Google+ Georgia On My Mind: August 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes! Even You Can Become a Star!!!


The closest I ever came to being a star of stage and screen happened when I was nine or ten.   A friend of mine....Jeff Hightower...who I went to church with invited me along with another friend to WAGA-TV.....the forerunner of Fox Five Atlanta.....to be on the Mr. Pix Show, a popular children's show.

Back then kids dressed up to do something like that.  Jeff wore one of his spiffiest bow ties and Sunday-Go-to-Meeting jackets plus he had his crew cut standing at full attention.

I wore my favorite outfit at the time....a floral print shirt dress that had a matching hot pink knit overcoat that resembled a cape because while it had openings for my arms it also had one solitary button at the neck.  If I walked really fast and swishy the tail of the jacket/cape billowed out behind me

Seriously....it was the perfect dress to be wearing if I was to be "discovered."

If I remember correctly we were able to catch a glimpse of ourselves in the audience scenes when the episode finally aired, but I don't remember any of us getting to participate in any of the games, etc.

I guess we didn't have "it" whatever "it" happened to be.

These days, however, it's really easy to find yourself in a movie  or television show being filmed in the Atlanta area.    It seems something is going on all the time.

Not too long ago the Mister and I went to see the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Nah...I'm not pregnant....very far from it, but a friend of mine....Jeff Pike.....was in the movie along with his band.....the very popular A1A.    

I was amazed at how great the city of Atlanta looked in the movie.  The article at this link has the tag line "relatable story with gorgeous scenery" and I would have to agree.

The movie makes Atlanta look fantastic!

Scenes were filmed at Piedmont Park, Inman Park, Little Five Points and the Georgia Aquarium.  Smith's Olde Bar was featured along with Fulton County Airport at Charlie Brown Field.   Atlanta's Food Truck scene was given a prominent role, too.

It's fairly easy to keep up with all the television shows and movies being filmed in Atlanta and across the state as well.   You can keep up with the happenings "in the biz" by reading Radio and TV Talk with Rodney Ho. and most certainly check out the Casting Couch from DAVE-FM.

Another great source is On Location Vacations and it might be helpful to check out How to Become a Movie Extra in Atlanta.

Let me know if you land a role!!! 

As for me........I'm still waiting for my close up......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Woodrow Wilson: Atlanta Lawyer

From time to time a friend will ask me about my writing.

Questions concerning what I'm working on, what topics I'm researching, or what to expect next on with the blogs. 

It's nice to have friends and family  who are interested.

Last week I advised I was working on Woodrow Wilson's time in Atlanta.  

My friend was surprised and immediately said, "Wilson was in Atlanta????"

Yes!  Woodrow Wilson spent a year in Atlanta after he finished law school.   In fact, he arrived in    the city without an official stamp of approval from the bar.   He soon took the bar exam though....and passed.

In a letter to CharlesTalcott, a classmate and friend at Princeton on September 22, 1881 Woodrow Wilson gave his reasons for wanting to settle in Atlanta, Georgia after school.   

Wilson said, After innumerable hesitations as to a place of settlement, I have at length fixed upon Atlanta, Georgia.   It more than any other southern city offers all the advantages of business activity and enterprise.  Its growth during late years has been wonderful…And then, too, there seem to me to be many strong reasons for remaining in the South.   I am familiar with southern life and manners for one thing – and of course a man’s mind may be expected to grow most freely in his native air.  Besides, there is much gained in growing up with the section of country in which one’s home is situate, and the South has really just begun to grow industrially.   After standing still, under slavery, for half a century, she is now becoming roused to a new work and waking to a new life.  There appear to be no limits to the possibilities of her development; and I think to grow up with a new section is no small advantage to one who seeks to gain position and influence.

Upon arriving in the city of Atlanta Wilson set up shop partnering with Edward Ireland Renick, a former classmate.  Renick already had an office at 48 Marietta Street which was then known as Concordia Hall…..later the Ivan Allen Marshall Building at the the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets. 

Their office was on the second floor in the back.




The building was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the First Federal Savings and Loan building.

Renick was living in the home of Mrs. J. Reid Boylston, a widow, who lived at 344 Peachtree Street……on the west side of the street a little north of Pine Street.  Wilson moved in as well and was soon attending the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, too.

In his book, Atlanta and Environs, Franklin Garrett recalls the inauguration of Governor McDaniel and Wilson's take on the whole scene advising Governor Alexander H. Stephens had died and James S. Boynton of Griffin, President of the Senate, succeeded to the office until a special election could be held.  The Democratic Party met in April.   Henry D. McDaniel, a banker, railroad director, member of the House from Walton County was nominated.    

Garrett further advised that a young Woodrow Wilson witnessed the crowd assembling for the inauguration of Governor McDaniel from his office window.    The next day Wilson wrote a friend in Berlin:

Governor McDaniel was inaugurated yesterday.   As I sat here at my desk I could see from my office windows, which look upon the principal entrance of the big, ugly building which serves near Atlanta as a temporary capitol, the mixed crowds going in to secure seats in the galleries of the House of Representatives at the inauguration ceremonies.

They were probably not much entertained though they may have been considerably diverted, for our new governor cannot talk.   He stutters most painfully, making quite astonishing struggles for utterance.  

A Tennessean wag expressed great commiseration to Georgia in her poverty of sound candidate material, and offered to send some over from Tennessee for the relief of a state which was about to replace a governor who could not walk [Stephens] with a governor who could not talk.

McDaniel is sound enough in other respects, however, not remarkable except for honesty - always remarkable in a latter-day politician - but steady and sensible, all the harder worker, perhaps because he can't talk....

Apparently Georgia didn't mind the speech issue since they elected McDaniel and re-elected him with opposition in 1884.

Wilson gave Atlanta up in 1883 and enrolled at John Hopkins, but before leaving the city Wilson wrote, Here the chief end of man is certainly to make money, and money cannot be made except by the most vulgar methods.   The studious man is pronounced impractical and is suspected as a visionary.  Atlanta students of specialties – except such practical specialties as carpentering, for instance – are classed together as mere ornamental furniture in the intellectual world – curious perhaps and pretty enough, but of very little use and no mercantile value.

Interesting thoughts from from our 28th President.

I've written a little bit more about him and his time in Atlanta over at American Presidents Blog here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Farmhouse at Serenbe


Recently the Mister and I ventured down to Serenbe to eat at The Farmhouse restaurant.

I’m not going to waste a lot of your time by re-blogging things about the Serenbe Community that you might already know or that you can find out on your own by visiting the webpage for the community located in Chattahoochee Hills, but.....


To help you along a bit I will share this from the website….The settlement of Serenbe is found in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill Country.   The 40,000 acres of rural Georgia is about the size of Napa Valley, and is one of the last undeveloped stretches of land in the Atlanta area.  The founders of Serenbe realize that their largely untouched 1,000 acres presented a short window of opportunity for creating a community in a new better way.


And concerning restaurants….

At Serenbe, we believe in the power of food.  Families bond over meals, friends are made, and true communities are formed.  Serenbe founders Steve and Marie Nygren have a long history with food – Steve as a restaurateur and founder of the successful Peasant Restaurant Group; Marie as the daughter of Margaret Lupo, owner and chef of Atlanta’s famed Mary Mac’s Tea Room – and they knew that culinary arts should be at the heart of all that Serenbe has to offer.  Thus, Serenbe has become a dining destination featuring authentic restaurants and some of the best talent in the South.


Well, I have to agree.

We went to Sunday dinner at The Farmhouse which is located in the Inn at Serenbe.   


Sunday dinner resembles going to Grandma’s for  dinner after church.   There are no choices….just good food.   Well, I take that back.   We were able to choose fried chicken or the pork chop, but the sides came along as a surprise.  

Of course we chose the Fried Chicken Lunch which you can order on Saturdays or Sundays.

I was taken by the old farmhouse.   The wide porch reminded me so much of the turn-of-the-century home I grew up in down to the same type of gun-metal gray painted porch where I spent so much of my time playing and reading.

I mourn for that porch.....

I felt like I was going home to a certain extent.




Our table had a great view of the Inn's pool area......I have to come and stay here at some point.   I've put that on my "to-do" list, and hope I get around to it soon.




Once we were seated the waitress brought these lovely Sour Cream Chive Biscuits.  Later I looked for the receipe and happened to find Marie’s own recipe published on the web, so I recorded it for myself at my cooking blog here.




We started out with the Fried Green Tomatoes which were perfectly done.....



....and then the fried chicken arrived!!!!



The piece of chicken was huge…...  It was boneless and more like a huge chicken steak.   Each bite was a perfect fusion of crunch mixed with moist and tender chicken.   

The sides served up on the Sunday I happened to visit included  a cherry tomato relish type dish, potato salad, and the best zucchini casserole I’ve ever tasted.  

And of course, we had to try the Blueberry Cobbler with a little vanilla ice cream on the side for dessert because......

well, just because.





Heaven……….

All I needed afterward was a nice nap on that welcoming front porch.

You can find Marie Nygren’s blog here….and yes, I’m adding her to the blogroll. :)    

Are you friends with Georgia on My Mind on Facebook?   I hope so...but if not see the "like" box in the sidebar.   I've published a photo album there with more of my pictures I took while visiting Serenbe.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Willacoochee, Georgia


Most people had lawn ornaments of some type in their yards while they were growing up –statues, fountains, cement or wire borders around flower beds, or even the very Southern habit of using tires painted white as “lawn d├ęcor.”

I had a railroad track.  

Seriously.

Less than 500 feet from my front door was a very busy route that left Atlanta and headed towards Newnan, Grantville, etc.

No, we didn’t own it, but the track did border my yard and was a portion of my playground as the track served as my balance beam, I counted every car of every train that went by,  and allowing the train to flatten my supply of pennies was always a great way to pass the time.

For most of us the closest we will ever come to owning a railroad is the game of Monopoly.   Everyone has their favorite pieces of property to buy and hang onto.  For me…..it was the railroads.  I considered the game to be going well if I could snag all of the railroads, the utilities and of course – Park Place.

The town of Willacoochee, Georgia owns its own railroad and holds the distinction of being the first city in the state to own a railroad.   When the city received word the Georgia and Florida Railroad that ran through the city was going to be abandoned they purchased the 18 miles of track along with the right-of-way to Nashville, Georgia.

This has been a real boon to the industrial life for the little town of Willacoochee, and due in part to rail lines and a four-lane highway the town plays host to several different industries today.

Willacoochee.

Ever hear of it?    

Willacoochee…the town with the funny sounding name and the town that owns its own railroad  is located in Atkinson County.  Amazingly it’s referred to quite often in popular media by a few characters in movies and television shows.   The gym teacher featured on The Steve Harvey Show…..his mother owned land in Willacoochee while Mark Wahlberg’s character in the movie Jungle Fever was from Willacoochee.   Ossie Davis playing Wesley Snipes’ father in the movie Purify made reference to being born in Willacoochee and Mrs. Towner……a character in the movie Beauty Shop spoke of Willacoochee.

While the town’s name sounds like someone’s reference to a private body part it is thought to harken back to Indian days and means “Home of the Wildcat.”     The town has also been known as Danielsville….after a family who lived there.

The town is bordered by the Alapaha and Willacoochee Rivers.

One of the original settlers in Willacoochee was B.F. Summerlin who built a hotel where meals could be purchased of twenty-five cents.  

My….how times have changed.   Twenty-Five cents buys one piece of gum from a machine these days, doesn’t it?

During the 1930s sand was mined from the banks of the Alapaha River and shipped all over Georgia and Florida to construction sites.

Wait…..sand was shipped to Florida?     Seems kind of strange, but I guess our Georgia river sand was better for construction use than beach sand from Florida.

Getting back to those railroad tracks….

The railroad gave birth to the town of Willacoochee.   On November 12, 1889, the state legislature passed a law that provided the town’s boundaries as “one-half mile each way from the Brunswick and Western Railroad depot.”

It’s nice to know the town recognized the railroad gave them their start and they were willing to hang onto it to keep the town economy vibrant.

Vanishing South Georgia has a great picture of an old school at Willacoochee and the town’s history page can be found here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Blogs of the Storytelling Kind


I like a good story, don’t you?  

Growing up my sister and I would often end up hanging around the dinner table while our mother would tell us stories about growing up.  She had tales about riding her bike up and down the streets of the cotton mill village where she lived, she would tell us about spending most of her Saturdays at the movie theater in town, and there were stories focusing on the memories she had spending time on the family farm belonging to her grandmother a few miles outside of town.  

Once we grew up we talked Mother into transferring her verbal stories to paper, so that we would have a record of them after she was gone.    Today those spiral notebooks she left behind filled with her stories are gold to my sister and I.  

Storytelling is important but this article from Adweek says it far better than I can…

Stories define us.  Since early cave dwellers left their graffiti in Lascaux, listening to and telling stories have moved people.  Stories are powerful.   They give meaning and context to what would otherwise be a collection of easily forgettable facts.  Stories invoke the imagination so that listeners begin to own them almost as much as the teller.  In fact, there’s a growing body of research that points to the power of narrative not just as a way to engage people, but as the only way to change deeply entrenched views. 

All of this focus on storytelling is no accident…..

I’m adding a couple of brand new blogs to the Georgia Blogroll and both are authored by great storytellers.

Phil Hanson comes from a family of of storytellers.   He really had no choice considering Ludlow Porch was his father and Lewis Grizzard was his uncle. 
 
Can you imagine having both of those Atlanta icons in your family?

Phil has recently started a blog called Living in the Shadows of Greatness where he is already entertaining us with tales of being a Marine and what it was like growing up with Ludlow and Lewis.  His most recent tale regarding Hank the Gator is hilarious.

My second addition involves a blogger who used the dinner hour much like my own mother to fill his son’s heads with stories regarding growing up in the 1970s.  Now that his boys are grown he’s decided to use a blog to record and share his stories.   Visit Dinner Table Stories where one of my favorite stories is “Hey Preacher”.   Anyone who has tried to maintain a little decorum with their young children during church will relate to this story.

I welcome these two new Georgia bloggers to the blogroll, and I’m eagerly anticipating future stories.  
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