I was born in Nitro, West Virginia just outside of its capital city, Charleston. We lived across the street from the Kanawha River and very close to the Union Carbide plant where my parents both worked. We moved when I was a little more than a year old. However, while growing up I heard the stories my parents and older brothers and sisters would tell about the time spent there. The reason we moved, I think, is fairly interesting. Periodically a tank at the plant would explode and break some of the windows in the house. The company paid to have them replaced and everybody went on about their business. Then one time an explosion cracked the foundation of the house. My parents used the money paid to repair it to move. They moved to Miami. The stay in Miami was fairly short-lived. Again I was very young and don’t remember much. But I remember very well where we moved next. It was Folly Beach, South Carolina.
The house at Folly Beach was two stories tall and sat just across the road from a beautiful white beach. I had never seen a beach before. I remember white sand as far as you could see, with endless waves, no two of which ever seemed to look the same. There were tidal pools, and seagulls and pelicans, sand dunes, and blue sky and every day was an adventure. Especially if you were a flock of young brothers. It literally opened up a whole new world for us.
Every day was a brand new adventure. I was still very young but I can remember running up and down the beach with my brothers and sister Suzie. We would splash in the waves and explore the tidal pools. We set up a small goldfish-type aquarium in the living room. We would put small crabs and shrimp in the tank along with some small fish and an occasional seahorse if we were lucky enough to find one.
One of my brothers bought a box kite and a ball of string. There was always a breeze on the beach and we took turns flying the kite. We figured out that we could make a box kite like the one we had. So everyone would have a kite to fly. We did and we all had great fun with our kites. If anyone tells you “go fly a kite,” take them up on it. It’s a very calming, relaxing, and just plain fun thing to do.
It’s hard to imagine a better setting for my brothers and sister and me to have adventures happen than our time spent on Folly Beach in the early ’50s. Nature was our playground. As Winnie the Pooh says.
“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” — Winnie the Pooh