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May May 2021 2021

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.” -Elaine Heffner


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May 2021 - “I Don’t Know How She Does It!” Contents Volume 20, Issue 5

8

About the Cover Artist: Karrie Evenson is an international selling artist from Northwest Arkansas. Her creative journey has led to many adventures over the years such as hosting her own painting TV show, teaching workshops and traveling to art shows. Karrie has sold her works all over the world developing relationships with her collectors which have led her to licensing opportunities such as At Home, Homegoods, and Hobby Lobby as well as online retailers. Karrie’s inspiration comes from her three children, as well as animals and nature. She embraces each moment and lives in the joy of the little things. Spending much time in her studio, her vision is to create work that makes others feel happy and inspired. “I create my work in hopes of sharing laughter and smiles with others. I believe everyone should be able to bring a little bit of happiness home. We could all use more happy.” –Karrie Evenson www.karrieevensonart.com 4 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

Words of Wisdom by Georgia A Hubley

12

Sasee Gets Personal with Olivia Cox: Custom Outdoor Furniture & Restrapping

14

Keepsakes of the Heart by Rose Ann Sinay

16

Single Mom = Super Mom by Gina Benson

18

Diary of a Working Mom by Melissa Face

20

Hatton Gravely: Philanthropy and a Whole Lot of Family by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

24

Mom’s Sweet Words by Glenda Ferguson

26

Betsy Altman: A Legacy of Community Love and Family Roots by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Celebrate the Ladies in Your Life! Maui Jim

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from the Editor Truth be told, when I speak of my own mother, I really don’t know how she does it all. “Momma Hawk” is a mother to everyone who needs it. I cannot even tell you how many of my own friends (who are like family) have had deep, life discussions with her. She is trustworthy, easy to confide in, and an avid listener. As an empath, she makes no judgements and equally feels and understands everyone’s situations no matter what. She is patient. She is humble. She is kind. My mother is perceived as quiet because she is a skilled observer. In reality, she is extremely outgoing with a healthy side of witty humor, especially after a margarita. On top of her roles as nurturing mother, caring daughter, loving sister, devoted wife, and valued friend, she is a wicked smart accountant, a heavily involved philanthropist, and a faithful, spirited woman. She is strong. She is brave. She is compassionate. Growing up, she was a part of everything I was a part of (and that’s a lot). She was always committed to my school’s PTA and was (still is) a board member and treasurer of several nonprofits. She attended every performance and competition of mine and designed every detail of my birthday parties. She and my father were, are, and always will be the best support system. She is genuine. She is creative. She is radiant. The guidance I have received from my mother is infinite, from listening to her verbal advice to watching her positive role model behaviors. I cannot explain the immeasurable appreciation I have for my mother and her artistic genes, unique perspectives, and her passion for music and community. She has a heart of gold and the voice of an angel. When people ask me about my mom, I always reply with, “She is by far the best woman I know!”

Publisher Delores Blount Sales & Marketing Director Susan Bryant Editor Sarah Elaine Hawkinson Account Executives Erica Schneider Gay Stackhouse Art Director Patrick Sullivan Contributing Photographer Chasing the Light Photography Web Developer Scott Konradt Accounting Gail Knowles Executive Publishers Jim Creel Bill Hennecy Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 www.sasee.com • info@sasee.com

She is inspiring. She is soulful. She is selfless. She is a Mother.

Sasee is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

6 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021


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Words of Wisdom by Georgia A Hubley

I couldn’t help but smile as I stirred the pot of chili simmering on the stove, filling my kitchen with warmth and enticing aromas. My mom was right, “Nothing beats the doldrums like a bowl of chili, and it fills the tummy and soothes the soul.” As I continued to stir the chili, I felt a deep sense of wellbeing, and many of Mom’s other words of wisdom came to mind, followed by flurries of emotions and memories of how she made every effort for me to be confident with my self-image. Growing up, I was often teased about my size. I was too tall, too fat, and too different. My mom’s words of encouragement still linger with me: “It’s the size of your heart that matters, not the size of your clothes.” I have tried to live my life by that philosophy, but it hasn’t been easy. I was ten years old when I experienced my first sleepless night and tear-stained pillow from agonizing over the realization that I was different. It happened during Christmas break. My best friend and I were playing a game in my bedroom, while our mothers were in the kitchen having coffee and sharing sewing tips, ideas, patterns, and fabrics. “I know it’s easier for me to make a skirt for my petite daughter, but here’s a skirt pattern I think our daughters will love,” my friend’s mother said. “Look at this lovely soft, navy blue wool remnant I bought on sale. Since your daughter is taller and big-boned, do you think there’s enough fabric to make each girl a skirt?” “Adjusting a pattern for my beautiful daughter isn’t difficult,” Mom replied. “All I have to do is add an inch or two here and there. There’s definitely enough material to make them matching skirts.” After hearing every hurtful word, my eyes welled with tears, as I surmised being tall, big-boned, and beautiful wasn’t a good thing. “Don’t cry,” my friend said, “I don’t think you’re fat.” 8 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

From that day forward, I was grateful for my mom’s support as I struggled to fit in as the tall, big-boned girl with the pretty face. All through school, Mom was my champion. She insisted I ignore those who taunted me about my size. Eventually, I learned to do that, which helped build my confidence to participate in many school activities. I became editor of the school newspaper, joined the glee club, performed in several school plays, and concentrated on getting good grades. I no longer dwelled on my image in the mirror every day. Neither did any of my classmates. Once I left the nest and was launched into adulthood, I chose a career in the corporate world of financial management. However, during the interview process, there were five other applicants seated with me in the front lobby. We were all seeking the same position. I wanted to get up and leave… all five applicants were attractive, petite women. How could I possibly be considered for the job? Suddenly, a sense of shame washed over me for having such negative thoughts. Quickly, I pushed them aside and one of Mom’s pep talks came to mind, “Take a deep breath. You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Because of that nudge to bolster my self-esteem, I aced the interview. Not only did I land the job, but six months later I met my husband-to-be. Even though many years have passed since then, I often hear myself sounding just like my mom, sharing her words of wisdom.

Georgia A. Hubley Georgia A. Hubley retired after 20 years from the money world in Silicon Valley to write about her world. Her stories and essays appear in various anthologies and magazines. After two sons were launched into adulthood and the nest was empty, Georgia and her husband relocated to the Nevada desert.


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Custom Outdoor Furniture & Restrapping A true creek rat born and raised in Murrells Inlet, SC Oversees merchandising, marketing, HR, day-to-day operations, and loves working the retail floor from time to time Supports Salkehatchie Summer Service where she is now a site leader and her passion for this philanthropy was passed on from her late, older brother Learned the best advice from her graceful mother of how to love the Lord first, have faith, work hard, stay humble, and always kill them with kindness Loves plants, calligraphy, painting/crafting, sewing, home décor, and home renovation Has a 4-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Hank who is 110 pounds of pure love and goofiness


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Keepsakes of the Heart by Rose Ann Sinay

My husband and I stopped at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. The house was a pretty, well-maintained colonial–a family home. As we walked up the driveway, I noticed a multitude of flower stakes that dotted hibernating flower beds. A small table and two wrought iron chairs sat waiting for a warm spring morning to hold a cup of coffee and a plate of breakfast scones. Beyond the designated side entrance, several green dumpsters loomed awaiting their final meal of discarded treasures. Entering the kitchen, we walked around people sifting through tables of vintage kitchen and dining-ware. “Would you take forty dollars for this set of china?” someone asked a teen-aged boy supervising the area. The elegant service for twelve was carefully packed in foam sleeves; one complete setting sat next to it for inspection. It was marked at $200. I picked up a cup and found the “Lenox” mark–a steal at the asking price, larceny at the offered price. Although I love a bargain, I hoped the answer would be no. “I’ll have to check with the daughter,” the young man said and called to a middle-aged woman. “Susan” approached the table, and for a moment, she didn’t say anything. She ran her finger over the rim of a plate and said, “Sure.” I couldn’t tell if she was angry, sad, or simply resolute. I continued through the house in search of books, my go-to at any store or event. The shelf-lined study was a gold mine. I picked up several leather-bound classics and a first edition Stephen King book. I was thrilled. As I waited to pay for my finds, I noticed a hand-carved frame with a picture of the family. The daughter’s face was recognizable as a child. I picked it up and added it to my purchases. I passed Susan on the way out the door. “Thank you,” I said at a loss for the appropriate words. Remembering the picture, I pulled it out of my bag. I think you may have missed this,” I said pointing to the photo. I attempted to loosen the backing of the frame when she stopped me. “I have several copies; you can 14 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

just put it in the garbage. This has been the hardest part. Disposing of my parents’ things has been emotionally overwhelming. At first, I wanted to keep everything, and now, I just need it to be gone.” On the way home, I thought about the woman’s words. I couldn’t imagine people walking through my home, going through my things, wondering if a dollar was too much for a box of broken arrowheads or a priceless souvenir fish covered with tiny seashells. Exactly what was the difference between an heirloom and a keepsake? Would these tiny gifts of love, worth more than money, be deemed junk to my grandchildren? Of course, I knew the answer. I could form an emotional attachment to a rock. I had a lot of work to do to keep the “what do I do with Grandma’s junk” from happening to my own family. I decided I would do a deep purging; I needed to be ruthless with my culling. I delegated one large rubber bin per adult child to hold the objects I found to be emotionally or financially significant. I started a notebook with information regarding the contents and why it should not be devoured by a hulking dumpster or examined by bargain hunting strangers. I arranged all my first edition books by my favorite authors in one section of my bookshelves. One of my children would need to incorporate them into their libraries. The idea of a stranger folding the corner of the crisp, unmarred pages made me cringe. I pulled out my cherished Royal Doulton china purchased by my parents in 1962. My mother had used the dishes once or twice. Like her, I had never used the beautiful dishes for fear of breaking a piece. What was I saving it for? When I asked my daughter if she would like to have it someday, she asked if it could go in the dishwasher. As I took the gold gilded plate from her hands, I vowed to use them at least once a week. It would make my meatloaf look fancy and taste fabulous. The backs of old photos were labeled and neatly stacked. I’m sure I have a couple of decades to organize them


into albums. Or, maybe, I will leave them “as is” inviting my family to discover their ancestors as they sort through the pile. Milk glass candy dishes, expensive crystal vases, and the Hummel figurines that were gifted to me by relatives were boxed for donation. It was time to find them a new home where they would be displayed and appreciated instead of being just a pleasant memory. At the end of the week, both containers were half-filled leaving plenty of room for the treasures to come. And, I had free space that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. I had spent hours re-reading old letters and remembering the past. The anxiety over my life’s collection of special moments had dissipated.

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Was it a keepsake or heirloom? It didn’t matter. I had unconsciously saved the objects that mattered to my heart. My children will choose what touches theirs. They will choose well. It’s in the genes.

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Sasee.com :: May 2021 :: 15


Single Mom = Super Mom by Gina Benson

I was riding bikes with my 4th-grade classmate when she asked me this: “Are your parents divorced?” My face turned 50 shades of red and I nearly flew over the handlebars of my 10-speed bike, but I quickly regained my composure and said (probably too dramatically): “Divorced?! Of course NOT!” It was the very first time I remember telling a lie. I lied because I didn’t want to be the ONLY one at Brigham Elementary School with divorced parents. I lied because I didn’t want to be the only one with a single mom. Fast forward forty some odd years later and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder: How did she do it? How, on God’s green earth did this young woman (she was only in her mid-twenties when she became solely responsible for two young children) drag herself out of bed every day to make us breakfast, fill our David Cassidy and Snoopy lunchboxes, make sure our hair was combed, our teeth were brushed, we were wearing clothes that were clean and somewhat matched, get us off to school, get herself to work, rush home to cook dinner (I can’t remember NOT having dinner together), help us with homework, and tuck us into bed (after the evening ritual of face washing, teeth brushing, and “Now I Lay me Down to Sleep” nightly prayers) only to go back downstairs to a sink filled with dishes, a basket of laundry, and the knowledge that she’d be doing the very same things the next day and the day after that and the day after that. I think back to handmade Halloween costumes and suggestions for Science and Social Studies projects. (Like when she said “Why don’t you use real material to make Betsy Ross’s flag for that poster…I have a lot of scraps here. That would be something different.” (FYI: I won the Bicentennial Poster contest that year!) Over the years she must’ve signed dozens of field trip permission slips and made hundreds of cupcakes and cookies (from scratch!) for birthday parties and PTA meetings. She must’ve spent a fortune in gas for cars that were hanging on by a thread to get us to play dates, school plays, ball games, roller skating, and the movies. I think back to how many hours in the day she spent doing things for us and I am amazed. How did she so seamlessly transition our lives from a family of 4 to a family of 3? Correction, we also had a dog (a beautiful 16 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

Collie named Lassie (very original)) so from a family of 5 to a family of 4? How did she teach us lessons, those really hard life lessons with no one to back her up? My brother and I didn’t realize the struggle at the time because she made it all seem so easy, so effortless. She just wanted us to do our job at the time which was to be kids while she did everything else. We thought it was so cool that our basement was transformed into a tie-dye and batik emporium. She taught us the finer points of these art forms and while we were having fun, she was making a little extra money selling to some of the local hippy stores. We pulled rainbow-colored t-shirts out of buckets of Easter egg-colored dye and designed them with hearts and clouds and flowers. Our dreary little basement became a happy place to escape to. It’s now called a “side hustle” but I think it was created by single Moms just trying to make ends meet. I started watching shows that celebrated Single Motherhood. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone - Back then it was “The Partridge Family” and “One Day at a Time” that shared stories of cool Moms raising families and doing it well. Later I tuned into “Gilmore Girls” for a reminder of what my Mom had gone through. As it turned out, that little girl from my class was asking if my parents were divorced because her family was coming apart at the seams and she just wanted to know that there was someone else who would understand. Someone else like her. When I finally grew up enough to actually realize that my Mom had twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears than other Moms I asked her how she did it. She said she did it the same way all Mothers do - it all stems from that unconditional love for your children with a little help from those incredible guardian angels that show up when you need it most.

Gina Benson Gina Benson loves cooking with her husband Jim (especially when he cleans up!) and enjoying precious moments with their daughter Liliana. Together they make a family.


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Diary of a Working Mom by Melissa Face

It’s the spring of 2014, and I am returning to work after giving birth to my daughter. I had hoped to stay on maternity leave longer, but I’ve run out of sick days and will already have to teach for free for a week. I trudge into my high school with my laptop case, lunch bag, and a small cooler. Between classes, I pump in the largest stall of the faculty bathroom, fully committed to feeding my daughter breast milk for her first year. I manage the routine for a couple of weeks. My milk runs dry, but my tears stream down. I am juggling full-time work and motherhood and feeling like I’m failing at both. *** It’s the fall of 2015, and I have accepted a part-time position teaching English at a school for students who are gifted in the arts. The salary is pitiful. I have no health benefits and no retirement, but I only work every other day. It’s the closest to work-life balance I’ve experienced. When I’m not revising thesis statements and reviewing vocabulary, I’m with my daughter. We go to the park, visit the library, and shop at Claire’s. For a few hours each week, she attends a morning preschool program, and I have some time to myself to grade, plan, and write. I make the best use of the time and rush to pick her up when school ends. I feel like I have the best of both worlds right now, and I don’t want these days to end. *** It’s September 2019, and we are all in school and work fulltime. I lift my groggy daughter’s head out of her cereal bowl, and we head out into another dim morning. It’s almost dark by the time we’re all back home again. The kids do their homework; I grade papers, and my husband makes dinner. The evening is a whirlwind of preparations for the next day: bathing, scheduling, and lunch packing. Soon we are all in bed. The lights are off, but my brain is on and tuned into guilt mode. I feel bad about snapping at them during homework time and hurrying them through the line at Sweet Frog. I barely saw them all day, and I want life to slow down just a little. *** It’s March 2020, and life has slowed down. It has come to a halt, in fact. My children and I are at home, instructing and learning virtually. I make sure they stay occupied in the other room while I teach my sophomores. I worry about 18 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

being observed by my director and him seeing my kids in the background. I wonder why the presence of a mother’s children so often equates to the absence of professionalism. I don’t hide other parts of my identity from the workforce, but I feel the need to hide that I’m a mother in order to be viewed as a productive employee. I’m one of the fortunate ones, though. My worries remain only worries, but many moms are losing their jobs because they don’t have reliable childcare. *** It’s March 2021, and we have been at home together for a year. We have managed to work and learn and hug and snuggle some every day. We have made the most of our time, but I’m feeling anxious about our next big change. My school building is opening at the end of the month, so my children will need to return to in-person school. There is an opening in first grade for my daughter, but my son is on a waiting list. I consider quitting my job that I love and homeschooling both of my children. Instead, I decided to look for a sitter who can stay at home with my son. We find someone we are very happy with, and she and her mom come for a visit. It seems everything is back on track, at least until the next challenge comes along. I wonder if the global crisis will have any positive effects on the American workforce. Will we be allowed to work from home if we have an occasional childcare issue? Will we have better maternity care so that we don’t have to take unpaid leave? Will the world be more understanding of working mothers from now on? I want to be hopeful.

Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids...a little more. Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, ScaryMommy, and twenty-one volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Read more at melissaface.com.


Hatton Gravely:

Philanthropy and a Whole Lot of Family by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

I started my day with Hatton by meeting her in the beautiful Brookgreen Gardens. It was a sunny one, so it was perfect for our walk through the gardens as we discussed our lives and raved about our new work positions. As of August 2020, Hatton landed the role as Brookgreen’s Director of Philanthropy. She states, “Every time I drive through the gates, my mood is lifted, and my blood pressure probably goes down. Brookgreen is such a beautiful place with so much history and meaning. It’s my happy place, it always has been.” Hatton Gravely grew up in the other Charleston, the one located in West Virginia. She was brought up by two successful parents and specifically, a mother who was one of four female law students in her class. She became an attorney and was very involved in politics. Hatton’s mother has always been a strong female role model for her to look up to and learn from. Hatton had a wonderful childhood. She was a bookworm and frequently traveled to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for family vacations. During high school at a summer program, Hatton met a boy named Will in a Spanish class. He was from Myrtle Beach, but they became great friends and kept up with each other through the rest of high school and throughout college. Hatton studied political science and English at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. After both she and Will finished college, they took their friendship to the next step and started dating. A year later, they were engaged. Once hitched, the married couple moved in 2006 from Atlanta, Georgia, back to Will’s roots, the Grand Strand. Hatton began working for the Brandon Agency where she 20 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

learned a great deal about marketing. She loved every minute of her time as it was a very fun atmosphere and company. After two years, she became the Marketing Director for The Market Common. This job took place when the complex first opened and Hatton helped make it the established outdoor shopping center and event space it is today. After 5 years of devoting her life to The Market Common, she started a new job at SPM Resorts as the Vice President of Marketing and Development. In 2016, Hatton became the Director of Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University. She focused on raising money for scholarships and even hosted a Women’s Leadership Conference including 800 women just before the pandemic. During this exponentially growing time of her career, Hatton also managed to have two children. Thomas was born in 2010 and Mary Chase in 2015. She admitted, “When I first had my son, I had a lot of mom guilt about not being a stay at home mom,” but Hatton’s mother gave her some advice that has helped her along the way: “Stop making yourself crazy thinking that you’re not doing a good job, just go to work AND be a mom. Your generation overthinks it; we didn’t think that much about it, we just did it!” Hatton thinks every mom can relate to being an “overthinker” but clarifies that being guided by a pragmatic mother who centers all of her crazy thoughts has helped her tremendously. Hatton feels that her role as a mother has shaped her as a person in every way possible. She explained, “When they are babies, you’re terrified, but once you survive that stage, you just have the most fun with your kids. You really are the same person, but your focus and motivations shift. Becoming a


mother obviously makes you think about someone other than yourself and your spouse because you are now responsible for a little human’s happiness and growth.” When I asked Hatton what the most important advice is that she has bestowed upon her own kids, she said, “As young children, their only jobs are to be kind and to be a good friend. They both know that’s what they always need to do and be.” On top of being a full-time working mom, Hatton also runs a blog called the “Good Taste Guide” which is her creative outlet. She has always been interested in content marketing and social media, and editorial type of advertising. She loves writing, photography, and design. Having a blog also helps keep her stay updated on marketing, social media, web design, and writing for an audience. In her previous marketing positions, she’s incorporated the things she’s learned from blogging into content marketing strategy for work projects. She says, “Anyone interested in marketing should run a blog because it’s good practice to track analytics and to test what works and what doesn’t.” Her blog is all about having good taste of an assortment of topics from food and wine to books and podcasts to careers and kids and Myrtle Beach living. (Check out her website: www.goodtasteguide.com)

Another passion of Hatton’s is antiques. All of the furniture in her house has either been hand-me-downs or collected from antique stores. Her favorite family heirloom is her Grandparents’ dining room table where she used to spend every holiday meal at while surrounded by family. Now, that same table is paired with Will’s grandparent’s chairs and is their family dinner table that they use every day making their own memories. Hatton explains her love for antique shopping, “You can get such a high-quality piece of furniture for so much less, not mention all the history and timeless pieces. It’s fun to browse and there are so many cool shops around this area.” Hatton claims her favorite shop is one that was open the year they moved and although the owner

Sasee.com :: May 2021 :: 21


Celebrating All Moms

Vintage Wares | Women’s Apparel | Wonderful Goods | Boutique Clothing Labels

closed the physical store, she still runs an Instagram account: Bunglalow17sc. Hatton says, “Every piece we have collected through the years has meaning and that makes me happy. Plus, it’s pretty and unique.” I asked Hatton how she balances her work and family life so well and she responded with, “I don’t know if ‘so well’ is correct. I have such an incredible amount of help from my husband at home as well as my in-laws that I am able to stay balanced. Will’s parents, Mama Lee and Big Daddy are a part of our daily lives. They help out with sports practices, after school programs, and Mama Lee is an amazing tutor. Because we have so much help, we are really able to spend time with our kids cooking dinner and having fun with them on the weekends. I think Myrtle Beach in particular is just a wonderful place for families, we’ve been so lucky to have so many friends and to live in a neighborhood with so many lovely families. I love our friends who are like family.” As far as advice to other mothers who strive to do it all, this is Hatton’s: “Although I can’t give away my Mama Lee and Big Daddy, I think a big part of mothering has to do with your mindset on life and having a reasonable outlook on what all you can accomplish. I don’t have super high expectations of having an insta-worthy perfect lifestyle. Sometimes, moms compare themselves to other people’s best – but I think when you have a blog or are creating content for an audience, you know that the behind-the-scenes clutter is cropped out of the frame. All of us have imperfections even if our social feeds don’t have it on display – and that can give some moms the unrealistic impression that perfection is attainable. It’s not.”

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Hatton loves Mother’s Day because it is such a pretty time of year, especially here, so the family usually spends time together outside. They have a good afternoon meal and always have cake. She laughed as she said, “although the cake ends up being more for the kids anyway.” When I first reached out to Hatton about an interview, I explained our theme for the month, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” to be about Mother’s Day and impressive women who do it all. She immediately replied with, “Oh, I am so flattered I give that illusion! LOL! Our family is blessed with a ton of help that not everyone has, and I do think that I have it all, but it’s 100% because of the amazing support of others.” Hatton is a humble, genuine, and inspirational mother. She loves celebrating being a mom and I think we can all agree that she certainly deserves it.


Happy Mother’s Day

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Mom’s Sweet Words by Glenda Ferguson

There was nothing sweeter than the sound of delight in my mom’s voice when she said my name, especially when I might surprise her at work (she was a school custodian until she was eighty) or give her an unexpected gift. She would have a big smile on her face and her eyes twinkled, then she would say one of several variations of my name – Glen-da, Glennie, or Sweet Glenda.

other family members, but she couldn’t come up with their names either. She was able to pronounce my brother’s name, but she couldn’t say mine. I desperately wanted a solution to help her cope with communication. I had zero experience with speech therapy, but I taught reading to young children. My students responded best when I used pictures associated with the words.

But all that changed after her stroke. Even though her mobility was going to be fine, her speech was affected the most. Mom could form her sentences, but quickly coming up with the words eluded her. Another result was the impossible task of pronouncing the “gl” sound in Glenda. “I guess I’ll just have to come up with other words to use,” Mom joked. It was good to know that she still had her sense of humor.

That day I purchased a photo album called a brag book. From Mom’s albums at her house, I took out photos of familiar family members. Mom had an entire photo album dedicated to her dogs. So I chose several dog photos. I placed each photo on a page in the brag book. Since Mom could still read, I made labels with the names of the family members and their relationships to Mom. Using colorful letter stickers, I personalized the front cover with Mom’s name. The next morning I visited Mom and she said, “How are…the dogs?” She couldn’t think of their names.

My brother and I found a rehabilitation facility near Mom’s home in Missouri. Mike lived nearby and would take care of Mom’s two dogs, Walker and Molly. I would get Mom settled into the facility the first week. After that, I would travel back to my home in Indiana where I taught school. The plan was for me to return during the third week, which would be Mom’s last week of therapy. I would help Mom get settled back in her house. Physical therapy was easy for Mom. She didn’t mind participating in the strength and balance exercises. The therapists became acquainted with her funloving personality. Speech therapy was not such a good experience. Mom had difficulty thinking of simple words for objects and names of family members. She became frustrated with herself. “I can’t think of nothing,” she said. The unusual effect of the stroke was Mom could still write, but trying to jot down the word she wanted to say was tedious. Mom kept asking about her dogs, but she couldn’t think of their names. She wanted to know about 24 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

That is when I presented the brag book to her. She didn’t stop smiling the whole time she flipped through the pages. But I knew which photos she wanted to see. She bypassed all the family photos until she found the ones she missed the most. “How are Walker and Molly?” she was able to say. The brag book was small enough for Mom to carry with her to therapy, the cafeteria, and outside on our walks. Photos were shown to all the staff and the other residents. Mom’s dogs were the subject of most of her bragging. By the time I left at the end of the week, Mom’s brag book was her permanent traveling companion. It was like she had a little bit of family with her. I felt better leaving her until I returned the following week. While I was back in Indiana, my brother kept me informed about Mom’s therapy. I thought Mom may be too stressed attempting to communicate on the


phone. So I called the staff for updates in the evenings. When I identified myself, the nurses said, “I know you from your mom’s photo book. She is always showing us your picture.” When I returned for Mom’s final week, Mom was using the photos in speech therapy. Mostly she talked about her dogs. Mom told me who had visited. She pointed and read the names of her sister, her nephews, and other family. But Mom still can’t pronounce my name. I immediately regretted having those thoughts. After all, she was still the same sweet and positive Mom I loved dearly. That evening, as I got ready to go back to Mom’s house, I told her I would see her in the morning. I ended our day with the phrase I always said, “I love, love, love you.” Mom said, “Goodnight, my sweet angel.”

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Betsy Altman:

A Legacy of Community Love and Family Roots by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

Betsy Altman grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, until her move to Greensboro, North Carolina, where she graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Public Administration. She always loved meeting and talking with people, so she knew she wanted to pursue a career where she worked closely with helping others. After college, she moved to Pawleys Island with her family because of her father’s job at the Georgetown Steel Mill. Betsy quickly got involved with Real Estate. One of Betsy’s parents’ friends decided to set her up on a blind date with a local Real Estate agent, Alan. One night at a cocktail party, Betsy’s friend invited both of them and claimed it was for business purposes. Betsy’s friend even brought a fake contract for him to “look over,” but needless to say, they hit it off. The two went for lunch the next day at the Pawleys Island Inn (now known as Local), got married a year later, and had three wonderful children: Sarah, Casey, and Alex. In 1984, Betsy started working for Pawleys Island Realty in the rental department. Her position evolved over the years as she worked her way from rental manager to broker and partner. After Betsy’s father-in-law passed away, she bought out his share and has been the sole owner of the company since 2018. Betsy and Alan’s kids would make bookmarks from popsicle sticks. They would set up a little table where all the customers would check in to greet them and guests would give them the best tips for their bookmarks. Casey would help deliver linens and Alex would make boiled peanuts for the guests. Sarah liked to help out in the office and now, she works in the marketing division and handles social media. Their business has always been a family affair. 26 :: Sasee.com :: May 2021

It is an understatement to say that Betsy loves her work. She explains, “I think one reason we have been in business for so long is because of our personal relationships with our guests and owners. There is nothing I love more than when they come in and we get to catch up about their lives. I adore when people tell us what they are doing here. For example, every year this group from Virginia of about 80-120 people visit and rent out 20 or so houses. They have a huge bocce ball tournament, and everyone brings their college decal. When it’s down to the last two, whoever loses has to put the winner’s college decal on their car for a year until the next tournament. I love learning about our guest’s traditions.” Next year is Pawleys Island Realty’s 60th anniversary and they have been working with the same families for that many decades. It used to be the grandparents, then the parents, and now their grandchildren. The value of tradition is monumental for Betsy. She believes it’s extremely essential for younger generations to learn where they came from and to understand their history. When she met Alan’s Grandmother for the first time, the first question she asked Betsy was, “who is your family?” In the south especially, a fundamental part of who you are is knowing your roots and as a parent, Betsy strongly feels that it is important to not let those family traditions die. Betsy believes and hopes that she has instilled the importance of traditions within her children. She explains, “We are very attuned to our traditions. I am on the board of directors for the Pawleys Island Chapel, and Alan used to take up offering when he was little, then my girls did it, and then we would always have family lunch. Your family is what makes you and it’s the traditions that keep us together.” She also says the


best advice she has given them is to treat everyone the way you want to be treated and to always be respectful, honest, and to learn to take the high road. Betsy exclaims, “Taking the high road is not always the easiest thing to do, sometimes it’s the absolute hardest thing to do, but it’s definitely the right thing to do.” The two biggest pieces of advice that stuck with Betsy from her own mother are to always be the best you can be and to always learn new things. She also taught her the value of handwritten thank you notes, which need to be sent no later than two weeks, but especially for grandparents, those notes are first priority! “Less is best” is a concept that took Betsy a little longer to grasp. As a teenager, Betsy’s mother was referring to clothes, but Betsy now understands it has an even bigger meaning. She feels that most people spend the early part of life accumulating things and the latter part of life decluttering. If Betsy has an afternoon off, the last words she would ever say are “I’m gonna go shopping.” If she has to shop for gifts, she does it locally at places like Pawleys Island Wear and Litchfield Books. As most of us feel who make our way to the beach life, she much prefers the simpler, but still finer things of life. Betsy would rather spend her afternoons planting in her garden, walking her dog, paddle boarding, bike riding, or doing anything outside in the sunshine. Just like material things, “less is best” can be considered the same for many other parts of life. Betsy has a ton of wonderful acquaintances but is only fully open with a select few, the friends who have been there for her through thick and thin. Betsy believes that having a small group of very close friends is imperative. She says, “One of my best friends has been in my life for 35 years and our children are best friends too. It’s such a blessing to have people there for you and your whole family. My kids can call them for advice and their thoughts just as they would me. It’s not always blood that you make you family.” When Betsy and her friends get together, they mostly spend quality time together on the porch or dock catching up over a glass of wine. They also go for walks in Brookgreen Gardens or on Huntington Beach. Betsy clarifies, “We aren’t always having wine and we’re not always doing something extravagant; we just enjoy each other’s company and that’s special in itself.”

she passed in 2018, she helped many families. The Altman family is a big supporter of the St. Francis Humane Society where Casey worked for a while. The family also does a lot with Waccamaw High School and they provide a couple of scholarships including one for a tennis player in Casey’s memory. When I asked Betsy how her role as a mother has shaped her as a person, she responded with: “I don’t know that it has changed me so much as it has brought out personality traits that weren’t really visible before. I think I’ve always been a nurturing person deep down, so mothering for me came easy.” She laughed as she said, “until they became teenagers, then I let Alan handle it. We always put our children first, I still do, and the same with the grandchildren. I realize that I’m not in control and that I am only able to react because Continued on Page 28

While Betsy is always there for her family, friends, and clients, she is also a pillar of the community. Her company donates a lot to local charities, food banks, and primarily anything with children and those in need. They also support Sharing Hope of SC which is for donor recipients. Casey was a strong advocate for their types of services and when Sasee.com :: May 2021 :: 27


Happy Mother’s Day to All Our Moms

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you realize your life really isn’t your own. First, it seems like it’s all about you, then your marriage, then your kids, then you sort of settle into an advisor role. It’s still nice to be needed even though your relationship with your children changes. I actually think as we get older, our connection gets stronger and deeper.” As far as Mother’s Day traditions, the family spends the day together outside. Sarah’s kids are 2 and 5 and they like to travel by kayak to the sand bar near her home to play. Betsy says, “I love being a grandmother, it’s the best thing - they call me B! We decorate and do lots of crafts. As long as we are together, we don’t care. It’s nice after a busy day to unwind, look at the creek, and be surrounded by family. It centers you. You can’t take care of your work and everyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself. I have a lot of ideas at work and for my life, I want to be here for a long time.” Betsy balances her work and family life by focusing on the moment while simultaneously projecting months in advance. She explains, “Like being a mother, you have to learn to multitask and communicate often. You have to coordinate your time frame well and know your goals and needs. You have to learn how to roll with the punches life throws you. You must have your friends, family, and faith to get through it. Your life always evolves.” Betsy understands what stresses her and feels fortunate to be able to destress in nature while being surrounded by her loved ones. As we finished our interview by reflecting upon all that we are grateful for, Betsy smiled and said, “Plus, how great is it that we are able to wear flip flops to work?” Betsy is truly a woman who does it all, and she does so with much grace, love, and compassion.


Happy Mother’s Day!

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Advertiser Index

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Profile for Strand Media Group

Sasee Magazine - May 2021  

"I don't know how she does it"

Sasee Magazine - May 2021  

"I don't know how she does it"

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