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The Shelton Family

Where is Maybinton, SC?

By Beth Brooks & Kim Hamilton | Photos By Tori Steyne Photography

Growing up in the small community of Maybinton, or Mayberry as our friends jokingly called it, my hometown has afforded me many opportunities. I guess Maybinton truly was a modern-day Mayberry because there were no stoplights, everybody knew everybody, and most people in the community were related. Many of them worked together, went to church together, and, of course, went to school together. We didn’t have a sheriff or anything like that, however, people refer to daddy as the Mayor of Maybinton. Growing up, we did have two stores. The Renwicks owned the store on the corner. The store no longer stands now, but I have the fondest memory of a Halloween party they threw there many years ago. The Tuckers owned another store and a liquor store, which was across from the baseball field.

Baseball games, barbecues, and hunting are three things that Maybinton is famous for. During the summer months on Saturday and Sunday, you could count on a baseball game taking place. Cars and motorcycles would be lined up all alongside the road coming to see the Maybinton A’s play and, of course, hang out. It was always a good time and good food. You could also always count on a barbecue to take place on Good Friday, Memorial Day weekend, and the weekend of July 4th. My grandaddy, Hiram Dawkins, is legendary for his barbecues and famous HWD’s mustard-based barbecue sauce, which is sold in stores today. My grandfather died before I was born, so I don’t remember his barbecue, but I do remember Mr. Willis Clark, Mr. Junior Thomas, Mr. Luke Chick, Uncle Bobbie Dawkins, and my daddy cooking some of the best barbecue around. People would drive from miles around to get pork, hash, and giblet. It was very common for them to sell out. You could always count on seeing tons of hunters during deer and coon hunting season. My Uncle Berlie would take us coon hunting with him! I did not realize how truly blessed I really was to grow up in Maybinton. While there wasn’t a lot to do, we always found a way to have a good time - even simple activities like racing back at the river with my uncle and parents was a treat. We had community kickball games, football games and we played at the park. Our parents would also take us to the old Douglas Mansion and to the graveyard to look for the Happy Dog and to “Cry Baby Bridge.” Most Saturdays, my mama and her two sisters, Aunt Lib and Aunt Ruth, gathered at my Grandma Christina’s house for a delicious meal.

This was always a treat because it meant my cousins David, Donald, Marcus, and Christopher were coming over, too, and yes, my sister and I were the only two girls, so we had to be rough and tough. We rode go karts, four wheelers, played in the woods, and all the other fun things that country kids did. I treasure all the experiences that growing up in Maybinton provided me. It truly taught me what community meant. Everybody in Maybinton looked out for one another and even when we didn’t want people to look out for us, they did. It was nothing for Miss Betty Lou Johnson or Mr. Young Buck Sims Sr. to call mama and daddy and tell them that my sister and I were driving too fast. I watched my parents work hard and work with members in our community so that we all could have a better life. Our doors were always open. Mama’s students were always invited to our home. I can remember family and friends coming to our home for a home cooked meal, help with assignments, or just to peruse the World Book Encyclopedias. My daddy was, and still is, always willing to lend a helping hand. Most Saturdays daddy and his good friends, Eddie James Chaplin, who is now deceased, and Freddie Johnson, could be found helping someone out.

You might find them priming a well, working on someone’s car, cutting loads of wood, or working in a garden to provide vegetables for their families and for members of the community.

Growing up in Maybinton has blessed me in many ways. Having parents, family, and community members that believe in the village way of life has been instrumental in shaping my core values and beliefs. Ecclesiastes 4:9 is a reminder of what life was like growing up in Maybinton. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. I am forever indebted to the Maybinton community. Without their unwavering love and support, I would not be who I am today.

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