Folly Beach (Continued)
DuBose returned to Charleston without me because my play Nancy Ann was about to open in New York. That set the Lowcountry jungle drums thumping like mad! Where was his wife? And who was she anyway? From Ohio? She writes plays? A lady in the theater? Well, I had to do the work I was being paid to do! But I knew enough about Charleston to know I'd better watch my step, so early on I adopted the zippered lip posture and took my lead from DuBose. It was his reputation we had to protect and he was so much smarter about those things than I was.
Oh! There is so much I want you to know. This was a crazy time in the world. The economy was going down and hemlines were going up. Women were bobbing their hair, throwing away their corsets, and kicking up their heels, doing the Charleston, especially in Charleston! And in the arts? In Charleston? Well, DuBose and his friends decided that big nasty misunderstanding with the Yankees was behind them and they had to look to the future. I mean, please! Charleston was spared a visit from Sherman but sentiments still ran so strong sixty years after the war ended? Honey, the way people whined and carried on, you'd think old Sherman barged into every lady's house on the Peninsula, broke all her china, stole her daughters, and punched her husband in the nose! Just ridiculous. I mean, people moaned and moaned about how much better things were before . . . wait, do you know the story about Oscar Wilde? No? Well then, listen to this. Oscar Wilde came to Charleston sometime around 1885, the exact year is a little fuzzy to me, but anyway, there's Oscar standing on the High Battery with a Charleston gentleman admiring the full moon. Oscar says, My word, would you look at that extraordinary moon! The Charleston gentleman says, Ah, you should have seen it before the war! So now you see, Charleston was reluctant to embrace the future if it meant deemphasizing the past one tiny iota. DuBose and his cohorts wanted to hold on to all the glories of the past but have their work reflect their observances of their present day and their hopes for the future.
God, I loved that man. We're not talking about moonlight and magnolias here. This is about the magic of a spectacular marriage and how it fueled our creative life and shaped our worldview.