Ken Carpenter of Ken’s Barber Shop



People of Yorkville Interview with Ken Carpenter

Me: How long has Ken’s Barber Shop been in business?

KP: January 2014. Across the street was the original barber shop, and that went back before the depression. That was the Sanitary Barber Shop. My dad (that’s Lenny) started working there in 1968. He had been working at another barber shop across the street since 1964 when he moved to York.

Me: How long have you been a barber?

KP: I started training in 1984, and I got my license in 1986, so over 30 years. I’m old.

Me: You’re not old.

KP: I’ve been cutting hair for over thirty years.

A bit of conversation….my recorder makes people nervous at times….

Me: You’ve got good stories. Your dad has good stories.

KP: Those are just the ones I can tell in front of women and children.


Ken's BarberBarber chairs 2

Me: How many people a day can you cut hair?

KP: It’s been slow. It started out being really, really busy but it’s been slow for about a year. So that does vary. You’ll have some years that are busy and some that are not. You kind of start changing your opinion on what a good week is. You know. But. The best I’ve ever done is 25. The worst I’ve ever done is a zero. Anywhere in between. You can’t never tell. You have to save your money when it’s good.

Me: 25 in a week?

KP: No. A day. But that’s only happened one time. That was a good day. That was good money. And that day that was a zero, that’s only happened once. But nevertheless, yeah. People will think we’re more busy than we are because people tend to come all at once. When it’s slow, people aren’t here, so. I’d bring a book to read, but she talks to me all the time. (Looks sideways at Lorie, the other barber.)

Me: That’s what you get for letting a woman work here!

Me: You’ve worked for over thirty years in a barber shop, so tell me something funny.

KP: And clean.

Me: Yeah!

KP: Well, I need to think on it. There’s a lot of things that’s happened, but somebody might think I’m picking on somebody.


Me: Do you have a specialty?

KP: Yeah, some people may say it’s a flat top, haha! ….  Dad’s the one you need to tell the stories.

Me: Does he still come in here?

KP: Occasionally. (Customer chimes in, “When Ken goes to car shows.”) Yes, and when I get sick.

We then reminisce about Lenny stories. That’s the thing about the barber shop. We tend to chat about things not for the blog, but we are having the conversations that make up a community. Sharing about how people are doing, who got embarrassed about whatnot, the owner of the house that just sold right down the street, and such. No matter who you are, I encourage you to go visit Ken’s. It’s a visit you won’t soon forget.


7 East Liberty Street, York, SC 29745

Personal Update


So HOW are you doing now? How’s real estate going? …

Oh, you’re doing music? (Y’all also mentally add, “Can you live on that??”)


Are you selling the house? Couldn’t you just put a sign in the front yard since you’re an agent? How are the boys with all this?

What about dating? Have you thought about dating? Have you met anyone? What do the boys think about you dating?

I’m telling you!

Since my divorce, lots of well meaning and genuinely caring friends have tended to ask the same questions repeatedly. Or they’ve had a look on their faces that says, “I have SOOO many questions, but it’s probably inappropriate to ask.” And here’s the thing. I really don’t mind sharing (to a certain degree) how we’re doing and where our journey has led us thus far. So without further adieu, here are the answers to your most burning questions about my new life (because I know we’re just SOOO exciting, lol!)

Careerwise, I kept attempting to balance music and real estate, and I felt spread way too thin. I honestly enjoy both careers, but the daily frustration of balancing short term financial needs and long term career goals proved too much. I have chosen to focus on music, keep my real estate license in referral status, and give up the future to God. Truly. My life works much more smoothly when I let go of fear and live confidently in the day I have at hand. And that kind of confidence for me only comes through faith, prayer, and self care.

Practically in the day to day, this means that I am available for real estate questions, and I can guide customers to people that are experts on a variety of real estate related fields. I listen, assess, and refer people to those best suited for each situation. Because I am not taking personal clients, this allows me to focus more fully on teaching music. I teach violin, viola, and beginning cello. I currently take students in my home studio, at Tillman Music in Rock Hill, and I am one of the string directors for Piedmont Music Academy during the school year.

In personal news, the boys and I are busy living our lives. We still participate in homeschooling, summers at the pool, and various extracurricular activities. Things have shifted a bit, but then things tend to shift with each new life stage anyway. I have promised the boys we will continue this lifestyle through the current school year and then evaluate needs again at that time.

I have no intentions of selling my home just yet. This house has been the boys’ refuge and landing place through a whole lot of growth these past seven years, and for their sake, I am staying put until there is a reason for us to do something differently. While we ponder possibilities of moving to new places or even just into the city or buying a farm in the country or building a tiny home on the lake, we are simply dreaming right now. Brainstorming out loud. It’s fun! There are certain to be changes in our future, but for now we’ll take the dreaming and the daily bread and be grateful.

Divorce is such a hard experience, but not everything that comes from this journey is negative. Many positive growth opportunities have challenged me, stretched me, and woken me up to so many new possibilities. I am a better person for having gone through divorce. The boys continue to encourage me and express how proud they’ve become of me for trying new experiences and entering the world again as my own individual. They have also matured and done a bit of soul searching that makes a momma drop to her knees at times. The amount of kindness and introspective beauty they’ve developed through this journey is a true gift to witness. So while we continue to evolve and grow, we cheer each other on in all of our new endeavors, and it is an honor to be their mother. 

Now, as for dating, well, that’s personal. At least for now.

Peace. Love. Grace. 



Locked in Arthur’s Cooler… A Tribute to Black’s Peaches


Because there are days in the quicksand, and we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves…..

A few years ago, during the peak season of my homesteading passion, I ordered an acre of heirloom corn. And by order, I actually collected a group of like minded non-GMO, Earth loving people, and we paid a local farmer to grow us an acre of heirloom, silver queen corn. This worked out to around 5-15 bushels for each of us committed to the experiment. Depending on the weather. Now, the farmer that finally agreed to our deal lived up the road a bit, but an older, much closer farmer, by the name of Arthur Black, agreed to let us use his farm stand as our meeting grounds. Arthur told me GMO corn would end up feeding the world, but he knew there was a niche market for us hippies and his buddy was younger than him, so I stood a chance on Jody agreeing to the whole escapade. Jody jumped at the opportunity to work with us. Hippies or not.

Now, as a side note, hail hit our acre and raked right through all the stalks. It was a bit of a pitiful crop, and poor Jody was nothing but gracious the entire time. Farmers work harder than just about anybody I know. He delivered us the survivors and it still took me two days to shuck my corn.

Well, the day of delivery came, and Jody dropped off over a dozen crates full of corn loaded in their husks, leaving them in Arthur Black’s big walk in cooler out the back of his farm store and located in the big green barn. I was to come and get it all for everybody that morning so it didn’t waste too much room.  Therefore, I promptly arrived and backed my Explorer right up to that barn and went straight to that cooler to start unloading those crates. The ladies running the farm store informed me they’d gotten all their produce out for the day and to just shut it tight as I left. So I walked right in, started checking out the task at hand, and picked up the first crate. Except in my haste, I hadn’t propped open the cooler door. And now, while dressed in a knit skirt and a tank top, I was thoroughly locked in Arthur Black’s giant cooler behind the farm store in his big green barn. The handle, apparently, had been broken for quite some time, but at this moment I didn’t know anything other than I was locked. IN.

Glancing around, a tiny stream of daylight peaked through a corner of the door that hadn’t completely sealed. I kneeled down, face to the dirt floor, and screamed with all my might. I screamed til I ran dizzy, and all along I just kept thinking how serious this could turn out to be. Nobody needed anything from that cooler. Nobody was coming. My phone was in that Explorer.

I could hear Arthur’s elderly three legged dog scratching at the other side of the door, obviously alarmed by my distress calls. I prayed he’d go get help. And then I panicked. And in my panic, I tried to remember anything I could have ever learned about survival, and all I could think of was that I needed to eat. It would get my juices flowing, keep my sugar levels up, and maybe give me energy to produce body heat. This was not scientific knowledge, obviously. Just my panicked reasoning. Looking around, it suddenly occurred to me that I was surrounded by food! Beautiful peaches, cantaloupes, corn, and all the produce of a summer garden overflowing off those refrigerator shelves. And so I did what anyone out of their mind, locked in a cooler, at the mercy of a three legged elderly dog would do – I started eating.

I started eating peaches. Delicious, freshly picked Black’s farm peaches. It was a task of survival after all. During my panic, the dog had started barking, and right as I was diving into my second peach, the door opened. There I was, in my knit skirt and my tank top, peach juice running down my dirt covered cheeks, completely out of my mind with panic, eating food from the cooler shelves. And there was one of the farm stand employees, checking out why on Earth the dog wouldn’t stop barking. (That dog likely saved my life. But whew. Not my pride.)

Well, she immediately took in the whole view, and announced that if I ever chose to lock myself in Arthur Black’s cooler again, the back door worked just fine. All I had to do was turn around.

I loaded my corn crop out of that cooler right into my Explorer and thanked her profusely for the help.


Y’all. I still can’t look at that big green barn without wanting peaches.

And Arthur does know how to grow some darn ones.

I just bought fresh yellow cling-frees today.


P.S. Black’s Peaches is in York and worth a day trip. He’s got a tractor playground, hay bales for climbing, produce, ice cream, and a lunch counter. Just an FYI. Even the humiliation from years ago can’t keep me away.

Summer Music Lessons and Workshops (and Camp!)


Educating Patricia Hatch’s Summer Music Offerings

Private Lessons – 45 minutes long, $25 weekly, paid at the beginning of each month. (If you or I are taking a week break for some reason, vacation, etc., then there is no charge for that off week. If I am given advance notice – more than 24 hours – of an absence due to illness or scheduling conflict, I will make every effort to reschedule, but make no guarantees. Same day cancellations are charged as a normal lesson.)

Sibling lessons – 45 minutes long, $30 weekly for the family, paid at the beginning of each month. If one student is significantly more advanced, we may need to discuss extending the lesson to one hour ($40) to be split between two students. This can be arranged as needed.

  • There will be an opportunity to play in public during the summer, possibly at a festival, a nursing home, or in a recital setting.
  • There will be no lessons May 28 – 31, June 25 – July 6. (Memorial Day week, Last week of June, Week of July 4th)

Strings Workshop – Learning to play together, Max. 6 students, For all players/ Tuesdays at 1pm.

  • Dates include July 10, 17, 24, 31
  • Workshops are charged at a rate of $15 weekly
  • Maximum spots available in each group is 6 students weekly.
  • The workshops are one hour in length.

Music may be emailed to print. Otherwise copies will be provided.

All lessons and workshops are taught out of my home in York. Please visit my website, or contact me at 803-741-4047/ for questions or to sign up!

Performance Opportunities

Tuesday, August 7th, 10am – 2pm – Historic Brattonsville, Time Travel Tuesdays: We will be participating in Historic Brattonsville’s Time Travel Tuesdays by providing music for guests on the farm. More information will be provided the week prior to the event.

Saturday, September 8th, 6pm – Allison Creek Bluegrass: We have been invited to provided opening music for the monthly bluegrass concert held at Allison Creek. Please plan to get there a little early for warming up.

Completed – Acorn Acres String Camp! (June)


2018 – 2019 Writing Workshop


Writing Workshop for High School – This high school writing course is two independent semesters and covers one semester of creative writing and one semester of academic writing. The course is designed for students ranging from the reluctant writers to the wordy wordsmiths. This class is a basic level course that can be adapted to challenge honors level students. The intention is to introduce writing in a way that is welcoming and reduces anxiety and intimidation often experienced by students that do not feel like natural writers. Our first semester is focused on creative writing in order for students to become comfortable engaging in the art of the writing process and be able to find enjoyment in one’s own written expression. Semester two switches to academic writing, mainly focusing on an essay format that can be used across subject matters.  The course uses a writing workshop format, meaning that every session includes a mini lesson, a time for sharing and engaging with other students, quiet time for practice, and opportunity for presentations. While there certainly are assignments, the workload is designed to mesh with each student’s individual course load. In other words, we will be working on specific skills and framework, but the content can be pulled from a student’s own studies.


Fall Semester – August 24th to December 14th (optional tutoring day September 21, fall break/ no class October 19th or Thanksgiving week)

Spring Semester – January 11th to May 10th (optional tutoring day February 15, break/ no class March 22th and April 19th)

High School Writing Workshop, Cost – $140/ semester (90 minutes)

Please email pchatch76@gmail for registration. A nonrefundable fee of $40 per student is requested to hold a space. If the minimum amount of students is not met, the fee will be returned.




Have you ever played the Lava game? The one where you jump from couch to chair to Momma’s antique table specifically designed NOT to hold the full weight of a human? The ground is all one giant lava pit and if you touch it, well, catastrophe strikes.

My marriage was one ridiculously long game of Lava. Only the stool beneath my feet exploded, and suddenly, after almost twenty years, the game was over.

In pictures, all of us became adept at keeping up appearances, the kids oblivious to the way others may or may not live at home, our environment their version of normal. I played the part of lawyer’s wife and mother, hopping from perch to perch, avoiding the Lava. Judging by some people’s shocked responses, apparently I played it well, at least for those not living with me.

But living in a game of Lava for so long causes side effects – Anxiety, stress, feelings of entrapment, and perhaps the worst one of all, the loss of one’s voice from swallowing too much dry heat for too, too long. Stuck atop an exploding stool, in the end I didn’t just touch the Lava, I bathed in it.

Here’s the thing about bathing in Lava. It scorches. I’m not gonna lie, it’s painful, and humbling, and exhausting to heal from such deep wounds. But. Lava also cleanses. And as it cools, hope springs forth.

It’s been fourteen months since the boys and I have been a family of three. We’ve grown closer than I thought possible, stronger than I could have imagined, and experienced the deepening of our faith I’ve craved (however timidly).

Because even when I prayed to feel that closeness with God I had felt in the past, I knew. That kind of connection doesn’t come easy. It was a bit of a self destructive prayer, is all I’m sayin’.  

We all have war wounds, lifetime scars, from this journey, but all three of us are beautiful, strong, resilient, and more passionate for it.

The boys. Y’all. There are not words. Just tears of gratitude to God for the gift of them.

And me. I’m finally finding my voice. It’s a mixture of the girl I once was and the woman that’s survived. It’s raw at times, louder than before, and powerful in its sense of self. My voice knows fear and often chooses to speak through it anyway. There’s a reason the symbol of a phoenix resonates with survivors. It resonates with me.  Walking in these shoes, I can say firsthand, I get it. Because often what people may miss is that the phoenix doesn’t just rise up from ashes; the phoenix is a bird. And after hovering atop a rickety stool surrounded by the Lava – wings – well, they feel extraordinary.

So the rising, yes, it is glorious.

But the flying….

Sweet Tea with Jessie and Amber


Sweet Tea with Amber Johnson and Jessica Cartwright

PH: I want to hear about your daughter’s business…..

AJ: It’s called Wick-Kids. She started it last May, but she wasn’t ready to sell until June because she had to find different suppliers. Believe it or not, wax smells. It stinks. Bad. We had to find commercial grade wax, because it doesn’t stink. But if you just go buy wax at a craft store, it smells terrible. She’s got her ten face flavors – scents – that people always want, and then we try to throw in a few seasonal ones each season.

Sweet Tea 2

Wick – Kids Candle Co.


JC: Coffee Shop and Toasted Marshmallow are probably her two biggest sellers, and they smell amazin’. And pecan pie.

PH: And she’s seven? (Seven years old, people. She started a year ago. Kids rock it, don’t they?)

AJ: MmHmm. She’ll be eight in two weeks. She bought a golf cart. That was her goal.

PH: She was able to buy a golf cart off of candles??

AJ: Yes. She’s a hustler. (Laughter:)

JC: She sells them too, when she’s here. She walks out here, and she talks to the customers, and she tells them how she got started. They will buy those candles!

AJ: She just bought herself a commercial wax melter so she can do more at a time. Before it would take us all day. Now we can do a lot more. Last time we did 60 candles and it only took a couple of hours, so she’s stepping up her game.

JC: If only we could get Skylar’s chickens to lay eggs that fast….


PH: Her name?

AJ: Weslee, and they are called Wick-Kids. Yes, she’s a big time hit around here. …. It all started camping, we camp, and everybody has a golf cart camping and she just had a bike. So one morning, we got up, and she had made some candles, and said she was going to take them to the campground. We keep a little jar of money, and she takes a dollar out of it and goes to the camp store to buy a chocolate milk. So she came back, and she had $60 in the jar. She sold everything. The next time, she took more, and every time she’d sell out and here we are a year later..

PH: How long have you guys had the store? I know the store has been here, but you guys recently took it over?

Sweet Tea

JC: We’re the third and last owners. We opened on November 1st. This whole process took place within a week and a half? Someone saw it on Facebook and tagged me, and someone had tagged Amber as well. I messaged her, and so we got to talking. We each had separate businesses at home doing similar things, and we were business friends already. We decided during this phone conversation that this (Sweet Tea) would be a huge business venture for one person to take on by themselves.

AJ: She just up and said, would you be my partner? And that’s all that happened. Four days later we’re sitting at a closing table.

JC: We knew that someone would get it quickly and that we didn’t think it could go past a third owner.

AJ: We felt it needed a change, somebody needed to grab hold of it and make it something that it hadn’t been yet.

JC: Our husbands hadn’t even met before. …. It’s better that we weren’t friends before. We’re family now, but we weren’t when we did this.

AJ: Our relationship is founded on business, and we had a huge respect for each other from the beginning. We both bring certain skills to the table. We just did it. Now, of course, we love each other’s children and we’re like family. But we started with business.

JC: It was the best timing for retail, it was not the best timing for us because we were unprepared. I was able to give a one week notice at my job. One week.

AJ: And it was dead in the middle of a huge school order for me, and I was like, I’m not playing around. We’ve got to go! But it was good because we got a really big check our first week, so that timing was good, but we weren’t ready.

JC: Now we’re doing what we should have done if we’d opened at a different time of the year and had had more time to prepare. We’re cleaning out and getting rid of things so we can bring in more boutique clothes. And that will be Sweet Tea. We are still in transition.

Sweet Tea 3Sweet Tea 1

Chatter and more laughter and talk about buying out inventory as they settle in…

AJ: In a relationship, there’s supposed to be someone that comes up with the crazy ideas, and someone that stops you, but we’re missing that person that stops you…because we both have crazy ideas!

JC: We have an accountant now, so she can tell us – no more!


PC: Biggest challenge?

AJ: First, it was lack of being able to hire. Because we opened so fast, we didn’t have payroll set up and all that. Now we have all that done. So at first, it was people and time. Our husbands, our children, I can’t tell you how many times we sat on the floor with pizza, our kids taking naps on gymnastic mats. Our girls, we so appreciate them, we adore them.

JC: Now, it’s stocking and inventory as we get the store turned into Sweet Tea. When we get things in, we sell out, so we’re working on building our inventory, but it’s a good challenge to have.

(At this point, a gentleman from the high school comes in to chat about a student that will be working at Sweet Tea. There’s a school program that partners with local businesses, giving students experience interviewing and working. How cool is that? Win win for our community, right there!) 

AJ: Our number one hurdle is being a part of the York community and staying on top of knowing about events happening. If we know, we can be supportive and help. We want people to want to come here. Shop. Eat. Get ice cream. But we’ve been lucky.

JC: We have. There haven’t really been any roadblocks because we just work through whatever we need to. The day we opened – because of the fire inspection – we opened at 5:30pm, but we opened. We’re determined.

PC: Poignant moment/ memory so far?

JC: I would have to say the fund raiser we did in January. We did a fund raiser for the officers that were shot. Amber’s dad is a retired narcotics officer, so she grew up knowing all these guys, and I am very thankful for everything these officers do for us. It didn’t take us long to figure out that, hey, we can do a fundraiser with our t-shirts. So we got in touch with the sheriff to follow etiquette, and we figured we’d do, like, 200 t-shirts? No. We did over 1300+ t-shirts, and I can’t tell you how many times we were in tears because we were so overwhelmed with the support from the community for those officers and how everybody came together.

AJ: We sat down and figured up how much we had raised and we were so humbled. We drove straight to the bank and we got that cashier’s check and drove straight to the sheriff’s department. Opened late that day. Not only giving them that check, but seeing how this community comes together. We’ve had big personal celebrations, but that was with the nation. We shipped shirts to fourteen states. That was a nationwide celebration of these heroes and that’s a big deal to us.

Sweet Tea resides in the heart of downtown, and sells boutique clothing, accessories, and gifts. They are recently known for their ability to make swag in bulk – from coasters to t-shirts – they can print business gifts, team outfits and much more. Please go visit and check them out at:

Jessie and Amber of Sweet Tea

Jessica and Amber (left to right)

Sweet Tea

41 North Congress Street, York, SC 29745

Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 6pm, Saturday, 10am – 2pm


Also, find them on Facebook!