Voices from St. Simons: Personal Narratives of an Island's Past
Stephen Doster was born in 1959 in Kingston-Upon-Thames, England, and moved with his parents and four siblings to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in the early 1960s. His ties to the island date to the early 1900s, when his father's family vacationed there before the construction of a mainland causeway. His grandparents permanently moved to St. Simons in the 1940s, building on the grounds where a Spanish mission once stood. Growing up on the island, Doster remembers the place as a "Mayberry with tides," where he and neighborhood kids played baseball on the beach, sneaked into a resort hotel pool after football practices, and explored the island's woods and tidal creeks. His early recollections include seeing navy hurricane hunters fly over the Atlantic in search of storms before the days of satellites, viewing open Indian graves during an archaeological dig, evacuating the island at Hurricane Dora's approach, and returning to the destruction left in its wake. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1983, Doster headed to Nashville, Tennessee where he has lived and worked since. Though he has been a resident of Nashville for over 20 years, St. Simons has always been close to his heart. In 2002, John F. Blair published his debut novel, Lord Baltimore, about a young man's journey on the Georgia coast between Savannah and St. Simons. Voices from St. Simons is essentially Doster's effort to preserve the legacy of the area. For decades, he heard "local residents utter the famous sentiment that someone should have recorded so-and-so's recollections before she died." Reading the obituary of a former elementary school teacher inspired him to set up face-to-face and telephone interviews that began his oral archaeological dig. Doster works at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville with his wife, Anne.