My First Home: Sew perfect in South Carolina

My First Home
. —Anisa Makhoul for The Boston Globe

It was June 1955. Married in a hometown ceremony, we honeymooned for a weekend on Cape Cod, and then headed south in our trusty Pontiac convertible.

A second lieutenant in the Marines, Vic was stationed at Parris Island, S.C., where he was a communications officer and a tackle on the base football team. This was a big adventure for us, and our destination was Port Royal.

After two stops en route, each at $6 per night, we arrived at our first home, a one-story brick house amid an entourage of other one-story brick houses. The big picture window, bare but inviting, was the first thing to catch my eye. Inside, the rented furniture, only the bare essentials, held promise. The stifling weather, and the lack of an air conditioner, did not hold such promise.

But we were newlyweds, high on hope and living on love.

With the help of a new Singer sewing machine, a wedding gift from my parents, many yards of red-flowered print covered the stare of that picture window. No washer or dryer? That’s what our umbrella-type clothesline was for. Just a few hours in the South Carolina sun, and it was ready for folding. I can still remember the wifely feeling of hanging his boxers on the line right next to my trousseau lingerie.

Wedding showers had provided us with many necessities, but no black-iron frying pan. The first trip to a downtown hardware store revealed ones like my mother’s were not available. In a cultured Southern accent, the kindly manager informed me that my mother’s favorite pan was gray when she bought it in the 1930s. He promised me that the gray one I was holding would turn black with constant use.

Baking was my forte, but cooking was not. In short order, I discovered that my healthy husband ate two pork chops for dinner and that a half-pound of hamburg did not suffice for a meatloaf.

Having my husband’s fellow officers as dinner guests made me ramp up my culinary arts. Most of them came from distant states and had interesting stories to tell. I still have their names recorded in a guest book that was a shower gift nearly 63 years ago.

We were playing house in our first home.

When base housing became available, we moved to officers’ quarters at Parris Island, where hundreds of young couples were our neighbors. We selected our own furniture, spread our wedding gifts throughout the house, and prepared to welcome our first baby.

We moved into our current home, in our hometown, in 1960, and have created thousands of happy memories here, but we shall never forget playing house in Port Royal.

Rosemary Rimkus, a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother, lives in Hudson. Send comments to and a 550-word essay on your first home to Please note: We will not respond to submissions we won’t pursue. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at