How Bluffton got its books ...

843-838-8304August 6, 2013 

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Now you see it ... now you don't. I knew it was going and now it is gone. Gone, but not forgotten.

What is it, you ask? "It" is the old Bluffton library building on Boundary Street. The rather dilapidated, manufactured building-trailer was at one time the Bluffton library in all of its glory. The building was last used as the home base of the Society of Bluffton Artists. SoBA, as the society is known, now makes its home at the corner of Church and Calhoun streets.

Years ago, the only library we had was the bookmobile. The bookmobile traveled miles through the far reaches of Beaufort County, and we in Bluffton were considered the really far reaches. It was a large bus-like contraption with shelves filled with books for young and old alike. The librarian who drove the bookmobile was always full of gossip -- much of which went right over my head. She was such a cheerful, engaging person. When she hugged my children, they said it was like being squeezed by a giant marshmallow cloud. She always went out of her way to accommodate any wish a book lover might have.

One day she told us the bookmobile was being done away with because of the cost. That was a sad day for many people. If one wished to read a book, a trip to Beaufort was in order. There was a large library there where we were allowed to check out books.

Mimi and Hugh Gordon moved to Bluffton to restore Mimi's family home next to The Church of the Cross. Hugh had retired from Pan American Airlines, where he had been a pilot flying around the world. Bluffton was the spot they had chosen for their retirement. Heaven on the banks of the May River, they both declared.

Mimi loved to read and often wondered why there wasn't a library in Bluffton. Her dear friend Mary Wright, who lived two doors away, wondered the same thing. One evening over their daily libation, the two decided our town needed to grow up and get a library of its own. Mimi and Mary thought groups of people who wanted a spot for meetings would also benefit.

The two ladies got all interested parties together, and everyone agreed on the location -- no one ever argued and won with Mimi. It was decided the library would be on town property on Boundary Street. They quickly set about collecting books and overseeing the construction of the building.

The library was quite a success and gave so much pleasure to our town. The building was used often as a meeting place for many groups at no charge.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of both Mimi and Mary, we now have a beautiful library building in Bluffton Village. I think both ladies would champion the work involved in the bringing of new life at the old library site. There is now a lovely park for children that is in use at all times of the day. My grandchildren are frequent visitors and have a swell time at each visit. You can see pictures of Mimi and Mary at the new library, and I only wish you could have known them.

  • There is a new exhibit at the Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery, "Think Cool." Each artist member was asked to create a work that had a cool vibe, pretty much a good thing this time of year. The opening reception is set from 3-5 p.m. Aug. 11 at the gallery on the corner of Church and Calhoun streets. Join the fun; refreshments will be served. If you can't make the reception, you'll have a chance to see the exhibit through Sept. 1. Details: 843-757-6586

  • A real treat at the annual Boiled Peanut Festival will be the unveiling of a sculpture of the world's largest boiled peanut. There is also a Mrs. Peanut and a Little Goober beauty contest. Lots of peanuts to sample and fun for all ages. The event is from 2 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24. Details: www.blufftonboilers.com

  • MISS LILI'S ONIONS

    2 bags frozen pearl onions

    1/2 cup dry vermouth

    3 tablespoons sweet butter

    1 cup water

    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Put everything but vinegar in a large skillet and simmer until liquid has evaporated and onions are tender. Add vinegar, and stir until it is absorbed. Serve with grilled meat or fish.

    Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.

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