In the Spring of 1960 we began to get glimmerings that we might be moving in June from Vidalia. There was an opening ffor a Minister to be the Chaplain of Candler Hospital in Savannah.
At that time the Hospital consisted of a main building downtown near Forsythe Park and the Telfair Hospital for Women and Babies located a few blocks away.
This was rather a prestigious appointment and DeWitt was eager to have it.
He was also thrilled for Marvin and me to have the advantages a large city offered.
When it was certain that DeWitt would appointed to the Chaplaincy we found out that a house or a parsonage was not included and that we would need to provide our own housing. This was very exciting in itself because we had never bought a house of our own before; we had always lived in parsonages.
Knowing little or nothing about obtaining housing in Savannah, we made many trips between Vidalia and Savannah to find a home. DeWitt obtained the services of a realtor to help. She first showed us older homes downtown, near the Hospital, but nothing was suitable. We then branched out a little farther toward the southside, but again we found nothing. The deadline was fast approaching when we absolutely had to find a house to meet the moving date and we kept looking.
At that time there were two subdivisions on the southside; Paradise Park and Windsor Forest. The extension of Abercorn Street was not even in the planning stages and Abercorn stopped at DeRenne Avenue. The only access road to the southside was White Bluff Road.
We toured Windsor Forest first and liked the newer homes and the spacious development. However, the houses were too close together to suit us so on we went to Paradise Park. There were two houses on Keystone Drive which seemed adequate; we chose one which had a large oak tree in the backyard and no house on one side. It also had a nice view of the marsh and we loved it!
Mother and I were thrilled with our new kitchen; it had custom made cabinets by the Wilmington Cabinet company and a turquoise blue sink, build in stovetop and built in oven!
There was no central air conditioning but with the breezes from the marsh and judicious use of electric fans we did not suffer.
When summer ended, we went about investigating our new schools; I, as a high school senior, would go to H.V. Jenkins High School while Marvin, an eighth grader, would go to Wilder Junior High School. On to school we went, riding Bus number 147 morning and afternoon.
During the summer we had become active in the Wesley Monumental Methodist Church; Marvin and i enjoyed the young people and Grace loved the ladies of the Philathea Sunday School Class. Mrs. Albert Trulock, the Minister’s wife, was the Teacher.
We soon discovered that we needed another vehicle; we lived eight miles from the Hospital and town and Grace was marooned at home each day when all of us left. DeWitt was able to buy a 1953 Mercury for $150.00 and before long Grace was happily piloting it all over Savannah!
DeWitt was keeping long hours at the Hospital, on call 24/7 just like a doctor, so the majority of the household responsibility was Grace’s.
So far we had not had the opportunity to sample the varied cuisines Savannah had to offer at that time; our go-to “eat out” meal was our favorite Krystal hamburgers at the corner of Victory Drive and Bee Road. We often picked up a sackful on our Sunday afternoon touring and exploring.
Soon the Hospital Administrator and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Aldine Rosser, invited us to go with them to the Prate’s House for dinner! We were excited by this opportunity and thoroughly enjoyed it! I was able to get my fill of fried shrimp and we had our first experience with Black Bottom Pie, a restaurant specialty.
After we ate, the Rossers drove us around a bit, even over the Talmadge Bridge into South Carolina!
There were many more adventures in store for the Family in Savannah, but for now let’s leave them to relish the taste of that Black Bottom Pie!