Holly Lambert’s love of Beaufort leads to book

By Lanier Laney
The just published book, “Beaufort … Then and Now” is a wonderful collection of fascinating stories collected by students in Holly Lambert’s Lowcountry Living class at Beaufort Middle School.   Holly also collected additional stories for what she describes is an “anthology of memories” contributed by many native Beaufortonians about growing up in Beaufort. It is broken up by decades with photographs that compliment the narratives.  She got many of the photos from her parents, longtime Beaufort residents, Dr. Ray and Jean Kearns.

Holly, who was born and raised in Beaufort, got her masters degree in education before marrying husband Dan in 1989.  They have two children Grayson, 17, who is a senior at Beaufort High, and Brackin, 19, who attends USCB in Bluffton. Completing the family are Dan’s two daughters from a previous marriage, Dana and Catherine, who live in Mt. Pleasant.
Presently, Holly teaches seventh grade English Language Arts at Beaufort Middle School and has been there for nine years.

Holly loves teaching and enjoys planning lessons that integrate the arts. Her passion is finding ways to incorporate topics about Beaufort.  Holly really wants her students to appreciate their home in the way she does. Here, in her own words is the forward to her book:

What do you call the pungent odor of a low tide or the sonic boom of an F-18?  Well, I have the privilege of calling it home.  To me, Beaufort isn’t just the place I was born and raised; it is part of me.
Several years ago I was given the opportunity to create an exploratory class at Beaufort Middle School but floundered in my efforts to come up with a suitable subject matter.  Nothing seemed to strike my fancy until one day while boating at Cotton Island, a friend said, “Holly, why don’t you teach what you love? I don’t know anyone who loves Beaufort more than you do.” That was all I needed to begin the framework of Lowcountry Living.
The curriculum for Lowcountry Living has students explore what makes living in Beaufort unique.  Historical Architecture, Gullah, Southern Cuisine, the Estuary, Hollywood in the Lowcountry and Sweetgrass Baskets are just a few of the many topics studied. When the Beaufort Three Century Project requested contributions for their archives, I thought what better way to discover their city’s distinctiveness than to take a journey through years of memories recounted by native Beaufortonians. My students plunged into this endeavor with the enthusiasm of the young and located residents eager to share their favorite memories of growing up in Beaufort. These vivid accounts have given my students a glimpse of how Beaufort evolved into the extraordinary place they call home. So now, we invite you to sit back and relax with a tall glass of sweet iced tea as we introduce to you what we discovered to be our Beaufort.

Holly credits Carole Ingram, her principal at Beaufort Middle School, for encouraging her to create and teach her Lowcountry Living classes and then wholeheartedly supported the student assignment that led to the book.
She also says it was Debra Johnson of the Beaufort Three Century project who encouraged her to sell the self-published books (originally just for students and contributors) at the B3C reception, where they went like hotcakes. That’s when Holly decided to make them available to the public.  They are now offered for sale at the Beaufort Book Store and will also soon be available at many other stores in town.

Holly credits the huge support from her husband and kids for taking the load off in the evenings so she could type up the stories.

She also said “As I read the stories, I discovered things I didn’t know about Beaufort, such as once having a drive-in in the Mossy Oaks area. There was one story, by Woodrow Smith, who told about how black kids would ride a Greyhound Bus to town and walk to Robert Smalls High School before integration. Many stories included things I knew about but had forgotten and some had stories about people I had heard of but never had the opportunity to meet. There are colorful characters and each tale was told from the heart.  It is full of excellent examples about Beaufort’s unique culture and it is apparent that the storytellers love their hometown as much as I do.”

Beaufort will be an even better place to live now that Holly and her students have captured forever a moment in time in Beaufort’s history that could have been forgotten.

This is the first book that Holly has done, but she has been collecting new stories and plans to publish another one.  If anyone who reads this would like to send stories and photos to be included in the second book, they can email them to her at lowcountrymemories@hotmail.com.

In the meantime, hat’s off to this true “daughter of Beaufort” and her love for her hometown and its people.

Editor’s note: Historic Beaufort Foundation plans to have a book signing for Holly Lambert at its Book and a Bite and Dinner and a Lecture series this fall.  We will keep you posted on when that date will occur.

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