Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Want to buy land in Ludowici?

I've been so good about not complaining about my struggles with my parents, but that's going to change because I am not alone here by a long shot.

First things first. Does anyone want to buy property in Ludowici GA? As you might guess this is not a joke. Someone that I so need to write about (should be a book actually), is my freewheeling businessman grandfather (NOT the farm agent that's the other one). In no particular order this guy
  • brought electricity to Jesup GA
  • ran a theatre there
  • made all sorts of questionable loans through said theatre
  • had a stormy, but working marriage with my very strong grandmother
  • was dearly loved by his community and had 200 or so people at his funeral - where I saw my first Mason or Moose or Elk or something funeral rite
  • had one of the few gasoline stations
  • during prohibition, was into all sorts of illegal or at least dicey things that we have no proof of (darn it)
  • taught me shuffleboard at a young age
  • sort of taught me pool at a young age
  • and finally bought property that he thought might prove to be profitable
It's this last one where he has left a strange legacy. As with most speculation much of the property didn't turn out to be the score it was (though he certainly had his share of jackpots too.) My parents have been gradually selling off what they inherited, save for one that I have yet to learn much about but will be very soon.

Ludowici (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludowici,_Georgia) is a teeny town of 1400 that is adjacent to the slightly larger Jesup, GA. It's named after a German with an Italian sounding name. I'm sure my grandfather thought it had great growth potential since it's right by a highway where a lot of traffic passes by. Emphasis on passes by. The town has gone pretty much no where. How many towns do you know where IGA Grocery and Dollar Tree appear on the town's Wiki page? And within the first few sentences? As of 2000 the median income is around $27,000, which is skating just above the poverty line. If you want to see it, Google Street views has been there. I was there when I was 16. It hasn't changed much at all.

So we're stuck with what is basically a strangely shaped white elephant property. There are other lots in the area that are listed with Century 21 and it's tempting to try to sell it but I'm thinking we'd be much better off donating it to a non-profit (there are some in the area.) So I need to sell the idea of Hey let's give it away. Which might just work. We'll have to see.


Elf said...

I love this description from wikipedia: "The main natural attraction is the Altamaha River, and Ludowici features extended swamp land across the county." Most people don't think of a swamp as a "feature". Unless it's the okefenokee. Which actually isn't too far afield from there.

Elf said...

And now you've done it--hit a wikipediholic with a badly formatted, incompletely linked article that needed copy editing as well. Plus a related article that needed to be created. So there's an hour I hadn't planned on spending--but the world is a better place for my efforts. :-)

Ellen said...

So are you interested? I just paid the back taxes.

Rebecca Leaman said...

Never mind the white-elephant property, that's one heck of a plot for a book you've got there! Seriously, your grandpa's story should be written. That's exactly the kind of colourful story that gets people really engaged with history - and the way the world is going these days, we can all use a stronger sense of place and connections. Plus, that almost sounds like a tale with Hollywood potential! :-)

Elf said...

Must admit that it doesn't sound like the most appealing place to retire to. And build a house. And drain the swamp.

Ellen said...

Hi Rebecca (How'd you find me?).
Yes my grandfather's story really needs to be told especially from the perspective of time, and probably while there are those who still remember him. I remember him, but obviously I was too young to catch the details then but now they are so intriguing. Trouble is everyone was so "nice," polite, and obliging then. No one ever asked just *why* there was a gunshot hole in the ceiling (I never saw it), and thus great stories just get missed or become pure speculation.

Wish I had some Hollywood connections. While I love to write I'm so far just a short attention span blogger.

And then there's the small problem of how to write a story about such a character without an entire town wanting my hide.