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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Myrtle Beach

I saw this article today from CNN and it struck a chord with me. I have a lot of relatives who live in Myrtle Beach. I spent a lot of time there (especially in the summers) when I was growing up.

I have not been back in a few years but every time I visit I am always surprised (and a little saddened) at how much things have changed. It is still a great place to vacation but as the article relates I can remember the way things used to be.

The article talks of the small "mom and pop motels" that used to be a common sight at the beach. I can directly relate to this. I had a Great Aunt and Uncle who ran just such a motel for decades. They named the motel after their two boys. At least two generations of my family spent time during the summers of their youth working and vacationing at that motel. I think that tradition may have even been passed down to a third generation before the motel finally left family ownership within the past few years.

I have a lot of great memories from my time spent there. Once, I happened to run into our family physician from Houston as he was checking in to the hotel across the street with his family for their vacation. Small world.

I also made a lot of friends during my days spent at the beach. And as the article mentions it used to be, and hopefully still is, a "family beach". If you don't know what that means I'm not sure I can explain it. The best way I can describe it is with a story. Once when I was staying at my aunt and uncle's hotel there was a man who was at the pool deck drinking a bottle of beer. My elderly aunt walked out when she saw him and told him in no few words that this was a "family establishment" and she would not allow that. The man dutifully obeyed, said "Yes Ma'am", and poured out his beer. When my aunt had walked off he just grinned and said "There's no arguing with a woman like that, God Bless her."

I can also remember driving out to (what was then) the country to visit my relatives in Socastee. We always paid a visit to the old Methodist Church with its cemetery where generations of my family are buried. I believe my family's history in the area dates from at least Civil War times if not before. This church used to be a picturesque old wood frame church nestled in the middle of some woods at the end of an old dirt road. Now it sits right across from a freeway interchange.

I also remember flying into Myrtle Beach and landing at the small old Air Force Base. Now the Base is closed and there is a large modern airport. A lot of the small mom and pop motels are gone replaced by giant condominium and hotel complexes. Most of the miniature golf courses have been paved over for parking lots.

Some things, thankfully, are still the same. As the article notes the Gay Dolphin is still there. My mother worked there when she was a teenager. The Pavilion Amusement Park is also still there...though it looks a little different these days from what I remember as a boy. The Boardwalk is apparently still going strong. Some of the old nightclubs are still there...the Attic, the Bowery, Studebakers. Some like Mother Fletcher's are now gone.

Most of the great restaurants still seem to be there. Lots of "Calabash" Seafood places. My own personal favorite though is the old "Sea Captain's House". This is a required stop on all my visits. The Omega Waffle house is also a great place for a hearty and cheap breakfast.

There are a lot of new attractions, restaurants and stores that are worth seeing. Every time I return I discover a new place to add to my favorites list. But I always miss the "old" beach.

For some entertaining stories of life at the Beach from a few decades ago check out this book.


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