Folly Beach through the eyes of an 87-year-old woman

By Dean

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's simply known as the "Edge of America." To the locals, this small strip of beach and its border town know it as a family town. It's Folly Beach.It's a place that's home to the Lowcountry's best waves, a laid back way of life and 87-year-old Emily Ericson. Ericson may be the oldest living resident of Folly Beach and the first stop in all you need to know about the beach town south of Charleston."It was just laid back," said Ericson as she laughed thinking back to the old days on Folly. "Everybody knew everybody; everybody helped everybody. It was like a big family."Ericson moved to the beach back in the 1970s. She was born in McClellanville, moved around the country with her husband before settling down on the edge of America. She decided the sand between her toes was better than chickens in her backyard."Everyone is friendly; anyone that needs help we all chip in. It's a small family beach and it's a good place to live, if you want to find a home," said Ericson.George Gershwin didn't call Folly home, but according to legend, he vacationed on the beach in 1934 where he wrote the musical Porgy and Bess. There's very few stories Ericson hasn't heard and what she loves most about the beach is the line that helped Gershwin sell the song "Summertime" -- where the living is easy."Nobody tells you that they are famous. We have a number of writers here. We don't make a big splash, we keep it kind of quiet here," said Ericson.The quietness of the Island certainly has changed through the years. There are more restaurants and bars and the tourists and locals fill the streets and beaches most every weekend."I think the people are more on the street now then back then, times just seemed to get busy more and more people going up and down the street," said Ericson. "It was very private when we first moved here. We would just walk across the street and just get in the water."But times have changed. Ms. Emily said she doesn't get in the water much these days, but her door remains open to all who want to stop by. She says she's the caretaker of the island and anyone that needs help just stops by.Its all part of Folly, the island Emily Ericson calls home.