Salt of the City: Love and Hope

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Noel and Ruthie Wright grew up on Isle of Hope’s Bluff Drive. That’s where they met, got married, raised a family and still live today …

—in the very house that Noel’s parents purchased in 1944. The couple’s three children also live on the island, as do their three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Here’s how it all began, on one hot summer afternoon, 73 years ago. Photography by Christine Hall. 

 

Ruthie: “Some friends and I, we were sitting on my front porch. We had nothing but girls out here then, and we saw this boy walking down the street.”

Noel: “I had just moved out here and I didn’t know anybody. Here I am, a very innocent young man, about 12 years old, and there were these girls sitting up on the porch.”

Ruthie: “Now this is where he’s going to tell us a lie!”

Noel: “They called to me and said, ‘Come on up, we’re playing cards.’ So I went up there to play Canasta or something, but they wanted to play Spin the Bottle.”

Ruthie: “See, now that’s a lie! He’s always tellin’ that lie!”

Noel: “We met right there—that’s where it all began. We started going together when we were about 13. I knew then.”

Ruthie: “No! You did?”

Noel: “Oh yes.”

Ruthie: “Then his mother and daddy sent him off to school, away from me.”

Noel: “I went up to St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware. I was up there for five years.”

Ruthie: “But he came back at Christmas and in the summertime.”

Noel: “We wrote letters back and forth. Then I went to Washington and Lee for a year, up in Lexington, Virginia, and then I decided I was away from home too much and she was at the University of Georgia studying education. So I transferred down to Athens and she graduated in 1953 and came back to Savannah and taught school in 1954.”

Ruthie: “I needed to make us some money!”

Noel: “Then between my junior and senior year, on August the seventh, 1954, we got married right next door—in Ruthie’s parents’ living room.”

Ruthie: “My daddy built that house.”

Noel: “Our plan was that I’d go back to my senior year at Georgia and she would teach school, so she got a job at Clark County as an elementary teacher and then she was going to pay all the bills and everything while I finished school.”

Ruthie: “And then what do you think happened?”

Noel: “She got really sick. She got the flu so bad and they couldn’t figure out why it held on. Well, it lasted nine months.”

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