I always pay attention during Black History Month, because I typically learn something new. Our local history was not only shaped by colonists, settlers and soliders, but is forever embroidered with the blood, sweat and tears of former enslaved people, and the contributions of the Gullah-Geechee. Many years have passed since the Civil Rights movement. But even during the height of unrest in this country, there were people working diligently to overcome prejudice, solve new problems and discover new worlds. They just weren’t on the front pages of the newspaper.
One of those people, Katherine Johnson, was a NASA mathematician who, by all accounts, including the narrative of the movie “Hidden Figures,” wrote the calculations used by the first American in space, Alan Shepard; by John Glenn, to orbit the Earth and finally, for sending men to the moon. She did all this in the 1950s and 1960s, while raising a family and taking care of an invalid husband.
Johnson died on Feb. 24 at age 101. She grew up less than 100 miles from where I was raised, and attended college a stone’s throw from my childhood home, yet I never knew about her until “Hidden Figures” was released. I had never even heard her name. Of course, most of her career was happening in real time while I was attending school, and she didn’t retire from NASA until 1986.
We have people making history all around us. Some of them are unknown until late in life, like Katherine Johnson, and others aren’t known until after they’re dead. The identity of some remains a mystery forever. Curious about a subject? This is a good time of year to pick out a book about someone with whom you’re unfamiliar. Then, dig in and read about them and their colleagues. You may find some fascinating facts, and at the very least you’ll learn something new.
Speaking of being curious and making new discoveries, this year’s edition of Wine, Women & Shoes, to benefit Hospice of the Golden Isles, was just the place. During the midday event, 400 women gathered at The Cloister for a fun day of exploration – of shopping, fun, food and wine, all to help the only nonprofit hospice facility in the region.
You’ll meet a lot of fun people in this issue, all of them charting their own courses. Our newcomer is professional golfer Jackson Heazel. This Baylor University alum loves Southern Soul and the Sidney Lanier Bridge at Sunset. The person he most admires? Davis Love III – no surprise there. And our local is Ann Owens, who is the person with whom I’d most like to travel to Africa. Ann shares some travel secrets, what she enjoys when she’s home and travel plans on the horizon.
In our feature, we speak with the aforementioned Ann Owens and Alexa Scott, also a travel adviser, and find out what destinations are popular with residents of the Golden Isles. Africa, not surprisingly, is at the top of the list, but there are lots of other off-the-beaten-path ideas as well.
Coastal Home also has a travel theme. In our Home feature we speak with artist Ken Wallin, and his wife, Judy, and designer Jessica Been about how to display your travel finds once you return home. The Wallins and Jessica have all spent extensive time overseas, in exotic, and familiar places.
Our Realtor Q&A features Zaida Harris, associate broker and co-owner of Signature Properties. Zaida has been a island resident off and on since 1971, and knows it like the back of her hand. She talks about her family, her career and her favorite spot in the Golden Isles. Caroline Weidhaas, is the center of our designer Q&A. Caroline is an event designer at Sea Island, and, in her spare time, likes to hang out on the beach and attempt to beat her dad, Jim, at corn hole.
I almost forget ... remember to set your clocks forward before going to bed on March 7, because Daylight Saving Time arrives March 8. That means spring is just around the corner! Enjoy the issue!