Stories from Carolina Delta

Voices of the Santee Delta: Oral history interview with Pat Ferris
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Title:Voices of the Santee Delta: Oral history interview with Pat Ferris
Interviewer:Raynor, Robert, 1951- Interviewee:Ferris, Pat Date:2015-11-06

 

Description:Pat Ferris was born in Greenwood Lake, NY, and lived in Virginia and New York until age nine when he moved to South Carolina. His grandmother had a modern house on South Island with electricity supplied by a generator. The family also had the old plantation house on Cat Island. His grandfather was William G. Ramsey, who worked for the DuPont Company. He became a senior engineer at DuPont, and his stock holdings became very valuable for the family. He came to South Carolina because of the Dupont’s interest in turpentine, and became aware of the excellent hunting opportunities. Living on Cat Island and South Island in his youth, Ferris felt it was “heaven”. He had a little dinghy he rowed around on Winyah Bay, and hunted ducks with a shotgun given to him at age 10 by his grandmother. She also gave him the job of killing snakes and alligators: the latter damaged the dikes. He received a nickel for each kill. Ferris learned to sail on a summer vacation to Nantucket Island. He and his brother would go along with a harbor pilot who guided ships into Georgetown. They signed on as cabin boys on a round trip from Brooklyn, NY, to Georgetown, SC, on the lumber schooner Annie C. Ross. Ferris also described a voyage with his brother and a friend in their teenage years in a catboat from Greenport, Long Island to South Carolina. Ferris went to boarding school, and would spend summers on South Island. Ferris attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) when WWII broke out, and he entered the Coast Guard. He patrolled first St. Helena Sound, and then off Charleston in private yachts. He helped a one-armed man pull a seine net on the edge of Winyah Bay. He knew Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox, and owner of the majority of Cat, South, and North Islands. He went on hunts with him on those properties and elsewhere. Cat Island Plantation continued to actively cultivate rice until 1941. With the damming of the Santee River by Santee Cooper, the influx of saltwater did considerable damage to the dikes, and the family received a $6000 settlement. Ferris described years of hunting on Cat island: deer, ducks, and turkeys. He described how Tom Yawkey set up the Yawkey Wildlife Center. Ferris returned to recounting his Coast Guard service, describing his transfer to the South Pacific after going through training at the Loran School. He was at Guam when the war ended, and returned to the US on the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood. He finished by telling a story when he and his brother were “bad boys’ during their childhood on Cat Island.
Collection:Voices of the Santee Delta Oral History Project
Contributing Institution:South Carolina Historical Society
Media Type:Oral Histories
Geographic Subject:Santee River Delta (S.C.), Santee River Region (S.C.)–History, Santee River Region (S.C.)–Social life and customs
Language:English
S.C. County:Charleston County (S.C.), Georgetown
County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:audio/mpeg
Digitization Specifications:Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:Copyright © South Carolina Historical Society.
Access Statement:All rights reserved.
Access Information:For more information contact the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, SC.
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Blinding Grace

Line by line

 

Time,

passes, encompassing the soul

in exuberant joy.

Changing  life in fits and starts.

 

Turning, sweeping, leveling

like Autum wind,

Melding  new and old

into One.

 

Creating a blinding image,

more beautiful and rare

than eyes like mine deserve.

 

God,

in His infinite glory and faithfulness,

Pours out Grace upon Grace

Leaving me face down

in Wonder and Praise.

 

Proof of Life: Buji-nin

 

A young man, tall and strong-jawed born of a line of military genius, sarcastic and exuberantly witty, played in the Age of Aquarius. He haltingly tested his professors with his grasping mind and profane insubordination. As was meet and right in the eyes of all he questioned and disrespected he found himself in the uniform of a soldier.

He no longer played at board games with tiny men as his intellect now turned to the horrors of an unjust war. Profanity became his definition of life, death and insubordination a daily examination in existence. Humility swallowed up all traces of surface haughtiness with the degrading, unceasing cries and pain of children, mothers and comrades.

The strong-jawed man returned home diseased, wounded, angry, confused and carrying his own scars. In his consuming genius he grew to love, respect and master his enemy’s languages, customs, religions and gods. Buji-nin is a tag name he has gave himself, (-DT Suzuki would sometimes sign himself meaning “no special person”).

He is, after all a child of Aquarius-questioning, rebellious, prone to wander as were we all. No generation is like another. He is one shining star, proven hero and prophet of ours.

Still as fiercely humble, haughty and questioning, the strong-jawed, witty Buji-nin enriches my soul with his tales of a life lived fully, on the edge, out of the box sharing constant challenges of genius and profane sensibility. I wish you could know him.

A wounded warrior of the ages I am proud and honored to call friend-Buji-nin.

Girl Stuff

I have one of those silly Pinterest pages-you know, the one with boards. One of my boards is titled “Joy Is”.  Most of it is filled with pictures of rooms I like, accessories, cute little grand- baby clothes and photos of places I would love to travel to.

This morning the first thing I found myself doing was digging in my piano bench until I found a book of Mendelssohn. I turned to a piece I haven’t played in years and gave it a go. Well, not so great. What happened as I was playing was I saw these images from my Joy board in my head and knew what my post would be today.

Music makes me who I am. It is a part of my soul. Every piece I have ever played since my first lesson in the 3rd grade. Moreover, each photo below is a part of me as well. The girl part of me loves shoes, daydreaming, writing the next great southern novel, lovely dresses, believing I could compose a sonata and returning to my days as a teenager-full of hope, my first boyfriend, identifying with songs on the radio and romantic woods in which to set up housekeeping.

After five decades of living I am still the same me. Young girls become brides, mothers, grand mothers and wives. In between we have careers/vocations/callings and grow ideals, set standards, gain wisdom, try and fail, sometimes we succeed, see the fruits and blessings of the years as well as the regrets.

Strong women keep on. We keep on being who we are. I do. I know no other way to live, to grow, to share, to be true to myself and those I love.

I have not lost that loving feeling. I still close my eyes when I kiss. I hope there is still tenderness in my touch, in all I do, say, think and dream about, write, in the music I play, in who I am.

Girl stuff grown to full bloom-Womanhood. It is so much wonder and fun.

Loved Forever III

Heaven has broken into my heart again. Just when I thought this soul of mine was filled to the brim with all the love it was possible to hold, expend, give, encompass or expect-still more is coming! 

A mother’s heart is a wondrous, bottomless well. I ponder the infinite expandableness of it. It’s ability to love is like the womb, growing to hold all it is given in blessing. 

Come, new One. I am waiting. We are expecting-our arms, hearts, homes, hands, eyes, all-to welcome, see, hold, know and joyfully greet you. You are now and always,

Loved Forever

A Coming Change…

Today is still dark outside my window.

A promise of sweeping chill.

My mind and senses groan for the coming of it like the bee to the flower.

Come, Fall in all your glory!

Come with your cleansing wind!

Brush away the stickiness in my head.

The old stuffy clamminess, heat, and stuff of piled up

summer  dog-days weighing me down.

Brush through my hair, my brain and soul.

Let me sprout a pair of wings perhaps, that I could dance on your breeze!

Or set me free upon the air in a huge rising balloon so as to see the entire earth.

Let me sense, touch, taste, breathe, live into the crisp sharp newness of Fall.

Storms Upon the Earth and My Own Back Yard

Roaring Back Wind

Hurricane Matthew

These Sons of Mine

 

I expected clones. Two years and three days apart. As different as night and day from the moment they began to stir. How surprising, what a miracle! So much joy just being their mom!

Babies to boys, boys to men, men making their own families-strong and good. Faithful to who they are, secure in themselves. Courageous protectors of their own, loving providers-good friends of old friends keeping.

Living life to the fullest. Making a difference in the world as they go. Making right and good choices. Thinking things through. Leaning on faith. Counting on family.

I expected clones. These sons of mine.  More alike than I thought.

Tuesday Treasure

14047269_1136291879761378_6032811698582015651_oAt our house there is a sudden, rapid spurt of growth and change. It seemed a long time coming. In the blink of an eye it is here.

There were the lean years of not seeing our boys much. During school, work, courtship, and marriage came the strange position of parenting absent adult children via phone and text mostly. Thanks to good, positive bonds and communication, their dad and I grew through it and learned a lot.

Now our family has joyfully grown from four to eight-doubled in two years! Both our sons married within six moths of each other and had children with three months of each other.

Along with their marriages we the gained two wonderful extended families of their wives. These are strong, solid, loving and welcoming families which we count as treasures.

All families go through “stuff”. We pray for each other, we love each other through. The handsome guy in the photo is a treasured miracle. We prayed him through. We loved the family through. They love us back.

Family. A Tuesday Treasure