Charleston – A Very Good place.

If I am a wealthy woman when I retire, then I would love to live in Hilton Head. The beaches are moderately appealing (I am a tough beach critic), I could play tennis nearly every day and enjoy nature. Not bad. However, if I retire a very wealthy woman, then I would love nothing more than to live in Charleston, South Carolina in one of the lovely, well-kept homes that line the waterfront battery. In fact, I cannot presently think of a more ideal location. Charleston combines my love of so many things. First off, the city has a fascinating history that has been painstakingly preserved.

I have maintained a lifelong dream of owning a historic home that comes with a label like this:

Living in a home built by a “prosperous Huguenot merchant” would make me feel like I am living in a song written by The Decemberists, and appeal to the same historic sentiments that cause me to do things like join the Daughters of the American Revolution.
How about the history of this home?

Could you imagine living in a home where actual Civil War history has taken place? Wow, it would be worth altering your life to accomodate all of the preservational rules and regulations that accompany living in a historic home.
Not only that, but my romantic sensibilities would be delighted to spend the evening imagining the ghosts of Civil War widows wandering these balconies and porticos:

Though I then may be old with “wandering”, I could sit out on the porch, feeling the wind from the harbor, and in such a place be done with my practical compromises and allow myself to feel things deeply once again.

I could walk on streets and admire the careful deliberations of neighbors, determined to find just the right floral accompaniments for their window boxes.

From behind wrought iron gates, I could plan the perfect garden.

And in the light of springtime sunsets, I could reminisce about perfect days past.

Not only is there the larger, romantic history of one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, but the city holds an important point of personal family history as well. My parents met in Charleston. My mother was a new schoolteacher, straight out of graduate school at the University of Virginia. She came to this Southern city with her Irish Setter, Kelly, and her sailboat, thinking it would be the perfect place to make a life. She met my dad, a young Naval engineer stationed in Charleston, working on nuclear submarines. Charleston must have been a very romantic place for both of them; before they were engaged to each other, they each were engaged to two other now nameless, faceless individuals. But fortunately for my sisters and I, they eventually found their way to each other, otherwise our unique DNA might have never been formed.

Before they left the South Carolina coast, my mom had given birth to Sarah (seen here with her friend, Brian) in the Naval Hospital. Although they moved away when Sarah was only a month old, in the Southern world, you are from where you are born, so coming back to Charleston had to feel like some kind of a homecoming for Sarah.

And of course, later on, Melissa and I came along. Now, as we await the birth of Melissa’s son, it felt right to come full circle to the place where our little family started.

It is our own kind of history.

When I am old and very gray, I could be very content in a place like that.

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