There's an area in nearby Gloucester County called Guinea.
(By the way, the picture above was not taken down Guinea, it's from Bethel Beach shortly after the Hurricaneaster known as Ida.)
For the unacquainted, Guinea is an isolated section of Gloucester on the water. It's sort of like Tangier Island, in that the people there still speak with a certain accent/dialect supposedly descended from the early colonists. They are well-known as excellent watermen and have quite the seafaring history.
With all that isolation, however, comes a reputation that is not always complimentary. Although most of them are as good as gold, they are known to be rough. Tough. Not people you want to mess with. Or look directly in the eye.
I'm not saying that any of this reputation is true. But true or not the legends and the reputation have persisted over many
My mother grew up in Gloucester and graduated from Gloucester High School. This evening as we were leaving a basketball game, she was reminiscing about her school days, when all of a sudden she veered to the topic of Guinea. (She dragged me kicking and screaming with her.)
Below is a reasonably close representation of the discussion that ensued.
Disclaimer: The following disparaging statements were made at the end of a long, long day by a very tired mother. They fell upon the ears of a very stunned but equally tired daughter. The daughter would like to say that she loves Guinea and everyone who currently lives there, anyone who used to live there, and anyone who ever will live there. I promise I'm not making eye contact when I say that either. Let me repeat: Guineamen are great, and I
Chesapeake Bay Mother: "Lawd! Those girls from Guinea. You didn't want to mess with them. They'd just as soon shoot you as look at you."
Chesapeake Bay Woman, very worn down from a long day of driving and shopping with her mother: "Hmmm."
Chesapeake Bay Mother: "Yes indeed. They were mean as snakes, almost like a different species! Some of them had webbed feet."
Chesapeake Bay Woman, incredulous and wondering where the mothership was that deposited her on this strange planet: "What??"
Chesapeake Bay Mother: "Yes, and they wore flip flops to school. Actually the ones on the island never did go to school."
CBW, wondering how somebody with webbed feet slides a flip flop on: "What did they do?"
CBM: "Who knows! Not just that, but they were the only people I knew--the girls now--who would put permanents in their hair and never brush it out! They'd come to school with their hair all shiny and curled up."
Chesapeake Bay Woman, wondering if she ought not get out of the car and run--quickly-- to look for the mothership that so cruelly abandoned her here: "WHAT??"
Chesapeake Bay Mother: "Yes, lawd. You remember I told you about that time there was a Guinea girl on our basketball team, and she was shall we say expecting. The basketball coach was so afraid of her she didn't say anything and the girl played basketball most of the season. Pregnant. Really. The coach was afraid of her."
Chesapeake Bay Woman, starting to twitch and flinch: "Hmmm."
Thankfully something else happened to change the subject.
I think it was when I saw the lights from the mothership and I said I had to go.
p.s. On a more civilized note, Guinea is also the home of the Guinea Jubilee. Click here for more info on this annual festival which draws people from all over. Nary a one of them shows up with webbed feet wearing flip flops. I don't think.
p.s.s.t.Mathews Mark, since you are threatening to leave us tomorrow due to lack of computer, please regale us with any stories you have relating to Guinea, but remember to be nice. Guineaman are people too. Even if they might have