Sunflowers and Pawley’s Island Shell Necklaces

Dear Reader;

When the Ya’s  arrived Thursday afternoon Libby surprised us with Pawley’s Island shell necklaces that she discovered (on-line. )

*A  Pawley’s Island resident made the necklaces from her home after strolling the beaches for shells daily.

The “shell seeker”  had come over Thursday before we arrived and Libby had gotten each Ya a Pawley’s Island shell necklace….more beautiful than any expensive gold or silver replica…we had the “real” thing!

For Jackson she had also a sunflower arrangement that only Jackson and the Ya’s could remember and fall over laughing about… Jackson was the last of us teachers to retire because she took a few years off when her son, Matthew, was little to be with him. But now we were retired and fancy-free and Jackson was just plain tired and ready to retire too….just counting down the days.

Isn’t it sometimes the smallest things that set us on another path…a small God Wink perhaps? Jackson’s God Wink arrived in the form of sunflower seeds.

The  day when the  “straw broke the camel’s back” had already started poorly ( the copier was not working to run off some tests and worksheets after arriving early to get this task done) and it went down-hill steadily from there. It was a “Domino Day.

When Jackson later caught some of her freshman class students spitting sunflower seeds in her class, something snapped…she immediately knew it was a sign. It was time to leave all this “fun” behind. She texted the district office and made an appointment to start filling out the paperwork that very afternoon when school let out. Jackson and the district office worker figured out the date she needed to reach to get her retirement and bingo…for the first time ‘time was on her side.’

By the time we got her email later that day updating us on what happened…we were falling off our desk chairs in laughter. Jackson has a dry sense of humor and her re-telling of the incident should go down in educational history…required reading on how to retire with dignity and humor! When “enough” is truly enough!

The cold, windy night we went to Chive Blossom…there was the most beautiful, breath-taking moon shining in the frozen skies…it is called the “Snow Moon.” (Thanks Libby for  sharing the picture!)

We Ya’s like to stick closely together …to the point that none of us wants to take turns staying upstairs in the master bedroom suite anymore. I occasionally will go up there to take photos of  the N. Inlet side of the beach from that height… but that is all.

In 2010 Jackson had the suite after her mother, our beloved Mama Mia) passed…then I had it one time after some trying cancer procedures and later Brooke. Soon we got to insisting that Libby should stay up there in her sister and brother-in-law’s suite…but even she started making excuses and opted to  stay downstairs with us.

So the “Cinderella’ suite is left alone with extra pairs of shoes and magic dust.

Fantastic as it is…one feels detached from the “party”…you can hear voices and laughter downstairs…and you just want to be down there with the others. Today we can all laugh about it and why everyone came up with different excuses why they couldn’t stay in the suite …because it is drop dead gorgeous. See for yourself.

Since this was our tenth anniversary mid-winter retreat…we went back down memory lane and one of the Ya’s found this picture taken our senior year…the night before graduation…little did we know some of the happiest times of our lives were about to end.

*This photo has been re-copied so many times…it is a little fuzzy…but then as we all get older…”fuzzy” becomes part of our daily life. 🙂

Left to Right: Lower: Me on the left and Brooke on the right: Upper- Libby on the left and Jackson on the right.

Today: L-R: Me, Libby, Jackson and Brooke

We are still altogether…nothing short of a miracle!

So until tomorrow:

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

It is February in the Lowcountry- which means our state flower is in bloom…Yellow Jessamine!

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.”
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4 Responses to Sunflowers and Pawley’s Island Shell Necklaces

  1. Beverly Dufford says:

    Love Jackson’s story. My girls asked me once how will you know when it is time to retire, and my answer was, “You just know.” It could be health, family needs, desire to travel, or none of the above, but I think God just lets you know.” Of course, students spitting sunflower seeds is as good a reason as any, but when the time comes for you to leave the place you love and the thing you love doing, “You just know”.


  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love the post today…the story of the upstairs bedroom…the Pawley Island necklaces and the highlight was the pictures then and now…


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