Beautiful and peaceful Daufuskie Island, a place dear to my heart, body and soul, is one of many small sea islands in the low country that’s nearby the famous Hilton Head Island from the north end of the island. It is my birth place from six generations that sculpts the memories of a time that molded me into the person I am today. Daufuskie Island is only accessible by a boat or passenger ferry, unless you own a helicopter. Long before now wagons pulled by horses and cows were our way of transportation getting around the Island and only few vehicles driven by those who could afford one. Today more vehicles and many golf carts are now transportation on the island.
My life growing up on Daufuskie was the best!
I was taught that tough love was good fo dah soul because it gives you a moral compass, manners, respect and knowing the different between right and wrong. Our elders gave us the tools to be strong, love one another and never forget the things that helped us along the way. During my childhood, adults were the head of their house and you dare speak out of place unless you were spoken to. We had very little, but always had enough to be proud of and never complained. We had our families, neighbors and friends and treated each other the way we wanted to be treated back. We never missed the things we couldn’t measure or what was beyond us but would someday face. Our hard work molded us and taught us that we can do or be all that we wanted no matter where we go after Daufuskie. And our values was to be the very best that we can and never judge others by the things that they have or by the color of their skin.
The Island was our playground and we had the best times venturing through the woods, from one end to the other in work and play. During family times we were all ears, taking in many stories about times gone but not forgotten. Stories of Daufuskie back in the day use to be a major topic growing up. Times like when hundreds of folks lived and worked when a pulp wood company named Hilton-Dodge lumber was once on the Island around the 1916-1920 or when the oyster cannery industries like L.P Maggiono and Cetchovich was big business from 1880’s to 1959 and employed many folks. Large steam ships came and went bringing hundreds of folks to and from Savannah or local areas. Other times and ways of life for some folks was carpentry, midwives, undertakers, store owners, teachers, farmers, fisherman, trappers and odd jobs. Folks didn’t worry about what they had to do but why they were doing it.
As a child most of those folks and jobs were gone but the memories stayed. Many folks moved away to the big cities after the closing of jobs due to circumstances, for better pay and higher education. I grew up with my siblings working hard in our fields, tending to our live stocks, fishing, crabbing and hunting mixing play with work and learning that hard work can pay off but you got to do it in order to have it. We ate the freshest of food and had a roof over our head and cloth on our backs. Folks always had something to share or would remind us that one day a change was going to come and we needed to be prepared.
As I go through this journey in my life I will always be thankful for the lessons and the joy that folks from long ago, now gone but not forgotten, gave me. I have moved back home and I am at peace and my soul is soothing.