On my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary we gathered at the King and Prince, the historic resort hotel where they had spent their honeymoon.
I heard stories of teeth brushing with bourbon and we went searching for an old tree.
He, the tall and handsome law student, she, the brainy and beautiful Vassar graduate, walked down the aisle in Richmond, Virginia, on September 9, 1960. Somehow they escaped their reception without the groomsmen getting at his 1958 baby blue Chevrolet Impala with shaving cream and tin cans; but it being a convertible and all, they couldn’t avoid the rose petals that rained down on them as they got in the car and pulled away. When they arrived at their hotel that first night, in Petersburg, just off the brand spanking new I-95, the front desk staff knew they were newlyweds because of the rose petal path he trailed through the lobby.
The next day the plan was to make it all the way to the King and Prince, but mother nature had other plans. Hurricane Donna was skirting her way up the East Coast, and the wind and rain got so bad they had to stop at a dive motel just past Savannah.The story goes that since there was no water due to the hurricane, she had to brush her teeth in bourbon.
When they finally arrived at their destination the next day, the resort, which had been evacuated, was practically empty. They spent the next several days living in the King and Prince tower room and exploring Saint Simon’s Island.
I had an idea that I could find this tree, my mother is standing under in the above photo. But I learned a few things about live oak trees that weekend: It takes fifty years for them to grow, another fifty to live, and finally, fifty more to die. So if this live oak my mother was standing under had been around a while, there’s a good chance it isn’t around now.
We didn’t find it, but everywhere we went, we looked.