Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Long Live the Betsy B!

 As I wrap up the unofficial editing of my novel this week, my thoughts have often turned to the old house in North Myrtle Beach called the Betsy B where much of the story takes place. Those thoughts led me to this Throwback Thursday post...

Way back in 2010 I received an e-mail from a woman named Amanda whose extended family was planning a trip to North Myrtle Beach the following summer. They had never been and they were looking to rent a house for a week. The realtor she dealt with recommended the Betsy B because of price and size. She googled "Betsy B" and came across my blog and the various references to the place, and e-mailed me the following question:"In your opinion, what amenities make the Betsy B such a great place?" I assumed by amenities she meant swimming pool, lazy river, golf carts, golf privileges and other things so prevalent at many NMB rentals these days. I told her it had none of those things; just a nice location and a great beach. And then I started thinking (uh-oh!). What was it that made the Betsy B such an amazing place to take a youth group (besides being the future home of my Hall of Fame!)? The answers could be found in these 7 Things:
  1. The Layout-  With three floors, each with four bedrooms, there was great flexibility for sleeping arrangements. No matter the number of males and females it could always be worked out. There was also a kitchen on every floor, which gave you options (although we always kept the food on the 2nd floor so there was only one kitchen to clean each day). Three living rooms meant 3 televisions, three couches and multiple easy chairs. We could be all together for worship, or spread out for Black Thursday.  
  2. Location-  The Betsy B is located in a section of NMB known as Ocean Drive. When I was younger, all of the "cool kids" and great parties were at OD. Things changed, but we could still walk to the shops and arcades of OD, or go get a snow cone or a hot dog. We were surrounded by other houses, but shared our property with no one else (most of the time). Our silliness didn't bother other people, and no one ever bothered us.
  3. The Porches-  An oceanfront porch on each floor, complete with rocking chairs, made for wonderful daytime beach watching and great moments at night. Some of my favorite conversations ever took place on those porches, and so many people have such strong memories of sitting out there at night and singing or just hanging out. I wrote a number of songs sitting out there watching the moon reflect off of the Atlantic Ocean. Ahhh- the moon over the ocean...
  4. The Outdoor Showers-  While there were 3 showers per floor inside the Betsy B, the most memorable ones were located outside, by the right side of the house as you came back in from the beach. Originally just open showers used to rinse off sand and ocean, they were eventually enclosed so you could take full showers. This was quite handy when everyone was trying to get ready to head out to eat or down to the Pavilion. Plus, it was a bit weird and a little exciting to talk to a naked neighbor of the opposite sex in the stall next to you as you both showered...or was that just me?
  5. The Beach-  The wide, sandy beach that was located right out the back door was one of the things that made the Betsy B such a popular place. If you wanted to lay out and tan, this was your beach. If you wanted to swim or body surf, this was your beach. If you loved taking late night walks or threatening people with Sand, Water, Sand, Water, Crab, Crab, Crab! then this was your beach. It was perfection!
  6. The People-  The very best thing about the house was that it gave us the space and freedom to have up to 45 of us live together for a week. I always thought of it as a youth group version of The Real World"45 of us picked together to live in a house..." We always left the Betsy B with new experiences, better relationships and a stronger bond. From the group I grew up in at New Garden Friends, through the Springfield years and on through Kissimmee, just saying "we are going to the Betsy B" brought a smile to the faces of students. The people were what made the trips great.
  7. The Stories-  The Betsy B lives on through the stories of those trips, many of them which I have shared on this blog. You can read about Moons Over Myrtle BeachKaren Fry's Birthday SurpriseThe Legend of Big K and more (check out all of the links in this post). I'll never forget Stacy's raft, Avis' "flipper," Adam's hair, Kelly's jokes or the KISS concert. I could write a book (well. actually at this point it would be ANOTHER book!) of nothing but Myrtle Beach stories- and the Betsy B would be a major character. 
So Amanda, I don't know if any of these things counted as amenities or not, as I never heard back from you in 2010. But my suggestion to her then was that she bring all of her relatives, create her own stories, and discover the magic of the Betsy B. I also told her not to damage it. Someone is going to buy it for me someday!  :)

Because of Jesus,

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