On the last day of our beach vacation, my coffee and I were not alone on the porch.  As the others noticed the little boat emerging from the horizon holding its own in the choppy water, I bet them dollars to doughnuts that it would pull up in front of our house, circle a few times and then drop anchor.  Then I upped the wager, adding that a white pickup would then appear on the beach and park in front of the house next door.  I’m still waiting for my doughnuts, Krispy Kreme - HOT NOW - please. 

Keeping our eyes on the boat, fins suddenly appeared in the water.  In the midst of reading The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe, I felt like I was on Sullivan’s Island watching Delphine and her pod frolic in the ocean.  The largest group of dolphins any of us had ever seen swam past, dipping and diving and a few even leaping out of the water topping off our vacation with a bit of Surfside magic.

As the aquatic entertainment came to an end, we reluctantly headed inside to pack and clean up.  After finding a new home for the unopened six-pack of Coors Light we were ready to hit the road.  The Great One and I have traveled the road between Fort Mill and Myrtle Beach more than a few times but this time just outside of Florence, he saw an Antiques sign we had never noticed before and since we were not all that anxious to get home and unpack, pulled in.  Following the signs, we drove past the house, past the event venue, down to the barn.  As no one was there, we turned around and were heading back to the highway when the 4-legged welcoming committee of 2 along with their mistress intercepted us and led us back to the barn.    

Walking into the barn with Marshall Yarborough, the owner of Thymes Remembered Antiques and Collectibles, we had no idea of the treasures awaiting us.  This is definitely not your routine run of the mill antique/vintage shop.  There was a huge beautiful old stained glass window, a ledger of original CocaCola store order pages, wooden crates, a handmade wooden box, tools, figurines, quilts, books and furniture.  And while all of these brought oohs and ahs, the best part of our visit was our conversation with Marshall.  She told us so much information about so many things, not just the items in her barn, but collecting in general, the history of her property and even Winona Place Events where she hosts weddings, celebrations, and corporate events.

The Great One has gotten interested in wooden crates and found one to his liking.  I fell in love with a handmade wooden box.  The outside of the box had been covered with stickers by the grandson of the original owner, but what piqued my interest was a parking permit thumbtacked to the inside of the top.  It had been issued by the US Army for Thomas England General Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey allowing parking anywhere in the city.  When we got home and researched this parking permit, I was totally surprised by the background history. 

The mention of Atlantic City, New Jersey usually conjures up visions of the boardwalk, casinos, lavish night life and of course, the Miss America Pageant.  However, in 1942, Atlantic City was occupied by the military and became known as “Camp Boardwalk.”  According to the Atlantic City Free Public Library website, thousands of men and women of the United States Armed Forces were trained, served and recovered from wounds suffered during World War II at Camp Boardwalk.  Thanks to “the devoted citizens of Atlantic City and Atlantic County” over 300,000 soldiers who were housed in Camp Boardwalk were welcomed and made to feel at home.  The Boardwalk hotels and resorts were renamed and repurposed to house and care for the military.

Thomas England General Hospital (formerly the Haddon Hall Hotel) became the largest hospital in the US, specializing in amputation and neurosurgery.  It was the largest amputee center in the world, had 6 operating rooms and 58,000 patients were treated during its three-year tenure.  It provided prosthetics, “patient reconditioning” and basic training for Army nurses.  When the Army left Atlantic City in 1946, the hospital returned to its former function as Haddon Hall Hotel.  In 1978, Resorts International established a casino on this site.

Thanks to Tom Brokaw we call the generation that grew up during the Great Depression and then fought in World War II or supported the war effort at home the Greatest Generation.  The more I read about the war years, the more admiration and respect I have for these incredible folks.  The Greatest Generation?  Absolutely, without a doubt!