Stories Beneath the Surface…Waiting to be Told

Dear Reader:

Like stories beneath the surface…so lies nature’s beauty. For years I have wanted a redbud tree and yesterday Anne and I returned to Hollow Tree nursery where I bought this sapling…ready to plant… with the first hint of its blooms in progress. (Fingers crossed for a long, healthy life.)  *Anne said its name should be “Hope” so “Hope” it is! Perfect name for such potential beauty!

*It is getting harder and harder for me to concentrate while typing the next blog post when I glance out the side window and there are the camellias still in full bloom, now accompanied by the bountiful azaleas…it takes my breath away.

The little chapel birdhouse is surrounded with beauty also….Summerville really is the “Flowertown in the Pines.”

…And check out this gorgeous camellia…it and several other buds are bursting forth from a planter where it sat for two years doing nothing…but now it is blooming away and about to be permanently planted. Lisa, at Hollow Tree nursery, said the excessive rain we had in July has produced these unbelievably beautiful and huge camellias this year.

I have discovered that there are also stories waiting to shine ..with just one question asked … a story in-waiting finally has its chance to unfold too like a beautiful bloom…and there is such beauty in stories. 


I couldn’t be at the Hammock Shops and not stop in for my annual visit with the owner of Whitmire Fine Jewelry shop, John Henry Whitmire…His story of the origin behind the “Legend of the Pawleys Island Shell” is still one of the most popular and favorite posts today.


However, this time when I asked for Mr. Whitmire… he was gone…traveling on vacation in Europe with friends and skiing…sounds fantastic! So I started looking around and decided to splurge and get myself a sterling silver palmetto tree (state tree) ring since I taught South Carolina history for almost three decades.


As one of the wonderfully warm employees was helping me try on ring sizes…we began talking and I asked her…her name. She replied Lani. I told her how much I liked it and she said it was Hawaiian for Leilani which translated means “Heavenly Flower.”

I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to know how she got from being born in Hawaii to Pawleys Island…and boy, was I in for a story!

Lani said her parents left Hawaii (on a ship called the Lurline) when she was just two years old for a new job opportunity for her father. At that time he was associated with Voice of America. She said all she remembers about the voyage was her mother telling her that she didn’t have any diapers on board so Lani would have to be potty trained on the trip…it worked…she was.

They moved to Heightsville, Maryland, right outside Washington, D.C. and her father returned to school…training for a job at Lockheed…part of the NASA Space program. Lani had no idea her father was rising quickly to be one of the top Lockheed scientists but she does remember  her father getting her John Glenn’s autograph after he walked on the moon.

They then moved to California to the Lockheed Space Program …by now her father was moving in  ‘Top Secret” divisions….though neither she nor her mother knew or understood it initially. It came to a head when her mother wanted to take Lani (one summer) on a European vacation. Her father was adamantly opposed but when he finally reluctantly gave in he had an exact itinerary of where they were at all times. Lani remembers that she and her mother felt like they were “followed” all over Europe.

Lani’s beloved father died when he was 64 in 1983 in England where he was working at the Lockheed facility there. His body was returned to the United States….California.

At the funeral all these “Big Wigs” in the NASA Space Program showed up and one representative told the stunned gathering that Lani’s dad was one of the top 10 scientists who developed the USA NASA Space program.

Lani married, had two wonderful children and later divorced. At some point she just decided she wanted to live in a warm climate and eventually ended up at Pawleys Island. (And she was there, one day, in late February when an inquisitive woman from Summerville showed up and released a story, inside her, that was meant to be told!) 🙂

On a personal note…Thank you so much Lani for sharing your story and thank you for all your help in finding me the perfect ring to remember my by-gone teaching days. It was, is, and will be a day to always remember.

Intrigue, mystery….it is closer than most of ever know if we just take time to listen to others’ stories.

So until tomorrow…the  Press’n Seal story will be told tomorrow, along with some breath-taking sunset pictures we all witnessed on our “Blessed Isle” as the “Legend of the Pawleys Island Shell” tells us.

(Yesterday Anne and I share another adventure before going to Hollow Tree Nursery…will share some of the fun involved in this endeavor tomorrow also.)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Stories Beneath the Surface…Waiting to be Told

  1. bcparkison says:

    Becky, I am sending this to my cousin who worked on the Space Shuttle before retirement. Great story and you meet the most interesting people.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      All it takes is one question and then listening…I am getting better at this continuous Word of the Year for me…each year.Listening has been the key to discovering so many wonderful stories in life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.