The People of Georgetown
Hampton Inn of Georgetown has been blessed with Teri Britt. Teri started working with Hampton Inn when they first opened in 1997. She started out as a desk clerk and has worked her way into the General Managers Position.
“Before Hampton Inn, I worked as a waitress at Nana’s Steakhouse,” she said of her earlier employment history. “When the Hampton Inn opened, I applied and well… here I am. This month marks 24 years.”
Congratulations on being there for 24 years. In today’s time, it’s hard to find someone who sticks to their guns and works their way to the top. You make Georgetown proud (and her parents, Tom & Jeannie Rea, too, I imagine). Thank you for your hard work and positive example in the community.
My husband, Reese, and I had the privilege of double dating for lunch with Tim and Denise Chatman. We visited for a while in Rollin Local on Front Street. It seemed we had some mutual friends and acquaintances. Tim even knows my husband and his family. Indeed, he does business with Ritchie at Cox’s Quick Lube. It made me wonder how Tim and I missed each other?
Many of you may remember Tim from being the Public Works Manger for the city. Before that, he was over the mosquito control. “I haven’t done that work for years,” Tim laughs, “But people still come up to me to tell me they need mosquito services.”
Before the Steel Mill closed down, Tim was the clerk in quality control. It was their closing that brought him to Public Works to begin with.
Now-a-day, Tim is 65 years old and enjoying his retirement. While Denise concentrates on her non-profit organization of Optimism Preventive Services which targets children in positive teaching and goal structuring, Tim gardens. He was raised on a farm and has decided to use his early skills in an area he’s that quite fond of: growing plants.
“I even make my own fertilizer,” Tim said with enthusiasm.
“You mean like with dog poo and compost?”
Laughing, he answered, “No no. I don’t want to kill my plants; I want them to grow. My fertilizer, the one that I make is a better quality than commercial ones. The commercial ones work fine too, though, but I’m just saying, I like my own and I feel it gives my plants a better quality.”
“What kind of plants do you grow?” I asked as they brought the food to the table.
Tim produced his phone and showed a picture to me of something he grew. It was the biggest head of cabbage I’d ever seen in my life! “I grew that in a pot,” he said of his over-sized head of cabbage.
“In a flower type pot?” I asked.
“Yes, you can grow lots of things in the larger pots.” Tim then showed pictures of other plants he’s growing… collards, mustard greens, carrots, among other vegetables. “I teach a gardening class and I even have a Facebook page where people can learning small gardening tips.”
Since I’m planting another garden myself this year, I will certainly be checking it out: Smart Garden Consulting on Facebook. I’ve already liked and marked the page.
I asked Denise, “Do you garden with Tim, or is it just him?”
“It’s mostly just him,” she answered. “He grows the food and I cook it.”
I like her contribution to gardening, a lot.
Now this is a retirement I could enjoy. He’s still busy but still in the public eye with his classes and enjoying every minute of it, too.
Several people have mentioned Tim Chatman to me as a person of interest and I can see why. I’m glad they did. I will be looking around town for him now that I’ve met him and spent some time. It was a real pleasure. Tim and Denise, feel free to double date with us anytime.
Every time I hear of (another) missing person in Georgetown, my thoughts go immediately to Crystal Gail Soles. Indeed, when Tina (Tisdale) Cooper recently went missing, Crystal came to the forefront of my mind again. As I was talking to Ginger Goude about Tina, Crystal’s face flashed.
I glanced at the date and realized, it’s been just over 16 years since Crystal Soles went missing. January 24, 2005 marks the anniversary of her disappearance. Whenever I try to sit down and write about her, I get choked up; even now.
Although, she was a drug user, that’s not how I met her. I was a nurse at the detention center when she came through. There are certain people in your life that will always stay with you, whether it be their maladies, illnesses, something they said, or how you felt, but they will always be there. Crystal is that person for me.
I didn’t know inmates when they were inebriated; 90% of them, I met when they were sober and a completely different person. As I said, I did not know her as a drug user. I knew Crystal Soles as a soft spoken woman, kind eyes, funny, smart… just a good person who got caught up in the wrong scenes and didn’t know how to break free.
I’m reminded of one of her visits to my office. She admitted to me that she was “strung out.”
“Why don’t you get some rehab or something when you’re released, Crystal?’ I offered. “I can look some places up for you and give you the information. I’m sure there are some that won’t charge, or if they do, they won’t charge you much.”
She chuckled, ever so lightly, and with a sadness in her eyes, that I can still see today, she said, “I hope I don’t get out. I’m safer in jail.”
I didn’t probe and ask questions. My offer was on the table for her if she changed her mind. However, I did tell my, then supervisor, about the conversation.
“I bet so!” my supervisor exclaimed. “She’s an informant for the police. I heard… at least, the word on the street is, someone put a contract on her.”
(the jailhouse rumor mill)
“I don’t know! I’m guessing it was whomever she turned in to the police.”
I came into work a couple of days later and Crystal had already been released. I watched the newspapers looking for something on her. It came on a Monday: Crystal’s family was looking for her. I was looking for her, too.
If there was ever time I was hoping that an inmate would return to jail, it was her, but alas, that didn’t happen.
She was such a beautiful, beautiful person. I would like to see her come home and bring her family some peace. Or the worst case scenario, her remains brought home to give her family some peace. Either way it goes, the memories that I have of Crystal Gail Soles will stay with until the day I die.
I ask anyone: if you know something, please contact Crime Stoppers. Let’s bring her home. Before you disregard the notion, think about this: What if it were you… or your family?
Crime Stoppers (SC): 864-467-5357
24 Hour Tip Line: 910-343-1131 or 910-232-1687
If people have read my stories about Georgetown, they know that I try to show the connections we have with one another. Having said that, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jonathan Angner. “Pronounced like anchor with the G making a hard K sound,” he said of his family name. We met at Rollin Locale (I think I saw Jamie Finely a time a two. For the most part, she’s usually there on half off sushi night).
I originally noticed Jonathan on Facebook. I didn’t know who he was except that he lives in Georgetown. I did notice a couple of his posts so I asked if we could get together after the holidays. I wanted him to be my next victim… I mean subject for my Meet Georgetown segment.
I enjoyed our conversation. He’s very intelligent and well versed in finances. I liked that about him. He shared with me that he took a lot of courses in college that taught financing, accounting, banking, and so on. He even owns his own company.
He has lived in Pawley’s Island with his wife of 21 years and their family. Later, they moved into Harmony, a subdivision off Pennyroyal Road and currently, he’s living in Kenny Mitchum’s old office.
“Really?’ I said. Already knowing the answer, I asked, “Is is haunted?”
“I’ve experienced movements and little things,” he answered and then added humorously, “My wife doesn’t want to talk about it, though.”
To show the Georgetown tree, we both know Phil Brady, the Fords (Jeepy), Kenny Mitchum, members of the board of city council, including the mayor. We spoke of Tim Chapman and while Jonathan knows him more personally than I, I am still looking for an interview with him.
“I’m a staunch believer in the 2nd Amendment and I’m an avid hunter,” Jonathan added while we chatted. “I like to travel outside of the country when I hunt, too, but thanks to Covid, it’s a little harder to do now.”
For those that may (or may not remember), Jonathan is one who sued the City of Georgetown for hiring an outside construction company to build City Hall (he’s the guy!).
I asked what happened to that and he answered, “We were in talks of a settlement when the whole Covid thing hit and brought everything to a halt.”
Something interesting I found about Jonathan was that he’s running for City Council. “Why?” I asked.
“Well, I see what’s going on there,” he answered bluntly. “I have financial knowledge and I want to help Georgetown. I have the proper education, experience, and the know-how since I’m also a business man.”
I absolutely agree that being knowledgeable about money and financing is what we need on the city council board. Although, I’m not putting the whole “political conversation,” here, I must say, I liked his ideas. They’re fresh and innovative. I think we need a breath of fresh air in our City Council. We need something.
We wrapped up our meeting so he could leave to attend date-night with his bride. Before leaving, though, I did say to him, “Pertaining to your house: while it is haunted, I believe the upstairs is more-so than the downstairs.
“Kenny allowed me to tour the house years ago and I remember refusing to go upstairs because I had the feeling it was more evident upstairs. You probably don’t realize it because when you’re up there, you’re usually asleep and therefore, unaware of what’s going on.”
Meanwhile, good luck with everything, Jonathan; City Council included. I look forward to see you around town and on Facebook.
Georgetown, I want to tell you that I had the esteem pleasure of meeting a renown photographer, Simon Hare. He was right here in our little town! I stopped in at The Cottage, on Front Street and talked with the owner, Susan Brannen during this time.
"He must be the photographer; the one holding the camera,” I said motioning in Simon’s direction. I’m observant like that.
The Cottage is next to Alfresco’s, in Jimmy and Chip Daniel’s old furniture store. I wandered in and the place was jumping. Not just with customers but with people excited to meet Mr. Hare and have their picture taken.
“He’s offered a free photo shoot today," Susan explained, “And we’re happy to have him here.
But why such a generous gift? As it turns out, Susan and Simon have an unusual story about how they met. Simon’s own nine-year-old son sells his seashells, driftwood, and wind-chimes in her store. This little salesman is the one who forged this friendship between shopowner and father. As a return courtesy on behalf of his son, the famous photographer has agreed to a free photo shoot.
Originally, Simon is from South Africa. He’s since moved to the United States and has lived in San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago before finally settling in McCleanville. He’s photographed many famous people along the way, including, but not excluding, our very own President, Donald Trump (while he was just a celebrity and not as the president).
I did speak to Simon for a few minutes and was honored that he allowed me to take his picture; even approving of my amateurish shot of him in the store.
“Are you a naturalized citizen?” I asked of him.
“Yes, I’ve been American longer than I’ve… not been,” he said with a chuckle.
Jokingly, I commented, “That makes you a true African-American.”
With another laugh, he agreed, he’s truly an African-American. He talked with me about his son’s endeavors and how he stays on top of it. “I wanted him to learn something useful,” he said of nine-year-old Tristian.
“How long have you been doing photography?”
“I’ve been doing it about 20 years,” he answered. “I finally decided to settle down and get out of the hectic lifestyle of fashion shows and ads. I like McCleanville. It’s a nice friendly little town.”
For what its worth, I’m glad to have him as our neighbor and look forward to seeing some of his work in local spots. Welcome to Georgetown, Simon, and on behalf of the town, we look forward to meeting up with you again sometime in the near future.