Special Needs Resources
in the Lowcountry Dennis Stokely:
A SLOW GOODBYE Our Homes and Community Deserve the Best!
1949 SUMMER 2016
12 features 12 SPECIAL
Resources for Special Needs Persons – Respecting All of the YOUs in the Lowcountry
Bluffton Summer 1949
Vernacular Architecture in the Lowcountry Part 2 Hilton Head
32 PEOPLE 18 LOCATION A Largely Untold History of the Lowcountry SERIES Part 3
Dennis Stokely: A Slow Goodbye – Facing the Light
39 CHARITY Alzheimer’s – Purple is the Color of Hope
46 WINE Finding the Right Wine
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DO YOU NEED LIFE INSURANCE?
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REAL ESTATE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY
on our cover L TO R Becky Smith, Lollie Stelljes, Bobbi Ann Gabriel, Clare Keating
PUBLISHER Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC Mylene Owens
EDITOR Tamela Maxim
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jeff Gerber Annelore Harrell Tamela Maxim Glen McCaskey
To receive monthly e-news go online to www.premierlowcountry.com and add your email address. And, if you are not currently receiving Premier Lowcountry magazine at your home, please provide your name and address and weâ€™ll make sure you are added to the mailing list.
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Tamela Maxim Glen McCaskey Mylene Owens
SALES Mylene Owens
GRAPHIC DESIGN Barbara Bricker of Small Miracles
Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC P.O. Box 3480 Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 Phone: (843) 645-BEST (2378) www.premierlowcountry.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC is not responsible for any statements, services and products made by advertisers.
Printed by Martin Printing, USA 6
publisher’s note MYLENE OWENS
If you know anything about me, you would know I am not a procrastinator. I am the type of person who shows up 15 minutes early for a meeting, and is always ahead of the game for anything. Be prepared! Always! Well, not this time. I forgot all about writing the Publisher’s Page until the last minute, also known as the day before print! Not me at all! Three years ago, on February 12, 2013, I met my husband for our first date. We had spoken for months on the phone after meeting online, which was quite an experience in itself! At the end of our date, we exchanged pictures of our beautiful kids. My daughter and Ron’s son were both nine years old and his daughter was seven. The moment I saw those two angels; my heart began to melt. Haley with her shy little smile and long beautiful brown hair, and Joshua with his bold facial expressions and lighter than sand blond hair. When I found out that they lived with their mother Jennifer in Florida, who was in school studying to be an X-Ray technician, I decided to surprise my husband Ron with a trip to meet them. When we checked into our hotel there was a knock at the door. Jennifer and I had been planning this surprise all along, and when Ron opened the door and saw his two children, who also didn’t know, we shared a dramatic moment of silence, followed by lots of happy tears. Some of you are wondering why I am telling you such personal details about me and my family. This issue of Premier Lowcountry features an article on special needs 8
resources in the Lowcountry. I wrote about finding your passion in our Spring issue --- well this is another one of my passions. The special needs community! My stepson, or as I call him, my son, is a person with special needs and was diagnosed with Down syndrome* when he was born. I also grew up with a cousin on Hilton Head who has Down
syndrome and there are really not enough people who know about the terrific support organizations in this area. It hurts when I see these kids being separated from the world we “normal” people live in. Haley and Josh were home for the summer of 2013 and I will always remember the pool days we had. Joshua doesn’t realize he is any different than we are, so he walks up to other children his age and starts talking, hoping to play and be included. He is enthusiastic and very verbal, but because of the severity of his syndrome, his speech is almost completely unintelligible. Children walk away from him saying hurtful things like, “Stay away from us; you are weird.” Poor Josh, he does NOT understand why they walk away.
So, it was on one of those “cruel” pool days that I decided to make myself verbal on his behalf, the same way his loving mother, Jennifer does. Now, you might find this hard to believe, but Jennifer and I are friends. We are a lot alike and agree that it is important for our children, Haley, Josh and Caitlyn to know how much they are loved! Jennifer, Ron, and I make it a point to work together to ensure that our children enjoy the benefits of belonging to a stable, loving blended family. It has not always been easy and we have had plenty of tough times, but the joy of making a difference in the lives of our children makes it all worthwhile. So if you remember anything from this issue and my Publisher’s Page, remember that we all have feelings and need to work together to guarantee the success of becoming the best that we can be. Teach your kids; spread the word and share the truth about the beauty of our special needs community. We need one another; we are connected and we are FAMILY. “God doesn’t give special kids to special parents. He takes ordinary, imperfect people and gifts them with His greatest treasures. And, therein He creates special parents.” author unknown
*Down syndrome: Dr. John Langdon Down provided the first formal description of the syndrome, but he did not have Down syndrome and thus no possessive is used. Also, the “s” in syndrome is not capitalized.
Nicknamed the “Wine
Born and raised in Savannah,
Glen McCaskey has been
Tamela Maxim is the
Bubba,” while at the Aqua
Georgia, Annelore Harrell,
deeply involved in the
author and illustrator
Grille & Lounge, Jeff Gerber
nee Stelljes, spent summers
evolution of Hilton Head
of Nellie Jelly and the
is the Director of the Hilton
at her parents’ cottage on
since he and wife Ginny
Jelly Well, a book for
Myrtle Island. She married
moved to the island
children. She was born in
George William Harrell, Jr., a
in 1970. He was vice
Savannah, Georgia and as
regular Army JAG officer in
president of Sea Pines for
an Army brat spent her
1953, had five children and
the years the company
growing up years living in
traveled from post to post
Georgia, North Carolina,
for the next thirty years. A
acclaimed for its ventures
Virginia, Hawaii and 10
real estate broker by trade,
in the Caribbean and
years in Germany, where
to himself as the Certified
active in several civic and
Southeast USA. Today he
she attended both the
Specialist of Wine. He has
owns Community Visions,
University of Maryland in
been taking wine seriously,
she is a graduate of
LLC and has consulted
Munich and the University
serving as a wine judge for
throughout this country
of Stuttgart. She returned
almost twenty years, but
Hilton Head and South
and in Mexico, Eastern
to the United States in
tries not to take himself too
Carolina. She has appeared
Europe and Southern
1976, living in Bluffton
seriously – after all, he lives in
in numerous theatrical
Africa. He and Ginny have
and attending Armstrong
productions, hosted a weekly
been married 42-years
in Savannah, where she
cable television program and
and have been blessed
received her Bachelor
currently writes a column
with two children and two
of Science degree in
SOMETIMES for Bluffton
Head Wine & Food Festival. He has run several wine programs since 2005 at CQs, Aqua Grille and Bomboras. When someone asks for the sommelier, he usually refers
Today. Living in a river house,
with a double minor in
she proclaims is ‘Not old
German and Art. She lives
enough to be historic and not
on Myrtle Island with her
new enough to be energy
husband Nicholas and
efficient,’ is just exactly
their german shepherd.
where she wants to be.
10 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss
Resources for Special Needs Persons Respecting all of the YOUs in the Lowcountry 12 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
special TAMELA MAXIM
Premier Lowcountry is all about fostering the spirit of community and for this issue, the focus is on persons with special needs. We decided to highlight some of the programs providing opportunities for those with various degrees of “specialness” to participate in fun, healthy, challenging activities. Yes, I realize that the label “special needs” is inadequate because ALL of us have special needs. Words like disabled, handicapped, other-abled or differently-abled are all used, but none of those descriptions really get it completely right. If someone needs help; if someone has a limitation of some kind – we want to be their encourager, advocate, provider and friend. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
SOAR: 843.682.2233 - www. soarspecialrecreation.org - www. gofundme.com/soarneedsabus - FUNDRAISER: Cocktails & Cars October 1, 2016 Time/Location TBA Director, Kathy Cramer, and Assistant Director Julie Harrison live by the motto, “Everyone has the right to play.” Partnered with the Hilton Head Island Recreation Center with initial funding from The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and in collaboration with Special Olympics, SOAR offerings include:
• • • • • • • • •
horseback riding tennis basketball golf bowling swimming bocce cheerleading after school, weekend and summer programs
Excitement is building as SOAR continues to grow under Kathy Cramer’s leadership and with hundreds of helpers and very appreciated volunteers from the Bluffton Fire department, she enjoys making dreams come true for those she cares so deeply about. Kathy explained that the various special needs organizations in our county work together family-style. When there is a need – everyone comes together to “get it done.” Happier, healthier and more productive children and adults is the common goal. This year SOAR hosted the regional Special Olympics Spring Games with 300 athletes (track and field) and 400 volunteers. In August 2015, at the World Games in Los Angeles, Bluffton athletes Meghan Witherly won Gold in women’s doubles and Robert Seignious won Silver in the Equestrian event. On October 13th, 14th and 15th, the Special Olympics National Tennis Competition will be hosted at the Van der Meer Tennis Center - the 20th anniversary of being held on Hilton Head. By the time Kathy Cramer retired after thirty-three years as a special needs teacher in Beaufort County, she had been following special needs children into adulthood and there was not
much for them to do for work or recreation, so in 1995, she, along with a few families, formed the organization called PEP for the purpose of creating enriching programs for their adult children. PEP – Programs for Exceptional People - 10 Oak Park Drive, Building C-1, Hilton Head 843.681.8413 – www.pephhi.org FUNDRAISER: The Fall Gala will be Saturday, September 10, 2016 at Sea Pines Country Club: silent and live auction, dinner & dancing
PEP’s mission is to “Promote Independence, Social Interaction, and Employment Opportunities for Adults who live with Intellectual Disabilities.” Executive Director, Steve Maglione, has always had a heart for people with special needs. SUMMER 2016
His previous work as a Middle School Health and P.E. teacher in rural Vermont, with no breakfast program and children who showed up for school with empty bellies was tough, but he loved it. Before coming to Hilton Head, he worked as the Residential Director for Washington County Mental Services in Montpelier, Vermont, where he was inspired by newly created progressive housing programs under the leadership of Governor Howard Dean. (Note: There are plans underway for Bluffton to have its first community of homes for special needs adults and their families – Osprey Village, Inc.) About sixty adults participate in PEP programs, including an Adult 14 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Day Program where members attend from 9 am to 3 pm. Special emphasis is given to independent living skills, self-advocacy and utilizing local resources. PEP has an employment services program where members gain skills that enable them to work at real jobs in the community. Members receive vocational training that is personally tailored for their individual talents, abilities, goals and dreams. Two PEP members work at McDonalds and walk from the center to work; some of the others have jobs at T J Maxx, Goodwill, St. Francis Thrift Shop and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. PEP also has two micro-businesses, launched with generous grants for necessary equipment. There
is a print shop where locals can order everything from fancy stationary to business cards, t-shirts, personalized mugs or hats. Former Army veteran Tim Thayer leads a trained and supervised landscaping crew who offer their services to homes and businesses. The adults at PEP are able to take classes in arts and crafts, pottery, music, yoga and exercise and travel to Savannah, Charleston and Beaufort County for field trips to enjoy art, sports, nature, etc. Special Olympics Cheerleading: “My advice to other disabled people would be, ‘concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes
with.’ Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” Stephen Hawking Twelve years ago, the Dafler family, owners of a cheerleading gym on Hilton Head, who compete as The Island Allstars, offered to teach competitive cheerleading to members of PEP and weekly practices began. The new PEP cheerleaders were immediately bitten by the “cheer bug” and have been coached since 2003 by Alex, Conner and Julie Dafler, who hold them to the highest standards under their “NO EXCUSES!” motto. Cindi Faulkner, (daughter Tiffany is on the PEP team) joined as their administrator in 2009. Fast forward to 2014, when at Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta, they “knocked it out of the park!” On Day One, they were in 1st place. Going into Day Two, a team member, John, took a fall at the hotel and hurt his knee. The initial plan was to perform without John, but he was determined to compete. With just a few slight changes to the routine, the team wowed the judges and took home 2nd place, competing against 22 teams! There is always need for your support, especially at the competitions in Savannah. Yell your encouragement with gusto! They love it! The team will make you proud. Warning: you might not be able to stop smiling for a few days. Heroes on Horseback – 100 Stillwell Rd, Bluffton – 843.757.5607 – www. heroesonhorseback.org FUNDRAISER – Kentucky Derby May, 2017 at the Moss Creek Clubhouse In 2000 a couple of retired women who were equestrians started the Heroes on Horseback program with about 25 volunteers, a few horses and 5 children. Now
there are about 150 volunteers and over 200 children, plus many adult riders, some of whom are military veterans with PTSD or mobility challenges. One rider is a former Marine (yes, I know there is NO such thing as a FORMER Marine) a fighter pilot named Mike. After 2 years in the program he has gone from wheelchair to walker to a cane, is attending college and he and his wife welcomed a new baby! Because the movement of a horse is similar to humans, people with mobility issues, including those who have had a stroke, or persons with Cerebral Palsy develop strength and improved range of motion from riding therapy. There is also a program called Silver Saddles (age 50+) to help seniors increase their flexibility, stamina and strength. Executive Director, Robert Lee came to the organization knowing almost nothing about horses and he still doesn’t ride. When asked why not, he laughs and says he knows his limitations. His background is in business and finance, which was the reason he was solicited by one of the founding members eight years ago when the recession hit. He would like to expand the program. There is an ever growing special needs population and because they share their facility with another organization, they have a limited ability to grow. Their short-term goal is to find a facility where they can extend their hours, especially for military veterans. Another future goal is to bring people in from all over the country for a Special Olympics national game (there has not been a national game for a long time) which will not only be wonderful for the athletes, but will also bring those “heads and beds” that count as tourism dollars to the Lowcountry.
There are children who howl in protest, but the volunteers don’t give up so easily. They coddle, coax, and beg. When that doesn’t work and the screams intensify, they INSIST. Of course, as you might expect, the kids who yelled the loudest don’t want to get off the horses at the end of the day. Sigh.
Bragging Rights: Rashawn (Hilton Head High graduate), and Robert and Wallace (Bluffton High graduates) started riding in elementary school and are now competitive Special Olympics World Game athletes. Wallace and Rashawn competed in Athens, Greece in 2011 and Robert in Los Angeles in 2015. Rashawn was chosen as the Captain of the Team USA Equestrian Team and the three young men have brought home two Golds, one Silver and two Bronze medals! The 2016 Kentucky Derby fundraiser opened with a solo by a 12-year-old young lady who has been riding for about 8 years. Heartstrings were plucked; tears on more than a few cheeks. The Fund A Need auction raised more than the other auction where bidders went home with donated items. The Fund A Need goes something like this: “Who wants to give $1000 for kids who need a year’s worth SUMMER 2016
of therapeutic riding - please raise your paddle.” Tells you what kind of people support Heroes on Horseback, doesn’t it? Yes, there is a fee for the program, but please don’t hesitate to enroll. They will never turn someone away for lack of ability to pay. AFA: Action for Autism AFA is a St. Louis, Missouri based charity founded in 2008 by the Buechler, Charlton and Messmer families. In its first two years, AFA was able to assist more than fifty families living in the St. Louis area with children who are on the Autism spectrum by providing therapy, specialized equipment, summer camp and scholarships. In 2010 AFA joined forces with the Howard Park Center to form what later became AFA Academy, which serves children on the Autism spectrum as well as other neurodevelopmental delays from ages 18 months through 21 years of age. When the Messmer family moved to Bluffton in 2013, they conducted a market research survey to determine the need for an AFA-like organization in the Lowcountry, hoping to open AFA Academy of the Lowcountry. I asked the Messmers to share an example of something that has touched their hearts. One of the best phone calls they ever received, they said, was on Christmas day because they got to hear a little seven-year old girl say, “Merry Christmas!” Some of the first words she had ever spoken. Aunt Laurie’s Gift Baskets 843.940.7116 - www.auntlauries. com 16 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Laurie Brown, owner of Aunt
Laurie’s Gift Baskets connects with and helps the special needs community when they assemble and ship her lovely gift baskets. You can find many of her products at Studio B Marketplace in Bluffton and on her website: www. auntlauries.com. “All my support is indirect from the multiple organizations Aunt Laurie’s buys products from, so we are the hub or conduit behind the scenes.” To support Aunt Laurie’s mission to help others, especially those in the special needs community, she asks that you like her Facebook page, share and follow her on all social media platforms and order her beautifully crafted baskets when you need a gift. You can ask for a customized basket or choose from the following themes: holiday, wedding, thank you, “just dog,” and Lowcountry. PEP members paint all of her ceramics. Aunt Laurie buys the materials, delivers them to PEP and after the tiles, trivets, coasters, dog bowls, sauce bowls, flowers, etc. are painted, Aunt Laurie purchases the finished products. Aunt Laurie’s goals include growing the Aunt Laurie brand nationwide and she is planning a vocational center for disabled adults that will coordinate with the other organizations in our area to empower special needs individuals in the Lowcountry. Premier Lowcountry magazine: A big THANK YOU to our special needs organizations, their dedicated staff and volunteers for their contributions to celebrating the YOU-ness of special needs persons in a way that is purposeful, creative and oh, such a blessing to all of us!
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location GLEN McCASKEY
A Largely Untold History of the Lowcountry SERIES Part 3 of 6
For the first time, the virtually unknown and surprising first capitol of La Florida story has a visitor’s center from which it can be told. It is located one island over from where it was located, in Beaufort’s old Federal Courthouse on the historic downtown’s Bay Street. 18 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
The French Spanish Lowcountry In this third installment of our historic look at the Lowcountry, we will linger longer on some fascinating details than we have done in previous installments. One reason is that we know more about these times, particularly as previously untranslated Spanish records, reports and documents are currently being translated into English. We left our last installment watching European powers jockeying for prominence in the New World, with our own Parris Island being center stage for several decades. France had scored first in 1562 and actually planted a settlement there called Charlesfort, but they werenâ€™t even there long enough for the local Indians to add a French accent to their Muskhogean language. The Spanish, had eyed the Lowcountry far longer than the French and actually had boots on the ground at Parris Island the year before the French established Charlesfort there. In 1561, four Spanish ships with one hundred men were dispatched from New Spain in Mexico, resupplied in Havana and safely arrived in Port Royal Sound to establish the future Santa Elena.
But while examining islands adjacent to Parris Island, a violent hurricane smashed into the Lowcountry and destroyed three of the ships while killing twenty-six men. The survivors crammed into the damaged surviving ship and limped away to Cuba. The Mysterious San Miguel de Gualdape Settlement This effort by the Spanish was preceded by others, the largest being sent out from Santa Domingo in 1526. This attempt landed six hundred men, women and children at San Miguel de Gualdape. The precise location is still unknown, but is believed to be somewhere in the Lowcountry area, because the records reference Punta de Santa Elena, thought to be the current Tybee Island in Georgia. The Spanish records frequently refer to Punta de Santa Elena as being the easternmost navigational point of land that should alert
seamen headed up the coast that they were immediately approaching the Bay of Santa Elena, named Port Royale by the French. Even today, Tybee Island fits the description. Current thinking favors a location on one of the islands just south of Tybee. That settlement effort lasted around a year with only one hundred fifty of the six hundred settlers surviving the attempt. The Man of the Hour In 1564, with the close call of the failed French venture and the frustrating history of attempting to establish a safe Spanish harbor for the treasure fleet and for ships to protect the west-east shipping lane, King Phillip II turned to an old friend for help, Pedro Menendez de Aviles. The King gave Menendez a simple two-point assignment: Protect the Spanish fleet in La Florida and eliminate all Frenchmen there. SUMMER 2016
The Spanish did not have their La Florida Province (Florida to Canada) to themselves. The French even settled the capitol’s island, now Parris Island, before the Spanish and there was much bloodshed over this critical turf by the Spanish, French, Scots, English and Native Americans. It was a complex competition played out from the Lowcountry to Europe.
Pedro Menendez was a Spanish nobleman who had commanded the Mediterranean fleet for Phillip and who had fought the French corsairs in the Bay of Biscay. He was a successful entrepreneur, moved freely in diplomatic circles, had a record of faithfulness to the church and overall was the kind of person who motivated, inspired and imparted confidence to others. He was the leader Spain needed in the New World. With the King’s enabling, Menendez assembled a wellprovisioned fleet with more than one thousand men to sweep into Florida and simply do whatever needed to be done. After months of preparation, he set sail for a new French fortification on the St. John’s River in Florida. Fort Caroline was another French Huguenots’ venture, the colony only having been established in June 1564. In August, an English privateer stopped at the fledgling settlement to trade, which amounted to very little, it being such a new community. But by the time news of the 20 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
harmless short visit had crossed the Atlantic to Spain, it had been exaggerated to the point of England and France collaborating together to oppose the Spanish and establish an aggressive Protestant/anti-Roman Catholic enterprise there of more than a thousand inhabitants. So the destruction of tiny Fort Caroline and men, women and children settlers, plus a small military regiment, became the highest priority for the Menendez fleet’s mission. War Fast Forwarded by Rumor In one of the strange coincidences of history, Frenchman Jean Ribaut, who settled Charlesfort on Parris Island, had left France just a few days before Menendez with a large fleet of ships loaded with supplies and reinforcements for same new French colony at Fort Caroline. His mission was to prepare the fort for the inevitable Spanish attack. Menendez’s mission was to immediately deliver that attack and destroy Fort Caroline. Neither
knew of the other’s mission or whereabouts, but the decisive battle for La Florida was about to commence. The story of the following months is a fascinating study in itself, but suffice it to say that the summer and fall of 1565 were filled with valor, strategy and intrigue worthy of world powers, and Hollywood as well. But an odd thing occurred. As the intensity of the moment built, and the music, were it a Hollywood production, one of those hurricanes that seemed to so endlessly harass the Spanish, unexpectedly appeared and for a change took their side. Ribaut got to the settlement just a day or so before Menendez, so when Menendez realized that, he chose to sail past Fort Caroline and set up a coastal encampment at the next inlet down the coast deep enough for his ships. They found one quickly, sailed in and claimed it for Spain, naming it St. Augustine. Ribaut, having seen the Spanish sail by, and even exchanging a few ineffective shots with them, saw
This billboard, by Adams Outdoor Advertising, is a prototype the company and the Santa Elena History Center are considering using for PR to create awareness of the new facility. Menendez was the go-to man King Phillip II called upon to pull La Florida together for Spain. It is no mistake that the proposed campaign is slated to occur during the American Presidential campaign, with many people wishing for a third option with the Menendez-style qualities and capabilities. Had Spain ultimately won the race for the New World, and Mendenez was still around – who knows?
in this an opportunity to end the Spanish hindrance, by surprising them while they were occupied with securing their fleet for the night. The French quickly loaded up nearly six hundred men, almost three-quarters of all Frenchmen in La Florida, and took off after the Spanish. As the French fleet soon passed the Spanish moorage at the future St. Augustine inlet, a typical summer thunderstorm burst into full force between the two fleets and one never saw the other. Meanwhile, Menendez was hatching surprises of his own. Anchoring his ships and using the cover of that same storm to lead five hundred of his men on a long march among the vines and scrub brush just back of the beaches, they undertook an overland return to Fort Caroline in preparation for an unexpected land attack. A Hurricane Untypically Befriends Spain The end of the story is that the land assault was completely successful and the few troops left
to defend the fort were easily overrun. Meanwhile, twenty or more miles down the coast past St. Augustine, Ribaut had concluded he had missed the Spanish and, also prompted by another distant building storm, turned his fleet around to return back to base at Fort Caroline. Before getting there, the French were broad-sided by a sudden hurricane which smashed the entire fleet on the beaches. Word of what happened reached Menendez back at St, Augustine, via the Indian grapevine, and he set out with his forces to meet the returning French on the Florida beaches. They met, but there was no battle as the French could barely walk. Over the next days, all the French soldiers on the ships and at the fort had surrendered to the mercy of Menendez. The mercy of Menendez turned out to be putting them all to death, sparing only the women and children in the fort. And thus it was decided: The Spanish would rule the waves and shorelines of La Florida for
the indeterminate future. Forty-five Frenchmen did escape the assault on Fort Caroline by fleeing to one of the remaining ships in the natural harbor and weighing anchor for France. These included the son of Commander Jean Ribaut and a famous French cartographer, Jacques Le Moyne who had been documenting the indigenous peoples of the Lowcountry and thus provided the world with the first engravings of both the land and its natives midst the riveting news coverage of the clash between the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths in the strange new land of “La Florida.” With the French Out of the Way... With the French out of the way, Menendez turned his focus to establishing a network of military outposts and settlements along the La Florida coast that would protect the Spanish fleets. This was no small matter because the cargo those ships carried was literally financing Spain’s position of being a world power. In April 1566, Menendez began SUMMER 2016
An irony of the location of the Santa Elena History Center, on Beaufort’s Bay Street, is that it is located just around the corner from Ribaut Road, which was named after the Frenchman who settled Parris Island several years before their arch-enemies, the Spanish, who ended up settling Santa Elena there 450 years ago in 1556.
a sweep up the coast of La Florida to ensure he had not missed any nests of French holdouts, to let the Native American communities all know that Spain was now the undisputed king of the hill and to once and for all establish Santa Elena for King Phillip. The work on Santa Elena began during summer and by fall Fort San Felipe proudly stood just a few yards away from where Charlesfort had been raised by the French on the southern tip of the island. The Spanish victory rested squarely on the shoulders of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the man King Phillip II went to when everything else was not working. His strategy, commanding personality, sometimes ruthlessness and loyalty to the King and Spain was what caused men to follow 22 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
him faithfully. Without him there probably would have been no La Florida. But there were too few men like him in Spanish leadership, particularly in the New World. As the brave and remarkable victors left the brilliant strategic planning sessions and fields of battle, it appears they were replaced by a mostly uninvolved cadre of administrators to manage the forts, ports and outposts Menendez and others had placed along the East Coast to protect the Spanish shipping lanes. It would result in a very long season of downright shocking and selfinflicted disasters. It is hard to understand, hard to observe in the records and hard to describe, there being no end to the harshness of the words that could be used to accurately
impart what occurred. Next Installment We will start with this bizarre “entitlement problem” development and the Escamacu War of 1576-1579 it helped create, in the next part of this series. Largely thanks to another Menendez, La Florida and Santa Elena recovered to enjoy better times, but the lines of Spain’s American empire would be redrawn. As part of our look at the remarkable and highly effective Indian uprising that started at Santa Elena, we will examine a largely unrecognized problem in all of this, Indian slavery and other abuses by European settlers. These idyllic Lowcountry shores are hard to beat, but they do come with some baggage!
insurance Staff Writer for KEVIN M. SEVIER, STATE FARM AGENT
Do You Really Need Life Insurance? Life insurance isn’t just for married couples with children. The need for life insurance is much broader. “Anybody who would experience a financial loss or an emotional loss after a death will need some type of life insurance,” says Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education. Who is it for? Having dependents of any kind necessitates life insurance. Here are examples:
24 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
• Unmarried couples. Unmarried individuals may have a significant other who relies on their support. Life insurance can help provide for them. • Stay-at-home spouses. Life insurance isn’t just for breadwinners. It can help cover the cost of replacing the services of stay-at-home parents. • Single parents. These individuals are typically the sole source of support for their children. Life insurance can help provide for children financially should their parent die.
• Singles. Single individuals could be responsible for aging parents or may have significant debt. “Life insurance helps make sure those debts are paid,” Feldman says. • Retirees. Insurance can help replace income from part-time work, Social Security benefits, pensions or other employer benefits. It helps spouses continue living as they’re accustomed. • Empty nesters. Older adults may have custody of a grandchild or provide support for
other family members. Life insurance may help this care to continue. • Business owners. Life insurance has many benefits for business owners, such as helping protect family members from taking on a person’s professional debt, or providing funds for survivors to buy out the deceased’s interest. What can it cover? Beyond paying for final expenses, loved ones can put these death benefits toward: • Paying off debt • Financing an education • Settling estate taxes • Contributing to charity • Creating an inheritance • Replacing income • Replacing employer benefits Are there additional benefits? Some policies also offer living benefits. Whole policies and universal life policies accumulate value that can be tapped as retirement income or used to help cover unexpected expenses. Universal life policies also may have riders allowing chronically ill policyholders to withdraw the face amount during their lifetimes to help cover long-term care costs or to prepare loved ones financially before passing. Decide which type of policy best suits your needs. SUMMER 2016
extra ANNELORE HARRELL
There were four of us who went to Tybee that summer day in 1949. We were tired of the river, wanted the beach, the ocean, something different from what we had in Bluffton. There was Becky from Atlanta on her annual visit to her Cubbedge kinfolk, Clare from Charleston who was staying over at High Bluff with the Keating clan, Bobbie Ann who had come all the way from Fort Smith, Arkansas to stay with grandparents Pop and Mom Gabriel at Angel’s Roost on Crystal Beach and me, who was happily spending this summer of my 16th birthday on Myrtle Island. We played that summer as we did every year, simple games. The Cubbedges had a badminton 26 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
court set up in their yard and we played many a vicious game swatting that birdie over the net and arguing so politely about whether it was ‘in’ or ‘out.’ Like everything else in life, you had to do something first before you could actually play the game. In badminton, this meant convincing someone to get out the chalk and mark out the court lines. For some reason, the net always seemed to sag and needed a bit of tightening and then, being near pine trees, there were cones that had wandered over onto the court and needed to be cleared away. At least, we didn’t have to sweep like we did when we drove over and played on Mr. T. O. Lawton’s paved tennis court. It was normal for us to drag along a broom or two with our rackets when we went off to use his court
which was almost forever full of twigs and leaves. Croquet was a game that we could play almost anywhere. All we needed was an open area without too many bushes. And yes, it was a competitive game. Every man for himself. We were not exactly kind to one another when we dragged the croquet set out of the pump house and put it up on the bluff overlooking the Maye River. You wouldn’t believe nice girls could be so wicked with a croquet mallet, but threatening to smack your opponent’s ball over the bluff into the water offers a certain righteous satisfaction. Croquet is a comfortable summer afternoon sport with just enough activity to prevent boredom and not enough to expend a great deal of energy. We knew that ladies didn’t sweat or perspire in the heat of the day. Of course, we might glow a little.
Bluffton Summer 1949 However, glowing wasn’t necessarily a condition that was encouraged. Afternoons, when it was just too hot to move, when the tide was dead low, everything still, the Spanish moss hanging motionless from the trees, with not even the land breeze from the West whispering, the air so humid, it felt as though there was a wet pillowcase over your head. We
read, flopping on studio couches draped in faded cotton Bates spreads, hogging as much of the air the electric fan, which whirred and stuttered over in the corner where it sat on a table, could put out. Forget cross ventilation. It didn’t matter if all the windows were open, nothing stirred. We lay around limp, occasionally taking a sip from a bottle of Coca Cola we had chilled in the ice box. It might
have been a half degree cooler on the screened porch, but there weren’t many places there where you could stretch out full length. No matter where you were, between the hours of one and three on a miserably hot summer afternoon, everything was an effort. We waited patiently for the tide to change and start to come in so we could go swimming down on the beach in front of our house. There
were no docks on our side of the island. When the tide was out we could walk from one end of Myrtle Island to the other on what was then a hard sandy beach. No one ever wanted to swim off the drop off where the water was murky and deep and hid so many unknown creatures. For a couple of hours, we would simply lie around and read. These were the days of movie magazines, Photoplay, Silver Screen, when we knew each and every one of the stars in Hollywood and kept up with their lives or what their agents published. These were the days of Ingrid Bergman and her love affair with Rossellini, of Esther Williams who swam underwater with flowers in her hair and whose makeup never washed off. We read gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and her arch rival Louella Parsons and believed every word they wrote. We weren’t above reading funny books. This was summer and school days spent researching in the big library on Bull Street, of borrowing a copy of the Lincoln Library from Edwina, whose mother was a librarian and writing papers for Mr. Langford, the history teacher were over for a little while. We spent hours on the river, riding up and down in my wooden bateau with its 3 horse powered motor. I loved my bateau. Daddy had it built with a cypress bottom so it would last, but even so, every spring, he would put it up on saw horses and scrape off the barnacles. Then would come new caulking and paint which lasted for the summer. You could recognize everyone’s boat on the river, all had different colors. Mine was grey with a soft blue stripe and had two wide seats not including the triangular one up front where I usually put the anchor and the one 28 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
across the back. For a while, I used a one and a half horse powered motor. It was tiny and I named it Timothy. I could easily carry it down the steps to the beach and put it on my bateau which suited me just fine. It also didn’t take much gas to run it. The unhappy part was that this motor was designed for fresh water. Salt water would clog it up so Timothy
Bluffton to the public dock on Calhoun Street. It wasn’t near as fancy in those days, but we’d tie up with no worries that anyone would bother our faithful bateau. If we had forgotten to bring along a pair of sandals, we walked barefooted ever so carefully on the oyster shell road past the Church of the Cross and Seven Oaks up to the Post Office on the corner of Bridge and
spent a great deal of time being cleaned out at Thompson Motors in Savannah. No matter which motor I used, it had to be brought up and washed out in a barrel of fresh water after each use and getting it off of the bateau and carrying it up the stairs to the top of the bluff was a cross to bear. Many times, we forgot about the motor, too much trouble, and just used a pair of oars to get us to where we wanted to go, like around the corner of the island to a little creek where the crab always bit on the incoming tide. The one skill I never managed was being able to stand facing front and sculling. Sometimes we went all the way across the river, what my friend Hank calls the Bay of
Calhoun Streets to see if we had any mail that might have come General Delivery. After all, we were gone for the entire summer and we corresponded with friends in Savannah. We had no telephone. Stamps were 3 cents and penny post cards were still a penny unless you bought a picture post card. They were a nickel apiece but the only place to buy them was at Goodman’s which was usually our destination and where we knew we could get a 5 cent banana popsicle and there was the possibility of buying a new movie magazine or funny book. Just watching Mr. Goodman behind the counter adding up everyone’s groceries in his head filled me with awe. He was that quick. He had an abacus, the
first I had ever seen. Didn’t need it, he said. Sometimes, especially when we had on a new outfit, matching shorts and tee shirt, we’d get in the bateau and go visiting at All Joy Beach and Estill Beach, and all the way across to Potato Island where Lane Whitman had the first aluminum boat on the river and we were green with envy. Visiting is something we did a right good bit of. Not that we did a lot when we got to somebody’s house. We’d sit on the porch in the swing or on a rocking chair and talk about not much. Maybe we’d be offered something cool to drink. Maybe we’d even decide to play a game or two of rummy, but mostly, we sat. It was a comfortable kind off sitting. No need to impress. We churned ice cream and ate watermelon, spitting the seeds with gusto. We even pulled taffy, a truly messy business. We swam until our fingers looked like prunes and rode an aquaplane when we could find someone with a boat and motor fast enough to pull us. It wasn’t like we didn’t have anything to do. But, we had done it all. We wanted Tybee, the sandy beach, the cotton candy, the corn dogs, the noise and excitement of the boardwalk, the ocean with waves we could body surf. So, armed with beach towels and those horrible finger pinching wooden folding chairs with striped canvas seats, we set off. Just in case we got thirsty on the way, we had a thermos jug of freshly squeezed lemonade chilled with cracked ice. Wearing bathing suits under our shorts and tee shirts, we had beach bags stuffed with Aquamarine lotion and Noxema, baby powder and bathing cap, one towel to dry with and another to lie on the sand. In no time we had driven through Pritchardville and were past the pig farm. At Limehouse we got on the main road, U.S. Highway 17 and followed it south over the many bridges in the Savannah Conservancy past the Rice Mill ruins where there used to be a notorious honkytonk, over the Houlihan Bridge, a creaky swing bridge that had the habit of opening just when you were in a hurry, through Port Wentworth and Garden City with its multiple railroad crossings, over the Bay Street viaduct into Savannah. Straight across the edge of town to Price Street to Victory Drive which turned into U.S. Highway 80. We drove ever eastward past Thunderbolt, Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands, past Fort Pulaski and finally over Lazaretto Creek onto Tybee Island. And all this in our speedy two door sedan with windows rolled down and hot air blowing in as we tore down the road at a wild 45 miles per hour. Ah, but we had a grand time.
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people TAMELA MAXIM
A Slow Goodbye
FACING THE LIGHT 32 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Dennis Stokely, Celebrity Hairstylist returns “home” to the Lowcountry from the glamorous world of fashion and beauty to take care of his ailing mother with Alzheimer’s. This is his loving tribute to her. I have always felt that everyone in the world has a story to tell. The good, the bad, the ugly, the laughter and the tears. Life is full of these emotions, and more. I don’t think anyone’s story is better or worse than another’s, just different. I also believe that if you show me a family, I’ll show you a family with triumphs and tragedies. This is the story of the slow goodbye to my mother, Jeanette Woods. My mom was raised in southern Georgia, one of twelve children, the daughter of a farmer and his devoted wife. My mother was always extremely strong-willed and fiercely independent. I have always told people that she is very similar to the character played by the actress, Bea Arthur, on the TV show, The Golden Girls. My mom was one of few women hired by the railroad in the 1970s and at her retirement from
CSX after thirty years, one of her supervisors told me that the men at the railroad would rather deal with any man before having to deal with my mom. She worked in crew management, was the person in charge of crews for the trains and was well-known for having the fewest men call in sick during her shifts. Her favorite response to an employee calling in sick was, “I hate puny men.” So, when mom was working the men would rather go to work than deal with her. My father was a troubled man and passed away many years ago. My parents divorced when I was very young and my mother raised four children without a penny of child support or public assistance. We grew up in a great home and never needed for anything. Our family, like most, became scattered and mom lived alone for almost twenty years until she retired. As my mom was winding down in her career, I was riding high in mine. As a kid from a broken home in Georgia, my wanderlust journey as a hairstylist had taken me to chic salons in New York and Los Angeles to landing the gig-of-a-lifetime working on the wildly popular television show AMERICAN IDOL as Paula
Abdul’s hairstylist. Little did I know that, in the course of weeks, I would go from flying around the world with Paula to living in my mom’s guest room, unemployed and discovering the heartbreak that my mother was very sick. After eight seasons working on AMERICAN IDOL, Paula left the show. I was given no notice that Paula would be quitting the show and after an appearance on the David Letterman Show in New York City, which I styled her hair for, Paula quit AMERICAN IDOL and my job ended. I flew home to see mom and knew when I saw her that my life was about to take a very dark turn. My mother always appeared vibrant, strong and healthy. She lettered in basketball all four years of high school, never drank alcohol and for the most part had a healthy, active lifestyle, but she had one vice that eventually caught up with her --- smoking cigarettes. Mom is now in full-time skilled nursing home care and the list of ailments is long, COPD, chronic UTIs, 34 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Alzheimer’s, Sundown syndrome. She can no longer walk, needs assistance with all daily activities and her level of confusion is almost 90%. She no longer calls me by name, but seems happy when I visit and usually says, “there’s my son.” This journey to “goodbye” is now entering its sixth year. If I can share anything valuable with others about living with a loved one slipping away it would be to understand that life is precious in every stage and as my mom told me once, “At the end of your life all you have are your memories.” My advice: If there are memories that you need or want to make – try to leave nothing undone that you might regret later. Prioritize your loved ones over your work as often as possible. I’d rather be with my mother right now than chasing the glamorous celebrity life. A sacrifice? Perhaps, but one I’m certain I won’t ever regret. At a time in my life when I really needed my mom, it just so happened that she needed me more. I am the oldest of four, but so much of this slow goodbye has been just me and mom. I remember as a kid, she would often sing the song. “You and me against the world,” by Helen Reddy. It is a really meaningful song to me and hearing it makes me happy and sad. I have a sister, Sherry Sikes, in Savannah who helps me with what I call co-parenting. It is so surreal to see mom becoming the “child” as we learn to adjust to the “you and me against the world” reality fading away. Because of my mom’s strong personality, I always thought that if she ever ended up in a nursing home that she would become bitter and difficult, but I guess it was one of God’s pleasant surprises that she has become just the opposite. Her childlike innocence and sweet demeanor is a gift. Mom is truly a joy to be around every time I see her. I find myself telling her “I love you mom”
over and over, not knowing if each time I see her might be the last. I have a friend who shared with me not long along that he had gone through the same thing with his father and that he was in a nursing home for thirteen years until he passed away. I certainly don’t want to see mom suffer; she is in no pain and seems to be in great spirits. Of course, with a medical power of attorney for her care, I have given permission for the doctors to prescribe medicines to help ease her anxiety. I call them “happy” pills and they really seem to help. I hope if I ever end up in the same situation I get “happy” pills too! Mom’s years leading up to being placed in the nursing home were the hardest years of my life. Looking back, I didn’t even realize how sick she was and how quickly her life was slipping away. The first time I called 911, I thought she was having a heart attack and by the time she got to the ER she was shaking uncontrollably with her eyes rolling back in her head. The nurse told me that she was not having a heart attack, that she was in shock and had a fever of 105 degrees due to a urinary tract Infection, a UTI. You could have knocked me over with a feather had you told me how severe the side effects of a UTI can be: confusion, hallucinations, high fever, etc. I have lost count of how many times mom has been hospitalized over the last years and her times in and out of rehab. Sadly, mom never saw any of this coming. I took her to the doctor one day and she NEVER came home. She was admitted to the hospital that day and then went to rehab. Mom was moved into a retirement apartment and with the help of nursing aides who cared for her from 7am to 7pm, 7
days a week, she was able to live in a nice apartment with her own bed, furnishings and knick-knacks for almost two years. Mom started slipping at night and sometimes ended up wandering the halls of
alone. By that time, her Alzheimer’s and had advanced and she needed skilled nursing care 24/7. Her wonderful physician, Dr. Joe Christian, told me that there was no such thing as a five-star nursing
the building not knowing where she was. I got calls at all hours of the day and night and finally it became obvious that for her own safety she could no longer live
home and that establishing a great relationship with the staff would be the best bet for her getting great care. And he was right. I am happy to say that mom is SUMMER 2016
now in a great facility in Savannah (Signature Health Care). I visit her often and I’m always in contact with her doctors, nurses and all of the staff members. I firmly believe that the most significant factor in obtaining great healthcare, especially when you are weak and vulnerable, is your relationship with medical professionals who can become your best advocates. Looking back, the most chilling moment of this journey with my mom, was walking into the dining room in a rehab facility and seeing her sitting in a wheelchair with so many other patients - some hooked up to oxygen and some almost coma-like. It stopped me in my tracks and I knew that my mom, as I had once known her, was no longer with me. The youand-me-against-the-world-mom. GONE. But, not gone. I so wish I could have one last eyeball-to-eyeball conversation with her in a lucid state. I would tell her what an amazing job she has done, how much I love her and boy-o-boy how much I am 36 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
gonna miss her. I recently saw an advertisement for a documentary, called “Nothing Left Unsaid,” about Anderson Cooper, the CNN news anchor in conversation with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. I couldn’t watch it. For the first time during this long painful ride, with so many hurtful emotions, I was jealous... jealous that Anderson had an opportunity that I didn’t. I would give anything to have nothing left unsaid with my mom. But, in my mom’s eyes I can see that she understands my pain and that she loves me. Before I was born, my mother told me that she was in labor in the hospital and the TV Show “Dennis the Menace” was on the TV set in her room and it made her laugh. When it came time to put a name on my birth certificate, mom said. “I hope my son will be as happy as Dennis the Menace,” and so, that is who she named me after. And, YES, my mom made my life very happy! By nature, I always see the glass half-full. Throughout the
entire overwhelming ordeal of dealing with mom slowly slipping away, I am forever grateful to her and all she has done for me. I feel so lucky to have been raised by such an honest, hard-working and devoted mother. Returning to my Southern sensibilities after so many years in New York and Los Angeles represents, to me, the natural ebb and flows of life. Therefore, it only seems natural for me to make the Lowcountry my new home. “You and me against the world, Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world, When all the others turn their backs and walk away, You can count on me to stay.”
I LOVE YOU MOM.
You can learn more about Dennis by visiting his website www.dennisstokely.com.
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charity feature TAMELA MAXIM
Alzheimer’s – Purple is the Color of Hope 800.272.3900 – Walk to End Alzheimer’s Bluffton, SC October 29, 2016 www.alz.org www.alz.org/walk www.alzheimersnavigator.org www.alzconnected.org
In Beaufort County, there are several support groups for caregivers. NHC Healthcare at 3039 Okatie Hwy (between Hwy 46 and Hwy 278) in Okatie 843.705.8220 2nd Tues 2:00 – 4:00 PM Memory Matters at 117 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head 843.842.6688 • Men’s Caregivers Group 1st and 3rd Monday from 10:15-11:45 am • Women’s Caregivers Group - 2nd and 4th Monday 10:15-11:45 am • General Support Group – Every Wednesday 10:1511:45 am Memory Matters offers a 10 week “Brain Boosters Course” for people in our community who are concerned about their overall brain health. It begins on September 15th, meets every Thursday from 3:30-5:30 pm and costs $199. What is Alzheimer’s? It is a disease which affects memory, thinking and behavior by causing damage to the brain and is the most common form of dementia. All forms of dementia cause an
interference with the performance and enjoyment of daily life activities and some can be reversed or cured, but Alzheimer’s has no cure and, although there are medications to ease the symptoms, it is not reversible. It is NOT a normal part of aging. Getting an early diagnosis has many advantages, so if you or your loved one has signs of mental decline, you can ask your physician for a cognitive test, which can be used to map out a positive and strategic plan for the future.
There are some important things to consider if you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. In the earliest stages. you will be more like a care partner than a caregiver. You can help by reminding of appointments, managing money, keeping track of medications, planning or organizing, and of course, help with remembering people, places or things they have trouble recalling. Setting up shared calendars and other reminder systems is a good idea. Help with meals, housekeeping, bill paying, SUMMER 2016
Creating the Well-Mannered Dog
Fetching Manners is a mobile dog training and pet photography business based in Bluffton, South Carolina and servicing the surrounding towns of Beaufort and Jasper Counties.
• Obedience, Socialization, & Rehabilitation • Education & Behavior Modification • Therapy, Service, & Water Rescue Training • Overnight Training & Pet Photography Clients receive educated, high-end training instruction from a friendly and experienced small-town business. Rebecca provides customized dog training services in a personal and positive environment. Owners are equipped with a proper understanding of how to communicate with their dog to achieve behavioral goals. Fetching Manners is an active member of the community through various local, dog-related groups, and community events.
www.fetchingmanners.com firstname.lastname@example.org (843) 304-2557 40 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
transportation, and setting up safety measures are good ways to respectfully provide love and care. Encourage him or her to live as independently as possible and to stay active. You can also co-plan in choosing and prioritizing future care, including legal and financial decisions that should be made BY not FOR the individual with the disease, whenever possible. The first stage usually lasts from 2-4 years and symptoms include having less energy and interest in work and social activities, memory loss, difficulty communicating and understanding, mood swings and/or depression, getting lost easily while driving to familiar places and trouble with everyday tasks like following recipes. If you are reading this and are wondering if you have some of the early signs because you can’t figure out how to use your remote control or you don’t know where you put your car keys – relax! You are probably fine! But, if you suspect that your forgetfulness or confusion is not just a result of being tired, stressed or just over-thetop busy – you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. And, keep in mind that some forms of dementia CAN be treated and cured, but only if you are willing to get tested. As Alzheimer’s progresses, maintaining a calm attitude and a peaceful atmosphere for your loved one is critical. Besides making sure that you are vigilant about their personal comfort, there are things you can do to make life more pleasant. After you’ve made sure that your loved one isn’t hungry, hurt-
ing, thirsty, and that they don’t have any other physical issues that need your attention, the next most important caregiver recommendations are simple, but not always easy to employ. Don’t argue about facts that your loved one is confused about. If they say something like, “I’d like to go visit Martha today,” and Martha has been gone for 20 years – don’t point out the facts. Instead, you can say, “I’d like to see her too.” Be patient, remain as calm as you can, keep the environment safe and try to be supportive by responding to the expressions of emotion, not to the words (if they don’t make sense) or the behavior (if it is confused or angry). Attend a caregiver support group or talk with people with whom you can share your experiences, don’t take any negative behavior personally and be your loved one’s advocate with medical professionals. Enjoy the little things because one day you will look back and realize they were really the big things. And, as John Bunyan once said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Want To See Your Favorite Charity Featured? If you’d like to sponsor your favorite charity in an upcoming issue of Premier Lowcountry, please email mylene@ premierlowcountry.com with the name of your charity, contact information and a brief paragraph sharing why you feel the charity should be featured.
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architecture JOSEPH K. HALL
& Q A
Vernacular Architecture in the Lowcountry. Part 2. Hilton Head Island
Hello. Joe Hall, back again, continuing the conversation about vernacular architecture in the Lowcountry. This time about Hilton Head Island. What a Story. A new title: “The Invention of Vernacular Architecture on Hilton Head Island.” What are you talking about, Joe? I’m talking about the modern history of Hilton Head Island. Not post-Civil War history. Not post World War II history. It is the history of the planned communities on Hilton Head Island history. The “blank slate” history of plantation living in the mid-20th and early 21st centuries on Hilton Head Island. A new architecture in an old landscape. New communities from scratch. New private governments with covenants, conditions & restrictions. Architectural guidelines and Architectural Review Boards. That is what it takes to invent a new vernacular architecture. Designed at the behest of the Real Estate developers who became 44 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
benevolent Kings, Popes and Dictators. They told everybody who bought in what the new vernacular architecture was all about. It was a proven process for excellence in land planning and architecture through all of history. Here it was again. To assist in the process was a cadre of architects working independently from the developers. for the new residents in the new communities to interpret the new vernacular architecture of each of the Pay at the Gate to Get in Communities. Private roads, private utilities, private architectural guidelines. The new vernacular architecture came into being Hilton Head Island. Hard to find. Hard to get to. A big success, over a prolonged period of time. What made it work when it started? What makes it work today? A continuity of material, style and detail. Vernacular architecture? Somewhere between PERHAPS and YES.
A book or two is to be written about how it happened and who made it happen. One such book was just published about Charles Fraser – a must read for all of us to remind us of what we take for granted. It all started with the 20th century plantation. Large Tracts of undeveloped land in single ownership. What I referred to earlier as the “blank slate,” which was hardly blank. A complex primeval landscape surrounded or bordered by water. Ocean, creeks, cays and lagoons. Here is the over simplified plan of how that land becomes various communities, each with its own vernacular architecture. Take 2,000 to 6,000 acres of untouched land. Selectively clear 100 or so acres of that land for a golf course, do that 2 to 4 times, surround the golf courses and waterways with building lots of variant sizes. Add access roads. Add a marina or two. Add utilities. There you have it. The Hilton Head Island Plantation Standard Plan.
Repeat as often as possible with variations until there is no more land to develop. There was a resounding theme for building in this special way. “The Land is everything.” It’s what made it great. Over simplified? Yes. Easy to do? No. It took diligent work by many dedicated people to make it happen. Hilton Head Island is like other notable coastal islands, such as Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. Many different communities. All with their own personality. Surrounded by water. Developed over time. Each with their own vernacular architecture.
Here is a partial list of those 20th century plantations, Gates and all. Sea Pines Plantation, Palmetto Dunes Resort, Shipyard Plantation, Port Royal Plantation, Spanish Wells Plantation, Wexford Plantation, Long Cove Club, Hilton Head Plantation, Indigo Run Plantation, Windmill Harbor. What makes them what they are? Pick three at Random: Sea Pines Plantation: 6,000 acres, the bellwether community, contemporary regional architecture with nature blending colors, marina villages, domestic architecture redefined.
Palmetto Dunes Resort: 2,000 acres, 11 miles of interconnected lagoons, its own roadway. Windmill Harbor: 172 acres, townhouses on the Intracoastal Waterway, a marina with a lock to cope with a 9-foot tide change every five or so hours, traditional architecture with a nod to Charleston. What a story, what a place. Many of us made impulse decisions to make Hilton Head Island our home. Tell us your story and why.
wine JEFF GERBER
Finding The Right Wine Pssst, want to know a secret about buying wine? Quite honestly, did you know that any good wine professional can help you more at the lower end of the price spectrum than the higher end? That is not to say that all higher end wines are great and that they can’t be overpriced at times. But as you go up in price, the wine is not usually bad. One might deem it overpriced or it might be a style that is not your favorite, but these can be easily avoided by asking a couple of questions, and as people spend more money on a bottle of wine, they do tend to ask more questions. But oftentimes, people almost feel embarrassed to ask questions if they are not spending a certain dollar amount. I cannot tell you how many times someone, or a couple, would say something along the lines of “We are sorry to bother you, because we only plan on spending _____ on a bottle of wine tonight.” First off, never feel bad about asking questions about wine. It is our job, and if no one asks any questions, we are out of a job. Second, most of us love the challenge! We are going to ask you a couple of questions – Red?
White? Bubbles? Style? And then we are going to have a wonderful little adventure. But third, and most importantly, the quality swings (not to be confused with style differences), get larger and larger as you move down in price. So this is actually where you can get the most help. Let me explain how a wine buyer thinks when s/he is trying a wine and considering adding it to their list/store: 1. What am I going to have to price this at? 2. What does it cost us to purchase this bottle? 3. How does this taste in comparison to similar wines in the same price range? The “unicorn” we are all looking for, is a $10 bottle of wine that tastes like it should cost $100. We never find it, but that is where our minds are going. Now that does not mean that we do not find a few bottles representing great values. In a wine store you should aim for a bottle that costs only $8-10 and drinks like $16 or a $12 vintage that drinks like $20 and in a restaurant think $25 bottle with a $35 taste or a $35 bottle that drinks like $50. And these are the gems that the wine connoisseur can help you find if you just ask.
While working in restaurants I can remember telling people “for the style you like, even though this costs a little less, I think you will enjoy it more.” or “What you are considering is $38 and this bottle for $42 is half again as good in quality.” But to get these suggestions you have to ask. Because if you do not ask, then it can come off as “the snooty wine guy,” implying you know nothing about wine. And that is what used to be wrong with the industry years ago. Just remember, any really good wine professional doesn’t care about how much you spend on wine today. What they really care about is ensuring you have a great experience and spend money with them again and again because of how happy you are with the recommendations(s) you received from them. Plus, deep down inside we just like the challenge and also want to share our passion for wine with others. So just remember to ask, and until next time… Cheers! PS – OK, two recommendations ;-) Picpoul de Pinet (white) and if you love big, new world reds go ask for a great Syrah suggestion.
FOR TASTE .... AND BUDGET! 46 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Charleston: July 1 - Charleston Riverdogs Baseball Home Game July 1 - Party at the Point July 15 - 11th Annual Palette & Palate Stroll July 16 - Shaggin’ on the Cooper August 3 - Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise Aboard the Schooner Pride August 4 - Inspector Noclue’s Murder Mystery August 10 - Ray Lamontagne in Concert August 19 - Charleston Margarita Festival August 27 - Hot Nights & Holy City at Middleton Place Sept. 2 - Addicted to Love Musical-Comedy Sept. 14 - Meghan Trainor: The Untouchable Tour 2016 Sept. 18 - 4th Annual Kiawah Island Golf Resort Triathlon 48 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
Sept 23-25 - 36th Annual Southern Living Taste of Charleston Sept. 12-18 - 3rd Annual Charleston Water Sportsfest Oct. 6-23 - 40th Annual Fall Tours of Homes & Gardens For more info: charlestoncvb.com/events
Beaufort: July 1 - Beaufort-Habersham Market Place First Friday Concert Series July 11 - Fun with History 2016 Kids Day Camp July 14 - 61st Annual Beaufort Water Festival Opening Ceremony Sept. 3 - The Affair - USCB Center for the Arts play For more info: beaufortsc.org
Hilton Head/ Bluffton: May 30 - Sept. 5 - Marleys Island Grille Summer Live Music June 16 - Sept. 10 - Bud Light Summer Concert Series June 17 - Sept. 2 - Sunset Celebration at Shelter Cove Community Park July 4 - Hilton Head Firecracker Run July 5 - Aug. 31 - Coastal Discovery Museum’s Sea Turtle Talk July 5 - Oct. 11 - Hilton Head Bar Crawl July 11-16 - 2016 Hilton Head Jazz Camp March - October (4th Thursday) - Carolina Dreamers Car Club Cruise-In Aug. 1 - 4 - Free Tennis Lessons at Van Der Meer Tennis Center
calendar of events SUMMER
Hardeeville/ Ridgeland: Aug. 11 - The Currys perform at The Roasting Room Aug. 19 - Dog Days of Summer at Oyster Factory Park Sept. 9 - Roots: A Taste of the Lowcountry Sept. 16 - Blufftemberfest at Oyster Factory Park Sept. 25 - “Kitchens of Note” Tour Oct. 9 - Palmetto Bluff’s 3rd Annual Buffalo Run Oct. 12 - Birding at Pinckney Island Oct. 29 - Bluffton Zombie 5K Run For more info: hiltonheadisland.org/eventcalendar
July 1 - Start of RidgelandJasper County Farmer’s Market For more info: southcarolinalowcountry.com/ events
Savannah, Ga: July 2 - Red, White and Brew’s Fourth of July Celebration July 17 -Centennial Series at Fort Pulaski July 23 - Ogeechee Riverkeeper paddle trip August 2-3 - Annual Savannah Bacon Fest on River Street August 12 - On The Spot Murder Mystery Dinner Show August 13 - Everybody Gets Lei’d Charity Bar Crawl August 24 - 100 Years of
Harmony opens at Jepson Center for the Arts Sept. 2 - First Friday Fireworks on River Street Sept. 10 - Second Saturday Art Walk Sept. 21 - Elton John at Martin Luther King, Jr. Arena Oct. 4 - Peppa Pig’s Big Splash at Johnny Mercer Theatre Oct. 7-9 - 33rd Annual Oktoberfest on River Street For more info: savannah.com/event-calendar
real estate DANIELLA SQUICQUERO
Real Estate in the Lowcountry It’s no secret that the last several years have put the real estate industry through the wringer, even in a locale as wonderful and coveted as our beautiful Lowcountry. Since the now-historic Great Recession, home sales have struggled to return to their pre-crash figures, both in price and in volume. Post-crash jitters have kept both buyers and sellers firmly perched on the fence of indecision. Sellers, for their part, held onto their homes in anticipation of a stronger, more stable market, translating into what they hoped to be a higher purchase price. Buyers, too, held onto their wallets due to similar fears of an unstable market, coupled with heavy-handed lending restrictions imposed in the wake of the downturn. With consistent upticks in employment and the overall economy, the real estate squeeze has finally begun to relax. We are breathing once again. This return to confidence has resulted in a return of both demand – buyers – and supply – sellers – to affect the single best year that our local market has ever seen, by volume. To understand another major factor in the activity of today, we must look to a national trend; the entry of the Millennials. This is a demographic of which I have particularly in-depth knowledge, since, well, I’m one of them. Generally defined as those of 50 PREMIER SUMMER 2016
us born somewhere between the early 1980s through 2000, we are the face of today’s market. According to realtor. com’s 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, Gen Y makes up 32% of the current buying market, a number larger than all Baby Boomers combined. Coupled with their hold on a massive 68% of the first-time buyer market, this generation cannot be ignored by anyone seeking to understand real estate trends. So, how does this fit into the Lowcountry market? Aren’t most people who live here retired? I’m so glad you asked. Above perhaps all other metrics to consider when determining the health of a real estate market is what’s known as the absorption rate. The absorption rate for any given area is determined by current inventory, past sales and a timeline, resulting in a rate of sale, generally given in months. What this tells us, in essence, is that if no new sellers enter the market today, it would take X number of months for every home in that market to sell. In the real estate industry, it’s generally said that five to seven months is considered a balanced market; neither sellers nor buyers have the obvious advantage. Fewer than that, and it’s a sellers’ market, allowing for higher prices due to lower inventory relative to demand. More than that, and it’s a buyers’ market, with a higher amount of inventory, and therefore generally lower prices as buyers
have a greater selection. At last look, there were 2,409 active homes on our local MLS, the database that realtors use to gather market data and place or find listings. What may be surprising to some is the fact that the median age in our area is below retirement, which is especially true in Bluffton. While that number is just under 51 years of age on the Island, it’s a mere 33 years old on the other side of the bridge, where the population has surged by more than 1,000% since 2000. Unsurprisingly, younger people tend to buy less expensive homes for myriad reasons. Taking what we now know into consideration, we should expect that those homes, in our market, would be flying off of the shelves. And they are. Where the absorption rate for our market as a whole shows a healthy, balanced market of around six months, the submarket of those homes $250,000 and less (a common cutoff price) has an absorption rate of a scant two months. This segment is an aggressive buyers’ market, and it comprises the majority of our buyer pool. What does that mean for buyers entering or relocating within the Lowcountry? As cliché as it might sound, it truly is the perfect time to buy. A perfect harmony between historically low interest rates and a market on the rise indicates prices that are still within “deal” range.
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