Have You Ever Wanted to Hug a Place?

Dear Reader:

No… I am not doing an advertisement for Chicken Salad Chick. As I was running errands yesterday… I just happened to be in the vicinity when my stomach started growling and I pulled in to pick up a sandwich and some ice tea to bring home.

Later… sitting in my recliner… munching happily away… while watching television..I idly starting reading the writing on the cup… an endorsement by a satisfied customer who wrote” Have you ever wanted to hug a place?” ( And then goes on to mention the eating establishment)

But it was the question that caught my attention… I began to wonder… ” Is there a place in my life that I would want to hug?” Immediately Erskine College came to mind!

My beloved Grandmother Wilson was born and raised in Due West, SC -where she attended the Erskine Women’s College /graduated in 1903 and taught school there until she married Granddaddy and moved to Laurens.

So when I attended Erskine I was following in my grandmother’s footsteps. But that is not why this is the place I most want to hug and say thank you too… it is because it was the place where I finally began to find me… the real me.

…And that was due to the close friendships forged there… I found a sister… Brooke and two closest friends, Libby and Jackson who gave me the confidence to peel off the layers of indecision and insecurity that had shadowed me for too long. I was truly happy for the first time in my life… blissfully so!!!

We were in each others’ weddings and gathered for long weekends until the children started and then we talked and called… but it wasn’t until we all came up for air… with the children in college or working that we reunited again… this time as the Ya Ya’s!

I can not imagine my life without these three ” girls” in it… as we all grow older ( thankfully) the number of people in our lives who knew us when… begins to dwindle leaving us with precious few who knew the young girl in each of us on the brink of life itself. All of our dreams were still in front of us. It was a pivotal period of life and we were fortunate enough to share it together!!!

So until tomorrow… I know it is cliche ( especially with Betty White-the last of the Golden Girls gone now) but from the bottom of my heart… Brookie, Libby, and Jackson… ” Thank you for being a friend.”

We might be ” shadows” of our former selves but we know our shadows well now and are at peace with them. Accepting shadows takes a lifetime.

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.”
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4 Responses to Have You Ever Wanted to Hug a Place?

  1. Beth Brewer says:

    Beautiful tribute to the friendship you share!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you Beth….isn’t it miraculous that we have all lived long enough for the circle of events to connect to the dreams…


  2. Bonnie James says:


    I’ve been wondering just how long I could continue reading your daily emails without a comment. I’ve been with you since early last fall. I’m a grandmother, around your age, and I do so love the flowers, humor and photos you share daily. I laugh out loud and many times find myself inspired. I have family in Beaufort so I’m quite acquainted with the SC coast and love it! Just a few connections.

    However today really caught me as “OK. It’s time.” As I’ve always read your blog through a “special” lense, today it manifested. My precious granddaughter is a freshman at Erskine College. So to read all your accolades of the years you spent there warmed my heart. She loves it as well and do I think if she could hug it she would indeed do so. She is a Chemistry major and a member of the Choraleers. Her great grandfather was an Economic professor at Erskine, mother’s side so I only know of his last name, Longino. As a grandmother I could brag on her accomplishments but I’ll hold back. Suffice to say, that connection was not why she was accepted. She has just recently been accepted to study at Oxford next spring. Are we excited or what!! Her daddy, our middle son, a retired Marine and federal firefighter, is ready to buy his ticket to London. Today just happens to be his birthday. I think he should do it.

    Another connection to your location and stories is Camp Christopher. My grandkids also have attended and my granddaughter served as a camp counselor last summer. It was a very big part of their life.

    So I’ll not take any more of your time with family stories. I suppose you can already tell that I, too, love storytelling and writing.

    I’ll close with another whimsical connection we share. I love Winnie-the-Pooh. In fact, my oldest granddaughter used to call me “Grandma Pooh” , a bit embarrassing out in public. The explanation was a simple one. Whenever we drove up to Greer SC ( we’re in GA) I would wear a Pooh bear T-shirt or bring her a small Pooh bear gift. I kinda liked my name better than her other “Grandma Perkins”, after her cat!

    Have a truly blessed day, Becky. Keep those exciting and encouraging stories coming from the Chapel of Hope. May our loving Lord and coming King bless you abundantly today.

    Bonnie James Fairmount GA (A very small town in north GA about the size of Due West

    Get Outlook for Android ________________________________


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Bonnie….best surprise ever! I immediately forwarded your comments to my Ya roomies from Erskine and they also immensely loved all the connections and God Winks circling Erskine College!!! Was in the process of getting back with you…when that torrential thunderstorm hit and knocked out my computer – had to wait for everything to come back on again!!! But it did and we certainly needed the rain in any form it arrived!!
      I started counting all our similar interests, geography, likes and loves….I feel like I have a twin….so happy you finally contacted me…made my day!!!!!!!!!!! Have a marvelous tomorrow!!!


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