Charleston and belonging

Daughters of the American Revolution

Daughters of the American Revolution

I come to Charleston as a visitor. In the early 1970s I was here as a Naval officer – a long time ago. I return now to get a better feel of the place, the food, the architecture, the low country characters. Walking the streets South of Broad is an experience meant for an older man who can only walk slowly and who has time to absorb what ran off him so quickly back then. Today with more years on me I can appreciate the people’s passion for preservation and endurance. Ironically all the buildings and homes are brand new in some way, damaged and repaired in the wake of hurricanes that plowed through the city and swamped the battery. Many homes hang on to their facades of old brick, stucco, and wood siding in an attempt to offer the tourists the look of the antebellum South, while internet connections and updated electrical circuits keep the old homes wired to the present century. These are the homes of the rich. Behind their gated driveways are Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillac, and Rolls. Horses with large hooves the size of platters clop the pavement pulling carriages of tourists, listening to a driver spin yarns of the Queen City. It seems every street, every home has a tale that must be told. I look at the old homes and the expensive cars and ask myself, do the owners really belong here or did they just buy their way in. On Meeting Street atop the old slave market stands the offices of the Daughters of the American Revolution reminding anyone, who stops to consider for one instant, belonging is important.

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