there’s a photo i love from my cousins’ wedding reception that reminds me of a memory i carry around in my mind + think about often. in the image are many of the cousins of our family’s second wave of grands, who are all piled onto a joggling board, one which could be found for many years sitting in the brick courtyard at the historic dock street theater. it has been so many years ago now since we were all together, but the memory is one i pray i may always keep.
it was simple really, the gathering had reached the point that this group of cousins was innately familiar with, being that we all knew each other very well by now from all the holiday potluck suppers we shared over the course of those first two decades of our lives together. all the “important” things had occurred, the flower girls were relieved of their duties + as kids, you just know when it’s time to begin having some real fun together–not that we were into trouble, rather we were doing exactly what kids are so good at doing. i recall the wedding photographer was rather familiar with our family at the time + also was our cousin’s colleague. she was walking the perimeter of the reception when she looked out onto the courtyard, saw the opportune moment + seized it, knowing just how dearly our cousin sarah would adore the capture later on.
there’s not much else to say about it really, except how it was a unique + special time to be a child in charleston.
the shutter snapped quickly + expertly, once we all managed to sit somewhat-still atop this uniquely charlestonian symbol of youth + playful, young love. though that moment in-time was short-lived if not a tad contrived, it has become one of my favorites from those early years + synonymous with my childhood surrounded by cousins. we were all together celebrating + making yet another memory of this big family we had all been born into. only now, do i realize how extraordinary it was to be part of such a large family + also how much i really love a joggling board–!
to this day, the photograph is the first thing i think of when i see a joggling board– not the south carolinan who first had one built for her rheumatism, or the folklore about providing some light-hearted entertainment for courting couples back then–instead, it’s a rag-tag bunch of cousins who i still carry with me wherever i have been + wherever i will go.
you may understand then, the excitement during our first christmas here in georgia + the first away from “home”, when my family presented us with our very own joggling board for our front porch. five years later, it is still one of the most unique + thoughtful gifts we have ever received + it keeps on giving. the board which graces many a piazza in charleston, has made our porch here feel warm, welcoming + oh, so light-hearted + fun. having this connection to my childhood is remarkable, but what i cherish the most is being able to share that piece of my life’s history with my children. + oh, how i look forward to the opportunity to introduce each curious visitor to the porch to this unusual seat– “a what?” they all will say, while we insist that man, woman, boy + girl have a joggle for themselves.
last month, i found myself reliving the memory while i watched eight or nine children pile onto the wobbly, rocking bench, in all its signature glossy, charleston green glory. they had a grand time + i along with them vicariously…until, that is, someone had their toe caught under the rocker, poor thing! that’s how it is, isn’t it though? to hang around with a gaggle of others can make a child’s heart sing “the more the merrier”–was it ever! certainly though the excitement comes with the occasional side of chaos to accompany all that merrymaking. later on, i smiled deeply as i revisited that jovial group on my front porch, coincidentally realizing how my mom was one of nine children. “heavens to betsy!” our many aunts + uncles would proclaim to us kids back then!
i hope you’ll be able to stop by our house sometime + enjoy this piece of my past, symbolic of the place that made me, in part, who i am today! perhaps the next time you see one of these benches you won’t wonder begrudgingly or hesitate to hop on + take a journey back to the days when you too were a child, looking for the next bouncy adventure.