People of Yorkville Series
Penee with Penny Moss
Me: How long have you been in business?
PM: 17 years. I’ve been in this location (26 North Congress) a little over a year. I started out at 17 North Congress and I was there five or six years and then that building sold, so I had to move. I was going to build onto my house, and Ann over here at Hummingbird Florist heard I was leaving downtown, and she said, ‘You can have my building. I’ll give you the same rent. We don’t want you to leave downtown; you’re a big asset.’ So I moved from 17 down to 35, which is now Holley’s Beaded Dragon.
Penny goes on to explain that she then, through a series of events, ended up moving across the street to 26 North Congress, which is where her spa currently resides.
We’re having conversation about client base, where people come from…
PM: My type of business, these days people fist pump, they use hand sanitizer, they don’t like people touching them. They communicate through typing and text, you know; nobody really gets touched. Especially if you’re single. And so a destination like this, once you come to relax – and I won’t even just say Penee – a massage therapist, somebody you can connect with and that can also touch you and can pray over you….you remember that. It stays in your heart.
God called me to this. He gave me a vision. I was working in corporate America and I had a terrible day one day. And I went and got a massage. I went to Carmen and Carmen because I worked in downtown Charlotte. I went in and I was like – I need a massage, I need to relax. She said, ‘We don’t have any massage appointments available but we have a facial.’ I’d never had a facial before, but I took her word and went in. And sure enough, I was at one of those crossroads in life and I was laying there and I was in tune with the Spirit and He gave me a vision. He showed me doing what she was doing to me. And I thought, gosh, this is what I need to do! I researched it, went and took out my 401K, lived off my 401k, went to school, and opened up my business in December.
She went on to share about getting started and moving into her own space, the first space at 17 North Congress.
It has been like that. He (God) has opened doors. Every time.
Me: Memorable clients, moments, stand out poignant instances?
PM: I would say this is the one… The Lord put a specific calling on my life. He said you will make people happy and you will inspire a billion. And I didn’t know what “billion” meant. And then He sent me to the Pregnancy Crisis Center and I learned that one in three women have had an abortion. Well, I had an abortion in my early twenties and I knew God had forgiven me, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t forgiven myself. So I actually got healed from an abortion I had 20 years ago. It put me in dangerous situations with men, with life, I didn’t feel I was worthy, and I overdid myself trying to make up for that. And I got healed there. So, I am a career counselor there on Wednesday, and I counsel women that are in crisis situation. … Well, when I share my testimony here (Penee), and I don’t share it with just anybody, but when God lays it on my heart to share, I would say those instances are the ones I remember.
Penny goes on the share that when she shares her story at her spa, women will open up and share their stories with her. Women that have had their own abortions, their own traumas early in life and haven’t ever told their husbands. Women open up about burdens they’ve held on to from before ….. Before marriage, before kids, before ____.
PM: And it is such freedom to be able to speak it. And some of these women have never said it. And when they say it, it’s just a flow of tears, and the enemy can’t hold them anymore. It’s like Vegas in here. What is said in here, stays in here, and people know that. It’s a place to come out of the world, to just come in here and be gone for a little bit and just recharge.
What is a facial?
I have a 30 minute, 1 hour, and an hour and a half. If you’re a beginner, and you just want to feel it out, I recommend the 30 minute, but after, you’re usually like, Ohh, I need an hour at least! It like Starbucks – you got the tall, the grande, and the whatever.
There’s a double cleansing, an exfoliating mask, a peeling mask, I put it on and I have these cucumber eye patches and then I start the massage. I start with the decollete (the shoulder blade, chest area), and then I go to the shoulders, and the neck and down the arms and then I put a heated bag across your chest. Then I go down and I massage your feet. Our hands and our feet are all connected to our organs, so I use different massage techniques on your hands and feet. I put essential oils on your feet. I have a scanner I use on your hand so I know what oils to use, and I put a hot towel over their face, and then I ask if there’s something I can pray over them for, and then I take that hot towel and that last mask off. I then use a toner, a serum, and a thicker cream over dry spots and I put on an eye cream, and that’s about it.
Me: That is a facial?!? Laughter…SOOO much better than Walmart! (I joked about buying my facial scrub at Walmart because I am not typically a girly girl.) It does not even compare!
PM: (Laughs) It does not even compare!
Then she explains lots of other treatments she can do. Visit her website for dermabrasion, peels, make up, and more.
She goes on to discuss future plans and listening for God’s call. Penny has started a Facebook page called Heart Rebalanced for women that would like to reach out to her. Penny and I had a wonderfully uplifting conversation, and I highly recommend everyone go see Penny. She has such a positive and infectious, joyful spirit that any customer is sure to have a renewing and heart filled experience.
26 North Congress Street, York, SC 29745
I’m good at teaching, a gift I’ve confidently used for more than half my life. I’ve taught third grade, sixth grade, special education, preschool, homeschool, private school, music lessons… I can teach.
But playing teacher and being an actual student aren’t necessarily so familiar as merely different sides of a coin. I hadn’t taken a test without an answer key in twenty years, and the prospect of doing such a thing all over again seemed a bit overwhelming. Yet, there I was, sitting cross legged on the back row of a modern classroom, attempting to focus for stretches of time on just one subject.
Real Estate. Realtor. The act of helping others buy property, buy houses, businesses, large investments, buy homes. That’s the subject of the tests I willingly took.
And after class, and when my world seemed exhausting and when I needed to breath easily, I went to my own home. Home to my kids. Home to my dog.
Home to my particular spot on my particular couch. I just. went. Home.
An old fireplace with an intricately carved mantle surrounding old, faded, sooted brick. Antique apple crates stacked in such a pattern as to create the perfect desk base. My child’s portrait hanging on the foyer wall. A viola propped at attention. Books stacked carelessly, piled high about every room.
The dog, blonde and small, curled in his favorite chair, snoring quietly. Soft, worn rugs scattered about the house. An extra large bed, wrapped in flannel and down, warm lamps illuminating pale corners. Sudsy soap in the kitchen sink, last night’s dishes haphazardly soaking, the hum and slosh of the dishwasher running.
Children stomping through the hall, doors opening and closing loudly, hurried sounds of boys focused on the business of play. My mother’s ring resting in the pottery dish a child’s hand shaped years ago. Light streaming through the cool glass of a front window. Daylight indoors. Me, nestled beneath the coverlet, computer perched on a pillow, writing.
After a weekend of classes, it was these familiarities that fed me. Nourished me for another week. Wrapped me warmly, welcoming and restful.
When I visit my childhood abode, or I breathe Tennessee air or drink coffee on my porch in York – When I set bare feet upon damp, warm soil or I attend a Sunday service at an Episcopal Church or I sit in the balcony at Allison Creek Presbyterian – I experience home.
Months have passed since real estate school. The license firmly hangs at Keller Williams in Fort Mill. Marching forward, real estate offers new, surprising, fun opportunities. And still, at the end of the day, that particular couch in that particular house on that particular street calls on me.
The little blonde dog waits, curled and snoring. And I, well, I go home.
Last week I had the distinct opportunity to speak with Walter of Frank’s Jewelers in York. Walter’s wife runs the anchor store in Clover, while the branch store in downtown York sits settled right on Congress Street since 2003.
We did not engage in a formal interview, but instead spent a good hour talking casually about all sorts of things. I asked lots of questions for myself, personally needing to update and exchange a few pieces of jewelry myself, and we toured the shop at length, me admiring lots of gorgeous pieces. Having lived in York six years now, I am ashamed to say this was the first time I had been in Frank’s Jewelers, having wrongly assumed that it was a high end store out of my economical grasp.
In truth, the shop is perfect for our small downtown, offering a wide variety of intricate, simple, and exquisite jeweled items that are in fact, often affordable. I will most certainly become a quick regular and look forward to visiting Walter often in the future.
His store encompasses:
jewelry repair, watch repair, appraisals, engraving, special orders, interest-free layaway, gift certificates, precious metal recycling, trade in/ trade up, jewelry care
(Logo taken from Jen’s blog, https://lifeafterlemons.com)
How did you get started making candy?
JS: Back when I was twelve we went to a candy making party that one of my aunts or cousins was having and I really took a liking to it. My mom supported it and got me a starter kit and I just took off from there.
I took some time off from making candy when I was married because it wasn’t a big deal then. So I’ve started it up again since my divorce since it was a relaxing thing. But my mom is the one that got me started and supported me through all that. She’s the one that taught me my caramel recipe I use. She and I worked on that together. My caramel recipe is really well known around here and I’ve been asked to jar it.
I use local when I can so my apples and my strawberries are from Bush N’ Vine. That’s their mountain apples and their winter strawberries.
JS: Lack of communication with….pretty much with the city. Being a new owner there was not a lot, I feel like the city and the chamber should have a new business owner type packet to let you know what’s going on or to let them know what’s expected of them. Summerfest in August did not go well because of lack of communication. There were a few other things that did not go well because of lack of communication.
(Jen went on to explain that the positive part of this struggle is that the officials are willing to listen and that she has a meeting with the mayor to discuss solutions. She was pleased with her ability to have a voice and is actively working to help with solutions regarding communication between the city and downtown business owners.)
JS: My fear is being out on the street because I live upstairs too. I wake up in the mornings, get myself ready, and I’m down here.
The kids coming in. The kids that have never been here before, as soon as they walk through the door, I should really just have a video camera to capture the look on their faces. That makes it worth the struggle right there. Some of my regulars, their kids come over here (behind the counter) and they hug me before they leave. That’s what keeps me going.
What drew you to be downtown? To live and work in downtown?
JS: The idea I had in my head for a candy store, it was not going to work at a strip mall, anything like that, because it’s the old time feel. So I knew I needed a historical district. I have friend who lives down here, so when I was looking for a spot, she’s like come to York. I think it’s where you need to be. And even now, I walk outside and I’m amazed at the beauty of the town.
We talked about all sorts of things, her candies, her Oops! Bags, and we were winding down….
JS: …..I love what I do. Even though it’s stressful, it’s less stress than I had in the corporate world because it’s stress I can control.
Jen and I spent awhile together, talking both about candy and about writing, life in York, and all sorts of good bits of conversation. I mean, it’s a candy store, people! Go visit she shop and chat her up yourself or read more about her journey at lifeafterlemons.com
Went to church this morning. Honestly, the whole family barely made it, since at 9:25 am we all of us Hatches sat about the living room, tired and in pajamas, wondering if our presence could be excused this week. 35 minutes til 10 am start time, 20 minute drive….you do the math…
But our church, Allison Creek Presbyterian, decided awhile back to join forces with Liberty Hill AME Zion Church, and it was our turn to go to them. The Hatch family’s first time experiencing a traditionally “black” church. I mean, Liberty Hill had brought some of their worship to us in the past, but this time we got to go worship with them in their sanctuary. Now I’m wondering if anybody from Liberty Hill had their first “white” church experience that day? For many reasons, in the south we still segregate when it comes to religion. I’m curious if this is a southern thing or an all over thing?
Alas, we both tend to self segregate here.
African American churches have a reputation for being loud and emotional with a tendency to drag their services out past lunch. Hunger pangs, anyone?
White churches have the equal and opposite reputation of being stuffy, reserved, and appreciative of pastors able to summarize quickly. Stand strong and mumble through a few old hymns, right?
Now, when you throw two of our groupings together, it can be quite the experience for everybody.
We hadn’t been there five minutes when my leaky eyes started. It’s a curse all women in my family carry. Easily leaking eyes. First off, right in the front pew sat a mother from our congregation whose son died two days ago. Her daughter died not but a few months back, and this week, she lost her son. Well, seeing her not just at Liberty Hill, but sitting in the front row, made me flash back to going to church for the first time right after my momma passed, and Lordy. It’s a hard thing to sit through a service, composed and holding it together or not, after losing family. Every time I glanced in her direction my eyes leaked.
And the energy in the place. I kept sweating from the very beginning, even though the air conditioning was running. Maybe when a naturally reserved person joins in a lively worship service, the whole body chooses to jump into action. All I know is, now I get why all the regulars carried fans. We sang and praised God and stood up, speaking out, proclaiming, “Amen” with all the good and all the hard and even the funnies. By the time my pastor got to speak, we’d been carried on a wave, swaying to and fro (even some of the ACPC folks joined in) and calling out, showing our appreciation through clapping and singing. Clapped half the service, probably.
Now, just as a little background, our poor Pastor Sam had to follow their Reverend Thelma Gordon with his sermon. She’d preached at our church before, so it was his turn to preach at Liberty Hill. He’d admitted getting nervous earlier in the week, being that Pastor Gordon is known all over the whole York County for her preaching. Yet, honestly, he had no reason to worry. Liberty Hill is nothing if not gracious, and we were all just glad to be worshipping together. And when Pastor Sam preached, he delivered a fantastic sermon, one from his own voice, that spoke to all listening. It spoke of the oppressed becoming oppressors who oppressed who then became oppressors. We travelled from Scotland to Ireland to America to South Carolina to Liberia, this same theme repeating generation after generation. And how hopefully, through our love, we might be able to move past it in our community. How the pattern of sin carried our ancestors away from God and how our two communities, linked through a cruel history, could come together today in love to worship the God who loves us all. A straight arrow kind of message for the day.
Finally, after all was said and done, we fellowshipped. I love how us church people like to call chatting, “fellowshipping”. We gathered in their building and we ate together, a simple lunch of salmon sandwiches and summer tomato salad with fresh baked cakes for dessert. Delicious, made by their hands, again the gracious hosts.
Rev. Gordon told two women joining their congregation that today would be a day they won’t soon forget. We’re home now, back on the couch we left at 9:25am. And I have to agree.
We’re a soccer family. As in travel soccer. Meaning Oreo cookies, juice boxes, and five minute commutes to games is a thing of the past. No participation medals here. Those ribbons that hang on the wall get earned in this house.
My thirteen year old son started playing soccer when he was five. We did the whole recreational play thing, getting up on Saturday mornings and standing on the sidelines, cheering. Snack sign ups existed back then. (Recreational soccer is feel good.) But then at the ripe old age of seven, a coach suggested Key do a developmental program. Being our first born, we took this as a sign that Key was talented; possibly on a path to scholarships; definitely worth the investment to find out. Since darling actually did want more soccer and the mental benefits to him of running that much were easily visible, we did it. Then the next year, at the prompting of his developmental trainer, we attended the club level evaluations. The coaches promised it wasn’t a big step, given we already participated in the development program. And so our whole club experience began.
At first, we were shell shocked. The jump from Oreo soccer to club soccer is a big one. Yes, it’s just three practices and two games weekly. But those practices are run by professionals, lasting around 90 minutes each, often at locations farther from home. And the two games? Those can be considered local at up to two hours from home, often with start times at 8am and 3pm. Warming up beforehand? Of course! Please be on the fields in matching gear a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour prior to start time. Immediately, the idea of an early cup of joe before a fun little match is over. Whole families are up and dragging toddler siblings around Timbuktu at 5am on a Saturday (and/or Sunday) in order to get to darling’s club game in time. Sound insane? It is.
When we first entered this new realm, it was actually worth it. In many important ways, six years later, it is still worth all this chaos. But along the way, it seems like either I am getting tired, I am gaining perspective on youth sports, the clubs are demanding more each year, or maybe it is all of the above.
The worth in all this is the phenomenal mentors and life lessons and enduring friendships both boys have received. These men (and women on the girls’ side) that coach at the club level, some fathers and some aspiring professional players, offer our boys dedication, energy, character building, training, kindness, and role models. They provide us a positive community of people to coach our boys in much, much more than soccer skills. The coaches my boys have had these past seven years are unsurpassed in their dedication. Plus the training is almost always top notch across the board. I gotta say, in this regard of recreation versus club, you get what you pay for. (Not to mention the geography and cultural life learning that comes from looking up the many coaches’ home countries. Seriously. We can check off several US states, plus Canada, Thailand, Uganda, Cote de Ivoire, England, Ireland, Brazil, and Argentina.) The people. The relationships. The superior training in a sport both boys love. The extended friendships for both boys and for us as parents. This is where the worth lies.
The rub comes from the commitment factor. After driving to hundreds of practices and games and giving up family events and vacations with the grands, it gets hard to keep going. Yet when the question of common sense and whether this is all needed in order to build those worthy relationships is raised, the first thing doubted is the commitment. Commitment of the child to the game. Commitment of the parent to their little player’s potential greatness. It has begun to raise in my heart the questions back – When did a nine year old committing all his free time to the game become desirable? Healthy? Reasonable? And when did a nine year old with multiple interests and a need for free play time become undesirable? Less lauded? Requiring excuse or further explanation? And then to take this whole thought process further, let’s trade out the nine year old for the thirteen year old. Why is it unacceptable to only want to play one season per year? Why is year round, meaning both spring and fall, not good enough? Why are players discouraged from taking the winter off? What is the benefit of obsession in sports? When all of our research repeats the dangers of overuse injuries and burn out and anxiety disorders from performance stress, what drives us to ignore common sense? Is it glory? Is it the scholarship? And is that really the reason 98% of them are going to college? For the game? Can we not develop reasonably trained players, friendships and a sense of commitment to team, without absolute obsession? When my two boys were scheduled for practices thirty minutes apart at overlapping times on the same days and I responded with a concern about our ability to be in two places at the same time, the response from our club? Challenges as described would need to be overcome by more commitment from the parents. When we couldn’t get to an extra conditioning practice or an out of season tournament? Players on this team would need to condition and train during their own free time to be able to continue playing at such a level. Neither of my boys are or strive to be on a premier level team, so is this reasonable? Maybe. But maybe not.
The $4000+ each year it takes to fund two boys in club soccer, the countless hours, the endless driving, the sacrifice of family both in time and in care, the extra volunteer hours – this all is no longer enough. Adding up last year’s fall and spring hours, my then twelve year old (and therefore us as parents as well) spent 320 hours on soccer. I haven’t calculated the then eight year old’s year, but his time commitment was even more hours than his older brother. This means we easily used 700 hours doing soccer last year for a then 3rd grader and 7th grader. And we did less than most families on their teams. Every year, we are asked for more time, more commitment to extended training, more serious focus from our children, and more money from our wallets. All in the name of proving our commitment.
Have we as parents collectively lost our minds? This isn’t enough?
It isn’t enough.
Because it is too much.
And yet, my boys are in the minority (as in the only ones on their teams most likely), because we drew the line this year. No more off season soccer. No winter indoor league. No expensive summer training program. A half day camp for fun because they beg come July? (Miraculously, they still love the darn game.) Mmm, Maybe. But, even that will take some serious thinking. Caving under the pressure that sweet baby will fall behind in skill? Nope. Take it elsewhere. This Chick is claiming back her holidays and her Friday night TV and her Saturday mornings with her cup of joe and her dates with her husband.
Soccer is worthwhile. Sports in general do mimic adult life challenges. The coaches of past and present deserve our utmost gratitude. There is great value in that yearly $4000 investment. (Before y’all balk at that $$, music lessons and all those parents with girls in dance are spending more than me. And to the hockey crazed parents up north, my sports bill is peanuts.)
But rest and care and family and free play and quiet time (AND CHURCH) are also:
deserving of gratitude
deserving of time
deserving of commitment
And this soccer mom – venting – needed to get that off her chest.