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Gullah Ooman: All sales final as couple’s stock in trade must go
By Jason Lesley
The Gullah Ooman Shop of Pawleys Island is no more.
Displaced by their landlord a year ago, founders Bunny and Andrew Rodrigues sold much of the remaining merchandise representing Gullah and African-American culture saved from the shop at Waverly and Petigru roads Saturday at a yard sale at their Parkersville Road home.
Bunny Rodrigues plans to open a small shop on King Street in Georgetown with just enough space for presentations. “Everybody is glad I’m coming to Georgetown,” she said.
Saturday’s sale was a mixed bag of African keepsakes and American icons. Two yards of blue fabric with white designs sold for $6. “That’s a giveaway,” Bunny told the buyer. “Some of these things I’ve had for a long time.” She pointed to some wooden chairs from a “summer kitchen” she ran in Pennsylvania grouped with others she accumulated in her Gullah museum and gift shop.
Saturday’s sale included boxes of record albums covering decades of Americana: Negro spirituals to Martin Luther King’s speeches to pop singers Lionel Richie and Nat King Cole. “In Pennsylvania,” Bunny said, “they had record shows, and people from all over the world came. Jamaicans and blacks from South America would be looking for old records that didn’t do well here but did well there. No one wants a record any more. Children don’t even know what they are.”
Bunny said she sold a bottle tree, a wooden trunk with “limbs” holding blue bottles turned downward, early on Saturday and hoped to move another.
“It’s been good luck for me,” she said. “When an evil spirit comes into the yard it has a tendency to go up into the bottles. I don’t know what I’m going to do in Georgetown because I won’t have a bottle. I have a broom to put across the door to keep out the hags and haints. I can’t paint the door blue because it’s in the historic district. I could keep frizzy chickens in the yard. If an evil spirit comes in the yard it goes into a frizzy chicken. That’s one whose feathers grow opposite and stick up.”
There are some mementos too precious for any yard sale. A quilt made for Michelle Obama is in the Smithsonian. Bunny said she’ll keep a story quilt made by Waccamaw school children for her presentations in Georgetown.