As you may know, Hurricane Joaquin cascaded over the Carolinas during the past week. While our immediate area avoided a lot of damage, we still felt impacts from flooding, especially on the beaches. Once again, the Kindred Spirit Mailbox was gifted a guardian during the storm.
Before the brunt of the storm hit, someone tethered a red rope from the flagpole to the mailbox to ensure that even if it was knocked over, it wouldn’t be washed away. The mailbox did get upended during the storm and the flooding, but it was still there. Once the rain stopped, volunteers with the Bird Island Preservation Society went down to put the mailbox right again.
Another volunteer had gathered the notebooks that were inside and brought them home to dry out. Time after time, when it comes to the mailbox, we’re all kindred spirits uniting to keep the spirit alive!
Old Ocean Isle Beach Ferry
One June 23rd I will be speaking at the Museum of Coastal Carolina in Ocean Isle Beach from 6pm to 7pm about some of the stories I’ve encountered while doing research for a new Ocean Isle Beach History Book. I would love for you to join and hear some of the fascinating history I’ve come across. Here is the press release for the event:
When you drive over the bridge to Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) today, houses cover the island from the east end to the west end. Yet, in mid-1954, there were only seventeen houses on the island and only ten permanent residents. When Hurricane Hazel swept over OIB in 1954, only two of the houses survived the storm. What was life like back then, when the only way to get to Ocean Isle Beach was by boat? On June 23 at 6 PM, the Museum of Coastal Carolina will take a trip down memory lane when it hosts a panel discussion of the early days of OIB – the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. The panel consists of V. Ryan (Bunny) Lauzon, June McLeod, Gladys Stanley, Gerry Strickland, and Virginia Williamson. The panel moderator is Sunset Beach author Jacqueline (Jack) DeGroot.
Jacqueline DeGroot has written 21 novels and books. She is currently working on a local history book with Miller Pope that is based on interviews with local residents. In addition, she is working on a third book in her Cemetery Kids series, a historical novel, and a contemporary novel.
The Museum of Coastal Carolina is located at 21 East Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach, NC. Admission is free for members. Non-member all-day admission (including NC sales tax) is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children, and free for age 2 and under. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the museum’s hours are 10-8 Monday-Thursday, 10-5 Friday, and 10-1:30 Saturday. For more information, call 910-579-1016 or visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org.
Photo by Katie Quine
Last month, the day after Tropical Storm Ana visited, I was driving back from Virgina to meet Katie Quine, a journalist from Our State Magazine. We were supposed to meet at the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. She came to Sunset Beach to interview both Frank Nesmith and me about the origins and the story of the mailbox.
That afternoon, just as I was running out the door to meet her, I got an email that the mailbox had been washed away and volunteers were scouring nearby areas to find it. Frank called and told her we would have to postpone. As you know, the mailbox was found intact and we set everything right in a few day’s time.
Photo by Katie Quine
Katie came back a few weeks later and we did the interview on Frank’s porch rather than at the mailbox. It felt more like talking with old friends than an interview. I could listen to Frank speak about Claudia and the mailbox over and over. Each time he tells the story another small detail of their lives emerges and the mailbox history grows.
I will probably never know all the secrets of the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, I don’t think anyone ever will, but it’s nice to hear a little more of the story each time.
Click Here to Read the article from Our State Magazine or read it in the June 2015 issue.
Yesterday, Memorial Day Monday, I attended the ground breaking for the new Sunset Beach Park. The park is located adjacent to where the Old Sunset Beach Bridge stood. There was a crowd of a few hundred people, many of who were dressed in their uniforms from their days in armed forces.
The Memorial Day ground breaking ceremony included a beautifully sung National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a dedication of a wreath on the Veteran’s Memorial by the Boy Scouts. They also asked all the men and women who had served in the armed forces to stand and state their rank and military branch. Here are a few photos from the event:
Last week I was interviewed for a feature about The Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Good Morning Carolina. The episode aired on Monday Morning (May 18th) between 5:30am and 7am on WWAY. Sandy Payne and I rode out to the Mailbox and talked about some of the history behind it and how it was repaired after Tropical Storm Ana.
Here’s the video from the show (I didn’t see it live, it aired a little too early, even for me!)
The Kindred Spirit is back! A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who helped, this mailbox is truly being watched over! Our wonderful group of volunteers went out today and quickly set to work. The mailbox was put back in its original place (or as close as we could get since there was no marker), the bench was plotted next to it, and the flagpole was straightened and re-roped, and equipped with a new flag.
I cannot begin to thank everyone who helped, offered support, supplies, donations, and words of encouragement–there would simply be a never ending list. During the chaos of this week I looked up the definition on Kindred, it means “Relationship by blood.” After this week, I do not think even blood could unite this many people. The spirit of the mailbox is something much greater.
Riding down to the the Mailbox, supplies in tow.
Couldn’t have asked for a better day
The Crew walking down
Erosion from Tropical Storm Ana
That’s why they call it Bird Island
Modeling the New Mailbox
I can’t believe how the dunes washed away
Debris in front of the Mailbox from the storm
The helpers started coming in droves
The downed Mailbox and bench
The bench miraculously remained in one piece
Journals from Post-Ana
Planning and plotting
The new (metal) Mailbox
Debris from the storm
This tree is holding up this dune
Picking up trash
Removing the old Mailbox, although not so old, it’s only been there a month!
Fixing the flagpole
“Quick someone Google how to thread a flagpole”
Joey helping out
Re-roping the flagpole
Our trusty ropers
A little spot of paradise
The Kindred Spirit Bench
Mailbox and bench, back together again
In business again!
What a view!
Raising the flag
There she goes!
Blowing in the wind
The Kindred Spirit Mailbox is back!
Writing in a notebook
The Kindred Spirit is here at Sunset Beach
Our wonderful volunteers!
Thank you all for entering my contest for The Earl’s Wet Nurse on audio book!
Here are the winners: Alda Tavares, Ginny Martin Fleming, Holli Guin, Fran Pierce, Kenny Hamilton, Jennifer Kingston, Sandra Wolfe, Barbara Scott-Cannon, Gay Garris Rhyne, and Selena Mobley! You will all receive an email with your download code soon!
And if you didn’t win, it’s available for purchase on Amazon.com!