front beach lot and built a little house in 1940 for less than $2000. He turned down the lot next door for $500.
At the time it was one of a handful of little homes built on the island – 3 small bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a narrow living room, a tiny bathroom with clawfoot tub.
Barbocka and Granddaddy, as my mom called them, spent a few weeks each summer out here and rented to friends and family the rest of the year. During WWII they had to hang dark blackout curtains to hide in case the German U-boats wanted to attack. My Gran, Virginia, grew up having high school friends down for some beach fun.
During the late 40’s Gran and Papa lived here. Papa was working for an oil company in Charleston. They weathered hurricanes and change as the island took shape, spending time at the pier riding the Ferris wheel.
When my mom was growing up Barbocka and Granddaddy would stay here the last 2 weeks in July. Gran and Papa would come the week after that- so for 3 weeks, my mom had beach adventures with friends and cousins.
Growing up my family would stay out here anywhere from a week to a month, renting it the rest of the year. After Hurricane Hugo, the market changed on the island and the sand dune lots were subdivided and sold. Now incredible beach mansions have taken most of our ocean front view, but we still love our little beach house.
The front porch has changed over the years, but it’s always been the magic place where siblings can get along, friends gather for drinks and stories, family histories are remembered. My brother and his family live here now, sharing the space with us throughout the year. And the front porch is still our favorite spot.