This place is amazing. The people here all seem to come from other places (except for the locals, who seem to be in the minority now). The talent in Sun City is amazing. Few people want to talk about what they did for a living before they came here. Just a couple of examples should suffice. There are a couple of big time generals- two and three star, a person who was in charge of grants for AT&T, big time school people artists, and lots of business owners. I find myself hesitating to tell anyone what I did for fear that they will say, “Aha,” and go about their business.
The place is rife with clubs. There are no restrictions on clubs that you can start. Some, like the woodworking shop, will not allow you in until you have taken 12 sessions on safety. There are trips galore. Each community within Sun City (we are in Garden Walk), was built at a different time over the past 20 years. They each have their own bylaws and have their own events. There are introductory events galore. You can be welcomed by the entire Sun City, own community, the men’s clubs of Sun City, your religious organization, your state group, your interest group and many more. By the time everybody has greeted you and you have taken Sun City 101, it will probably take a year. I met a man at the gym who has never gone to one of the gym orientations and has lived here for 8 years. What’s with that?
The main topics of conversation are food, restaurants and health. We have gotten so many suggestions about restaurants, that I am full just thinking about it. Last night we went to a Far Eastern fusion buffet and it was not as good as Hong Kong Ruby back in Harrisburg. We also went to the theater and saw Soul program which was really wonderful. Would you believe I knew the words to most of the songs.
On a professional level, we have already been to one school board meeting in Beaufort County. That is where we live. It was very instructive. They have 11 members of the school board. Carol and I were very impressed with the way the board was run and the discussions. We introduced ourselves to a number of board members and to the school supe. He seemed like a good guy and knowledgeable.
Carol and I had copious office supplies. We had, after all, two offices in our home. Carol wanted to give the stuff to a needy school in the area. One of our neighbors volunteers in one of the schools (people here a big time volunteers) and agreed to take Carol to a local elementary school. When Carol came back she was quite upset. The school secretary was very appreciative of the supplies. The secretary asked if there was any paper in the supplies. Carol told her there wasn’t. Carol asked who needed the paper. The woman replied that teachers had paper, but that the children mostly needed it because they were too poor to buy it for themselves. There were so many questions that Carol would have wanted to ask, but didn’t.
The neighboring school district, Jasper County, is truly rural and very poor. They do not do well on any measure. A gentleman that I met, who was a well-known reading expert had volunteered (no dough involved) to help with a reading program. He never heard back from the administration. For some reason that wasn’t too unfamiliar. Rural school districts and rural people are always suspicious of outsiders who look like Greeks bearing gifts. It took Carol and me a year or two to convince our scholarship school districts that we were on the level and were just there to help the kids. I have a feeling that Carol and I will try to go over to Jasper County and see what we can do. Our rural creds are pretty good.
About 15 years ago, I was asked by Professor Charlie Greenawalt of Millersville University to write a segment of a book on new trends in education. My chapter was on rural education, of course. Charlie called me a couple of months ago and asked if I could write a chapter on how state control of education was formed in the U.S. I agreed and have already made some headway. I will be using the facilities of the branch campus of the University of South Carolina here in Bluffton. Carol and I went over to it the other day and got the layout and will be looking to join and make use of the online data bases.
It’s a bit strange trying to get used to the climate (real hot) and a different pace of life. People here say that the pace is slower. I am not sure of that. Their complaints are that service people and others, professionals included are really laid back and have a different view of scheduled events. If that is true, I have not seen it. I have a feeling that the complaints come as a result of people hurrying up to get to wherever they are going- mostly to jump on the rides and get to the next stand with the boardwalk fries and hot dogs.