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MAGAZINE

A Times-Herald Publication

The

ISSUE May/June 2011 | $3.95


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On Our Blog newnancowetamag.com

Special Features: Book giveaways

MAGAZINE Established 1995 A publication of The Times-Herald President Vice President

Contests

Publisher Editor

Links of local interest

Art Director Contributing Writers

William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson Sam Jones Angela McRae Deberah Williams Amelia Adams, Nichole Golden, Holly Jones, Katherine McCall,

Web extras you’ll find only online. Look for the computer icon throughout every issue to lead you to the special content at newnancowetamag.com.

Alex McRae, Elizabeth Melville, W. Winston Skinner, Kenneth R. Wilson, Martha A. Woodham Photography

Tara Shellabarger Circulation Director Sales and Marketing Director Advertising Manager

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FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, call 770.683.6397 or e-mail colleen@newnan.com. Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson St., Newnan, GA 30263. Subscriptions: Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in homedelivery copies of The Times-Herald and at businesses and offices throughout Coweta County. Individual mailed subscriptions are also available for $23.75 in Coweta County, $30.00 outside Coweta County. To subscribe, call 770.304.3373. Submissions: We welcome submissions. Query letters and published clips may be addressed to the Editor, Newnan-Coweta Magazine at P.O. Box 1052, Newnan, Georgia 30264. On the Web: www.newnancowetamag.com © 2011 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

A side porch at George and Missy Ballantyne’s home in Newnan features brightly colored geraniums against a backdrop of black porch furniture. – Photo by Katherine McCall 6 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE


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FEATURES 12 THE BELLE OF THE BALE Charlotte Nelson is getting a bumper crop of vegetables thanks to her unusual gardening method.

18 GARDEN GATE TOUR Pat and David Farmer will be joining their Lake Coweta neighbors in hosting the Master Gardeners’ Garden Gate Tour on May 14.

22 A GARDEN CONVERSATION George and Missy Ballantyne designed their Newnan home and garden to function as one.

30 RAILROAD GARDENING Norman Lundin and Jim Blevins are two local train aficionados whose passion for railroading extends to their gardens.

36 NO PANSIES ALLOWED A gardener by duty and not by choice, Kenneth R. Wilson consults a gardener friend for advice on gardening like a man.

40 THE WRIGHT TOUCH JoAnne Wright’s garden at White Oak is filled with roses, hydrangeas, jasmine and all sorts of colorful plants that strike her fancy.

60 MIMI IN THE KITCHEN Sisters Pam Beavers and Emily Craft decided to honor their mother’s memory by publishing a book of her favorite recipes.

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DEPARTMENTS 46 LOCAL HERITAGE Coweta homes and gardens remain some of the biggest springtime attractions for both locals and visitors.

48 THE THOUGHTFUL GARDENER The foxglove is a stunning springtime favorite with lots of legend and lore behind it.

52 SADDLE UP Jodie Jones of the Powers’ Crossroads community has taught dozens of local children to ride.

56 COWETA COOKS A family photo inspires memories of a favorite barbecue recipe.

In every issue 10 EDITOR’S LETTER 64 THE BOOKSHELF 65 INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 66 I AM COWETA


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From the Editor }

See you in the s a lover of all things tearelated, I last year began collecting plants related to tea. My friend Lynn in Asheville gave me a toughas-nails Camellia sinensis, the same tea plant that ends up in your Luzianne or your Lung Ching. My friend Deberah gave me a beautiful David Austin ‘Tea Clipper’ rose whose fragrance is almost as heavenly as its pale salmon pink petals. Somewhere I read that the Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ would do well in the southern garden, and so far this spring its sweet teacolored leaves are looking pretty perky. Over the winter I assumed the twiggy-looking Hydrangea serrata ‘Amacha,’ whose leaves are used in a Japanese tea, had not survived. Happily, I was wrong. Earlier this spring I planted seeds for Tea Time Four O’Clocks, Cup and Saucer Vine, Earl Grey Lavender and Zinger Hibiscus. The hibiscus blossoms will be used to make tea. I never knew combining these two hobbies – taking tea and gardening – could be so much fun. One reason I love to read about others who

enjoy gardening is that a garden is such a personal thing. Some gardeners plant with wild abandon, preferring a lush, almost wild garden. Others prefer order and symmetry, and I have seen some beautiful formal gardens in our county. Whichever sort of garden you prefer, this issue features such a variety of them you’re bound to be inspired. Whether it’s the trainthemed gardens favored by men with a passion for railroading, the straw bale garden that gives one Coweta gardener more produce than she can get rid of, or the gardens tended by local residents who have planted memories of home and family, there’s truly something for everyone. And that’s all I have time to write, for I need to go work – or is it play? – in my garden. Fondly,

Angela McRae, Editor angela@newnan.com

Tea-themed plants which will grow in this area include Camellia sinensis, the David Austin English rose ‘Tea Clipper,’ a ‘Sweet Tea’ heucherella and the Hydrangea serrata ‘Amacha.’

10 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE


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TheBELLEof the

Bale

By Alex McRae | Photos by Bob Fraley and courtesy of Charlotte Nelson

or as long as humans have roamed the planet, farming has been the ultimate way of getting back to your roots. But these days, growing your own food isn’t just down to earth. In some cases, it’s off the wall. Just ask Coweta’s Charlotte Nelson, who is bringing in bountiful backyard harvests without digging a spoonful of dirt. 12 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

Charlotte grows her green goodies in bales of straw. As her shovels, rakes and hoes gather cobwebs, Nelson just sits and watches her garden gush. She couldn’t be happier. “I’ve been astonished,” she says. “It opened up a whole new world for me.” Nelson grew up in the suburbs of Birmingham, Ala., and says her girlhood planting experience was limited to helping her mother tend the family flowers. “I didn’t do much, but some of the things I planted


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Charlotte Nelson gets some plants ready for this year’s crop she’s growing in bales of straw. The squash plants opposite are just some of the many that have thrived in her unique garden.

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The straw bale method of gardening has been quite successful for Charlotte Nelson, who calls herself “the Lazy Lady Gardener.” Below, her strawberries and tomatoes are already set for success.

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did fine,� she says. “I guess I had a little bit of a green thumb.� After she and her husband, Mike, earned teaching degrees, they moved to Stone Mountain to mold young minds. Nelson was too busy with work and starting a family to

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even think about gardening until the family moved to Coweta County in 1983 and bought a small spread on Hwy. 16. Mike was then working in the private sector. Charlotte stayed home to raise the family and supplemented the household income with substitute teaching assignments. She soon decided the time was right to stir the soil again. The flowers did fine, so Charlotte tried her hand at vegetables and was pleasantly surprised at her success with turnips, squash, tomatoes and a few other southern staples. When the plants weren’t growing, Charlotte didn’t sit on her hands and browse seed catalogs. One day she heard about an audition for on-air talent at a Carrollton radio station. Until then, Charlotte’s radio experience topped out at listening and

changing the channel, but she sent in a homemade audition tape and was shocked when she won the job. Her energy and bubbling personality made her an immediate hit, and she soon moved up to a bigger station in Columbus and eventually on to Atlanta’s Z-93 and Y-106. After several years behind the microphone, Charlotte turned to weekend radio work to accommodate a new full time job with the federal courts. “I was so busy I couldn’t keep up with myself,� she says. “But I was loving it.� By then the family had left the Hwy. 16 property behind and settled in a north Coweta subdivision. Charlotte continued to brighten the yard with flowers but hadn’t thought seriously about vegetables again until three years ago when she read

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At first Charlotte Nelson was worried about what the neighbors might think of her garden grown in straw bales. The results have more than pleased Nelson – and kept her friends and neighbors astonished with the yield.

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something that led her to the straw bale gardening idea. She decided to give it a try. Nelson started small, with 11 bales. To avoid curious looks from neighbors, she also started in the back yard, far from inquiring eyes and minds. She began preparing her first straw bales on April Fool’s Day 2009. She planted on April 11 and crossed her fingers and pale green thumbs. “I was nervous about it, you bet,” she says. “I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. But I had to try it.” When November rolled around and the rest of the neighborhood gardens were brown, weedy wastelands, Nelson was still harvesting fine, fat tomatoes. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I knew if I could do it, anybody could.” Charlotte’s first 11 bales

produced so much food she had a hard time giving the excess away to family, friends and clients of her new pet-sitting business, My Petz Nanny. She took the excess to the Coweta Surplus Vegetable Market and sold out on every visit. Nelson upped the ante last year and put out 51 bales, planting just about anything that grows in Georgia but peanuts. Everything thrived except the family pickup, which got a workout every weekend hauling excess produce to the vegetable market. In addition to eliminating hoeing and weeding, Charlotte swears the elevated bales discourage visits from vermin, especially the neighborhood rabbits. “Didn’t see a one the last two years,” she says. “They can’t get up there.” The only critter problem she’s

had so far involved a turtle Charlotte caught leisurely gnawing a cantaloupe after the plant got so big the fruit overflowed the bale and rested on the ground. After the beast was “relocated” the melons ripened unmolested once again. Charlotte can’t wait for her bales to burst with good eats again this year. She says anyone who is scared off by the “dirty” side of gardening needs to give her method a try. “This made it easy,” she says. “I call myself the Lazy Lady Gardener.” Someone so productive could hardly be called lazy. A better title might be Belle of the Bale. NCM For more information on Nelson’s straw bale gardening method, visit our blog at newnancowetamagazine.blogspot.com.

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Pat and David Farmer look forward to sharing their Lake Coweta gardens with the public on the Coweta County Master Gardeners’ Garden Gate Tour May 14.

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Story-filled

Garden By Elizabeth Melville | Photos by Bob Fraley

he gardens at Pat and David Farmer’s Lake Coweta property tell the story of their lives. The Farmers are the featured gardeners for the 2011 Coweta County Master Gardeners’ Garden Gate Tour in May and have agreed to share their story – and their beautiful landscape – with the community. “I have always loved plants; I love their stories,” says Pat Farmer. Her family nurtured an early appreciation for the outdoors. Her father owned a dairy farm on Posey Road and her mother can “make anything grow.” Her parents now live on Posey Road surrounded by the fruit of their labor. Pat became a Coweta Master Gardener shortly after settling in Coweta five years ago. She and her husband have lived and traveled all over. She is a retired executive from Johnson & Johnson and her husband – who is her garden “laborer” – is a retired lawyer. Together they have three children and five grandchildren. “Gardening is something Pat found peaceful, restful – a stress reliever,” says David. She quickly agrees, adding that it’s saved them a lot

of money in therapy. “My problem is that I’m an emotional, sentimental gardener,” says Pat. “I know the rules of landscape design, but I have a hard time following them.” There are rules. For example: Plants should be grouped in drifts; plants shouldn’t obstruct the view of your landscape; and don’t plant trees too near infrastructure. Pat has broken them all. She does follow one rule, though. “The goal of gardeners is to have something blooming all the time,” she says. Her Japanese magnolias are the first harbingers of spring. Her Virginia Bluebells and Bleeding Hearts bloom next. She grows mainly shade plants in her wooded backyard. She has sword ferns, hostas, azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas – most of which were propagated from little cuttings. She, like her mother, has the patience to watch them grow from the tiniest of plants – like the pine she brought home in kindergarten that has since grown into a full-fledged tree on her parents’ property. Pat decorates her gardens with meaningful art, like her “rock totem” assembled from rocks she’s collected from places she’s lived or visited. She also has a collection of special plants. David is quick to point out the cactus in their backyard. The two brought the plant home with them MAY/JUNE 2011 | 19


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Gate Tour SET FOR MAY 14 The Coweta County Master Gardeners will showcase Lake Coweta gardens at their Spring Garden Gate Tour May 14. Visitors will find gardens filled with lush plantings that extend to the water’s edge and discover new ideas to use in their own gardens. In addition to the Farmer garden at 280 Lake Coweta Trail, other gardens featured will include:

over a stream making it easier for the peacocks to traverse it. Suzy’s favorite spot is the naturalized area filled with ferns that were present when they moved here. Whimsical elements include an old plow and a mermaid. • CHARLIE SILER of 310 Lake Coweta Trail credits the design of his beautiful lakeside garden to his late wife, Betty. Stepping through the gate covered in wisteria and jasmine, guests will enter a garden filled with surprises intertwined with lush plantings. There is a water feature and koi pond, purple shamrocks surrounding a rose covered gazebo, and a root head from a bamboo plant adding textural and visual interest. A treasure trove of interesting objects – pots of many different shapes and sizes, a bicycle, a train and even a bed frame – all contribute to the ambiance of this most unusual garden.

• CECIL AND JUDY SNELL, 300 Lake Coweta Trail, who moved from Florida and have wholeheartedly embraced native Georgia plants. Visitors will see ferns, hostas, camellias, roses, azaleas, hydrangeas, swamp daisies and spiraea. Like many of the homes on Lake Coweta Trail, the backyard is terraced. English ivy and vinca minor were planted to control erosion along the hillside. A stairway made from railroad ties leads to the lake, and the walk to the pier is through a naturalized area. • DOUG AND CAROLYN MEADOWS, 6 Lake Coweta Trail, whose eclectic garden is filled with creative yet functional works of art. Doug took a blacksmithing course after retiring and has put his talent to great use. A stroll through the garden will reveal areas dedicated to family – the Grandma Margie Memorial crepe myrtle and the naturalized Peegee hydrangeas honoring grandchildren. Pixie loropetalums, Chinese abelia and a Japanese lace leaf maple provide color and interest. A special rose rescued from Texas is aptly named the Katy Road rose, and there are also raised beds filled with herbs and asparagus. • SUZY AND DENNIS RODE’S woodland garden at 20 Lake Coweta Trail is filled with surprises. A dry creek bed features hostas, ferns and hellebores. A surprising element showcases a cast iron plant underneath the deck. Fallen branches line the walk to the lake, and a tree branch forms a bridge

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This year’s tour is sponsored by Andy’s Nursery and Landscaping. Tickets are available at all Andy’s Nursery locations, Country Gardens, Snell garden Scott’s Book Store and the Coweta County Extension Office. Tickets cost $20 each with lunch included. Single garden tickets are available at each of the gardens for $5 (these do not include lunch). A shuttle at the Madras Middle School parking lot will be provided for easy access and traffic flow. Those with limited mobility are encouraged to go directly to the garden on tour. Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the shade garden at Andy’s Nursery, 915 Highway 16 East, Newnan. For more information, contact Cindy Bruce, Garden Tour Chairperson, by calling the Coweta County Extension Office at 770-254-2620. NCM

Meadows garden

– Photos by Steve Rydzewski


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from Aruba 43 years ago while on their honeymoon. “We were young and reckless then,” Pat says with an uninhibited giggle. Pat ordered an Irish Rosa rugosa after their trip to Ireland. She has an antique rose bush from Katy Road in Houston, Texas, where she once lived. The Farmers bring the beauty of the world to their backyard. Visitors are greeted by a lush array of colors. Figs, tomatoes and thyme are palate pleasers. There are the smells from her herb garden – the mint and lemon balm, particularly – their Spanish and English lavender plants – which fondly remind the Farmers of their trip to Provence, France – and their wonderfully fragrant tea olive tree. There are outdoor chores to do year-round. Pat doesn’t work in the dead of winter or summer. Other than that, “I’m busy 100 percent of the time.” When the Farmers relocated from Washington, D.C., to Newnan five years ago, their home’s hardscaping was already in place. “It had good bones — I just filled in the beds,” says Pat. The front of their home “had a lot of potential,” and quickly became home to islands of red Knockout roses, among other plants. The backyard posed a challenge because the slope of the hill causes rain to wash nutrients out of the soil. Pat realized she had to create stops and designed her gardens as a series of terraces leading to the lake. She also has a rain garden that puddles and then slowly disperses the water to the surrounding wildlife. What was once a dry creek bed now contains rocks that impede water’s natural flow. “And we’re not even remotely finished,” says Pat.

Pat Farmer designed her Lake Coweta garden as a series of terraces leading to the lake.

Of all the plants the Farmers have cultivated, gardenias are Pat’s favorite. “They have beautiful, shiny leaves and wonderful flowers,” says Pat. “They grow here beautifully –

plus, everybody in our family has carried them at their wedding.” At the end of a long day of gardening, the Farmers relax in their swing by the lake. They’ve learned to stop and smell the roses. NCM

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In the with the Ballantynes Story and photos by Katherine McCall

eorge and Missy Ballantyne moved to Newnan in 1988 for George to begin practicing as an orthopedic surgeon at the PAPP Clinic. In 1997, through a series of fortunate events, they were able to purchase three lots in their neighborhood and build their “forever” home. From the beginning, they envisioned a blending of the house and yard. The house and gardens have grown as their four children have grown through the years. Missy and George have always enjoyed planting together and their 22 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

garden is a charming portrait of them, expressing their individual strengths and interests.

NCM: As I stood in each room of your house, the first thing I noticed about the garden is that it is an extension of your home. There is a wonderful sense of the outdoors inside. Does every room open into the yard or the porch?

MISSY: Yes, almost! George’s father was a head and neck cancer surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer


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Clematis blossoms color the landscape at the Ballantyne garden. Blueberry bushes, opposite, border one of the larger areas of the garden.

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Center in Houston who loved plants and had his own greenhouse. He especially liked plants that “did something,” and he passed his passion on to George. When we built our house, George had the vision that the house and yard would be considered as one. The view from inside the house is so important. We also wanted

24 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

the style of the garden in keeping with the house.

NCM: Why don’t we talk as we walk through the yard. Can we leave the house through the living room French doors? I’m dying to see your side porch that overlooks the pool and those geraniums with your black


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A clematis covered arch accents a pathway in the Ballantyne garden.

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MISSY: After the house was built,

furniture – what a statement!

MISSY: I have planted geraniums in those pots for the past 14 years. I have changed the colors, but I think I like this combination of the hot pinks and oranges best. I purchase the plants every year at Coweta Greenhouses. They get lots of bright, diffuse light, and I fertilize a lot.

Post (Properties) laid out the beds for ... you know us. They basically made an outline, everything in. gardening is so much andThisweparthaveoffilled the yard is off the and you see it as you like painting; you use kitchen, come up our drive so it is a focal area. At one end is the your plants to provide stone patio and fireplace, and the other end is anchored by a color, texture and beautiful Japanese maple. Again, George had the vision for the contrast. structural elements of the yard and has

NCM: For geraniums, I think fertilizer is the key. Now that we are in the yard, I can see that you have done a beautiful job of taking large areas and breaking them up into rooms. How did you plan this? Color is prominent in Missy Ballantyne’s garden, opposite, whether it’s the bright geraniums on the porch or the flowers and shrubs in the garden. She is fond of a very full look in her flower beds.

planted azaleas, dogwoods, foundation hollies, viburnums, roses and Japanese maples. My part is to fill in with the smaller annuals and perennials like lavender, daylilies, creeping jenny, rudbeckia, peonies, dahlias and zinnias.

NCM: OK, I see this “room� is connected by a hallway (a stone path) to another “room.� You’ve done some very interesting contrast plantings of foliage

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Missy Ballantyne says she is in her garden almost every day changing things. “I’m always playing with it,” she says.

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colors. Your garden is not all about blooms. What are the plants here?

MISSY: Yes, you know gardening is so much like painting; you use your plants to provide color, texture and contrast. This path is bordered with creeping jenny and lavender. The larger area is bordered with our blueberry bushes and hydrangeas. Many of these hydrangeas are ones I bought for table decorations for a senior graduation party and then planted.

Many of these hydrangeas are ones I bought for table decorations ... and then planted. Through the arch is one of my favorite areas because I love to have flowers to bring into the house. We have several raised cutting beds where we have dahlias and zinnias. Then across from the cutting beds is the pool area where there is a profusion of color in the summer. Many times I just throw seeds out into those beds. I like it full of summery things.

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Railroad

GARDENING Trains and gardens combine for a unique hobby By Elizabeth Melville | Photos by Bob Fraley and courtesy of Norman Lundin t’s a well-known fact that boys like impressive garden railroad and four rooms of interior trains, and Coweta’s Norman Lundin layouts in their basement. and Jim Blevins are no exception. Their garden railroad features Burlington Northern Lundin developed an early affinity for and Baltimore and Ohio engines. They have a whole locomotives. That affinity has grown collection of radio controlled and track powered steam into a passionate hobby that he shares engines. The idea to create a garden railroad came about with his wife, Ann. Their home is when they grew frustrated that only moss would grow evidence of that growing hobby. in their front yard. Norman Lundin got his first Lionel “It was always an eyesore,” said Norman. train set in 1946, when he was a young At the time, the Lundins couldn’t successfully grow boy. tomatoes, and so they decided to become Master “I’ve been involved in trains ever since,” said Gardeners. Lundin. “We wanted to make sure we were doing Norman and Ann purchased their this in a meaningful way,” said first brass locomotive set – an Lundin. HO scale, for train collectors It took a decade to – while they were engaged. construct the impressive At the time, Norman line around their 200was an architect on year-old water oak active duty in the tree. The trains run U.S. Air Force. on trestles that In 1992, they Lundin designed moved from and built by hand. Colorado to They travel over a Coweta County to koi pond – home settle down. Two to Goldie, Spot and years ago, they retired Speckles – and past and have dedicated tiny towns of people. themselves to their Miniature plants pastime. line the tracks. Lundin The Lundins’ Sullivan selected them because they A streetscape in Norman Road home now has an will remain in scale to the Lundin’s garden railroad

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When Norman and Ann Lundin found the only thing that would grow in their front yard was moss, they decided to turn the landscape into a garden railroad.


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Norman Lundin, at right, shows a section of his extensive indoor layout. Lundin got his first Lionel train set in 1946, when he was a young boy. "I've been involved in trains ever since," he says. Below, wife Ann Lundin controls the outdoor garden trains with a remote hand device.

The Lundins are constantly battling squirrels, fire ants and endless amounts of leaves in the winter.

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buildings. In the spring, their railroad is marked by pops of color, compliments of Ann. “April is when it’s most beautiful here,” he adds. But that beauty comes with a lot of hard work. “There is a lot of work to a garden railroad,” said Lundin. “There’s so much more you have to know about than just trains – there’s railroading, gardening, and you have to know about laying track, electricity and the science behind the ecology of koi ponds.” The railroad itself is tough to maintain and has to be constructed to weather the elements. The tracks are made of brass so they won’t rust. The Lundins are constantly battling squirrels, fire ants and endless amounts of leaves in the winter. That hard work is worth it for the Lundins – especially when their five grandchildren visit from Vermont. Inside the Lundins’ basement are their elaborate interior layouts, which span four rooms and take products and tiny travelers on HO scale trains from Coos Bay, Oregon to Grants Pass. The interior layouts are impressive even though they remain a work in progress. The Lundins belong to two train societies, the Garden Railroad Society of Georgia and the Piedmont National Model Railroad Association. Jim Blevins met Norman Lundin through a train society and the two bonded over their mutual fascination with trains. Blevins and his wife, Sandra, have lived in Coweta since 1965. Jim’s fondness for trains “goes way back.” As a kid, he lived close to a railroad. “I was just on the railroad all the time,” said Blevins.

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Jim Blevins enjoys railroad gardening like his friend Norman Lundin, whose garden features smallscale shrubs, above, and a koi pond, opposite. Blevins, below, is also the proud owner of an M19 railway motor car. He and Lundin recently took an overnight trip to south Georgia in the vehicle.

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After he retired from United Airlines in 2000, he “got one train and just kept adding and adding and adding.� He discovered garden railroads at a train show about seven years ago. He cautions that you can’t go to a train show and not buy something – and in his case, that proved to be true. Sandra was quite surprised when her husband began construction on a garden railroad in their front yard. “I really enjoy all things railroad,� says Jim. Blevins soon branched out and bought a Speeder – more commonly known as a railway motor car. These were used historically to inspect rails and haul employees and their tools. Jim purchased his M19 motor car from a man in Coweta who had four.

Motor cars aren’t allowed on major railroads, but enthusiasts have endless options for railroad excursions. Blevins and Lundin recently took an overnight, 170-mile trip in south Georgia from Pitts to Bainbridge on

the motor car. The car can reach speeds of 22-25 mph – anything over that is a rough ride. Blevins’ car is belt-driven and starts with a crank. The operator controls the speed of the car. In order to reverse, Blevins has to stop the car and crank the engine backward. Turning the car around on the tracks can be a little tricky, but newer models have been fitted with turntables. “You see stuff on the railroad that you don’t see anywhere else, like the back side of town – the other side of town,� said Blevins. Blevins and Lundin agree that train hobbies are what you make of them. They have, at times, invested much time, money and energy in their hobby – and they wouldn’t have it any other way. NCM

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NO

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Local writer and Cole Town resident asks landscape designer for advice on how to garden like a man By Kenneth R. Wilson | Illustration by Sheri Wilson

’ve never gardened, but worked the land in other ways. I’ve mowed the lawn, a chore involving more beer than dirt. I’ve cut firewood. That’s where I’d tinker with a chainsaw until it started, cut halfway through a log, break the chain, and spend the rest of the day drinking beer. I’ve also spent 100-degree days atop a big green tractor in a hay field, but I’ve never gardened. I’d always viewed gardening as a hobby, like hunting and coin collecting. Then, I bought a small cottage on East Broad Street in Newnan. The previous owner, a gardener, left behind shrubs, flowers, trees, and thorny bushes that I assume are roses. It may have been the previous owner’s hobby, but it quickly became my responsibility. My wife’s allergies drastically limit her desire and ability to work in the yard, so I’m charged with 36 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

maintaining order in our Georgian jungle. Now with a yard full of vegetation taking on a Dunaway Gardens, circa 1998, vibe and an anemic tool shed containing only basic implements (push mower, weed whacker, shovel, rake and pickaxe), I decided to call a green-thumbed friend and beg for help. Sarah Carter Roberts, a Peach State native, is a landscape designer at Garden*Hood in Atlanta, but that’s hardly descriptive of her experience. She’s a former Curator of Herbaceous Plants and Outdoor Gardens at The New York Botanical Garden where she designed a single display containing 75,000 bulbs and went on a seed-collecting expedition to the Republic of Georgia. She holds a degree in Horticulture from Berry College and graduated with distinction from the Garden Design School in the United Kingdom. She is currently working with the Atlanta History Center to catalog their native plant collection. When asked what essential tools an aspiring gardener needs to start gardening, Sarah rattles off a


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Landscape Designer Sarah Carter Roberts advises her friend Kenneth R. Wilson of Newnan. MAY/JUNE 2011 | 37


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list of items. Some have names that sound like crude heart-surgery instruments. The first item she blurts out is a pair of “hand-held bypass pruners.” She recommends those made by the Swiss manufacturer Felco. The Felco 2 model is a professional-quality pair of pruners, capable of cutting oneinch limbs. Like a Home Depot stockholder, Sarah recommends three different shovels: A border spade, a flat-blade shovel and a pointed-blade shovel. The border spade is a finesse tool, typically with a sharp edge for cutting through turf. It’s also handy for transplanting and negotiating tight spaces. A pointed-blade shovel is a run-of-the-mill shovel. A flat-blade shovel isn’t so much used for digging, but it is perfect for shoveling sand and scraping debris from driveways and sidewalks.

Sarah refuses to recommend a leaf blower. “They are noise pollution,” she says. With a glance toward my gut, she adds, “And using a rake is good exercise.” Despite additional prodding to create a power tool wish list, Sarah finally admits her reservations about my use of power tools. “People can get a little too happy with a power tool and tend to prune off way more than they should. If using a hand tool, you will plan your cuts more conservatively.” I mention my love for the reciprocating saw and she cringes, but admits to using one to cut roots and branches. Although not a fan of power tools, Sarah does tout the virtues of the chipper shredder. Now I’ve seen the movie Fargo, and I know what that wonderful machine, unlike bypass pruners and border spades, can do. Fortunately for

Although not a fan of power tools, Sarah does tout the virtues of the chipper shredder. Now I’ve seen the movie Fargo, and I know what that wonderful machine, unlike bypass pruners and border spades, can do.

38 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

cellphone-happy drivers on I-85, Sarah suggests a small unit for home use. After the stress-relieving chore of chipping and shredding, Sarah says to toss the debris into a compost tumbler. Basically a barrel with legs, a compost tumbler is necessary for the environmentallyconscious gardener. On the green scale, it’s somewhere between dragging the blue recycle bin to the curb and buying a Toyota Prius. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are readily available at home improvement stores. Sarah explains that men are traditionally drawn to woody plants. She describes the garden equivalent to the man-cave as being “focused on form and shape, with trees, shrubs and good hardscaping.” Men especially love “hardscaping,” a term referring to patios, walkways, retaining walls and the like. Wisely, Sarah suggests lowmaintenance shrubs and perennials for my garden. Swamp Mallow is a type of hibiscus, perfectly suited for a low spot in the yard that retains moisture. According to Sarah, guys like the monkey puzzle tree with its squiggly and tangled branches that look like evergreen ropes. She says it makes a great “specimen plant,” meaning “a conversation piece.” But before bringing in new plants, she agrees that it’s best to get the current situation under control. So, armed with a pair of bypass pruners and three different shovels, it’s time to act. There are flower beds to clean, shrubs to prune, and hardscapes to install. I’m a reluctant gardener with a duty, not a hobby. But with a little persistence, I may learn to love my landscape. NCM


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SARAH CARTER ROBERTS’

Don’t fight nature. Match site conditions with the appropriate plants. If you have low wet areas, utilize plants that prefer boggy conditions rather than try to fix the drainage. If you have a baking hot dry landscape, try succulents and southwestern plants that won’t require constant watering. There’s an amazing variety of plants out there – there are always a couple of options no matter what the conditions you have to work with.

Learn what grows well for you, and grow lots of it! If you find there are a couple of plants that seem to thrive in your garden, repeat them throughout your landscape where you have similar conditions. Repetition brings order and harmony to a garden. At the same time you’ll be limiting the quantity of different plants you’ll need to learn how to maintain.

have multiple seasons of interest. Don’t be shy – mass 7, 11, 15 or more of the same plant.

Don’t underestimate the power of mulch. Keep a few inches of pine straw or fine bark mulch over the soil around your plants. It keeps the soil warmer in winter (preventing loss due to frost heave or cold damage), cooler in the summer (retaining moisture so you can water less frequently), and blocks light from weed seeds (helping prevent them from germinating.)

Utilize bulbs. Planting bulbs between perennials and

don’t have time for the carefully controlled chaos of a cottage style garden, try using bold sweeps of perennials that

around shrubs will give you a huge boost of color at a time of year when nothing else is blooming. Daffodils and perennial tulips are great between leafy perennials that will cover their yellowing foliage in late spring. Crocus, scilla, muscari and similar small bulbs can be utilized under and around deciduous shrubs. Alliums and species gladiolus bring later spring and summer color and because of their narrow habit can easily fit between other perennials.

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The

WRIGHT Touch

By Angela McRae | Photos by Bob Fraley and Angela McRae oAnne Wright says she has lived in White Oak for almost six years now, but the appearance of her lavish garden makes you wonder if perhaps she’s forgotten to count a decade or so. All of this in just six years? She insists it is so. JoAnne is no stranger to local garden lovers, and they know she’s performed this sort of magic before 40 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

at other Coweta properties where she’s lived. Three years ago these gardens were already impressive enough that she was asked to open them for a garden tour, but JoAnne will never be finished with her gardening work. She’s not afraid to break a few rules along the way either. At the front of the house are some lush hellebores she moved here from the Welcome community. Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, are shade-loving plants, but JoAnne gave them a home in full sun because


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that’s what was available at the time. “It needed to get in the ground” right then, JoAnne says, and her happy hellebores obviously aren’t complaining. Behind the house is a sweeping panaroma of plants she installed around the creek there. The brilliant hues of Siberian iris can be seen from the bridge spanning the creek. The spiderwort was found by the side of the road near her parents’ old church in South Georgia. On such travels, JoAnne has no problem just pulling over, hopping out of the car and grabbing her shovel. “I always keep a shovel in my vehicle,” she says. Color is everywhere in this garden, whether it’s the brilliant red of her Knockout roses – she has 150 of them – or the delicate yellows, blush pinks and purples of her iris beds in the front lawn. Earlier this spring, her mailbox was awash in the deep magenta of a clematis which has been performing well. Soon other colors will arrive, such as the deep, rich red of Asiatic lilies, the bright yellow of jasmine and yarrow, and the violet hues of the plumbago. JoAnne and Hubert Wright live on a golf course, but ironically neither of them golfs. Hubert cuts the grass and volunteers to do some edging and trimming, JoAnne says. She also has a fast helper in her grandson, Josh Rogers. After growing up watching his gardening grandmother, who once had a garden design business called The Garden Path, he’s now doing landscaping jobs of his own which he calls Garden Path Landscapes. JoAnne occasionally does some garden design work for him. The family fondness for gardening goes back quite a few generations. JoAnne’s family still

Decorative seating areas, opposite and above, are strategically placed throughout JoAnne Wright’s garden.

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owns the 200-acre farm in South Georgia where she grew up as the oldest of five children. She still has the Reader’s Digest article back from when her father was honored as the cotton grower who’d had the highest yield that year. Cotton and peanuts were some of the big crops back then, but today she’s all about flowers, especially perennials.

42 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

She likes iris and daylilies, and she comes from a long line of hydrangea lovers. One of the shadier areas of the back yard, which she calls Mother’s Garden, has lots of hydrangeas, a flower loved by her mother, father and JoAnne’s grandparents before them. Although she is a Master Gardener and has designed gardens for herself and others,


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The White Oak garden of JoAnne Wright features 150 Knockout roses, a pergola dripping with jasmine, and a shade garden planted with the hydrangeas favored by several generations of her family.

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Bright red Asiatic lilies, at top, and magenta clematis, at right, are just a few of the plants JoAnne Wright likes to grow.

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Come Grow With Us!

JoAnne says she really doesn’t have a wish list of plants. “If I see something that I like, I just get it.” The beauty of her garden has not gone unnoticed by the golfers, who occasionally stop to admire the plantings, but all they do is look. “You know, they will not go into the flower bed to pick up their golf balls,” she says. Would she mind if they did? “No, they’re welcome to,” she laughs.

“I just fell in love with being able to share things with people.”

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“Last year we had one of the graduating classes come make pictures in the garden,” JoAnne says, noting that she enjoys sharing her garden with others. It was back in the nineties when JoAnne’s garden was first featured in a magazine article and she began to be approached about being on garden tours. “I just fell in love with being able to share things with people,” she says. JoAnne, who has worked as an interior decorator in the past, has designed her garden with numerous seating areas, although she notes that she rarely sits down in them. There is one spot, beneath a pergola dripping with jasmine, where she likes to drink her coffee. She has decorated her garden with statuary, birdhouses and architectural accents, each one perfectly placed and without any appearance of clutter. “You just kind of decorate your garden – I do – like you do your home,” she says. NCM

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Local Heritage } This brick walkway on LaGrange Street was installed prior to a long-ago tour of homes.

Coweta’s

Gardens &Homes offer authentic Southern flavor By W. Winston Skinner rs. Pat Glover was one of my favorite people when I was a young reporter in Newnan. Stylish and witty, she had married into one of Newnan’s prominent families. She also was a social worker who cared about the needs of poor people – a person of great empathy but also of much laughter. She loved her historic home, Buena Vista, which is now the residence of Mike and Leah Sumner. She told me once about a tour of homes held in Newnan more than half a century ago. I’m not sure what charitable group sponsored the event, but “Miss” Pat was delighted that the committee wanted Buena Vista, which had been General Joe Wheeler’s headquarters during the Battle of Brown’s Mill and merited a mention in Medora Field Perkerson’s iconic White Columns in Georgia. The Glovers discovered what subsequent generations of owners of historic homes learned – an invitation to be on the home tour means bumping up the completion date for several projects. One of the projects at Buena 46 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

Vista was placement of an inviting brick walkway from the front porch to LaGrange Street. When businessman Tom Glover suggested – after the tour was over – that it would have been cheaper for him to write a check to the charity, his irrepressible wife responded, “Oh, but we had so much fun.” Tours of homes and gardens are fun. When Lynn and I were engaged, my parents’ home was on the NewnanCoweta Historical Society’s annual spring tour. My brother, Rhodes, enjoyed pointing to a bed and telling visitors, “George Washington slept here,” adding later that the bed belonged to our grandfather, George Washington Skinner. Some years later, Barbara Tumperi asked Lynn and me to have our antebellum cottage on the candlelight tour. I remember the night fondly – seeing lots of old friends and meeting many other nice folk. I also remember the differing reactions of our cats. One lay on the couch and let people pet her, while the other hid on the stairwell and peered out periodically in fright. Lynn and I have been docents when other folks agreed to have their homes on display. I particularly recall


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Linda Trammell, above at left, stands in the foyer of Cedar Hill at a 1978 home tour. Visitors pause in the kitchen at Cedar Hill, center, and at right is homeowner Sara Jane Skinner.

a shift at the Sport home when their girls were little and Lynn and I traveling to Luthersville when the home of my Uncle Bob and Aunt Menlia Trammell was on the tour there. Coweta County is filled with beauty spots that include lots of history and plenty of natural beauty, too. In addition to the organized tours of homes and gardens in spring and winter, there are driving tours that take visitors and local residents through neighborhoods where there are houses with columns and gingerbread – as well as gardens with typical Southern plantings and more exotic trees, shrubs and flowers. Coweta has two gardens that welcome visitors regularly. Both are in northern Coweta. Oak Grove surrounds an antebellum home south of Palmetto. Just south of Roscoe, Dunaway Gardens, a rock garden dating at least to the 1920s, has been beautifully restored. I am told 40,000 visitors per year visit Dunaway. I am well aware that lawns, gardens and plantings are part of the home tour process. I know Lynn and I give extra thought to our front yard on the years when the tour is in our neighborhood. I have seen people on tour weekend driving down Temple Avenue slowly – just enjoying the ambience created by the homes and

the crape myrtle, dogwood, gardenias and camellias. My good friend Pam Mayer, who is the visitor center coordinator for the Coweta County Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells me gardens ride along with homes when it comes to attracting visitors. “It ties in with the homes. Springtime is just beautiful here with the dogwoods and the daffodils,” she said – adding that beautiful lawns and garden spots set off Coweta County’s historic homes to perfection. Newnan has an abundance of historic neighborhoods with homes from the 1820s forward. There are plenty of historic homes – examples of a wide range of architectural styles – along rural roads and in every Coweta town. Housing stock that once might not have been seen as historic may be today. Well built homes in former mill villages across the county have survived – by decades – the companies that built them. The more compact housing built after World War II for the families of returning servicemen now meet age criteria for National Register of Historic Places listing. Visitors “still want to see our homes,” Pam says. She explains “that’s what people want to see whether they’re from Pennsylvania” or just a county or two away.

Folks have a hunger for “that Southern charm,” Pam relates, and local homes fit the bill. Whether it’s intricate gingerbread, antebellum columns or huge logs that form a pioneer cabin, Coweta has them all. Surrounding them are boxwoods, dogwood and every color of flower as the seasons change. NCM

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Story and photos by Katherine McCall

hen early spring begins to throw on her gaudy garments and the earth shimmers in brightness, it will not be long before the spires of the foxglove begin to dance in the back of the perennial border. Since the time of Edward III, these unusual towers of bell shaped blooms have inspired flights of fancy among even the most staid people. Indeed, the common name of foxglove refers to its association with fairies; it is thought to be a corruption of “folk’s glove,” meaning the wee folk or fairies. If we suspend our disbelief momentarily, enter the world of the fairies, and sit under the broad hairy leaves of the foxglove, we can learn lessons in geography, history, science, Latin, love and literature. For in all good fairy tales, there are truths and lessons to be learned for adults and children. Latin lays the foundation upon which the rest of our

assignments will stand. As the introduction in Bill Neal’s Gardener’s Latin reminds us, it helps to “... know with more certainty which plants are which and about plant histories, native habitats, and growing requirements.” The Latin name consists of two words. The first word, which is capitalized, is the genus and is a Latin noun in the nominative singular. The second word, the species, is an adjective modifying the noun. The common foxglove is Digitalis purpurea. Digitalis is derived from the masculine singular form digita’tus which means “hand-like; fingered; shaped like an open hand.” Purpurea means purple. Throughout history, the foxglove has been the quintessential cottage garden bloom. Cottage gardens have flourished since colonial times in the United States, especially enjoying a resurgence in the late 19th century and up until today. Foxglove has been a mainstay, adding height and color to these old fashioned gardens. Here, like a spring vine, geography

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becomes intertwined with history. Although foxglove was popular in American gardens, it is not a native. It began as a wildflower in Europe, Asia and Africa. Each geographical area has its own name for this distinctive flower. The English call it foxglove or finger-flowers because the bloom resembles the fingertips of gloves. Northern Europeans call the flower fox-bell. In France it is known as le gants de Notre Dame (the gloves of the Virgin) and in Germany fingerhut for thimble. These imaginative names combined with the unusual nature of the flower have inspired stories and

legends throughout literature. Poetry was particularly well suited for the foxglove, and it appears numerous times in a wide array of works including The Botanic Garden by Erasmus Darwin (1791), John Keatsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Poetical Works (1821), Coleridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Keepsake (1817), The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott (1810) and works by Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti and William Wordsworth.


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In science, the botany of the foxglove is particularly interesting. The foxglove has long been used as an herbal remedy but carefully because all parts of the plant are poisonous. Digitalis, a heart medication, is derived from the foxglove. In the late 1700s an English physician, Dr. William Witherington, documented his clinical experience with foxglove. In his studies he treated a young woman who was an artist, and Witherington would collect flowers for her to paint. Eventually the two fell in love and were married. So thorough and complete were his observations on digitalis that his text continues to have scientific value today. Foxglove is a biennial which means that its life cycle takes two years to complete. The first year of a

biennialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life produces leaves, stems and roots which then require a cold period, called vernalization, before blooming the following spring. In A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve gives an enchanting description of the reproduction method of the foxglove: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Foxglove is a favourite flower of the honey-bee, and is entirely developed by the visits of this insect. The projecting lower lip of the corolla forms an alighting platform for the bee, and as he pushes his way up the bell, to get at the honey which lies in a ring round the seed vessel at the top of the flower, the anthers of the stamens which lie flat on the corolla above him, are rubbed against his back. Going from flower to flower up the spike, he rubs pollen thus from one blossom on the cleft stigma of another blossom, and thus

the flower is fertilized and seeds are able to be produced. An almost incredible number of seeds are produced, a single Foxglove plant providing from one to two million seeds to ensure its propagation.â&#x20AC;? Here in Coweta County, in our little postage stamp of place and time, foxglove beautifully enhances our borders whether as a single specimen or massed. It does well in lightly shaded areas with regular water and well drained soil. The Southern Living Garden Book recommends six species in addition to the common foxglove. They also suggest setting out new transplants each year in early summer or autumn. Fairies, bees, a doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dedication, poetic words and Latin ... all residing in those towering spires blooming in the back of your border. NCM

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Breezy Acres Farm By Martha A. Woodham | Photos by Bob Fraley

Ron Jones was on a horse the first time he and wife Jodie Jones met as teenagers. Today their Breezy Acres Farm is a training ground for horses of all breeds and types at Powers’ Crossroads.

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odie Jones didn’t get involved with horses until she had already discovered the “B” word dreaded by all parents of teenage daughters – boys. “My sister, Norma, took riding lessons from age 12, but I didn’t start riding until I was 17,” Jones recalls of growing up in Ohio. “I already had a car and had noticed boys. My mom wishes she had introduced me to horses sooner.” As the mother of any horse-crazy girl knows, horses are boy insurance. Riding is a great sport that will totally engross a teen, and Jones fell in love with it, riding her sister’s Arab stallion, Don Lalio, for pleasure. Horses led her to her husband, Ron, who was on a horse the first time they met as teenagers. At a young age, Ron Jones was an experienced competitor at barrel racing and gymkhanas. He had ridden since he could walk. Horses also led the Joneses to this part of Georgia. When Ron mustered out of the U.S. Marine Corps 23 years ago, they settled in Griffin, where they had relatives. “We didn’t purchase our first horse until our daughter was about 5, and we decided we wanted to get back into having

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Here Jodie and Ron Jones are working with, on horseback, student Jennifer Brinton, student Emilee Brinton and daughter Brigette Jones.

54 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

horses,” says Jones. “But we wanted more acreage so we could have horses for all of us.” Seventeen years ago, they found 20 acres at Powers’ Crossroads and before she knew it, Jones was in the horse business, teaching riding lessons (in Western and English riding styles) and raising children and American Quarter Horses. The family focused on preserving old bloodlines. Their stallion, Mr. Show Dude, was the grandson of an American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame member, Blondy’s Dude. “Dude” was a Foundation Quarter Horse with a heart of gold who performed in everything from western pleasure to barrels and parades. A photo on the Breezy Acres website shows Jones riding Dude in the Newnan Christmas parade, her son Dustin, then 6, perched behind her. “Of all the breeds I’ve worked with, Quarter horses are the most level-headed and versatile,” says


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Jones, who also has trained Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas and Missouri Fox Trotters. “They are so level, calm and dependable. I’ve never been real picky about breeds, because they all have their pluses, but everyone has their favorite.” Although Dude has gone to horse heaven, his spirit lives on in his progeny, and many of Jones’ eight horses carry the Dude name and personality. Raising horse babies has been a pleasure to Jones. “I love the training,” she said, estimating that she has introduced 25 horses to the saddle. Most have gone on to compete successfully under saddle and in halter classes around the Southeast. She has also introduced dozens of children to riding. When her children, Brigette and Dustin, were old enough, the family became

involved in 4-H in Coweta County. For years, Jones was a co-coach of successful 4-H drill teams, which brought state and regional titles to Coweta County. The 2006 team, called “Rockin’ American Pride,” was named the Georgia Horse Council Youth Champion Drill Team in competition. Now that her children have aged out of 4-H (they’re now in their early 20s), Jones has turned to new pursuits. Customers at Arnall Grocery Company, a fixture in Newnan since 1869, have noticed how the company has expanded its horse care product lines. The woman behind that change – and the counter – is Jones, a familiar face to dozens of Coweta families whose children participated in 4-H. “The farm has always been my full-time job,” says Jones, who

obviously relishes her new role. “You couldn’t ask for better people to work for,” she says of the Beavers family, which owns Arnall’s. The only drawback? She doesn’t have as much time for the horses, a familiar problem for those who juggle jobs and horses. Still, the woman who admits she likes to stand in her barn and listen to the contented munching of her horses still makes them a priority. “It’s a conversation you have with them,” Jones says of handling horses. “To ask a horse to do something and have it respond ... they give back so much to us. They give me so much joy and have brought so much to my life and to my children.” Learn more about Jodie Jones and her horses at breezyacresfarm.synthasite.com. NCM

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Life

A Golden

By Amelia Adams | Photos by Bob Fraley

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is right hand rests lightly on my shoulder while my left hand fingers touch his knee. To the casual observer, my brother and I resemble friends rather than siblings as the focus for my parents’ 1946 Christmas card. He photographs fair, blonde and Buddha-like in appearance while my darker hair, eyes and skin show contrast but not proof of my older status. In our naturally protective poses, Amelia and Tom Armstrong echo the mood of the era. After the war that took my father and his generation to the second major encounter of the twentieth century, we settled into a Victorian house on Marable Street as my parents, for the first time, reared us together. Like our small-town peers in Monroe, Ga., we experienced the delights of that golden age when we rambled safely in its guardianship. Rich we were, not in monetary goods, but in the warmth a placid, hard-working sanctuary renders. Our father could squeeze four pennies from every nickel, while our mother made splendid suppers from the bounty of family gardens and her own way with neutral items such as canned salmon, ground beef or the trimmings from my grandfather Jim Thomas’s “hog killin’.” Since Susie Thomas sewed all my childhood dresses, I can still remember the splendor I embraced when our childless great aunt ’Tiz brought in baby blue matching Easter suits from J. P. Allen in Atlanta. The local milliner, Viola Hale, who always had copies of Vogue magazine on her counter, allowed me to choose the trimmings for my Easter bonnet. My brother just scuffed around in his black Converse AllStars, the now-famous Chucks, in total rejection of the finery. Tom applied those Chucks to the pedals of a bike. One Christmas my parents splurged to purchase fine AMF Roadmasters, complete with button horns … the envy of the neighborhood. Now, we easily made it to the city pool by simply wrapping our suits in a towel and securing them to the rear guard.

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Upon arrival, we were joined by legions of friends and carefully guarded by high school and college guys who became the source of giggles and ogles from our silly contingent. Along the way, these Adonis-like teachers enabled our awards of Red Cross lifesaving badges, emblems of great pride sewn to our bathing suits. Undergirding the variants of our life, the church stood large. Although we were members of the large First Baptist congregation in

Nowadays, “ribs” call forth a dry rub, a grill and multiple saucings for the final presentation. 58 |

Monroe, my brother and I also found a firm foundation in our Pa Jim’s Pleasant Valley Methodist congregation; in rural choirs possession of a fine voice was secondary to passion in singing my grandfather’s favorites, “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” or “Precious Memories.” The feast to follow Homecoming services noted a longed-for meal, often surpassing


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Christmas in my preference. We partook of unending cups of sweet tea from steel dippers, Emmett Studdard’s barbeque, Mama Susie’s candied sweet potatoes and Idell Thomas’s apple roll. Picnic tables were chosen with care; I dawdled in line so I could sidle in to overhear the best storytellers. While my brother and I share a love of cooking and nostalgia, his memory bids my allegiance. Nowadays, “ribs” call forth a dry rub, a grill and multiple saucings for the final presentation. Tom remembers a succulent, yet memorable fare from Mother’s oven. Folks in aforementioned Pleasant Valley preferred pork backbone to the more popular spare or baby back ribs of the present. After wiping the pork, sprinkle pieces with salt and pepper and rub with canola oil.

Bake on a foil-lined pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, turning the backbone every 15 minutes, then broil each side until light brown. Apply a heavy coat of barbeque sauce and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, to secure a bright, red top. Tom calls this dish “Betty Crocker 1950 Comfort Food.” Never has competition been greater for BBQ sauce recognition; however, I would like to offer my father’s recipe, which is the thin, vinegary one I prefer.

1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 cup catsup Generous dash of hot sauce 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard Heat until the sauce boils. Cool. Refrigerate. The photograph rests on the nightstand next to my bed, intermingling with a photo of my grandchildren, just slightly older than Tom and I in a most endearing pose of love as well. During frequent daily visits to the bedside scene, I travel. My dearest wish would entitle Katie and Bill to the golden era of Amelia and Tom’s youth. Ah, that wishing could make it so. NCM

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Mimi in the Kitchen Remembering an Arnco woman who loved to cook By Angela McRae | Photos by Bob Fraley

he old flour sifter is dented and worn. Each notch in its rim testifies that Buvenia Warren Steele once beat this sifter against her mixing bowl to make sure every speck of flour was used. Today this humble sifter which belonged to the woman known as “Mimi” is a prized possession no amount of money could buy. Mimi died in 2009 at age 93, but her recipes have been preserved in the book Mimi in the Kitchen. It’s a treasure trove of memories for her family, including her children Pam Beavers and Doyle Steele of Newnan and Emily Craft of Huntsville, Ala. (Another son, Stan, passed away before his mother’s death.) 60 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

Mimi and husband Lewis Steele worked at the Arnco Mill. Streets in the village were named A, B, C, D, E and F, and the Steeles lived on C Street. Sometimes Mimi and her husband switched shifts, so whoever got home to C Street first would cook. The girls remember the aromas of beans and cornbread, biscuits, teacakes, pound cake and bread. Cakes were a Mimi specialty. If she was baking one for a special occasion that didn’t meet her high expectations, she would take it to a neighbor and share it as “a reject.” Mimi didn’t like a store-bought cake, and with a smile on her face Beavers recalled how at church dinners her mother would go down the line and point out the offenders, saying,

“Store-bought. Store-bought. Homemade …” Last year the daughters, who call themselves “C-Street Sisters,” decided to create a cookbook in honor of Mimi. Sequestered for three days with laptops and their mother’s recipes, cookbooks and baking supplies, they intended to recreate her fried pies, cakes, teacakes and country vegetables but never got around to cooking. Instead they stayed in their pajamas, laughed, cried, typed recipes and – they now admit – told more than a few fibs in an effort to keep the project secret. “We told so many lies,” admits Craft. They had seen a picture of their brother with two of Mimi’s


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grandchildren on his lap, all three of them asleep, and knew this was the perfect photo to accompany the recipe for Nighty Night Cookies. Beavers contacted him and, blaming Craft’s well-known role as organizer and family historian, said, “She’s driving me crazy. Can you send me that picture?” “It was so much fun,” Craft said. Beavers said it was great working with her sister since they had so many shared memories and “fed off each other.” While they felt a tad guilty for leaving out their brother, who was doing some work on the West Coast, they joked that he would not have enjoyed sitting around in the dining room in his pajamas with them. Once the book was published, however, he got the first copy, accompanied by a flour sack tea towel featuring a transfer design of Mimi’s famous teacake recipe. Grandchildren received a copy of the book and one of Mimi’s cookie cutters. The response was more than they had hoped for. They were impressed when a 13-year-old grandson spotted a recipe he liked and said, “I am so going home to make this right now!” Craft has a daughter-in-law who plans to do “the Julie and Julia thing,” cooking and blogging her way through the book just like Julie Powell famously did with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. They originally ordered 50 copies of the book, just enough for family and friends. To their surprise, they got requests for more and had to order another printing. Beavers says interest in the book “is not just about our mother.” She and Craft both think the recipes from this child of the Depression simply resonate with others who grew up as they did. And then there are those who just wish they’d grown up that way.

Emily Craft and Pam Beavers show the undecorated cake made in the pan their mother used for her famous Lamb Cake. Below are some of the apple and peach pies made from her recipe.

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CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE 2 sticks margarine 1/2 cup Crisco 3 cups sugar 3 cups sifted plain flour 1/2 cup cocoa 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla 5 eggs 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired

C-Street Sisters Emily Craft and Pam Beavers share some of their mother’s recipes for cakes and fried pies in their book Mimi in the Kitchen.

Sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Cream margarine, shortening and sugar; add eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add vanilla and nuts. Blend well. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes at 350°. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice with Cooked Chocolate Icing. COOKED CHOCOLATE ICING 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup cocoa 1/2 cup butter 2 teaspoons vanilla

Mimi is shown here with her children Emily, Pam and Doyle.

One man who bought a copy said he likes the book but can’t get his wife to make anything in it. While they tried to include as many of Mimi’s most-requested recipes as possible, they learned they missed a couple. One woman heard about the book and said “I hope her Sweet Potato Cobbler’s in there.” It isn’t. But the sisters have a plan for that, too. On their website they are going to include additional recipes and clarifications of some of the book’s recipes as they receive requests 62 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

from family and friends. They also say they are willing to help others who might wish to preserve their own family’s cooking traditions. So what would Mimi think about all this attention her recipes are getting? “How many times have we said, ‘We wish mother were here with us right now,” Beavers said. They think she would be astonished. For more information on Mimi in the Kitchen, visit c-streetsisters.com. NCM

Mix first four ingredients. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat, let cool just a little; add vanilla. Set in pan of cold water and beat until it is spreading consistency. FRIED OKRA 1 pound fresh okra or 1 pound frozen, cut okra 2 cups self-rising meal Cooking oil Salt to taste If using fresh okra, wash the okra


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and cut a little off of each end. Slice okra into 1/2â&#x20AC;? pieces. Place in bowl and salt according to your taste. Add meal to the okra and stir to coat. You can add more meal if okra isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t coated to your liking. Place 1â&#x20AC;? oil in an electric skillet or any skillet. Heat oil to 400° in electric skillet or medium in regular skillet. When oil is hot, place one half of the okra in the hot oil. Do not stir. As it begins to brown a little, take a spatula and lift up the okra to turn it over. Continue to cook until okra is brown. Using a slotted spoon, place okra on several layers of paper towels to drain. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven. TEACAKES â&#x20AC;&#x153;MIMIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S STARSâ&#x20AC;?

2 eggs, at room temperature 1 stick margarine, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 6 cups White Lily self-rising flour Preheat oven to 400°. Place approximately 6 cups of self-rising flour in a bread tray. Make a well in the flour. You can refer to Mimiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biscuit recipe to read detailed directions*. Place sugar, softened butter, eggs and vanilla in the well of flour. Combine the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla with your hands until it is mixed well. Then slowly pull in flour into the mixture, adding more and more flour until you can handle it well. Begin kneading the mixture until the dough is stiff and easy to handle. Place a flour sack cloth on the counter and flour it well. Take a

1 cup sugar

small amount of teacake dough and place it on the flour sack cloth. Flour the rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough. Mimi could always roll hers so thin that you could see light through the raw cookie dough. Cut the teacakes into desired shapes. Mimi always made â&#x20AC;&#x153;starsâ&#x20AC;? for her grandchildren. Bake for 8-10 minutes. As the teacakes begin to brown along the edges, take them out and place on a cooling rack. Continue until all of the teacake dough is used. From Mimiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Biscuit Recipe: Using a loose fist, make a well in the flour, pressing the flour down in the center and up the sides of the bread tray, to hold the ingredients. NCM

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Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind By Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley Jr. Taylor Trade, $26.95 Reviewed by Holly Jones Margaret Mitchell was not egotistical – greedy, stubborn or crazy – but people seldom noticed when they tried to take advantage of her. In her were too sharply blended the Southern etiquette of her mother and a sense of justice from her lawyer father. But it was an arresting personality and, well, you get the picture. Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley Jr. have painted a fascinating picture of the author and dispelled many myths surrounding her celebrated novel. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind is a detailed account of how Mitchell’s book went from piles of folders hidden in a tiny apartment to a best-selling phenomenon to an Academy Award-winning movie to a precedent-setting case for international copyright law. Fans of GWTW know the legend – Mitchell’s reluctance to reveal her book 64 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

before finally releasing a jumbled mountain of chapters to Harold Latham of McMillan Publishing Company, and how David O. Selznick snatched up film rights for $50,000. What fans might not know is the enormous role Mitchell’s friend Lois Cole Taylor played in getting GWTW published. Or how Mitchell distrusted – and frequently disliked – Selznick and the way he handled the movie contract. The battle over GWTW’s movie and theatrical rights that raged between Mitchell and her family against Selznick plays a large role in this book. Selznick wasn’t the only battle fought in Mitchell’s war. Because of what she called the “God Almighty clause” in her movie contract, Mitchell and her family had to fight all copyright infringements in foreign countries. If a foreign country decided to print unauthorized copies of GWTW, Mitchell and her family were responsible for the infringement. McMillan also deferred international copyright to Mitchell, and only occasionally helped her family fight illegal publications – when the infringement hurt their profits. Brown and Wiley’s book is an informative account of the business of GWTW and its phenomenon. Their research comes from seldom-seen files and correspondence between the author and her business and personal contacts. It also paints Mitchell in a unique light. Beyond the colorful storyteller was a fighter who refused to back

down on her principles. She not only wrote one of the world’s most legendary books, she rewrote copyright law with her fierce determination to protect GWTW and future authors. Margaret Mitchell wasn’t Scarlett, but like her infamous heroine she knew what was “worth fightin’ for” and because of her GWTW will survive for many tomorrows.

My Reading Life By Pat Conroy Nan A. Talese, $25 Reviewed by Holly Jones “Words! Words! Words!” Eliza Doolittle sings in My Fair Lady. “I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through; first from him, now from you! … Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn’t one I haven’t heard.” Eliza may have reason to hate words, but Pat Conroy sings a different tune. Fans of Conroy’s books know he uses words as an artist’s medium, and in My


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Reading Life he explains why in a literary self-portrait. Each chapter is dedicated to a person, place or book that shaped the character Conroy himself has become. The need to thank, or with Thomas Wolfe, “write … a love letter” to an influential person or work is obvious in Conroy’s anecdotes. Not all the people Conroy applauds are authors. The first chapter – and perhaps the most insightful – opens the door to Conroy’s reading life, discussing the bond he shared with his mother. Conroy’s mother, Peg, “looked to librarians as her magic carpet into a serious intellectual life. Books provided powerful amulets that could lead to paths of certain wisdom. Novels taught her everything she needed to know about the mysteries and uncertainties of being human.” Conroy writes about teachers, librarians, bookstore owners and his book rep. He discusses Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, J.R.R. Tolkien, and even the city of Paris. Two stories go beyond reading and focus on Conroy’s continuing sense of wonder regarding his career. One story involves a party at Universal Studios in 1994. Conroy brought his high school teacher Gene Norris to honor him. During the party Norris wandered off and Conroy finally found him getting a studio tour from a man who claimed, “his name is Steven. He says he works here.” Conroy told his teacher, “‘That was Steven Spielberg.’” Conroy doesn’t name-drop but shows amazement at his Forrest Gump-like life. He is not only part of literature but a life-long fan. “Reading great books gave me unlimited access to people I would never have met, cities I couldn’t visit, mountain ranges I would never lay eyes on, or rivers I would never swim … My city of books seems immeasurable and inexhaustible, and I can feel others jumping up and down with their hands raised, demanding my attention, insisting that their voices be heard and their ballots counted.” My Reading Life certainly shares Conroy’s voice as he sings the praises of books that have shaped a fascinating life. NCM

{ Index

of Advertisers }

Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Bank of Coweta. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Center For Allergy & Asthma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Charter Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Chin Chin Newnan Chinese Restaurant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Clayton Eye Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Coweta Fayette EMC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Coweta Medical Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Discovery Point Child Development Centers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Dunaway Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Farm Bureau Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 GMC Community College. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Heritage Retirement Homes of Peachtree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 The Heritage School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Hollberg's Fine Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Lee-King and Lee-Goodrum Pharmacies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Main Street Newnan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Mercer University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 NG Turf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 NuLink. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Oak Mountain Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Phillips Dental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Piedmont Newnan Hospital Sleep Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Radiation Oncology Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Ritzy Roost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Savannah Court of Newnan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Southern Crescent Equine Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 SouthTowne Motors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 StoneBridge Early Learning Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Table Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Uniglobe McIntosh Travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Wesley Woods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Wedowee Marine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 copyAd of Deadlines this book will be among the door July/August A2011

given away our25,Tea for Toys on Dec. Published: July 1,prizes 2011; Contract Ads: at May 2011; New Ads: June 3, 2010. Call 770.683.6397 and advertising information. See pagefor 42 details for more details!

2.

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I am Coweta }

Dr. Theodore Travis By Nichole Golden | Photo by Bob Fraley

Dr. Theodore Travis is assistant principal at Coweta’s Northside Elementary School. Dr. Travis has been known to cruise the school parking lot on both kiddie bikes and a “Chopper” to reward students who met accelerated reading goals. It’s all in a day’s work for this Coweta father and husband. Tell us a little about yourself. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio by way of Montgomery, Ala. I have a great appreciation for learning and being educated. I have a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University, master’s degree from the State University of West Georgia, specialist degree from Argosy University, specialist degree from Troy State University and a doctorate degree from Argosy University. I am married to Anita Travis and we have three awesome children – Asia, Lawrence and Taylor. My wife and I are expecting our fourth child in five months. How long have you lived/worked in Coweta? I have worked and lived in the Coweta area for about six years. Why did you choose a career in education? Because of my past situation in an impoverished environment. As I looked around, having an education beyond the streets provided a better standard of living. As I learned more, I knew that my calling would be showing others the light of learning. Any words of inspiration for your Northside students? I would tell them to put their mind to what they desire and they can achieve their dreams. They should always strive for excellence in their life! What can parents do to help their children succeed in school? Parents should do their best to keep the lines of communication open with their child’s school. When the teacher is able to communicate with parent and vice versa, information is enabled to flow freely for the child’s education. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Hobbies? I enjoy spending time with my family, playing the piano, riding my motorcycle and bowling. What are your favorite things to do in Coweta? I enjoy living in Coweta County. This is a very close community of friendly, caring people. I know that this may sound strange, but my favorite thing to do in Coweta County is to work. There are great educators here that truly care about children. It is a joy to work among caring professionals! NCM

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I DON’T LEAVE THE TV ON FOR THE COFFEE TABLE.WHY COOL AN EMPTY HOUSE? And while my energy bill can’t go camping or fishing, there are some things I can do to lighten its load.Like adjusting my thermostat and turning off the water heater before I leave.I’m saving money even while I’m on vacation.What can you do? Find out how the little changes add up by visiting www.utility.org.

770-502-0226 www.utility.org


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Left - Right: Leigh Brown- Business Banker Mark Fritz- Commercial Banker Victoria Ellison- Business Banker Ann Hand- Business Banker

THE POWER TO

THINK BIG Having a trusted partner helps steer you in the right direction. You’ll find that partner in your Bank of Coweta banker. Your banker will work to understand the goals of your company and offer sophisticated products to help you reach your destination. Whether it’s our enhanced Business Internet Banking and Business Online Library or our complete array of personal products designed to help you manage your finances, we deliver with commitment. It’s how we do business at Bank of Coweta. Visit us today and discover all the financial services we offer, some which you might not expect from a community bank. For more information, please visit one of our conveniently located branches. Jefferson Street 110 Jefferson Street Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.1340

Lakeside 37 Lakeside Way Newnan, GA 30265 770.254.7979

Temple Avenue 192 Temple Avenue Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.9600

Court Square 36 South Court Square Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.9400

Senoia 7817 Wells Street Senoia, GA 30276 770.599.8400

Thomas Crossroads 3130 East Highway 34 Newnan, GA 30265 770.254.7722

www.bankofcoweta.com * Subject to credit approval. Bank of Coweta is a division of Synovus Bank. Synovus Bank, Member FDIC, is chartered in the state of Georgia and operates under multiple trade names across the southeast. Divisions of Synovus Bank are not separately FDIC-insured banks. The FDIC coverage extended to deposit customers is that of one insured bank.

Newnan-Coweta Magazine, May/June 2011  

The garden issue of Newnan-Coweta Magazine

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