A decade later, I see Myrtle Beach differently than I did as a girl

My preteen legs run fast to the top of my great aunt and uncle’s Myrtle Beach motel.

It’s pouring rain, and half a dozen of us cousins are racing to the top of the Midtown Motor Inn to see the rain falling over the ocean.

We sit at the top on that green artificial turf that covers the stairs and balcony floors.

We talk, watch the rain, climb on the stair railings like monkeys.

And now, more than a decade later, I drive by that old motel and remember how innocently happy we were running around those floors, swimming in the motel pool, knocking on guests’ doors and running away.

I remember us getting our own motel room for our cousin sleepovers, jumping on the two beds that had coin slots which made the beds vibrate – something you don’t see anymore. I remember grabbing warm towels out of the big dryer to help fold and put on the cart that took the clean towels to rooms.

I’ll never forget our countless trips to the Pavilion – my favorite amusement park that isn’t there anymore. I nearly cried when I heard it was going away.

I’ve been back in the area for about a month, reporting at The Sun News – a paper my family and I drove by tons of times when I was growing up.

But now I’m seeing the things I never saw in my lack-of-understanding-the-bad years.

A prostitution bust.

 

Police arresting someone in connection to drugs in an Ocean Boulevard hotel.

A Coastal Carolina football player charged by police with criminal sexual conduct, which I found in a routine look through police reports early one morning.

Part of me wonders – has there always been this much crime? Or did I just not know of it when I was a little girl? I’m not sure if that question can be answered.

But I’m so thankful for my job – a job that lets me dig into those issues, shine light where some may not want it shined.

I know it’s important to shine that light. I know families on vacation should know what’s going on. And I know locals should know the dangers around where they live.

Though I miss my young years, growing up ignorant to the bad stuff, I’m happy to be back to make a difference in the area that helped raised me.

Midtown 2

Follow reporter Hannah Louise Strong on Twitter @HannahLStrong.

3 Comments

  1. Hello ,
    As i read your story…I too am reminded of my innocence of myrtle beach days the thrill of making the turn off 501 as my dad drove us down the strip , the excitment as we saw the Magic attic, pavilion, and of course Peaches Corners . The first feel of the
    salty warm air and the sense of freedom and security’s of a place that felt like a 2nd home. Its sad to see the loss of those times with the Pavilion gone, the 1st corkscrew roller coaster i ever rode with my Uncle And the Log ride my mother loved to take us on. Then there is the magical memory of giving a little monkey a quarter to shake our hands in front of a musical back drop and merry go round . We were all connected to a feeling, a time, a memory that now only lives in our hearts. I remember the haunted ride and the thrill of the unknown as we boarded the carts that carried us through an up stairs building and the pure excitment as we rode down the hill to exit back into the park of snow cones, hotdogs and the sounds of the ocean. It was a time like no other. We walked up and down the streets with no fear…bad things didn’t seem to happen there, it was families happy to be on vacation. People were kind, even the ones drinking alcohol were not out to disrupt the public only to relax and share in the feeling that for a few short days we were all apart of something special. The hotels didnt need to be fancy only clean and a place to sleep. Our days were on the Beach, our nights spent walking to the Gay Dophin, pavilion, arcades, and the Magic Attic . It was like a movie and we all were the Stars of it. Teen Romance, to Parents reconnecting with pure summer love. Its forever a place that’s a memory found if you hear a song like Band on the Run, to one of the early Alabama songs from the Bowery. you can still go there through our hearts and stories of a lifetime of a place that TRULY was its on living magic, that we got to be apart of for a little while. Thank you to my mom and dad for making those trips possible and so glad to have had graduation trips with friends there also. Myrtle Beach Days… is a place in S.C but for those of us who remember… its a love that lives in our hearts. Sincerly, Connie

  2. I thought the same thing Hannah when I moved here. As a child from Spartanburg, we came to Myrtle yearly. I ran up and down Ocean Blvd. at night and we had a blast, now all I see is crime ridden streets and loiterers and questionable people hanging out. I guess in my mind, Myrtle Beach would still be that childhood wonderland that I remembered when I decided to move here. With the Pavilion gone there really is nothing to do down there except spend way too much money on a giant ferris wheel. There’s nothing kid friendly about it. Overpriced tourist traps and vulgar souvenier shops litter the place. I finally moved North after being afraid to go to the store at night…have you seen the Walmart down there at night? Gave me panic attacks to have to go in there. I appreciate your article, it’s open and honest.

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