SUMMERVILLE – Berlin Myers took a minute to think about it – the first time in nearly a half century he faced a ballot for mayor without his name on it.
“Oh, I don't know,” he said almost reluctantly this afternoon after voting in the morning. “Anybody who's done something for the last 45 years ...”
The week hasn't been good so far to the 94-year-old Summerville mayor. He had “a spell,” a Town Council member said, in church on Sunday and was taken to the hospital. He missed the Monday morning council finance meeting -- an event so nearly unprecedented that it left Mayor Pro Tem Ricky Waring a little at a loss. It was the first time that Waring, a longtime town worker as well as council member, could recall Myers not being at a meeting.
In fact, it was the first time the businessman mayor who kept his eye on the books had ever missed a finance committee meeting. He only missed two regular council meetings in his career, Myers said.
Summerville is his town as much as it's anyone's. His likeness is on that new sculpture outside Town Hall.
It was tough to let go, but at 94, he was resigned to it. When he took over the reins, Summerville was a sleepy country town of a few thousand people most of whom knew each other.
Today it's a bustling suburb nearly 45,000 people, with more moving in every day.
“Times are changing," he said. “Not just in Summerville but all over the world.”
The doctors checked him out from head to toe, he said. He evidently was dehydrated, he said.
Today, he seemed at ease. His social calendar has been nonstop since his announcement that he would not run for re-election. Everyone, it seems, wants to make a fuss over the mayor who ran the place with as little fuss as possible for most if not all of their lives.
Asked if he had been tired by it, he nodded. “Worn out.”
He was cleaning off his desk at the Berlin Myers Lumber Corp., a daily habit as he leaves for the afternoon. Today it's a little early; he's headed home to rest. He will be at his next-to-last council meeting Wednesday, he said. And he grinned.
“They told me I had to be,” he said.