A letter from Minnie

  • Friday, February 7, 2014

Some people tell me that I live too much in the past. Maybe I do, because what happened here 100 years ago interests me as much as what may happen in the year 2014.

The following letter is fictitious. I wrote it, putting myself in the place of Minnie, a young woman who might have lived here in 1914 with her husband, Angus. Though the names are imaginary, the accounts of happenings around Georgetown are taken from the Georgetown Times.

“Dear Ma and Pa,

I sure do miss you, but I have to tell you that living in town has been exciting. I’ve seen three motion pictures and I walk everywhere, to church and to do my shopping. There’s a stable here where we keep our horse and buggy, but we hardly ever need it.

Angus likes his work at the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company, but he still longs to farm. There’s an ad in the paper about a man named Mr. Hugh L. Oliver who sells land. Says there’s 1,380 acres of land five miles west of Sampit to be had for $4 per acre. It has long leaf and spruce pine, but Angus isn’t interested in the timber, just the farm land.

I do manage to grow a few vegetables in my garden, as long as I can keep the chickens out of it. It sure is a good thing the town lets us keep chickens here on Prince Street so I don’t have to buy eggs.

I read all sorts of peculiar things in the newspaper, which costs only 5˘ a copy. Just the other day, there was a story about a Capt. St. J.M. Lachicotte who grows oranges at Waverly Mills. He got 280 oranges from one tree in his yard. I mentioned it to Angus, but he said he isn’t interested in growing fruit.

Ma, you know Miss Sudie Mercer from the Oak Grove section, don’t you? I saw in the paper that she got married to Willie Carraway of Sampit. They got married at Sudie’s Mama’s house on Christmas Day and had a reception at Willie’s Mama’s house. I sure do wish them well.

The most exciting thing happened a few weeks ago. One evening after dark, Front Street was all lit up with electric lights, 90 lights in all. It sure was a beautiful sight!

I have to watch myself with shopping. There’s always sales going on and I promised Angus I would stay away from them. That store I told you about called Steele-Moses had Dorothy Dodd shoes on sale for $2, and they usually cost $3 or $4.

Another place called The New Store was selling sweaters for $1.39 and wool blankets for 79˘. I know that’s still a lot of money, but I do try to shop thrifty for other things, like meat. There’s a place just up the street from us called the Prince Street Market run by a Mr. E.J. Marcus. You can buy steak there for 15˘ a pound and they even deliver.

I told you I saw three motion pictures already. I saw them at a place called the Air Dome and it cost 5˘ to get in. They even have electric fans to keep the place cool.

There’s always something going on here. Last Thursday, the women of the Methodist Church had a big to-do at the old Steele Opera House. They raised $254 selling dinners for 50˘ each. Angus and I went and ate duck, ham, tomato pileau, macaroni pie, and candied yams.

Things are always changing here. It was just announced in the paper that all the banks in the city will start closing at two o’clock daily, instead of three o’clock. That won’t affect us too much. Angus still thinks the safest place to keep money is in the stuffing of the mattress we sleep on.

You won’t believe this. That man who writes all those marching songs came to Georgetown to hunt at the Kinloch Club on the Santee River. His name is John Philip Sousa and the paper said that he was walking around in smudged khakis with his hands and face soiled, toting a gun.

Well, I have to go now. I hope to see you soon, as I do get mighty homesick. My love to all the folks, your Minnie.”

To the Georgetown County Digital Library . . . thanks for the memories.

Debby Summey may be reached at (843) 446-4777 or djsummey@gmail.com.

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