Posted by: dharmabeachbum | November 25, 2013

Surfside and its pier provide families with enough memories to last a lifetime

(Photo courtesy of Curt Kremer, owner of Pier Outfitters) Mr. Kremer is a kind, generous and trusting man, having given permission to use this great photograph to a complete stranger. The Surfside Pier was first built in 1953 and has been rebuilt at least three times since. Its latest incarnation followed the Superstorm of March 1993. Proof positive that human will endures through the best nature has unleashed thus far. Eventually, the town of Surfside Beach bought the pier and now leases it to the Kremers. Grand Strand Revisited would love to know who captured this moment in time and would gladly give him or her due credit. Drop us a note beneath this post if you happen to know, please.

(Photo courtesy of Curt Kremer, owner of Pier Outfitters)
Mr. Kremer is a kind, generous and trusting man, having given permission to use this great photograph to a complete stranger. The Surfside Pier was first built in 1953 and has been rebuilt at least three times since. Its latest incarnation followed the Superstorm of March 1993. Proof positive that human will endures through the best nature has unleashed thus far. Eventually, the town of Surfside Beach bought the pier and now leases it to the Kremers. Grand Strand Revisited would love to know who captured this moment in time and would gladly give him or her due credit. Drop us a note beneath this post if you happen to know, please.

Paying tribute to a hamlet that has earned its distinction as a family beach
Surfside Beach was an east coast paradise for the working class when my family and I first started vacationing there in 1969. The pier was a mecca, complemented by amusement rides and a bingo parlor. The photo of the Surfside Pier above this story was taken in 1967 and that’s exactly how I remember it looking.

What else does a kid need other than a glorious stretch of golden sand and the awe-inspiring, blue-green ocean before he or she? We lived then in the tiny central Pennsylvania town, Winfield, along the majestic Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania, driving roughly 630 miles to Surfside Beach in 11 hours.

I still remember the anticipation of our yearly, one-week vacation and that long trip. “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” I know my sister, Terri, and I drove my parents, Linda and the late Robert Hufnagle Sr., nuts. My brother, Brad, was a baby early on. That made the trip more enjoyable for my folks, huh? We first came here with my paternal grandparents, the late Blanche and Gordie Hufnagle of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. In the early years we were joined by my aunt and uncle, Aggie and Charlie Hufnagle, and their sons, Mike and Scott, of Lewisburg.

The Smith family — Jim, Janet, Jeff, Janine and Joelle, also Lewisburg dwellers at the time, joined in the fun in the early 70s. So, so many great memories. One that still stands out in my mind is Jeff and I letting our limp bodies float with the surf, allowing waves to break over us and the current to take us north or south along the beach.

Ah, the fun of it all. Magical. And our families are somewhat indebted to the Surfside Pier, beloved albeit inanimate, proud in its unmoving, skeleton-like structure, yet humble and moving in the affectionate memories it’s provided for us: like walking to it along sandy roads, passing many a vacant lot overrun by indigenous flora – including live oaks, Myrtle, Azaleas, Magnolia trees, cacti and a multitude of other indigenous flora along the way; listening to now-classic rock and roll blaring from the adjoining arcade jukebox, riding go-karts and playing miniature golf nearby; our parents buying us ice cream on the way home; and awakening to warm, sweet Krispy Kreme donuts delivered door-to-door early in the morning. We kids didn’t have a care in the world and I doubt the elders were worrying about too much, other than trying to keep us from wandering too far away from them. Those were more innocent times and the unseen boundries stretched much farther away than they do now.

My siblings, cousins, friends and I played Skee Ball and those Ted Williams baseball games, spending our allowances to accumulate tickets while the older folks, as I thought of them then, played bingo, walked in the glare of the multi-colored, neon amusement park lights or strolled out on the pier. If we kids were really lucky we won a plastic case with a couple of bucks in it in those machines with the dropping claws. Step right up and win some crap. Or was it? Well, not if memories have anything to do it. I still recall a rabbit’s foot I got with those tickets. I’m sure my siblings, Scott and Mike Hufnagle and the Smith kids, all still alive and well, remember items they won, too. Like pocket knives, cheap transistor radios and those troll dolls with the Don King hair.

Miss Tara and Kenneth Coggins' son and daughter, Matt and Megan, standing in August 2006 not far from where The Pavilion once stood.

Miss Tara and Kenneth Coggins’ son and daughter, Matt and Megan, standing in August 2006 not far from where The Pavilion stood then. Note the sign in the background.

The Hufnagle and Smith family members who shared those vacations will always treasure our memories of Surfside. They’re anchored in our minds much like pier pilings driven into the wet sand beneath the surf.

Enough about me and mine. This site is for you. Good people like the Coggins family of Gaffney, South Carolina, who I met while hunting sharks’ teeth near the 67th Avenue beach access in Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago. They have their photographs and memories and they were kind enough to share one of their family’s frozen moments in time with me. It’s always a pleasure to meet people like them on the Grand Strand sands. They are encounters and conversations that I’ll always remember.

Why don’t you share some of your treasures of experience?

(Bum raps: The story above was re-blogged from my latest creation, My apologies to fellow WordPress bloggers and to my Facebook family and friends for what I’m about to do for the first and perhaps last time, intentionally: sharing the same story twice on WordPress and Facebook on the day of its original publishing. I recently realized that I had done so in the past on Facebook without intention. So, the re-sharing of this piece of passion, I reckon, is self-self-serving. That makes me mighty arrogant, my family and friends, but I must do it to make people aware of “Remember When…in Myrtle Beach and Along the Grand Strand,” at Thanks for bearing with a formerly happy-go-lucky person who can be overbearing now days. My next endeavor will be to format a third Facebook page for Confused? You’ve got to be. This process has confused me. May you all have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends! Most humbly and sincerely, dharma beach bum/Rob Hufnagle.”



  1. did you ever go to pirateland? and what happened to lums? did you eat footlong hotdogs?

    • How are you doing today, Miss Errin? I have yet to go to Pirateland. I’m not quite sure what it is, although I’ve heard of it. I’ll have to look it up to see what’s up. I have yet to eat a footlong hotdog here at anywhere other than Peaches Corner. Eventually, maybe six months down the road, I hope to get an invite from any number of eating establishments. I always go to the same places: Bubba’s Fish Shack down in Surfside. Great little eatery with decent prices and setting. They have photos and memorabilia all over the wall: I just wish more of it is local. A lot of it is from California or maybe from Florida. My family likes to go to Captain Mike’s, the buffet down in Surfside. I also really like Magnolias on the boulevard down around the 28th Avenue North block, I think. My favorite place is the Sea Captain’s house, but it’s kind of pricy. Great ambience, though. I haven’t been to Lum’s yet. I’ll have to give it a try sometime. Oh, another great NY style deli is down around 27th Avenue South in MB. It was Manny’s. I don’t know if it still is or not. So glad to have finally gotten the initial format of grandstrandrevisited launched. Many changes to come there. I really want to do a Facebook style box with drop down comments. Get a lot of viewers eventually that way. Hoping to make a living out of all this stuff. Giving it another six months and if things don’t work out, I might have to go elsewhere and try something different, ’cause I’ll be a beach bum wherever I go. I love your writing of late. The Hannakuh piece is funny and fantastic. I’m running on pure adrenaline right now. I’ve slept two hours in the last 40 I hope to get another three to four hours in tonight of writing and editing. Still waiting to here from Dena Dietrich, the woman who played Mother Nature. I’d love to get an autographed photo from her for my ever-growing collection of nature related stuff. So glad to see you back to blogging. I’ve been trying to do a lot more networking with fellow bloggers, visiting a place or two a day. I don’t know how much you’re into the hippie stuff, but I found a site called beatnikhiway, written by an old hippie by the name of Ana. Her pseudonym is Hobo Hippie. Hey, search BChann or disciple on DBB. I sent the latest girl who broke my heart a bit of a nasty gram a day or two after I saw what you had posted. Once again, you inspired me to do it. She chose another guy over me nearly two years ago now, but still keeps unblocking me on FB to tell me how HER feelings were hurt. So I set her straight on the reality of what went down. She hasn’t sent me photos of BChann, who she had given me the honor of being his godparent, then took him away from me because of a silly disagreement. Heartless, and I don’t care if she reads this. Anyway. I’ve got stuff to do. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend!

  2. is she the one who chose a policeman? okay i was asking you about places that were here when you were little & came here.. pirateland & lums.. i don’t know what happened to either.. when i was 7 a little boy asked me to go to pirateland..i think someone said it’s a campground..
    all of your restaurants sound good..are you kidding,it isn’t local fish from murrel’s inlet? lol okay..
    i’m going downhill fast not sleeping & breathing sawdust from the crazy people bebuilding the floors outside. why do they have to cut wood outside my bedroom? & at 8 am every day…
    we always ate in murrel’s….lee’s inlet kitchen was here 70 years ago, when my parents went .. my brother s 20 yrs older… but they still have wood chairs, i see in commercials…..drunken jacks, anchor inn, back porch, that’s where we ate when i was little.

    • Thanks for reminding me, Miss Errin. How could I have forgotten Murrells Inlet. That should have been number one on the list. Our family always ate down there for many, many years. You almost can’t go wrong anywhere there. Funny you should mention Lee’s Inlet Kitchen. It’s one of the last places I ate down there. That was nearly two years ago when she came into town with a friend of hers. I’ve eaten there many times, but I can’t remember where I ate there then. Just remember hanging out on the Marshwalk. Drunken Jack’s is a great place, but it’s a little bit out of my price range if I were to make it a habit. Incredible that more names aren’t popping in my head. Speaking of sleep. In 48 hours, I slept two. I finally decided it was time to launch Grand Strand Revisited instead of worrying so much about design. I always have been a bit of a perfectionist, so it takes me a long time to get anything done, especially when it comes to writing. I’ll stare at the same word for minutes trying to come up with something better. No, that one with the cop was nearly 20 years ago now, but I still want to beat the crap out of him ’cause he would go to the courthouse where she worked. Yes, it was more her fault than his, really, but I just hate the way cops act. They are among the most unethical people I’ve encountered. Did I tell you about being IDed a couple of days ago while walking to the beach? It was the fifth time in the last six or seven years that cops have stopped me when all I was doing was going to the beach to do my thing. Between what happened with that girl 20 years ago and the way I’ve been treated by them in MB — never stopped walking the streets once in central PA in 38-plus years and just once while driving at a DUI checkpoint and I wasn’t drinking then and I gave three officers hell for choosing my car “randomly” while letting go the three cars in front of me pass. I’m flying back to PA on Dec. 21 for Christmas, and on Dec. 19 or 20 I’m blogging exactly how I feel about the police here and the way they act. My grandfather was a chief of police and I had all the respect for police in the world growing up, but enough is enough. They will come after me. Hence, the timing of the blog. After I called them fascists awhile back, they sat outside my apartment for two months trying to intimidate me. It didn’t work. As a journalist, I believe highly in freedom of speech when dealing with the government and I’d rather sit in jail for standing my ground than be harassed by people barely bright enough to tie their own shoes. I’m sending a copy of my blog to the mayor and to the chief of police to get this all out in the open. They kept picking at me, now I’m going to humiliate them publicly. My criminal history is a blank slate, so what grounds do they have for continuously impeding my rights because I dress like the beach bum that I am. Always will, even if the writing thing makes me money. I’m wondering if Back Porch isn’t the place that I ate at with the girl of 20 years ago. It had a screened in deck practically hanging out over water. Anyway. Got to run. But first, they don’t have to be cutting that wood right outside your bedroom. They just don’t care. A lot of them are rednecks (I’m a country boy too) with a real attitude problem, thinking they work harder than everyone else because they work with their hands. I was crossing highway 17, half trotting across the road early this morning and a local guy (saw him before) going to work floored his pick up truck just to let me know he was coming. Having dealt with many issues of late, I’m in no mood for stuff like that so I flipped him the bird. Anyway, hope you get some sleep tonight. The relentless sawdust men will be there bright and early. Peace and happy Thanksgiving!

  3. well that is terrible & you can dress any way you want.this is america.the back porch had rocking chairs on the porch, where you sit while you wait in line for an hour. it was across the street from the ocean side.. it burned down once.. that used to have rosin baked potatoes…like rosin i used on my violin bow..i don’t know how they baked them…it took 6 days just to get the padding down on the 4th floor, so i guess 18 more days below & then carpet…if i had good sense i might open the sofa bed & sleep in the living room , but i would still hear

    • Laughing, miss errin. thanks for the inside information, also. Open up your window and douse them with water. Seriously. Sounds like something I would do after putting up with stuff too long. If they don’t care about me, I don’t care about them. I’m on my high horse today. Sending out a message to city hall after walking the beach this morning and watching Keystone Kop-like trucks drive the upper part of the beach and doing very little as I was hunting sharks teeth and picking up plastic. nobody being paid with taxpayer’s money wants to work with in this town. Peace, and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

      • that water thing is a good idea. they aren’t here, but i woke up anyway. i think they are afraid of rain.maybe they take hanukkah off?lol

      • Hey, I’m most serious. Two or three weeks ago I was leaving the sands of time and construction workers were up on a roof near a beach access and one of them had thrown their lunch bag into the parking lot with a fork in it. I got their attention by waving the bag and then just kept on my merry way. Give those doucebags a good ol’ landshark. LOL.

  4. wow.they are nicer here on roofs. one day this man on the roof told this man on ground to go help me push luggage cart up the ramp.

    • A true gentleman. That might have been his way of hitting on you. LOL.

      • I had my mother laughing just last week. She’s just got a computer after being off them for five years and she was complaining about hers. I tried to help her through it over the phone and we were able to solve most of her concerns, then I said, “When all else fails. Take your keyboard and throw it into the wall.” A friend of mine did that to his when a bunch of us were around and we just sat there and laughed. That just made him more angry. They really can be frustrating though. Every problem I thought I had fixed yesterday has come back. I’m a little worried. I don’t have enough money to buy another one right now. If the computer fries, there go the blogs. Oh well, then I’ll just jump in the big pond. LOL. I’d be lost without it.

      • LOL

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