Tale of Two Homecomings
I learned growing up that your daily homecoming should be anything but ordinary — you should LOVE your home. So sometimes when I turn on the road home it seems too good to be true, a winding road through southern pines down to the wraparound porch glowing from the setting sun over the water. As Dee Dee calls it — her “Happy Place.” I proudly claim both Rock Hill and South Carolina as home, not by transplant, but by birth. I was born at York General Hospital, and my church home is the historic First Baptist Church congregation — both in Rock Hill. My education through the teaching and staff of the Rock Hill public schools shaped my learning landscape, and my summers, evenings, and weekends were spent learning the depths, land marks and waters of Lake Wylie and the fields of many of its surrounding farms. When asked why I am so much taller than most of my family, well . . . walking barefoot through pastures seems to have its fertilizing benefits!
So when I read my good friend’s post on “Why Rock Hill?” my first thought was, “How dare someone who isn’t even from Rock Hill, let alone South Carolina, answer that!” Sure, like many burgeoning adults, I spread my wings after high school graduation to explore some place far away and different — a summer program at a prestigious university in the northeast. A big city bursting with charm — the summer and 4th of July celebration were magical spectacles and the magnitude of art, culture, and diversity at my fingertips was astounding. It was a fantastic learning and growth opportunity, but even then — at 17 — my southern, and yes — Rock Hill roots were strong and so overwhelming that they returned me south to the University of South Carolina (USC) for my college education and easy trips back home for those late summer evenings on Lake Wylie.
College years went by in a flash, as most summers were spent participating in the family business of real estate. While selling homes, retro-fitting homes, fixing rental properties or just negotiating contracts I spent my time here in Rock Hill, balanced with travel abroad, across the United States and around our great state. After meeting my bride, Dee Dee, during my final year at USC, I enrolled at Winthrop University to pursue my MBA in Accounting and support her in finishing her degree. Early in my studies at Winthrop, I realized that the vast majority of wealth in this country is held in real estate, an industry I had come to love. While the entrepreneurial seed had been sown at an early age, the direction of its growth would not materialize until my years in law school at USC where the connection between law, tax burdens, and real estate seemed to gel ever so nicely and would lead me far from home once again, to the Big Apple.
To Be Continued. . .