Happy Go Local
Living the HHI lifestyle like a "local" is a true gift and Frances Viverette enjoys every minute of it!
Yes, Island life really suits Frances. She has the attitude, the values, the heart, and the spirit to proudly boast that local sticker and beach pass on the back of her car, right next to the fish that identifies her as a Christian. She also knows how to give back, as witnessed by her many charitable activities. Get to know her a little better and you will see what I mean.
Pink: How do you qualify as a real local, Frances?
Frances: Well, we have been coming here since 1976! My husband's parents had a villa in Palmetto Dunes and we spent many fabulous vacations there. After the first time, we never looked back. I must tell you though, that when it came time for Sonny and me to retire, I did not want to come to Hilton Head Island. I was afraid that living here on a daily basis would spoil our "vacation magic". When I finally agreed to look, we were lucky enough to get a realtor named Charles Sampson and he had ten houses for us to look at. I loved the first one, but he said that no one ever buys the first house they see. Well we did! We still love it here.
Frances tells me this as we sit in her beautiful living room that is both comfortable and gracious. It has a beach look with a beautiful view and lots of green plants. Her entry has a front yard, screened-in swimming pool area, and a welcoming feel of "Y'all come right on in."
Pink: I know you do many things. Talk about your favorite Island activities.
Frances: I guess I love them all. We have a boat, and just came in from the Redneck Riviera (Bluffton's famous May River sandbar) right before you arrived. We spent the day eating deviled eggs and fried chicken. What a way to go! On our boat, we see so many beautiful things that other people don't get to. We love to go way up the May River and around all the local waters. We belong to the Yacht club of Hilton Head Island and enjoy that company very much. I play golf and tennis, belong to the Indigo Run Women's Club, and the big Island-wide women's club as well (WAHHI). After having said all of that, my real favorite thing is to go with my husband, Sonny, with a thermos of coffee, to watch the sun rise at the beach. We have been married 47 years and still love each other's company more that anything. That's hard to beat, isn't it?
Pink: I understand you and Sonny volunteer in something that is unique to Hilton Head. What is that?
Frances: Through our membership at the Yacht Club and a friend named David Shkor, we became involved with Hilton Head Heroes. They are the group that brings families with ill children to the Island for a week-long vacation at no cost. We are very humbled to be a little piece of those vacations. If a family wants to have a water experience, we are one of the available boats to take them out. We have had such wonderful times and met such wonderful families. We feel we should be grateful to them, rather than them being grateful to us. We are the ones being rewarded.
Pink: Your mother-in law-passed away recently. You and she were very close. Please share a story about her-she was quite a character?
Frances: Yes, she was. She lived in an apartment at Hawthorne Inn and just loved it. I never knew a person who was always so happy. I loved to take her places with me. She always was a hit with people. Shortly before she passed, she told us that she needed a couple of new bathing suits for the summer and a perm. We took her to Coligny Plaza where she bought two very cute bathing suits. She got her perm and was feeling ready for whatever. She passed soon thereafter. She was 91-years-old and ready for action every day. I lost my mother when I was very young and she was always like a mom to me. I am very lucky to have known and loved Mama Kay.
Pink: Talk a bit about your church life. I know Sonny is an Elder at First Presbyterian. How did you get started there?
Frances: Typical of Hilton Head, we were asked by a friend and the very first time we went, we felt right at home, like we were with a big family. We attend a contemporary service called Crossroads and we feel surrounded by joyful Christians. We worship from a sense of happiness. That is how it should be. Yes, that is how it should be. I have never known such a happy person. What an example for all of us who are fortunate enough to live in this beautiful area. Frances told me that she wakes up every morning looking forward to the new day. If that isn't Living La Vida Local, I don't know what is!