Roll Up Shades For Outdoors

roll up shades for outdoors

Coosawhatchie House

Coosawhatchie House

When I was 8 or 9, my family moved to a dot on the map known as Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, located in Jasper County. At the time, people in this county were the lowest per capita income earners in the state, sharing a border with Beaufort County, which was the highest in the state owing to Hilton Head Island.

At that time, my dad was friends with a local farmer, the father of someone I went to grade school with. The farmer owned and farmed thousands of acres in the area. Tucked away in a small corner of all this land was a small brick ranch style house, and it was a drain on his books because despite being unoccupied, he had to pay taxes on it each year, amounting about $300 dollars. When he found out dad was interested in moving us closer to his work on the island but remain close to mom's work in Ridgeland, he offered up the place in exchange for paying the taxes each year.

The location was nearly ideal. The house was surrounded by land where we could have a garden, chickens and a horse, and not only did it face the water but it backed up to Dawson's Landing, a public boat ramp. It was a living situation impossible to pass up.

If you leave Ridgeland, South Carolina by the frontage road and head for Interstate 95, you'll find Highway 462. Go a few miles down a two lane highway shielded on either side by thick stands of pine and water oak, and you'll discover an unremarkable paved road on your left. A state road sign will tell you that there's a public boat landing at the end of that road. That's an even smaller, less frequently paved two land road, still flanked on either side by stands of trees. At the end is a small parking lot. Long ago the lines for each parking slip faded. At the back of the parking lot is an open air covered structure where fishermen clean their catch and where boaters party when not on the water. It had electricity running to it so it was also where I hosted my 9th birthday party so my friends and I could play loud music and roller skate.

To the left is the boat landing itself. A wide concrete ramp descends into the water below and a rugged dock build from thick timbers coated in creosote ran out to the water with steps down to a lower platform where one could tie up and board a newly launched boat.

Just before you arrive at the landing, there is another unremarkable road leading to the right. It's dirt, not even a road really but two ruts that run between a stand of trees and the fence that marks the county's property line. The curves to the left and marks the edge of a scraggly stand of pines covered in honeysuckle vines. Just beyond this is the edge of a large field where the farmer's planting was done, but for the most part this is hidden from view and easily ignored.

If you were to follow the road further, you would come to a fork. The right fork ran for miles, serving as an access road to the rest of the fields in the farmer's possession, and access for the state forestry's fire breaks, large swatches of unforested land kept clear of trees and debris to provide a break should fire start and try to spread along the tree tops.

The left fork ends in the backyard of the Coosawhatchie House. There is a large oak tree between the driveway and the back steps leading into the house. And several shade oaks, sagging with Spanish moss, stand between us and the Coosawhatchie River, an intercoastal waterway. It is a dark and fertile brackish, carrying fresh water sweet enough to drink from Allendale down to the Broad River on low tide and on high tide bringing back water salty enough to entice the occasional shark. In the old days, trees were farmed nearby. The trees would be felled and rolled off a large lumber platform into the water to float the river to a processing station. The operation long since ended by the time we lived there, but the platform remained a few hundred yards from our house. In the heat of summer you could bust bubbles of the hot sticky tar they had used to waterproof the timbers. Even if I left the house in shoes, I'd return with black toes from running them through hot creosote.

I don't remember the inside of the house in detail. I don't remember if there were two bedrooms or three. It was only important to me that I had my own room, though I remember my parent's room better because it was painted a deep shade of blue and because there was a window seat on one end. I remember the room feeling large, as if it might at one time been two rooms. And toward the end of our time there, my mother was ill, and it would be a room I would see in my anxious dreams.

But that did not happen first. We lived in the salad days after moving in. The kitchen was open to a small front room with a fireplace in it. One door led down the hallway to our rooms while another opened to the livingroom. The door on the other side of the livingroom opened to the back porch, which was screened in and always seemed cluttered with unfinished projects on my parent's perpetual to-do li

My Life in Cameras - Baby Brownie Special

My Life in Cameras - Baby Brownie Special

The cameras in my life, or, as I like to think of it, my life in cameras, for this is a portrait series of every camera I have ever owned over most of my life, and many of which still work.

The first camera I ever owned was a gift from my Aunt Carmel and Uncle Joe Tricomi. This Kodak Baby Brownie Special was given to me in the early 50's, perhaps as a birthday present. I don't remember the specifics - I was probably no more than 6 or 7 at the time.

I remember diligently memorizing the rules for "good photography", rules which today make most photographers cringe! Take pictures outdoors on sunny days and make sure the sun is behind you!. Oh Yeah Man! It's in the book (which, as you can see, I still have along with the original box). Looking at those old photos today, I laugh when I remember wondering why most of my early photo subjects were always squinting into the camera.

I remember learning how to load that 127 film all by myself, always "in the shade". (I did it by the book, you know!) Then I'd fit the back cover on and move the sliding lock bars into place, then turn that white film advance wheel while peering intently at the little round red window in the back of the camera, waiting for that "1" to slide into view.
Then I was good to go!

I would get 8 photos from one roll of film. The very first mystery I recall about photography is when my cousin Tom got his own camera. It wasn't as elementary as mine. For one thing, it wasn't called a BABY "anything". And he got 12 photos from the same film! I felt really cheated until I realized I was getting big "grown up" rectangular images while his camera was giving him dinky little square images! In a flash of rational thinking for one so young, I realized that using the same film, you either got lots of small pics or a lessor number of larger pics. And thus was set my future as an analytical chemist.

Well, maybe not...

My Uncle Joe was the photographer in our family during the forties and fifties. All photos I have from those days of my parents before my birth are due to him. My earliest memories of him is him carrying around this wonderful magical device called a Polaroid Land camera. Photos right out of the camera! It was wondrous.

roll up shades for outdoors

See also:

red brick house with black shutters

patio sun awnings

custom made wood shutters

garden swing canopy replacement

ready made silk draperies

awning track

vertical blinds pictures

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