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I love Camden; really I do. It’s lovely and historic and has lots of tree-lined streets and beautiful parks. These parks are especially beautiful at night, probably because of the combination of trees and lighting. It’s a real treat to motor around town and see all this pretty stuff. We also have railroad tracks, bridges, beautiful old homes, a quaint but dying downtown area, pretty churches, and plenty of charming people. I grew up here under the watchful eye of King Haiglar who stands, bow and arrow in hand, atop the old Moore’s department store building. Still. Still, I didn’t cry when I left for Myrtle Beach in 1972. I did, however, shed a tear or two when I came back in 2002.

I don’t believe in looking back but in relishing the present and looking forward to the future. I’m not Lot’s wife. I’ve “moved on” many times in life and have found that it’s healthier than staying mired in the past, longing for days of yore. People, places, and events live on in my heart and mind, but I’m usually pretty good at letting go when the time comes.

Still, my children all grew up in Myrtle Beach and Conway, and they all have roots and attachments there. One lives and works in the nearby town of Aynor and vows never to live Horry County. Since Amanda’s parents and extended family live in Myrtle Beach, she and Paul visit there for get-togethers including showers, celebrations, and holidays.  In fact, this past spring on one such visit, I met Paul at Target for a bit of browsing around while Amanda was at a baby shower.  We then jumped in the car and continued our shopping at Homegoods for a few minutes until we hugged good-bye in the parking lot. Huh? What kind of reunion is that? It might be fine for my handsome son, but not for his mama. Is that what it comes to? Meeting in restaurants and commercial establishments? Heck, I didn’t even get to see Amanda on that visit at all.

Vowing to change things, DH and I began looking into what, how, and when we could afford to purchase a little bungalow in Myrtle Beach. With the help of the best realtor on the strand, Timna Benson, we located a modest unit on what used to be the old MB Air Force Base and quickly began the process of purchasing it.  By practicing more provident living, I think we can swing it unless the unforeseen occurs.  And Folks, even if it does, having owned it for two months so far has been worth it. Yes, I love it that much..and so do my children and grandchildren who’ve been there. Paul and Amanda live in Atlanta and haven’t been back to the Strand since the purchase in August, but I  hope to see them cross the threshold soon.

Looks like I’ve strayed from my intended topic which was how to decorate on a shoestring budget.For now, I’ll just say that it’s possible (and quite fun) to furnish a home without breaking the bank. Elizabeth, Ann, and I have scoured antique stores in Walterboro, Sumter, and Camden looking for just the right dining table, lamps, and nightstands, and we’ve hit the jackpot on more than one occasion. We bought other affordable pieces (couch, chairs, and bedframes) from Unclaimed Furniture in Myrtle Beach, and I highly recommend that establishment to anyone. Not only are the prices reasonable, but they also deliver free of charge unlike others in the Camden/Lugoff area who shall go unnamed. I will NEVER pay a huge markup for basic furniture again, and I feel a little sick just thinking about the times I’ve done so. Get this. The men from Unclaimed Furniture even set up three beds, and still there was no charge.

Now a brief comment about prettying up the place. We took a few things off the wall of our home in Camden, and I ordered some things from www.allposters.com and took them to the Frame Factory in Myrtle Beach to be framed. These folks are reasonable, and they have great ideas on color and style. Almost every time I’m there, there’s someone from another town or state dropping something off or picking something up. Yes, they’re that good!

Sure didn’t intend to get so long winded about this. The bottom line is that we’ve worked hard to make this dream come true, and I’m looking forward to many joyous occasions spent in that little 1227 square foot home.  The second point I wanted to make is that it’s quite possible to decorate without spending one’s life’s savings, and in these economic times, provident living is more important than ever.

That’s it for now. Soon I’ll be packing my laptop and an overnight bag and heading east. Why the laptop? Alas, because I’m mixing business with pleasure and working on my online courses. I’m thinking of that old line that goes something like, “Take what you want, God says, but pay for it.”

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