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- Category: Book Buzz
Arrogantly Shabby: A Pawleys Island Memoir by Clara C. Bitter
"We had way too much stuff on the catamaran which prevented us from coming about, but I was not about to sail without the beer."
Imagine twenty-five quirky relatives squashed into a century-old, six-bedroom beach cottage in ninety-degree heat, with Volkswagon-sized Palmetto bugs, what they did for entertainment and how they survived each year for fifteen years without killing each other.
A vivid picture is painted of the oldest resort area in the eastern United States, its history and legends, famous residents, its survival of Hurricane Hugo, and its retention of its nickname, "arrogantly shabby."
With a good-humored host of characters prone to pranks, the author had plenty of material. From a butt-baring boyfriend to a catamaran capsized from an overload of bear; from Jaws and James Bond to the genesis of the Pawley Dog, this warm and funny chronicle with make you want to join the family--or set up a reunion of your own.
"The now famous two-week vacation can be blamed on my husband's grandmother, Ella Lyons Harvie Ffolliott, lovingly known to everyone as Dammo. With a windfall royalty check from a long-forgotten coal mine, ninety-one year old Dammo decided that the $30,000 should fund a family vacation for her two daughters and their families, a hoard of relatives totaling twenty-nine that first year.
"Gentlemanly and scholarly eighty-year-old Jack surprised us one day with an uncharacteristic outburst. Joining those on the porch, he attempted to sit on a flimsy metal beach chair and immediately crumpled it. He simply stood up and with bent chair in hand, and in a normal voice cursed it by saying, 'Ach, this is useless junk and damn well doesn't need to be here.' He threw it off the porch into the thicket under the oaks, dusted his hands off and calmly settled in one of rockers without a glance to the astonished, dumbfounded faces around him."
Clara Bitter is a North Carolina writer and character in this family saga. Living a lifetime of entrepreneurship, she has been a bank officer, children's clothes designer and manufacturer, property manager, store owner, bookkeeper, potter, seamstress, cookbook editor, fundraiser, couture clothing salesman, and award winner. If you aren’t exhausted yet, she managed to squeeze in numerous hobbies and side ventures before “retiring” and becoming a woman of leisure and author, and anecdotally wife, mother, and grandmother, enjoying babysitting and discovering more projects that inspire and sparkle.