Savannah attorney Cletus Bergen told us of a young life spent on the waters around this part of the Georgia coast.  Cletus’ father came to Savannah as a young man on the railroad, and met and married a local Irish lass.  His father fought in the Pacific theater in WWII, came to Savannah and earned a living as an architect; he designed Drayton Towers.  The family made its home on Coffee Bluff, which at that time was the middle of nowhere.  He spent time water skiing in the summer, but life on the bluff was lonely.  His father decided that he should spend time with the locals on the water, and for two years he knew and worked with the black community fishing and crabbing.
 
The story of his two years working on the water showed that it was a difficult life physically and mentally, with hard physical labor and a life determined by the tides, storms, weather, heat, and the market for the produce of that labor at the end of the day.  The tides determined what part of the day the workers worked and what part they slept. The boats were “bateaux” made from cyprus, nets were made by the fishermen (they lasted a long time,) and after use would be spread all over the porch to dry out and to be checked for damage.  During a typical day he, with the fishermen, would sleep until daylight, spread some forty nets along the shore tend them all day – and if a storm came up – they all just got wet. 
 Cletus told us that he felt these two years were an invaluable experience.  He got to know Pin Point, saw the work of “picking crabs,” which is not easy, became familiar with the culture all along the coast, saw the gathering of oysters, the baptisms at high tide – the local churches were tremendously important to the local communities.  At home on Coffee Bluff in the early 50’s his family hosted students from all over the world – this was the GRSP – and he joined Rotary many years ago specifically to help with this program.  A practicing attorney in Savannah for some 35 years, Cletus mentioned his interest in Pin Point, in the oyster industry, and in the Play It Forward fundraiser for which he said, all clubs come together and showcase local talent.  In conclusion he remarked on the beauty of the Georgia coast, which may well be, he said, the most beautiful coast of the whole of the United States.