I had passed through Charleston many times before; stopping for doctor appointments and had always felt close to the city, but never before had I experienced it quite this way. I had become disabled due to a genetic illness two years before, which sometimes confines me to a wheelchair. Although a wheelchair makes traveling hard, I truly wanted to go to Charleston’s slave market and experience the history that engulfed it. My parents wanted to make this a memorable visit and knew sometimes people don’t take well or don’t know how to act around wheelchairs, but the people of Charleston were extremely nice and welcoming. Old southern woman would offer kind smiles and praline samples, while random strangers helped my dad lift my wheelchair over steps.
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The people of Charleston, especially in the Market remember the history and embrace it even today. When walking through the market or for me wheeling, I could smell the old time spices and really understand the history of the city. The woman who sold the spices told us that her great- great grandmother had created spices and that it’s a family tradition, which her granddaughter is taking over. Each table that we passed was selling something meaningful that represented Charleston. From church dolls that little girls used to bring with them to church in the 1800s to sweet grass baskets and flowers, the history of Charleston lives in the Market. Family traditions dating back to pre-civil war still live today and flourish in the market.
Charleston had always been familiar to me because I used to think of it as just where my doctors are, but this trip changed my whole perspective. In the market I could forget all my worries and just focus on my surroundings. There is so much to take in, sometime you just have to step back and enjoy it all. In the market I could enjoy mouthwatering pralines and forget about the pain I am in. The vendors and shop owners make you feel like family and to them I am not a hassle, but a blessing. I didn't embrace Charleston, Charleston embraces me.
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