Sunset over Folly inlet, April 26. From

A Day at The Beach

One of the childhood joys during Charleston's stiffling Summers was a family outing to Folly Beach.

It was always Folly Beach. Never Sullivan's Island (Solomon's Island) nor the Isle of Palms where many Jewish families had summer homes. It was at Sullivan's and the Isle of Palms that we hung out as teenagers.

I vaguely remember Papa, with a rubber bathing cap and a woolen one-piece bathing suit, splashing in the shallow surf with Mama. "Ah, a majaiha, Ida."

But mostly there were other combinations of the family on the trip. Either Mama, George or Solly did the driving. I don't think Mickey had her license yet. We never all went together. Somebody always had to be in The Store Which Seldom Closed.

Sometimes Fay Cohen or other relatives would be along. She and Mickey were inseparable.

The center of activity at Folly was The Pavilion, run by the Shaderassi family (This is a phonetic spelling which will be corrected when Solly gets a hold of it.)

On The Pavilion, lifted off the ground by huge pilings and reached by a flight of stairs, were the bathhouse, refreshment stands, a two-or-three lane duck pin bowling alley, and pinball machines and other games. The railings were lined with benches where you could gaze at the ocean or watch the kiender. I think Mama liked sitting there better than getting messed up on the beach.

At very high tide, the water would surge under The Pavilion, which was on the west side of the main road which dipped into a dead end at the beach.

Our spots on the beach were usually near The Pavilion and between The Pavilion and The Pier, about a couple hundred yards to the East. The Pier, also on huge pilings, was long and jutted into the ocean.

At the end of The Pier was a dance floor and bandstand, where exotic and romantic things happened at night for grown-ups.

There was a walkway uinder The Pier which led to the "other side" of the beach which was less popular than the area around The Pavilion. We were always warned not to play around the pilings under The pier because of ferocious undertows.

We built mud and sand castles -- probably more like mud and sand slums -- and splashed minnows into holes we had dug and filled with water. I can still taste the salt water I had to swallow after being knocked down by waves.

Usually, we wore our itchy woolen bathing suits to the beach, which meant a long drying out period before we could go home. Even then, we might have to spread towels on the seats of the car.

As a treat, I guess, we dressed in The Pavilion's bathouse, where the cubicles were small with hard benches and the water in the showers was always freezing. The wood floor boards of the bathhouse, including the shower, had spaces between them through which you could see the sand below. You could also peek up from under The Pier.

One of the best parts of the day, usually in the late afternoon, came when we got to eat. Eating time was also part of the drying out time. Mama would pack sandwiches -- peanut butter and jelly; cheese; egg-- in what I think was a tin bread basket.

We also had a big blue thermos, with a spigot, filled with ice tea. We would stand around the trunk of the car and eat. I think the "elders" in the group used to like to pat my stomach which was always distended with lots of tea. We then must have gone to The Pavilion for an ice cream cone or a snow ball.

The highlight of the drive home was guessing what the time would be on the big clock on the toll booth. I think Sidney always won. It was always 5:20, too. Maybe, I never caught on.

(George remembers that the kids would duck down on the floor in the back seat , thinking they could beat the toll).

The geechee courier