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Southport Remembered – Native Stories

I stumbled across an active group on Facebook called . It is a viable group of old Southport natives that grew up here and have fond memories of "the way it was." It is a lively group with old pictures and commentary that gives a unique look at days gone by in the area we call home. I have put together a brief slideshow, with permission from Mike Royal, in hopes of giving those who love Southport a glimpse into the simple life that once was. As soon as I read Mike’s musings of what it meant growing up back then, I wrote him and asked permission to post it here. So it is with his generous blessing, I offer the the following. Trust me, you owe it to yourself to read the following in its entirety….

Ramblings of an old Clam Digger by Mike Royal

cd17_mike Heaven just might be where I’m going but it’s definitely where I’ve been. You see, I’ve already lived in heaven. Some call it Southport. I call it home. My life has been a journey of wonders. Where ever life has taken me, I have always carried Southport with me. It is in my blood, it is at my core, it is who I am.

I have felt the spray of the Cape and it steeled my Fear. I have whittled at Whittler's Bench. I played ball on Taylor field. I’ve seen a Dolphin shoot hoops and a Sail Fish swing a bat! I walked the halls of Southport High School. Mazie and Mammy served me cornbread. Ms. Normant taught me ABC. I watched it burn. I learned of God at Trinity. God sent two angels, Phil A. and Eddie J. Through them I understood God’s grace and the lesson of humility. I have seen the old Jail when it was just a jail. I picked cookies from a Jacks cookie jar. I was amused at the Amuzu and sipped cherry colas at Watson’s Drug Store. With a honking of his horn, Freeman Kirby brought us fresh vegetables. cd18_mike The Maola man delivered my milk to the door. Dr. Burdette healed and mended me. Another Kirby dispensed my medicine. Mack, Louis, and Ed have fed me. Ed was closed on Thursdays. I found Curiosity in a downtown shop. I collected my 2 cent bottle deposit at Dan Harrelson’s. I sat on a plank as Roland cut my hair. A man named Joe knew pulpwood. My playground lay between the sea buoy and the number one beacon. I fished the Cape Fear and swam the Old Yacht Basin. Doors I knew were attached to a net. Purses I knew were boats circling for Menhaden. I’ve seen an Idle On and bailed the Nola Dare. I pulled Penny’s nets and painted Cathy’s outriggers. I knew Patricia and Alice Belle. I watched Pappy drive pilings and could see his house amid the salvage of hard work. I’ve painted boat bottoms at Frazier’s Boat Works. By God, I’ll take you to Buzzards Bay; I’ll show you the Frying Pan and kiss Old Baldy on the way. I’ve eaten corncakes and seen the inlet. I sailed down snag alley. I’d rather remember the old “Oak Island Bridge” or as the name of a great band. I’ve waded in Bonnets Creek. AHHHH, I’ve smelled low tide, the old fish factory, and Caroon crabs. I feasted on marsh hens, conchs and cd19_spp Turtle Egg Duff. I’ve dug “Bull” clams at the mouth of Bald Head Creek. I can mend a net. The Old Salts who taught me have names like Dallas, Merritt, Lewis, Jimmy, John, Walter, Duney, Smutty, Sonny, David, Maxi, Dick, Reese, Charlie, Twitt, Basil, Larry, Gunk, Stanley, Fred, Earl, Frank, Bud, Bill, Rob and Cash. I attended their “board” meetings at Dallas’ shrimp house. We sat on shrimp boxes and old rocking chairs. These MEN, these Prophets of the sea, these Rabbi’s of hard work and hard life left their mark on me. I watched, I observed, I learned, I’m grateful. But most of all, by God, I LIVED it. God blessed me with Southport as my nursery, my estuary, my hatchery and I am better for it. All that I am I owe to a village that raised me. These are my memories and I share them with many other “Clam Diggers” who lived it too. May God bless you new stewards of Southport and may you too find “Heaven” and pass on to the next generation the essence and the character of SOUTHPORT! May it overwhelm your senses and dazzle your thoughts. May it enter your heart and course through your veins. You too will be better for it. In your old age you can wrap yourself in the warmth and comfort of these memories, these visions. Let’s circle the cedar bench, just one more time!
Michael Royal

Click HERE for slideshow

A look at life around Southport

Please give me a call if you have suggestions for content here. I welcome your input. Feel free to send your own pictures...I may start posting a picture of the week, along with a local business person of the week. Let me hear from you...

Vicki Burton