All of my life, I have lived as a transplant. Born in
Michigan, raised in South Carolina, I’ve moved back and forth
between the two dozens of times. It isn’t that my family
hasn’t felt at home in either place — quite the
contrary. We are intoxicated, like so many others, with the smell
of the saltmarsh and the brutal humidity of the South and,
conversely, with the serenity and civility of Michigan. My mother,
a University graduate and 1985 Hopwood Award winner, composed a
poem to accompany these photos; which pay a tribute to the Southern
city that still has not worked its way out of my bloodstream. It
stands in sharp contrast to the normal Spring Break destinations,
with their tacky neon, all-night parties, and drunken,
scantily-clad women. In a sea of Spring Break smut and sex,
Charleston floats with an ancient dignity and grace.
— Forest Casey
There once was a woman who bled
cried milk, who bore bread, and laid eggs.
Her shadow still moves between the shady
alley ways of cool East Bay Street,
the breezeways of Tradd and Canal Streets,
porches turned sideways to nip the salt air.
There once was a woman whose children served
the coterie of the dead South, a handful of names,
a mouthful of manners, a powerful oligarchy
of oppression and protocol, bourbon and sweet tea.
Their shadows still linger in tall rooms with sheer
draperies and black iron railings.
There once was a woman who had no past, who knew
nothing but the day before her, a soft yellow day
before the heat of July had crumpled window box
flowers, riotous collections of impatiens, lavender,
and potato vine, mucking it up with striped petunias
grey artemesia, and an accidental marigold.