Ever since my first visit to Myrtle Beach from my hometown of Florence, South Carolina, I wanted to live on the Grand Strand. It was high school trips with my friends that drew me here: Beach parties, nightclubs like the Pad, The Spanish Galleon, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, the ocean, the salt air. I loved it all.
There were several times over the years after college that I had job offers to make the move but high rents, even back in the seventies, were higher than the salaries I was being offered, and less money than I was making in Florence as Director of Sales for two Holiday Inns, Co-hosting a live radio show, and free-lancing with WBTW-TV 13, and a local weekly magazine. Yes, it took all those jobs to make one decent salary.
However, I smile now as I recall the offer to do a live radio show from Shoney’s for TIGER Radio in Myrtle Beach. Then came a request from Lakewood Campground and their theme park, Magic Harbor, to help with Marketing and Public Relations. Coast Magazine came calling with a writing and sales position, but the economics of rent versus salary still kept me in Florence.
Fast forward to 1984, I was now working full-time in television hosting, producing, and selling advertising for my live Talk show with WPDE-TV 15, where my soon-to-be husband, Chuck, was also working as a Commercial Producer. The General Manager had been pressuring me to anchor the news, but I refused every time. Yes, I was offered three times my talk-show salary, but it was not what I wanted to do. I loved the “TALK” format! So, in order to try to force me to come his way, he canceled my show.
That was a God-wink. It gave Chuck and I the impetus to move to Myrtle Beach, a place we both loved and wanted to live, and knew TV stations were rumored to be moving their home offices there in the near future.
And the rest is history. Thanks to WBTW TV-13 for hiring us, and Cox Cable which soon became Time Warner, we were able to make a living in Myrtle Beach, leading to our own business, Stages Video Productions in 1989.
But the point of this career scenario is that we are now facing retirement in a few years. Many of our friends are moving to lesser-trafficked locations looking for a slower pace. And I get it! The area is getting somewhat congested. It’s not the way it used to be. But what is?
Some friends are moving to be nearer their children but since we do not have any children it is not a concern for us. So, when people ask us if we plan to stay here when we retire, we say, “of course.”
Why would we want to start over somewhere else? Finding new doctors in a new town, when we are at an age that we need them the most, would be very stressful. And why would we want to feel like strangers in a foreign land? We make friends easily, but we would miss the ones we have here.
After all, this is a place we always wanted to live and have lived for almost forty years. We know the lady who hangs her head out of the drive-thru window at the dry cleaners. We know the pharmacy folks and they know us. We totally trust our car repairman. Chuck and I shop at small businesses and know the owners and their parents and their kids.
Having volunteered for many non-profits, we feel like family and want to continue to help and even volunteer for some of them in retirement to stay busy. What about our church family? We love them and they love us. You can’t put a value on that!
And after almost fifty years in local television, I have people come up to me regularly and say, “Hey, you interviewed my grandfather!” Yes, it makes me feel old, but it also makes me feel very proud to hear it.
Sadly, due to health issues, there may come a time when we have to move to be nearer to a niece or nephew who can assist us in our Golden years. But for now, we are staying put!
We are connected here. This is OUR community. We helped to make it what it has become. Oh, we may travel more in retirement, but just like when we return from vacation now, our heart flutters a little bit more the closer we get to Myrtle Beach.
We always treasure coming HOME!