My name is James Lafon Quick Jr.
I was born on May 16, 1970, at Scotland Memorial Hospital. My father was Buddy “Boom Boom” Quick Sr. and my mother was Janet Quick. At the age of 17, she gave birth to me 16 weeks early. I was not supposed to live, but due to the diligence of Dr. William Purcell and the care I received, I beat the odds.
A few years later my mother and father had my baby sister, Jenny, while both working two jobs. Times were hard but with the help of family friends and neighbors we grew to become respectable citizens in our community. My grandparents were textile workers. My father began paving asphalt and worked to becoming the city engineer of Laurinburg. My mother worked in the lab at Scotland Memorial Hospital as a histotechnologist and taught dancing with Karen Jenkins School of Dance for fun and extra income.
Growing up, I was a Boy Scout in Troop 447 under the guidance of Mac and Fairley Guest and the lessons of Bill Reimer. I studied music under the direction of Elizabeth Weeks and the brilliant Hubert Bolin Owen during my Fighting Scot years.
A tumultuous divorce between my parents led me to escape by indulging in alcohol and other inappropriate activities, and I was expelled from SHS. I transferred to Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, graduating on time in 1988. I started at Sandhills Community College, then moved back to Laurinburg to study physics at Pembroke State University (now UNCP).
Between my junior and senior year, “Broadway at the Beach” opened its doors and was scouting a young band to play the Beach Music Cafe. I was an afternoon announcer at WLNC for the legendary Fred Fox while playing part-time in a beach band with my high school friends. We left school and began playing four shows a night, six nights a week, for nearly five years. The Coastline band (named after the Atlantic Coastline Railroad) took off, so we left our coastal community to tour the Southeast.
Coastline is now my passion and my career. The band tours and plays 250 shows per year all over the Southeast. But life as a music man has its share of hardships — I’ve had three failed marriages. Because of logistics for the band, I now live in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Even though the South Carolina coast is where I reside, my heart and home are still in Laurinburg. In fact, I still own (and pay city and county taxes on) my first home on Prince Street purchased when I was 22.
I still listen to WLNC and read every issue of The Laurinburg Exchange online. I can close my eyes at any given moment and smell the scent of the oak trees on Church Street after a rainstorm. I can taste the flat, pan-fried cornbread collard sandwiches at the John Blue Cotton Festival. I can feel the chill of a fall Friday night at the football game and smell the wool of the kilt I wore with pride. I may now be an outsider looking in, but this is not by choice, it is a necessity for my career.
During my young adult years, I watched morale decline in my hometown because of economic hardship, primarily due to industry and jobs leaving our once fruitful community. But I know our community can thrive again. I’ve toured the southeast United States for 25 years and I’ve seen a thriving small-town America work for its residents, even without big industry. It’s simple. Buy, live, and support “local” EVERYTHING! It may sometimes cost more but it will pay back tenfold. Build up small businesses and call on tourism.
Life is tough these days and we need our community more than ever. I don’t understand the division and the call for an uprising within ourselves as Laurinburgers. How is it possible that there was less racism in the 1980s during my SHS years compared to today? What happened? What does race, income or status have to do with the love of our home? There was always a respect, and we must return to it. We should not resent anyone. We should not judge or hate. We were raised and taught not to do that. Feeding clichés, hate and jealousy for spite or attention does nothing to help our community. Please don’t let loud, divisive voices speak for you. Don’t let a tornado in the front door to try and clean house.
I am not a doctor or a politician, and I’ve made my share of mistakes. But growing up in Laurinburg taught me hope, love, respect and support for my neighbors. Let those lessons lift us from the shadows of despair and resentment. For we are not to judge or complain. We are the ones who can show positivity and rebuild for ourselves and the following generations.
I am from Laurinburg and I couldn’t ask for a better village.
Jim Quick is an 18-time Entertainer of the Year and the front man for the Jim Quick and Coastline band.