Tag Archives: Myrtle Beach SC

No Beach Like Myrtle Beach

Mom at her beach.  This was the year she took a wig!

Mom at her beach. This was the year she took a wig!

TRAVEL BUG TALES: GALVESTON BEACH JUST DOESN’T CUT IT

My mom’s happy place was Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Part of that happiness had to do with her bestie, Mrs. Lide, who was always with her there.  I have to give Mom credit, though.  She never quit trying to find a happy place closer to home.  Nothing ever seemed to satisfy her like a walk along Myrtle Beach, but she never gave up and she was always optimistic.  So she visited a lot of beaches, but for her, there was no beach like Myrtle Beach.

Galveston

The first beach my mom tried to love in Texas was Galveston.  Our first summer back, we visited family down in Houston and made the trek to Galveston.  That’s when my Uncle Billy lost his wallet while he was fishing – one of my favorite stories, but I’ve already shared it.

The family made another trip down there, but I can’t pinpoint the date from the photographs I have.  It could have even been on one of the family vacations we made from Georgia. In Galveston, you have a seawall and above the seawall you have a road.  We stayed in a motel along Seawall Boulevard, right across the street from the beach.  I thought I’d shared this story before, but I couldn’t find it here, so if you’ve heard it, excuse me.  Even if I haven’t blogged about it, I know I’ve told it a million times, so some of you may be familiar with it.

p-man-o-warMy Drama on the Beach

As soon as we got to Galveston, Susan and I were dying to hit the beach, but my folks wanted a break from the drive. Because we’d grown up hanging out at the beach and were aware of the dangers, Mom and Dad felt parental supervision was unnecessary.  Honestly, I was still young enough to be a little anxious about it, but old enough not to want to admit it.  I was particularly concerned about crossing the busy highway.  I was old enough to know all the rules, but had rarely had the opportunity to use them on my own, in a similar situation.

We crossed the road at the light, found a spot on the beach for our paraphernalia and waded out into the water.  Very likely, I was holding Susan’s hand, because she was quite little.  Within a few seconds of entering the water, Susan was attacked by a Portuguese-Man-o-War.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the species, it’s a particularly nasty type of jellyfish.

I will never forget the absolute terror I felt when Susan screamed.  I knew she wasn’t drowning, but I couldn’t immediately figure out what was wrong.  Her leg was turning red and swelling, so even though I still didn’t know what was up, I knew I needed reinforcements.

Jane to the Rescue

I have become the overly-responsible sort.  My husband laughs at me for my propensity to overthink a situation.  Whether I am planning a party or packing a suitcase, I think through every possible scenario.  This means I usually buy too much food for the party and carry entirely too much luggage, but I’m ready for anything.

 I remember very distinctly, on that day at Galveston Beach, being torn between two necessities.  I needed to get Susan to my parents, but I was also responsible for our belongings.  I was nearly crazy with fear for Susan, but I was also scared to death of being chastised for being irresponsible about my possessions.  I was still under scrutiny for the BBQ joint incident, which most likely contributes to my current state of hyper-worry.

So with a screaming sister in tow, I dutifully grabbed up our beach gear and headed toward the official crosswalk, when what I wanted to do was tear across the street, leaving everything behind and ignoring traffic signals.  As soon as we made it across Seawall Boulevard, I was ready to give up my responsibilities and just be a scared kid.  I made a beeline for our room and by then, I’m pretty sure I was yelling almost as loudly as Susan was screaming.

Sardines and Crackers

I’d be very surprised if we’d been away from the room for more than ten minutes.  When my dad opened the door, I remember my mom was setting up a sort of picnic with sardines and crackers.  Every time I see a can of sardines, I am transported back to this moment (which has greatly reduced my taste for these delicacies of the canned food aisle.)  My parents didn’t immediately pick up on my panic.  I’ve been known to overreact – another thing my husband points out to me frequently.  I’m sure they thought, “What has Jane gotten into now?” (Which I’m sure my husband also thinks from time to time.)

However, in almost the same breath, they figured out this was the real thing and started trying to ascertain what to do, which I am sure was not exactly easy.  I was yelling in panic, Susan was screaming in pain and we had no idea what caused our distress in the first place – only that we wanted it to end.

Almost immediately, someone else came into the room.  Susan obviously wasn’t the first kid attacked by a Portuguese-Man-o-War.  The desk clerk had seen us head to the beach and then return in a screaming panic.  He’d seen that before and showed up with a bottle of ammonia.

Return to a State of Normalcy

Within moments Susan’s screams turned into whimpers and my eyeballs returned into my sockets.  My parents were extremely grateful for the help and expressed their never-ending appreciation to the desk clerk.  Eventually, I was asked for a recap and during my telling of the event, I am sure that I pointed out that I had remembered to pick up our towels – not that it relived me from hearing about the BBQ joint incident with great frequency.

Poor Susan…she was the cause of so many of my childhood traumas.  She was still an infant when she split open her head by crawling into a piece of furniture.  I couldn’t stand to watch them stitching her up and I couldn’t stand not to.  Then there was the time she got lost at Mount Vernon and the awful bug bite.  A schoolyard feud that followed me into junior high arose because someone accused her of something she swore she didn’t do.  I may not have always been the best big sister in the world, but she knew then what she knows now – when you’re in trouble, Jane will help.

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Myrtle Beach SC in the Good Old Days

BPS01252016_0018TRAVEL BUG TALES: A GROOVY TIME AT THE BEACH

Sorry to leave you hanging.  It was almost two months ago that I shared my sad tale of woe about my embarrassing day in Williamsburg, VA.  The worst thing about it was the knowledge that my busted lip and scabbed-up arm and leg were going to really sting when I got into the Atlantic Ocean.

Back to the Beach

After Williamsburg, we were headed to Myrtle Beach.  I’ve already talked about how much my family loved visiting the Lide’s beach house.  This trip was much the same, but this time Ann didn’t come.  Her brother Bobby was there and I admit I crushed on him in an embarrassing way, but hey, I was 14.

The highlights of Myrtle Beach include:

  • the carnival with a ride called The Scrambler
  • seining the ocean
  • dinner at The Captain’s Table
  • putt putt
  • driving to Calabash NC for flounder

Nothing Stays the Same

Myrtle Beach was the icing on the cake of a great vacation.  It was the last time we stayed in the beach house.  The Lide family sold it and bought a condo.  I never stayed in the condo, but my mom and dad returned year after year to play in the sand with their good friends.

These visits back to Myrtle Beach were something my parents cherished.  The guys would play golf and the ladies would shop.  Then they’d make the required visits to Calabash and The Captain’s Table, but they’d also try out everything else on the strip.  I was a little jealous that my younger sister got to go along on many of these return visits.  I was away at school or out being a career girl, so I was not supposed to mind – but I did.

In later years I would take mom back to Myrtle Beach for one more visit.  We rented a condo in a high-rise building and it was very nice, but it wasn’t the old beach house.  The carnival with The Scrambler was gone, but the main drag had become one long garish carnival with three million putt-putt courses.  The Captain’s Table was still there and the line was still long, but either the food wasn’t quite what it should have been or my tastes had changed.

The most disappointing thing about that final return to Myrtle Beach was Calabash.  In my memory, Calabash was a tiny town with a main drag peppered with the best seafood restaurants in the world.  I can still taste the fried flounder, hush-puppies and cole slaw.  We, of course, had our favorites, but you would have been hard-pressed to get a bad meal anywhere along the street.

On our final return, there was only one seafood restaurant.  Every other restaurant was a member of the usual chains you see everywhere.  The one seafood restaurant that remained was devoid of ambiance.  It was a huge barn of a place with formica-topped tables, while my memory clung to white tablecloths, impeccable service and flickering candles.

But that trip was long after my return in 1969.  I’ll tell you about it someday.  In 1970 we went to Corpus Christi for our family vacation, but I have only fleeting memories of it that wouldn’t make for much of a blog post.  We also visited cousins in Oklahoma City.  I remember a remarkable roadside tribute to Native Americans on that trek, but we didn’t have any pictures.  Though I’ve researched it in hopes of making a return, it has apparently disappeared, which is really sad.

In 1971, we moved into a new house – the one I always think of as home, so vacations took a back seat.  In 1972, we took a trip to South Texas with some friends from church.  Come back next week and I’ll show you around.

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Early Family Travels

San Antonio in 1952

San Antonio in 1952

TRAVEL BUG TALES:  RUTH & GEORGE ARE NEWLYWEDS

Last week we took a quick honeymoon in Arkansas with my parents.  No matter how tight the finances, Mom and Dad always traveled somewhere, even if it was just a day trip.  Let’s follow along for a few years and enjoy some of the photos they took.

Summer Vacations as a Couple

In 1952 my parents took their first summer vacation.  They traveled to San Antonio, a place I’ve been to with them many times and which continues to be a favorite of mine to this day.   They made it all the way to the Smoky Mountains in 1953.  BPS01252016_0004

By 1954, my grandfather was ill and they spent their vacation money traveling to and fro between, Little Rock AR where Dad was stationed and McKinney TX, where Mom’s parents still lived.  We lost my grandfather in October of 1954, just months before I would make my appearance.

Here Come the Kids

Nineteen-fifty-five, the year I came along, Mom and Dad still managed short trips to Hot Springs and Petit Jean Mountain, but finances were very tight.  Not only did they have a new baby, but they had helped with the expenses of my grandfather’s hospital bills and his funeral.

BPS01252016_0003The newly weds were caught up in the challenges all new parents face and spent most of their time hosting my grandmother and my doting aunts.  I turned five in 1960 and dad had been transferred back to Mckinney.  Our little family took a trip to South Texas, affectionately referred to as The Valley in many travel magazines.  Mom was pregnant with my little sister, but I doubt I had much cognizance of it.  When I was older Mom told me stories of choking back morning sickness and suffering the sweltering humidity, all so we could have a vacation.

My little sister was born in McKinney and shortly thereafter we moved to Dublin GA. Our travels changed then. Every time they could afford to, we were on the road back to Texas to spend time with family. Usually Dad traveled with us, but I remember one year the only way we could get to Texas was for Mom, my sister and me to ride with another family – three adults in the front, four kids in the back. Obviously, bench seats were still in vogue for the family sedan and seat belts weren’t required.

Our Landmark Year, 1966

At Mrytle Beach

At Mrytle Beach

By 1966 Dad’s job had moved us to Augusta GA. and we took our summer vacation in Texas, as always, but we also visited Myrtle Beach SC where our next door neighbor’s family had a beach house.  We made several trips to the beach with our neighbors, the Lides, during the years we lived in Augusta.  Their family beach house became one of my mom’s favorite places on earth (outside Texas) and Mrs. Lide was her very best friend until Mom’s very last day.

BPS01252016_0018

At the beach house, wishing I was just a little bit older.

I particularly remember that trip to Texas, because it was my first visit to Six Flags and my first taste of Tex-Mex at El Fenix’s downtown Dallas location. (Well, the first taste I can remember. When I was small, my parents frequented a little Mexican cafe in Little Rock and they swore I loved it.)  Oddly however, I can find no photographic record of the trip.

While we were in Texas, Dad visited some of his fellow Canteen Officers and heard wind of some canteens in the state which would be going through personnel changes. On the way back to Augusta, Dad stopped in Atlanta, the Canteen Service regional offices, to check out the rumors he’d heard. There was joy aplenty when he returned to the car and reported we’d be moving to Dallas, TX.

Our family travels changed once again when we were finally home in Texas and didn’t make the mad dash there at every opportunity.  What’s ironic is that in just a few years, my parents would start making an annual pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach to visit the Lides.  Goes to show that wherever most of us are, we think we want to be someplace else.  We’ll quit zipping through the decades now and slow down to appreciate the miracles of my mother’s travel planning.  Next week we’ll head out for El Paso TX and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.

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