07 March 2016

Miss Sandy of Ossabaw Island


I have a Sunday ritual which begins on Saturday night when I lay out my clothes for the next morning. I arise around 8 and put on my clothes, grab my coat, keys, and wallet, and head out the door. My first stop is for Starbucks, of course, then on to Publix where I get a few groceries and a double paper. After coming home and putting away the groceries I put bacon and biscuits in the oven. While I eat I open up the paper, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and read every section. After I look at the ads and cut coupons and organize the coupons in my handy dandy coupon file book. In yesterday's edition, in the Features section (my favorite of all sections) was an article about Sandy West and her Ossabaw Island.

Ossabaw is a barrier island near my favorite places in Georgia, Savannah and Saint Simons Island. The Golden Isles (the barrier islands) are the best part of Georgia, in my opinion. I may live in Atlanta, but we have vacationed down there for a decade. The weeping oaks, untouched beaches, piers where my city children crab, friendly people, are some of it's charms. I actually have not been to Ossabaw, but will as soon as possible! You see it is about as untouched as possible. Jekyll, Sea Island, and Saint Simons have hotels, beach clubs, etc., but you see Ossabaw Island has been owned by Mrs. West's family since the 1920's. She is 103 years old and though she has spent most of her life in the North and Midwest, they vacationed there and when she was older she moved to her pink stucco home permanently.

"Stuckey’s tour ends at the 1924 Spanish colonial revival mansion — Sandy’s home, called the Main House. It’s an imposing, 20,000-square foot, red-tiled, pink-stuccoed structure with a great lawn leading to the sound. Lulu Belle awaits upon entering the front hall. She’s a 75-year-old beeswax mannequin wearing a green gown from Ghana and flowery white shoes that belonged to Sandy’s mother. A paper tiara stenciled with “103rd Birthday” rests atop her thinning black hair in need of a wash. Most of her fingers have snapped off."
Unfortunately, the Main House is falling apart. A few years ago the Georgia DNC purchased Ossabaw Island as Mrs. West's money has run out. The problem is it costs $10,000 per month to keep it up and running. The state has been generous to not have commercialized the island while she is living. The thing is nobody imagined she would live this long and they are running out of money. There is land and buildings to maintain (including tabby made slave quarters which Sandra Bulloch helped) and a hunter to be paid to kill the wild pig issue. They have set up a Go Fund Me so that while Miss Sandy is still living she will not have to leave her home.

You can go now and take a day tour to the island, which now that I know about, I will be touring this summer.

Here are a few resources on the Golden Isles:
The Woman Who Saved An Island
Foods of Georgia's Barrier Islands
Guide to Barrier Islands

Post Script: I will post my Downton Finale thoughts either tomorrow or Wednesday so stay tuned!

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