I guess I would consider myself a “small-town girl.” I’ve lived in Newberry my whole life, but honestly I can’t think of another place that I’d rather be. Earlier this week I was reminded of just how blessed we as a community are to have a place like Newberry.
I had a meeting at the Opera House Monday afternoon to speak with a lady who was grateful to share her story about being a volunteer there, spreading her love of Newberry and the Opera House to all that visit its grounds.
I had no idea the deja vu I was about to encounter not long into our interview.
While speaking with Ms. Aughtry, two women came in from out of town. They were from Hilton Head and were spending the week in Newberry while their sons played in a South Carolina Junior Golf Tournament being held at Newberry Country Club. While they weren’t expecting a tour, they were quickly thrilled to be shown around and informed of its history.
I took it upon myself to tag along on their tour for research. Although I’m from the area, I honestly did not know much of the information shared on the tour, like one of the Opera House’s previous functions was to house city government offices.
I learned many things about its structure, how paint colors were chosen, performances, and the many different types of volunteers who help provide the experience the community has from attending shows and he experiences the performers have when they choose the grounds for a venue.
As I walked out onto that stage, overlooking the rows of chairs that have housed many audiences, I was taken aback to just what the Opera House has meant to me in my 24 years of life. Probably the first thing that came to mind was the years of dance recitals my friends and I performed on that stage.
I recalled getting dressed upstairs in the “dressing room” with the rows of lighted mirrors. Those definitely can make a young girl feel like a movie star.
As I grew older, the Opera House was home to my annual band recital for Mid-Carolina High School’s marching band. It sure was a one-of-a-kind feeling to put on a ball gown and perform for friends and family with my “band family.”
Even the not-so-good memories came back to me during my visit, as I recalled tripping down stairs and severely spraining my ankle while attending a performance there by Newberry College just before I graduated. Although that was not my fondest moment, I’ll never forget the helpful volunteers who quickly came to my aid to bring me ice and to make sure I did not need other assistance.
That’s the thing about small towns. Those with whom I grew up would occasionally say they couldn’t wait to get out of the small town life and go on to other things. While some of them did, I can name quite a few who chose to stick around.
I don’t know about them, but for me, it’s not only the historical aspects like the beautiful Opera House that keep me around Newberry, but the people.
Another reason my job has such an impact on my emotional heart – Newberry truly is one of a kind with historical landmarks, good people and so much more.