Bobby Ward and I were born one day apart and displayed side by side in the same baby window at Savannah’s old Telfair Hospital. His mother is named Ann Ward, as is the Ann Ward whom I am fairly confident gave birth to me. Mama laughed loudly when she told me there was a lot of explaining to relatives that, no, she didn’t have twins. She said she remembers one “Ward sign" hanging over our heads with two little arrows pointing to the “Boy” and the “Girl.” I grew up through gradeschool with Bobby. We rode on the same school bus and had a lot of classes together, but I eventually lost track of him. Somebody told me he became an insurance agent in Richmond Hill, Georgia, but my google stalking attempt to find him was unsuccessful. We Wards can be quite stealthlike. But for the sake of transparency I admit I didn’t do an exhaustive search. Frankly, it would have been horrifying to see a photo of him as an adult that looks more like my parents than I do. Finding Bobby might be a bigger surprise than I can handle. I’ve had a lot of surprises, both good and bad, since moving back to “The Jewel Of The South.” Nearly every day I walk past the building that was formerly the hospital where Bobby and I were born. But today it’s known as Telfair Arms Apartments.
What you don’t see in the photo above is Savannah’s newish free historic district shuttle parked in front of my beloved birthplace. I hopped into position for this picture just as passengers were loading for take-off and got the feeling some of the people below that balcony thought I might toss out Mardi Gras Beads (?)
On that note, I've worn my share of green beads. At the stroke of midnight when we ring in the upcoming new year in Savannah, people from around the world will immediately start counting down to our epic upcoming Saint Patrick's Day celebration on March 17th. Now, be aware there are a lot of tall tale talkers in Savannah who say they have authentic Irish heritage. But these posers rarely spare the truth at the expense of a good story. I, on the otherhand, actually do have a real drop or two of Irish blood (at least according to the woman named Ann Ward who claims to be my mother).
I wish I’d taken a photo back in the old days when Savannah’s City Hall dome was green. But as a lover of all things good luck and leprechauns I do rather fancy that it’s now covered in 23 karat gold.
Another favorite memory is the night I married the former Editorial Editor of the Savannah Morning News over dinner at my favorite local restaurant, The Olde Pink House. After an unforgettably romantic meal we pedicabbed away to live happily ever after.
I could reminisce for many pages about sweet times in this town, but since I promised myself I’d keep blog articles short, I’ll leave you with this one last story about how things are changing: The famous Savannah waving girl statue will soon be moved to the new Plant Riverside project on the other end of River Street. When I sold commercial real estate a few years ago, my dad made short videos of me talking about my listings. Real estate advertisements can be a snore fest, so I tried to make mine more interesting by weaving in details about the city's history. Every time I see the picture below from one of our shoots I remember how seriously he took our little home-spun productions. What you can’t see here is Dad in front of me, hunched over his tripod and film equipment. He was usually dressed like a low country gentleman, in khakhis and a simple navy polo shirt, his favorite Sperry Top-sider boating shoes, and dark aviator sunglasses. Dad would make dramatic hand signals to our onlookers to back off, then he would flip his baseball cap backward, and bark "Quiet on the set! Quiet on the set!" before starting to film a new take. I was grateful the onlookers were probably Savannah visitors as opposed to being local friends who might tease me later. My father was a larger than life character with a deep, booming voice. I can remember asking him to go easier on those tourists when he came over to mike check me. Oh what I would give right now to see him lost in his magical creative zone like that just one more time.
I was born in Savannah. It’s where I grew up, and where I call home. I’m not alone in my adoration for "The Hostess City.” America's largest historic district, where we now live, has won international acclaim as one of the most physically beautiful destinations in the world. Have you got a great Savannah memory or do you plan to visit anytime soon? I would love to hear from you in the comments.