Wednesday, December 11, 2013
You may have noticed her license plate around town, and thought she was a musician. But East Cooper resident, Jeanie Heath, is a native Sullivan’s Islander, often known as a Fiddler after the fiddler crabs abundant on the island.
People who grew up on the island during her era were know as “Fiddlers,” and this Fiddler has a story to tell. In her new book. “The Fiddlers of Sullivan Island,” Jeanie Truesdale Heath, explores the fascinating creatures set amongst the memories of her childhood and the Sullivan’s Island of the 1940s and 1950s.
Scurry the story teller shares not only factual information about his world, offering an education for all those unfamiliar with it; but he also jogs the emotional memory buttons of those who lived during this time. Those who grew up around pluff mud know you are forever bound to it.
Heath is no different. Her mother managed the lunchroom at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School and her father was a bridge tender on the Ben Sawyer Bbidge. She and her siblings knew the fiddler crabs and their culture well. Trying to tell these stories in her memoirs is where Scurry took hold.
With a lot of trial and error, frustration and determination. Heath completed her goal. With the assistance of Office Express in Mount Pleasant, the beautifully illustrated book is now off the presses and selling throughout the community, at Royall Ace Hardware Ben Sawyer Boulevard and Highway 17, Pitt Street Pharmacy, Southern Accent, the gift shop at the park under the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Boone Hall Farmer’s Market, Haddrells, My Favorite Thngs on the Isle of Palms, Cafe Medley on Sullivan’s Island.
It will be in Barnes and Noble soon. It is also available on Amazon and Kindle. John Albrecht, who grew up on the Isle of Palms, captured the unique look of the fiddler crab with his illustration on its cover.
“I love the delight of the children who are reading my book,” explains Heath, “but I am truly amazed at the number of adults who are enjoying it just as much.” Heath is making an effort to reach out to those in the community through local book signings and speaking engagements. “I’m having a ball talking with people I haven’t seen in years, reminiscing about days gone by, and sharing more stories about our wonderful Lowcountry.”
After Heath married Alee Heath and moved to Mount Pleasant, they owned Heath Farms Produce Market and Bakery. She also worked for Kinder Care Learning Centers and retired as district manager for Charleston and Savannah. She has two daughters and five grandchildren.