Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Remember Myrtle Beach Dr. J. Marcus Smith

As we residents know, Myrtle Beach is an amazing place to live--beautiful beaches abound, entertainment venues flourish, the climate is typically moderate, and the people are genuinely nice to be around. It is no wonder that there is a large influx of new residents from the Northeast and other regions of the United States.

My original roots were planted in North Carolina, although we moved to Southern California when I was a youngster; however, there are two things I remember hearing about Myrtle Beach: 1-People from NC simply called it “the beach.” If they said they were going to “the beach,” everyone knew they were going to Myrtle Beach, as though there were no other beach in existence; 2- I recall that the high school seniors in NC have a time-honored tradition of heading to Myrtle Beach for a brief vacation immediately upon graduation. No one really wanted to know the details of these group trips, but it was simply considered to be one of those venerable rights of passage.

There are so many transplants in the Grand Strand area--people who want to live near the ocean, but don’t want to move all the way to Florida. Yet how many really know about the history of Myrtle Beach? I Remember Myrtle Beach When…is a book containing the personal stories of Dr. J. Marcus Smith, as compiled and edited by J. Marcus Smith, Jr. Packed full of rich historical facts and interesting details, I admire Dr. Smith for having taken the time to capture stories from the past. And I especially admire J. Marcus Smith, Jr. for making these chronicles available to the public. If these particulars are not preserved, how do future generations ever begin to know the authentic history and visualize exactly what their ancestors experienced?

What was it like to be a pioneer of the Myrtle Beach area? Back in 1900, it was a major undertaking to travel from Conway to the beach! And who knew that the Intracoastal Waterway (Massachusetts to Florida) was finally complete when the Horry County portion was finished with a ribbon cutting at a dedication ceremony being held at the Socastee Bridge in April, 1936? How about when live, human telephone operators actually connected phone calls between people? This is history, friends.

Now that I have read this book, I have a much better understanding of the origination of many of our local street names. For instance, there really was a Mr. Joe White, a beloved longtime Myrtle Beach resident.

Complete with photos and personal accounts of life in the Myrtle Beach area, one doesn’t have to be a Myrtle Beach native to appreciate this book, but I have a distinct feeling that this treasure chest of memories is a favorite of the families whose relatives are featured. Why wouldn’t it be? It is a valuable legacy.

I Remember Myrtle Beach When…for anyone who enjoys local history and an informative step back in time!

Book Description 

Myrtle Beach … a seaside resort that has given wonderful memories to millions of people who have visited – whether to enjoy golfing, shopping, the spectacular beaches, the many attractions, or just to take in the beautiful weather. It has not always been this way. At the turn of the previous century, in the early 1900s, it was difficult to get to Myrtle Beach and there just wasn’t much there, except sand. Over the last century, Myrtle Beach has grown from a sleepy seaside town to a booming resort. Dr. J. Marcus Smith was a native of the area. He grew up in nearby Conway and later moved to Myrtle Beach. He married his childhood sweetheart Frances Marian Johnson, and they raised their three sons in Myrtle Beach. While he practiced optometry for fifty years, he also wrote many stories about his two hometowns – Conway and Myrtle Beach – most being published in The Sun News. He loved this area and all of its rich history. This collection of stories has been compiled and edited by his oldest son J. Marcus Smith, Jr.

In the Words of J. Marcus Smith, Jr.

“My Dad had all intentions of publishing his collection of personal stories of Myrtle Beach before he died. He had a rough time in thinking through the articles and the book in his later years. In his many years of writing, he made the transitions from typewriter to word processor to Word Perfect to Microsoft Word. He loved his typewriter, and he never truly embraced the personal computer, but he did try.”

About the Author
Dr. J. Marcus Smith

Dr. J. Marcus Smith was a native of Horry County. He grew up in Conway, graduating from Conway High School in 1942. He then went to the University of South Carolina for a year before heading off on a train to Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.

He married his childhood sweetheart Frances Marian Johnson in 1950, and they raised a family in Myrtle Beach. He practiced optometry for fifty years, and was also very active in the community with the activities of his three sons, as well as the Jaycees, being leader of the Methodist Youth Fellowship at the First United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach and in the Horry County Historical Society.

He wrote many articles on his two hometowns--Conway and Myrtle Beach--most being published in The Sun News. He loved this area and all of its rich history.

Please visit Amazon at or contact J. Marcus Smith, Jr. at 843-995-1878 for additional information or direct purchase. Net proceeds from the sale of I Remember Myrtle Beach When… will be utilized by J. Marcus Smith, Jr. for a Grand Strand area memorial honoring Dr. and Mrs. J. Marcus Smith.
Dr. & Mrs. J. Marcus Smith

See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Superlative Soul or Nefarious Soul by Brenda M. Christy

I have been eagerly anticipating reading this book because Brenda Christy exemplifies a well-educated, personable woman who, even perhaps with a touch of innocence, joined a southern coastal municipal police department in 1987 and began a career that would plant her directly in the midst of the Good Ole’ Boy network. She did something I could never imagine myself doing--being a police officer.

I had a distinct feeling that she would be encountering all kinds of discrimination, working in a profession that has always been demanding and male-dominated. At best, it’s not an easy job, and officers are subject to seeing the uglier side of life every work day. Lives are on the line during every work shift, and it wasn’t long before Hurricane Hugo would reach landfall and wreak havoc in her town, presenting challenges for which no one was prepared.

That major storm was just the beginning of the tsunami that would eventually end her career in law enforcement. With several years of fine police work behind her, her undoing would be in the form of reporting a sexual harassment complaint on behalf of a fellow female officer because her disinclination to take the issue any further. The complainant had reported the problem to her immediate supervisor, who chose to ignore it. She complained to other co-workers and then to Brenda, who found it impossible to hear her friend’s story and not react. After all, there were protections in place for this sort of action, right?

What Brenda discovered was a friend who was reluctant to rock the boat and left Brenda in a precarious career position, while she was actually receiving promotions for sweeping the matter under the police blotter.

Brenda is honest, direct, and I can see where she is a person who would fight for what she believes is right and just. Where someone else might say, “It’s not my problem,” Brenda would want to see justice served.

Labeled as a “whistle-blower,” a dedicated Brenda finds her law enforcement career crumbling. Even co-workers whom she considered to be friends were reluctant to risk slipping a few rungs on the career ladder by openly defending or supporting her.

Some people go through life doing everything they can to stay under the radar. Closing their eyes to injustices, remaining behind a desk so they don’t have to interact with people, avoiding conflict at any cost--but not Brenda Christy. So what did her honesty earn her? A mark in bold, red letters of being called “a thorn in my side” by her not-so-happy police chief and an eventual finalization of her police career with this particular agency.

Her story is sprinkled with Scripture verses that helped her through this struggle, a psychological battle which must have seemed endless. She was blessed with praying friends, supportive family and faith that would also sustain her throughout the ordeal.

She discusses thoughts about her soul. She bares it, as she tells us about lifestyle decisions that she made as a result of drawing closer to God. Superlative Soul or Nefarious Soul echoes striving to be excellent while evil lurks, ready to take you down.

I believe that often it is through difficult times that God is preparing us for something better--something amazingly special that He has planned for our benefit if we will only listen. We might not be able to see it at the time, but down the road we can look back…and it is as clear as Caribbean water.

Superlative Soul or Nefarious Soul will take you on a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions. Hang on tight, and don’t let go.

Book Description

An account of one female police veteran’s fight against workplace discrimination and retaliation; after losing her rank, a portion of her salary and exhausting all of her administrative remedies, she filed a lawsuit against her employer, which resulted in a five-year litigation process. Throughout the duration of the agonizing legal process, she continued her career as a police officer and witnessed people, at all levels, sacrificing their souls as a survival tactic, as a masquerade, for some type of achievement or simply as a means to blame others.

One moral to this story is that the truth is not always your friend when you freely trade the value of your soul for nonsensical gain. In the latter part of her career, she went through a series of difficult and painful adversities that helped change her and her beliefs. As her faith grew in the midst of her hardships, she had a number of ah-ha moments, one of which was identifying your soul as a gift from God that should be valued and guarded, not sacrificed. Trusting God in every circumstance is essential as the end of her law enforcement career, and the outcome of her lawsuit far exceeded her greatest expectations.

In the Author’s Own Words

“In the time I spent crying infinite tears, I learned each day has 1,440 minutes. I could choose to spend this time nursing a grudge and plotting retribution, or I could choose to forgive, creating healing within my soul. I then remembered someone once said, ‘Forgiveness is not a feeling; it’s a decision.’ Today, as I continue my spiritual journey, I pray for my former co-workers and all who were involved in my lawsuit, and now more than ever, I will humbly extend the olive branch to each of them, should we meet again.”

About the Author
Brenda M. Christy
BRENDA M. CHRISTY was born and raised in the small town of Fairmont, West Virginia, which is also the hometown of 1984 gymnastics Olympic gold medalist, Mary Lou Retton. Brenda began her policing career in 1987 with the Myrtle Beach Police Department and held the rank of Police Investigator from 1999 until 2007. She retired from the Myrtle Beach Police Department in 2012, and lives near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Learn more about Brenda Christy and Superlative Soul or Nefarious Soul, including links to purchase, at:

See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!