Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Friday!

This is not today's Wonder of the World.

Although it is pretty wonderful.

We live in Peach Land, and this water tower is about 45 minutes from our house. Sue Monk Kidd wrote about it in The Secret Life of Bees, except she changed it to a giant peach on a pole inside T. Ray's peach farm. If you drive down I-85 through South Carolina, you can't miss it. When my brother's friend Mike first laid eyes on it, he said he wanted to marry a woman with a hiney like that. I don't know if that worked out for him or not, but every time I drive by Gaffney and see the peach, I think about Mike and his lustful desires.

No, today's Wonder of the World is what upstate South Carolina is really known for--or at least used to be. Think John Edwards.
No, not Nice Hair. Try again.
It's a textile mill. John Edwards' parents worked in one in Seneca, about 40 minutes from me.

More specifically, today's wonder is The Textile Mill Village. That's what interests me. The people and how they lived.

Not this so much.

It's not a very pretty photo.

But I do like looking at it because that mill used to be right around the corner from my house. It was the very first mill built in this part of the state, first constructed in 1820, long before the postcards described Greenville as The Textile Jewel of the South. During the Civil War it was churning out fabric for Confederate uniforms, and it kept going strong until the mid 1930's. The mill burned down in 1943.

Here's all that's left of the mill itself.

This is the mill office. They moved it across the street when they built the new road. If you look at the old photo, you can see it in the right bottom corner. When we first moved to Greer/Greenville in 1990, this building was used as a post office. The old postman didn't always have stamps, but he did give out lollipops to kids for free. I'd love to fix it up and live in it. But my husband says over his dead body.

And this is left too.

Remember the river picture from yesterday? The same river powered the mill. I think the dam is lovely.

But my favorites are the mill houses. There used to be hundreds around this mill, but now there are just a few.

I do a Meals on Wheels route in another mill community across town, and just about everyone I serve worked their whole lives in the mill. My friends say I'm awfully nice to volunteer, but they don't know that I'm just obsessed with this mill village thing. That, and I like the people. They invite me in and tell me about their lives, working and living to the rhythm of the whirring looms and the dinner whistle. It's a feast for both of us.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Nathan Bransford said...

I love seeing things like this and imagining what things were like way back when. You have to come to my hometown and see the rice farm and the small town I grew up in. I think you'd love it!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'd love to see the rice farm and your small town. I really would. Do Californians eat rice with breakfast like some Carolinians do?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

By the way, if there's anyone out there who can explain to me why some of the dates of my posts this week are missing, thus messing up the date at the top of today's post, I'd love for you to email me. Thanks!

Rebecca Ramsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Sandmore said...

Ah, many's the time we have driven by the giant rear end in the sky--snickering all the way.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I just went to your blog. Love the video and the parade pictures! Good to meet you!

Adaora A. said...

It could have something to do with time zone rebecca. Have you fiddled with your time setting recently? By that I mean did you change it from numbers/time to just date. It could be that your account confused that. Also, it could be something to do with drafts and posts. Sometimes they get a bit jumbled and perhaps they will turn up when you alter the time setting? I hope I helped in some way.

I love that gigantic peach. It reminds me of a huge apple and pillsbury dough boy sort of monument that I believe we saw at a rest stop on our way to my home state of Connecticut.

Julie Weathers said...

Oooooh, I want that post office!

We bought a place with some acreage and an old, nondescript house. When I started gutting it to rewire it I found all the walls were 1x8 heart pine boards. I saved as many as I could and planed them down, refinished them and used them on the new walls.

What is left, I am trying to get so I can make an entertainment center out of them.

Icarus said...

I followed a link from Nathan Bransford's blog over here, hoping the South Carolina pictures in question would be from the Upstate, where I used to live. Too cool! I used to live in Central, in Pickens County, near Clemson, Easley, and Anderson. I just loved living there, and your pictures captured a part of why--that sense that everything has a history, and the little ways in which nature seems to be taking the land back. I miss hiking up there. (I'm in Florida now. Nothing to see here. No historic old small towns. No mountains. No occasional snow. Just beaches, swamps, office buildings, and highways.)

I remember the first time I drove by that peach. I mentioned to my girlfriend at the time an old children's book I remembered reading, and she was certain I was imagining it. (This was before the James and the Giant Peach movie.)

Ah. :) Thanks for reminding me.


Chris F. said...

I've been by that water tower several times. It is a sight to behold.

liquidambar said...

Hi Becky! Welcome to the blogosphere.

I must say, you have alarmingly interesting pets (your dog here, and the cat in FRENCH BY HEART). We had a cat once, but he felt no obligation to entertain us.

Anyway, happy blogging!

--Jennifer Hubbard

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Adaora, thanks for the tech help! And I want to see the big Pillsbury dough boy! I love that stuff!

Julie, I was born to be your friend. The house project and entertainment center out of reclaimed boards sound very cool. I'm so impressed by folks that do things like that.

Icarus, I know that area well! I did my masters at Clemson, so I've driven those roads countless times. Glad to prompt old memories. And you're right about nature trying to take it all back. The kudzu should be greening up any time now.

Hi Chris F, thanks for the comment. And you too Jennifer! Yes, I'm not quite sure how we got so lucky (?) to have such wacko animals, but they do enrich life. I can say that now because my husband is out gathering dog poop from the back yard. I doubt he feels lucky at the moment.

Carrie Ryan said...

I also came over from Nathan's blog -- couldn't resist when I heard you were talking about SC. I'm from Greenville and live in Charlotte now. I see that peach a lot when I head home :)

Thanks for the pics!

Michelle said...

I think I have in laws that live beneath that peach. Or my sister does...LOL Followed the link over here from Nathan's blog. Lovely pictures. I'll be heading out to Greenville for work this week. Nice blog you have here...


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Welcome Carrie and Michelle,
It's nice to meet you!

paris parfait said...

So interesting - thanks for sharing these photos. xo