Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Low Country, but not low budget housing.

Cory and I spent hours walking around the hoity-toity neighborhoods of Charleston. This was our favorite thing to do. It was far enough away from "downtown" that we were typically the only tourists in the area. It felt like someone just plunked us right down in a different world.

You would just not believe these places. Most were 3 stories high and they were all dressed to the nines. Many had gas-lit porch lights that remained lit at all times. That just screamed "luxury" to me, for some reason. So retro! So thumb-to-the-nose toward all of the Green beans out there.

What would your life be like if you lived here?
That was the question I asked myself at nearly every turn. I just couldn't conceive of it.

Do you think most of these are full-time residences? Or vacation homes?
Our tour guide said that back in the day, the wealthy people who lived in these homes would only stay from November through April or May. Then they sought refuge up North from the heat and humidity. I'm thinking these are probably Cape Cod types of people. Or maybe even Hamptons peeps.

Do you think they host luncheons on these porches? I would. And I would give my maid the day off, because I would want to be the one pouring the punch. (Do you think most of them have maids? I do.)

Can you imagine what these places look like inside? My greatest wish is that they are not all historically accurate, decorated in period pieces. I'm hoping they are not cookie-cutter "designed" homes. I'm hoping they are dressed in linen slip-covers with some silk drapes, here and there. I'm hoping they are smart enough to know that expensive doesn't necessarily mean beautiful. I'm hoping they welcome nature inside wherever they are able. I'm hoping they have chandeliers in every room.

The part that confounded me the most was when I saw little swing sets in the back yard. I can't fathom raising my family somewhere like this! What kind of life do these kids live? Do they know that their life is very different than most? Are they all spoiled? At this particular house, just as we were walking past, a teenaged girl and her younger sister pulled up in a luxury SUV and walked inside. They both wore plaid skirts and the younger one was carrying what looked like Lacrosse gear. Clearly private school accoutrements. I was stunned to see them just amble up the steps and walk right in - as if they owned the place! Then I realized that they probably do. They probably walked inside and had a PB&J, like it was no big thang. Cory decided that it was impossible to raise well-adjusted children in this environment, but I choose to extend the benefit of the doubt. And yet, here I am worrying from time to time that my kids will somehow end up with an entitled streak because I shop for them throughout the year at places like Old Navy and sometimes (gasp!) the sales rack at Gap Kids, rather than twice annually at K-Mart, like my mom used to do.

Oh, to go inside and take a look around! I dreamed of someone walking out and casually inviting us in. It never happened.

What kinds of food do you think they have in their stainless-steel Sub Zero refrigerators? I'm thinking lots of Brie. And sparkling water. And gigantic, flawless raspberries. Maybe even lox. They probably don't have slimy old bottles of salad dressed shoved in the back, or pickle jars with one lone pickle remaining.

Or, maybe they're just like us, and they just so happen to live in a drop-dead gorgeous house in South Carolina.