South Carolina Artisan’s Center

A Southern Quirk — Joggling Boards

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Since my now 1-year-old book “The Other Mother: a rememoir” is published by Joggling Board Press in Charleston, SC — I thought I’d explain the peculiarly Southern bench JBP is named after. I like this definition the best, but in my own words — a joggling board is a delightful anachronism of a time long before sexting or hooking up substituted for courtship.


You can even make them yourself. That's my multi-talented publisher painting the joggling board in front of her office
You can even make them yourself. That’s my multi-talented publisher painting the joggling board in front of her office

It’s a long wooden plank suspended between two rockers that give it a saucy bounce. The idea was, the man sits on one end and the woman the other. As their relations progress, they scoot and jiggle a little closer. By the time cheeks met, intentions were declared and chaperones relieved. Bless their hearts. The fact that it might have been devised or even imported by Scottish plantation managers kind of spoils the native charm, though the Scottish part of me chuckles at imaging the whole affair done in kilts.

One day I’m going to have a joggling board made for my bluff overlooking the Beaufort River, and I’ll have an engraved plate installed to commemorate the two best love affairs I’ve ever witnessed: the one between my recently departed Granny Vera and long-gone Grandpa Jock Bruce and the other the partnership of Byrne and Duncan Miller.

Then when my favorite aunt visits from Oregon each year, we won’t have to act like silly kids on the joggling board outside the SC Artisan Center in Walterboro, where this one graces a porch.