Thanks to Alice Connelly Moore of Beaufort for sharing a glimpse into her new book.
"Inspired Words: Poems and Essays about Life in Beaufort, South Carolina" is a 95-page hardback that Alice has been working on most of her life.
It is filled with words and photographic images from a long life in a beautiful town where she says everyone knew one another. Alice was raised on Greene Street, the daughter of Harry McKinley Connelly, who worked 37 years in the schools, and Eula Lee Fail Connelly.
She recalls being an observant child who started writing down her impressions of things at age 13.
She started working part-time at a store in downtown Beaufort about that time. She went on to own her own hairdressing and florist shops, and when retirement didn't suit her, she worked in the garden center at Walmart for four years.
The book is dedicated to Alice's late husband, Bruce. And after raising two daughters, Alice is literally turning a new page in life. She wrote a lot of poems, six novels and 10 to 15 short stories over the years that now are getting her renewed attention.
Following are a couple of snippets from her book, which is on sale around town.
First is a vignette from a childhood foray downtown with friends, called "The House Where the Names were Carved Into the Wall Underneath":
"Another place we found one day that really interested us was one of the large old homes on the bay. That day was very hot. While riding down toward the bay, we noticed that the door leading underneath the house was open.
So with ice cream almost melted, we crawled under the house just inside the door.
"When our eyes got accustomed to the dark, we could see the carvings of names on the walls there. That house was probably used as a hospital during the Civil War. I remember how fascinated we were as we read the names as well as we could. It was a moment of thought, thinking of the men so far from home. How lonely they must have been. I wonder if the present owners know the names are there.
"I would like to say that we never meant to trespass, we never took advantage of the privilege of eating our ice cream under that cool space. I guess it does show just how wonderful Beaufort was back then. If we had asked, I'm sure the owner would have let us go under there out of the heat of the day. Heck -- they might have crawled under with us; we would have given them some of our ice cream!
"It just proves what I have always said: Beautiful Beaufort was a very special place to grow up."
The Beaufort Bay
Orange rays steal across the glassy bay.
Grass turning green saves the dew for midday to drink.
Yellow dandelions and buttercups smile to passersby.
Moss sways, but gently. The sun winks.
It's spring in Beaufort.
Tides flowing, bateaux drifting, men fishing.
Tiny bare feet running to smell the oleander's bloom.
Spanish bayonets tall and white, glisten in the heat.
Someone napping to the gentle coolness; never missing.
It's summer in Beaufort.
The heat of midday gives way to coolness in the evening;
Shadows lengthen; chill escorts the breezes.
Faded flowers drop to tired grass.
The river's glass reflects gray skies.
It's autumn in Beaufort.
Serene and calm the river flows by the bluff.
The moss swings and sways as it drips from the wide
The sun longs to warm the frosted turf,
Birds huddle to keep warm.
It's winter in Beaufort.
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