Sunday, August 30, 2009

The fun girls from Mt. Pleasant

My BFF in the whole wide world came to spend the weekend with me. For all you old geezers, that would be my best friend forever. We were South Carolina gals who went to college together, lived in Charleston together, got married a week apart, and then, sadly, were separated for the next 20 years. Nancy married a Citadel boy, became a Navy officer's wife, and took off for California, Texas, Italy and the rest of the world. I chose a Hampden-Sydney fellow, settled in Richmond, and tried to swallow the fact that Richmonders actually thought they were still in the South when everyone knows that you drive UP NORTH to Richmond and come DOWN SOUTH to Carolina. This fact was clearly pointed out to me the first Christmas I returned home. I was attending church and ran into Bud Love, a friend I had grown up with. As we were chatting, Bud declared I even talked like a Yankee now that I had moved up north. "Bud, Richmond was the capital of the South, and we're still below the Mason-Dixon Line," I tried to explain. "Yea, but you're north of here," he drawled. I was branded as a deserter, a traitor, a carpetbagger, a blue-belly. The shame was humiliating. Anyway, Nancy and I were separated by the miles but never from the heart and always kept that special "connection". Last year, Commander Lamberson retired after a distinctive career in the Navy and took the job as Director of Campus Planning and Construction for the University of South Carolina! They moved to Columbia and I was thrilled to have Nancy right down the road from my parents in Chester and her family in Aiken. As fate would have it, Sissey soon decided to take the leap and enter the University of South Carolina. We were heading back down to South Carolina and TA-DAH: the fun girls from Mt. Pleasant were back in action!!! Back in our heyday, Nancy and I lived in the village of Mt. Pleasant and crossed the bridge every morning to our jobs in downtown Charleston. Our world consisted of working (yuck) only in order to have enough money to fund our social lives. Weeknights were spent at the East Bay Trading Company (tried to pass it off on our credit card bills as a brokerage firm), Big John's Tavern, 82 Queen, The Brick, and the beautiful old bars of the Mills-Hyatt House or the Lodge Alley Inn. Weekends were always spent at the beach, and usually we had one company or another of Citadel cadets at our apartment looking for a free meal, a ride to Sullivan's Island, use of the pool, and an excuse to get off campus. My future husband, an Andy Griffith addict, promptly crowned us as successor's to the "Fun Girls of Mt. Pilot," a favorite Andy episode, and thereafter we became affectionately known as the "Fun Girls of Mt. Pleasant." We worked hard to retain the honor of such a title, even though it was exhausting. It was, however, great training for our future commitments to volunteerism and charity work. We fed the hungry, sheltered the tired, patrolled the beaches, and donated countless hours to promoting the general welfare and economy of the holy city and it's surrounding villages. After retaining the title for 2 wonderful years, marriage and careers split up the fun girls, and we were off to settle down as respectable old married ladies. Who would have ever known that 25 years later, WE'RE BAAACK!!!! We kicked off our reunion over the summer at Nancy's Lake Murray house. Sitting on her boat outside of "Spinners", listening to the band sing "I'd rather be in Carolina" , we toasted the good fortune of having come full circle. We'd raised our children (well, almost, Nancy has one more to go), gotten them into college (OK, minor point, I'm going with Sissey), reached sustainer status in the Junior League, and now, the fun mamas were ready to reclaim their tiaras and train the next generation of fun girls. Although Nancy bred a bevy of boys, and Sissey is the only girl in the bunch, we are confident that the legend will live on. We are ready to pass the torch, and rather quickly at that, because the fun girls have turned into middle aged mamas who can't stay awake past 9:00, plus I have an 8:00 class in the morning. So quickly, girls, rally forth, claim the title, then go conquer the world, because behind every successful man, there was always a fun girl making sure it happened.

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