Savannah and Thereabout 51 Miles
"We were stolen, sold and bought, together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each other's excrement and urine together. Sometimes died together and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Together we are standing together with faith and even some joy."
Savannah wears such history on her tree lined streets, the stately houses standing, mostly because of Christmas. If Sherman hadn't come through Savannah at Christmas time, he probably would have burned Savannah just like Atlanta and Charleston. That, and he needed supplies. So he wanted to give Lincoln a gift, the city along with 150 guns and 20,000 bales of cotton.
Forward thinking people designed a master planned city with twenty four squares in it, and all remain save two. Each bears a theme with statues, grass, sometimes a grave and memorial, and Live Oak trees. If you remember Forrest Gump, the opening scene was shot there, where the feather floated down to him as he sat on a park bench in one of the squares. Today during the tour, Forrest hopped on our bus, carrying his suitcase and offering chocolates. I hesitated; you never know what you're going to get. Other characters to hop on the bus were a pirate and Johnnie Mercer, local song writer, very clever. (He wrote 'Moon River,' and 'Zippadee doo dah,' among others.)
QG and I are sold on the trolley tours, complete with narration, a great way to get to know a city. And those accents! I learned some Southern language skills today. A Northerner says, "Once upon a time." A Southerner says, "Y'all ain't gonna believe what happened." Other interesting words were, winders, or windas for windows. Y'all of course, but the plural is all y'll. "I'll let all y'll off up yondah." They seem to take their accents lightly, just like the Maine folks.
We toured a mansion and I'll share some trivia. It was sold in foreclosure (sound familiar?) for a song, as the owner, a banker and shipping magnate got the triple whammy with the panic of '19 (huge recession), yellow fever (lost clientele, not to mention his wife and two of his kids) and the resultant effort to curb it with quarantine (shipping ceased). Ouch.
The balcony on the side is where our favorite Frenchman, Marquis deLafayette, spoke to the locals, and they roared in approval, although he spoke for three hours straight and delivered it in French.
One more trivia: Many of the balconies had no doors to them. Because houses were taxed per door, should the homeowner or his guests like to enjoy some tea on the deck, they would climb out through the window.
And now, the lady all y'all been waitin' fer, Quilter Girl!
Savannah is such a pretty city with lots of green spaces and trees everywhere. It is filled with history, from the arrival of Oglethorpe with his motley band of settlers through the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. They all left their mark on the city. Our driver kept saying cotton was king in Savannah and it would appear so. The world price of cotton was set at the cotton exchange along the waterfront. The cotton gin was invented on a nearby plantation by Eli Whitney who was a tutor on a nearby plantation and noticed how long it took to pick the seeds out of the cotton. Our guide told us that before the cotton gin one man could pick one bale of cotton in one day and afterwards one man could pick 100 bales in one day. That is some improvement. It was an enjoyable day in the sun.
Tomorrow we're heading for the coast. See you there!