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Letters to the Editor, June 2019

‘Taming the Lion Tamers’

Dear Editor:

I just found out about a high school teacher of my kids who is being investigated for pedophilia. The timing is quite interesting because I just finished reading Taming the Lion Tamers by David Flowers about the landmark sex abuse case in Charleston that involved Porter-Gaud and one of their teachers who abused dozens of boys. I was at P-G during the latter time of this tragedy, so I have an enhanced appreciation for this topic. Written by one of the attorneys in the case, the book utilizes actual transcripts and gives first-hand accounts to relate what transpired during a case that shocked Charleston and brought the subject of child sexual abuse into the limelight.

It scares me that everywhere we turn, we hear about yet another case. We need to be vigilant about recognizing the signs and make sure that we all do whatever we can to prevent this tragedy from happening to others. I encourage you to read up on symptoms and types of behavioral changes to look out for, as well as how to talk to kids about it. With awareness, hopefully we can help prevent this from ruining more people’s lives.

Sharon Benmaman

St. Paul, MN

Council of embarrassment

Dear Editor:

The May 14 meeting of Charleston City Council showcased the most embarrassing lack of leadership and decency I have ever witnessed from our city council. The issue was the mayor’s wife has her name on the back of his calling cards. One councilman had asked that it be placed on the agenda to be discussed in executive session, but at the meeting he requested and council agreed to discuss in open session. Shame on all the members who did not have the common decency to inquire about this issue in private conversations with the mayor — or talk to the city’s legal folks or the finance office — had they done so, they would have found out the extra cost was less than $11. Yes, a mere $11 — and they would have learned that nothing was illegal or unethical as was pointed out by Peter Shahid through his questions and the responses.

My conclusion is several members knew what the councilman was up to before the meeting. If true, it is the most underhanded display of leadership.

A motion was passed for an audit to be performed and additional involvement from legal and goodness knows what from other city employees. I can only imagine the cost for all those folks — all for an $11 expenditure.

I understand politics and differing opinions on positions, but let’s get real — Mayor Tecklenburg is dealing with a rogue council that is at best obstructionist. When we have traffic, flooding and more people than our city can accommodate, the cheap politics of this city council is beyond belief. Tell your friends about this, so they will watch all this unfold and vote.

Jimmy Bailey, Sr.

Charleston, S.C.

My experiences at Big John’s

Dear Editor:

What a great article I read by Prioleau and Charles about their times at Big John’s. My days at that esteemed bar began in 1962 when I was in the ninth grade. We started early in Charleston.

My brother Jay, who was four years older, and two friends took me for my first beer. I remember it like it was yesterday. We sat in a booth and I had my fake I.D. ready to show. I was nervous as a cat but it was to no avail. The waiter glanced at it but didn’t give it a second thought. I looked every bit of 14.

As I look back, I’m not particularly proud that I was bar hopping in the ninth grade, but I do have a theory about this. By the time I went to college, I was “experienced” and drinking was no big thing. People that were away from home for the first time would get wasted and some of course flunked out.

Living now in Beaufort, I don’t know if the situation is the same amongst schools, but in the middle of the 60s, there were a few places that we all meet to socialize — Big John’s being one.

Hardly ever did we cross the old Cooper River Bridge (God was looking out for us) to go to the Old Side or Seaside that we wouldn’t all meet at Big John’s for a “pop.” That included all city schools, Moultrie and my school, St. Andrews. We loved our school but we were all friends, dating at different schools, double dating, etc.

In the back room long before there was a pool table, there was a red pin bowling machine (google it). Bowling for beer was the game. My brother, some of his Carolina friends and I got quite good. Six people would bowl; the two low scores would buy the two high scores a beer per game. The two “middle men” would float. My brother and I drank a lot of free beer! A few times in the late hour, we would take our shoes off and bowl with our feet! It was a wonderful time to grow up!

One particular waiter at John’s trying to navigate through the crowd would say, “Clear a hole for double o soul.” I still use that phrase 50 years later!

When we all went off to different colleges, Thanksgiving and Christmas were particularly good because everyone would show up at John’s. By graduate school we all slowly drifted away and I never returned to live in Charleston. I, however, will always hold Big John’s near and dear to me.

Gene W. Grace, DDS, PABeaufort, S.C.

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