When we decided to go to Georgia for our vacation this spring, I decided to re-read the trilogy. I am so thankful that I did, because they came to life when we arrived on the island. Eugenia had visited the island, somewhat as a fluke, fell in love with it, and was not satisfied until she was able to move there in the 1960s. She died there in 1996. The books were written in reverse chronological order, with Beloved Invader being the first written.
The Lighthouse took place right after the Revolutionary War. James Gould was the main character and he ended up on St. Simons Island as a very lonely, shy, rather backward single guy. He had drawn up plans for a lighthouse when he was a young teen, never having seen one, and living a long ways from the ocean in Connecticut. But the time came when the US government decided to build a lighthouse on the island, and he was persuaded by his friend, John Couper, to submit his plans. They were finally accepted and his dream of being a lighthouse builder came true. It was grueling work, and when it was completed he insisted on being the lighthouse keeper as well. Every night he would climb to the top of the lighthouse and light the oil lamps, which he had rigged as well. It was first lit in 1811. By this time he was married and had children, but that's a long story and you'll have to read the book for that part. Here is a picture his lighthouse, which was made from a material called "tabby," which was a mixture of oyster shells, lime, and sand. Below the lighthouse picture is a close-up of another building made of tabby.
Here is a picture of James Gould
During the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers occupied the island, requiring all the white people to leave, and requiring all the slaves to remain. They demolished James Gould's lighthouse (if I remember correctly, he had passed away by this time, so didn't have to live to see this destruction of his dream), so that the Northern troops could not see them from the sea. After the war was over, it was rebuilt in 1866. It is still in use and looks like this today.
Here are some of the flowers growing outside the lighthouse.
This is a shot from the beach - a bride was having her picture taken on the rocks below the lighthouse.
The live oak trees are massive and ancient (called that because they retain their green all year round). Absolutely incredible. The moss that sways and hangs from trees all over Georgia is everywhere. I didn't find it to be pretty, but very intriguing. DC and his brother revert to boyhood antics when they get together.
Note the look on DC's face.
The Goofy Ph.D.!
TO BE CONTINUED.