Page 1

Name That Road

How local roads got their names

Out of the

Shadows Newnan photographer's efforts to bring attention – and assistance – to homeless in the South

MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Everything changes when you Go West.

A Publication of The Newnan Times-Herald

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Graphic Designer

Maggie Bowers

Production Director

Debby Dye

Contributing Editor

Rebecca Leftwich

Contributing Writers

Carolyn Barnard

William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson John Winters Will Blair

Jeff Bishop

Jon Cooper

The change starts with new life for the old Newnan Hospital building, which is being transformed into UWG’s home in Newnan.

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When UWG Newnan opens its new center in fall 2015, it will multiply your opportunities to Go West. Complete your undergraduate degree in early childhood education or nursing. Take all your core courses. Start your college career while you’re still in high school with our dual enrollment program. Or earn your master’s in business or education.

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Photography

Brenda Pedraza-Vidamour Mark Fritz

Aaron Heidman

Jeffrey Leo

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FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION call 770.253.1576 or e-mail colleen@newnan.com Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263. Subscriptions: Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in home-delivery copies of The Newnan 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.

Newnan 8 | www.newnancowetamag.com

On the Web: newnancowetamag.com © 2015 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.


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CONTENTS ◗

in this issue

march-april 2015

64

our

features

44

28 | What’s in the Box?

Until she found a packet of his letters and receipts in a metal box in the attic of her home, Susan Green had never heard of Caulder Baynard Perryclear. Her discovery provides a glimpse into both the man and Newnan’s culture more than a century ago.

34 | Porch Life The front porch is the architecture that frames traditional southern life. Historian Jeff Bishop traces the evolution of the veranda as a gathering place in the South.

44 | Exposure and Disclosure Photographer Brent Walker’s Hidden South homeless project quickly is gaining attention. NCM profiles the artist and discovers why he identifies so much with the subjects of his photo shoots.

10 | www.newnancowetamag.com


34

16

56

28

56 | Monuments and Miles Many Coweta residents travel these routes all the time, but there’s more to Henry Bryant Road, Salbide Avenue and Baggarly Way than just their monikers.

64 | Remaking History

Living in a historical home can be a labor of love. Pat and Mike Strain and Lauren Carlson know firsthand through blood, sweat and tears the trials and rewards of fixing up an old house in order to make it the perfect home.

in every issue

15 | Sweet Tea 16 | Hobby Q&A 22 | Style

82 | Index of Advertisers 82 | What’s Next

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on the cover

12 | From the Editor 13 | Datebook 14 | Roll Call

76 | Duel Pages 78 | Pen & Ink 80 | Blacktop

If You’re Leaving Your Employer, Do You Know Your 401(k) Options?

"Rambo," one of Newnan’s more recognizable personalities, was the subject of a recent Hidden South photo shoot. Rambo has been homeless for 10 years.

➔ See more on page 44.

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FROM THE EDITOR ◗

welcome

What’s Past is Prologue Dr. Robert Reynolds single-handedly kept me in college. When I first took one of his classes, it was summer quarter at then-West Georgia College in nearby Carrollton in the late ’80s. He’d strolled into English composition class wearing loafers and the aura of Cary Grant. He was smooth like that. Distinguished, white-haired and charismatic. Among his first words to the class were – again, think Grant – “It’s summer ... you don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here. But let’s make the best of it.” I was an irreverent, U2 concert or NBA T-shirtwearing teen uncertain I was even going to remain in school, let alone decide on a major. I just wasn’t motivated. I’d rated all C’s my first quarter and wasn’t sure college was for me. A few weeks into class, Reynolds approached me in the quad over an essay I’d written, “Why I like my blue canvas Converse sneakers.” After quoting a few lines back to me, he chuckled and told me I should consider English as my major. “There’s no money in it, but you get to read lots of good books and talk about them with interesting people.” He changed everything. He also introduced me to the J. Peterman catalog well before “Seinfeld ” made it famous. The clothing is OK, but it’s a really good read. An expert on Shakespeare, Reynolds taught me several more classes as I navigated my way through college and earned my degrees. He wasn’t my only mentor. Dr. Bill Doxey made learning accessible and was the controversial sort a student could drink a beer with. Micheal and Lisa Crafton (husband and wife professors) were engaging academics who always – always – were invested in the best interests of their students. I owe them a lot. And there were other mentors, of course. In those days, the department was a family; I understand little has changed since then. We grilled 12 | www.newnancowetamag.com

out, played basketball in a professor’s back yard and sometimes drank said beer. And the professors always had time, or made time, for their students. It was a perfect environment for me. Frankly, I’m not sure I would have continued pursuing my degree if I’d attended a larger school. I would have been a nameless face among thousands of more intelligent and confident freshmen. The university certainly has grown considerably since I read the likes of Faulkner, Hemingway and Hardy for grades, but I take a certain pleasure in knowing the next stage in the university’s development will take place in the same building where my grandmother served as a nurse, where I crushed on Katie the candy striper, and where my mother gave birth to me. Newnan Hospital, as most Cowetans remember it, obviously is a thing of the past, an old building with a facelift soon to be occupied by scurrying college students in search of higher learning. I take a certain pride in knowing my alma mater has invested in turning the historic building into something far more than an apocalyptic setting for “The Walking Dead.” With all these changes close to home, I can’t help but think of Dr. Reynolds and wonder where he is now. I’m told he retired to Florida years ago but hasn’t been heard from by his friends at the university in recent years. For many of us who were so influenced by him, the thought he may have left us can’t be ignored. Still, considering the sense of small-town community our City of Homes offers, and as I drive by the lighted sidewalks at the satellite campus and take in the spectacle, I’m hopeful that – given the small-town setting and our close-knit community – Dr. Reynolds’ personal investment in students soon will be replicated by a new crop of instructors who value education and the sense of history that stands before them.

Will Blair, Editor will@newnan.com


datebook

’Into the Woods’

Based on the book by James Lupine, “Into the Woods” performances will begin on March 19 at Newnan Community Theatre Company. The play includes music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and combines several Brothers Grimm fairy tales into one story. For more information, call 770-683-6282.

Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale

The Coweta County Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale will be held April 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Pine Road. The event will include plant offerings, expert discussion on gardening and a Green Elephant/repurpose sale. For more information, visit http://www.ugaextension.com/ coweta or call the UGA Extension Office at 770-254-2620.

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Coweta’s Dancing Stars returns on April 14 to benefit Community Welcome House, a local shelter for abused women and children. The fundraiser pairs local dance instructors with Coweta “stars” to see who can put on the best show. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. For more information, call Judi Alvey at 770-559-2381 or Samantha Brazie at 770-820-5559.

Spring Taste of Newnan

Main Street’s Spring Taste of Newnan will be held April 16 from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in downtown Newnan. The popular event offers attendees the opportunity to sample foods from area restaurants. For more information, call MainStreet Newnan at 770-253-8283.

VINEWOOD PLANTATION, located in historic Newnan, GA, is the ideal venue for your outdoor wedding ceremony, reception, or special event. Built in 1852, this Georgia Plantation House and its Stables were fully renovated to include all of the contemporary amenities you need without sacrificing any of the Southern tradition and charm that you deserve.


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march-april 2015

ROLL CALL

Brenda PedrazaVidamour is a

former newspaper reporter. She has six grandchildren who constantly provide her with happy times. She has secrets and has suffered through terrible times, but concedes she’s not as brave or nearly as noble as her subject for this issue of NCM, Newnan photographer Brent Walker. Exposure and Disclosure, page 44

Elizabeth Melville

W. Winston Skinner began

writing for Coweta readers as a college intern in 1978. He has been on The Newnan TimesHerald staff since 1982 and lives in an antebellum cottage in the College-Temple neighborhood with his wife, Lynn. An avid reader and a history buff, Skinner always is up for a good mystery.

What’s in the Box?, page 28

A utility co-op communicator and a former crime reporter for The Newnan TimesHerald, Amy Lott is also a mother of two, a south Georgia girl and a lover of all things sitcom, especially reruns of “Friends.”

– a former reporter for The Newnan TimesHerald – is a financial administrator for a private school in Peachtree City, as well as a freelance writer. She and her husband live in one of Newnan’s historic homes and enjoy the process of renovating, updating and decorating. Remaking

Duel Pages, page 77

History, page 64

Jon Cooper has been

a freelance writer for nearly two decades, the past 15 in Atlanta. He’s a contributor to ESPN.com, MLB.com, NBA. com and Ramblinwreck. com. When he’s not typing at his computer or attending a sporting event, he likes to watch reality TV and keep up with the Kardashians.

Duel Pages, page 76

Melissa Dickson Jackson

is a poet, a mother of four, and an instructor at the University of West Georgia. She’s published two books of poetry, “Cameo” and “Sweet Aegis,” and is currently co-editing a collection of regional poetry. Monuments

and Miles, page 56 – Apples and Edam, page 79

share

Let Us Hear From You!

Feel free to send thoughts, ideas and suggestions for upcoming issues of NewnanCoweta Magazine to magazine@newnan.com .com 14 | www.newnancowetamag

As coordinator of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, Jeff Bishop is a public historian who’s wellversed in the ways of old Newnan. He’s the author of “A Cold Coming,” a story of murder and family history, and “Flies in the Well,” a play based on the John Wallace murder trial. Porch Life, page 34

Carolyn Barnard is a

graduate of Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s in history and a specialty in what NOT to wear. Drawing on her own experience with an awkward phase that lasted well into her 20s, Barnard loves helping other people find their most beautiful selves. Style, page 22

Cindy Nelson is yet another Newnan transplant, having moved from the wilds of Charleston, West Virginia. When she’s not exercising her writing muscles, she loves to garden, peruse all the cute shops downtown and go for walks with Flannery, her rescue Corgi. Present Tense, page 78


SMALL TOWN. BIG PERSONALITY.

“COME ON DOWN!”

’Sweet Tea Toons’ illustrated by MAGGIE BOWERS march / april 2015

| 15


hobby

Q&A with

ADAM STENDER

Local artist Adam Stender takes the non-organic medium of old vinyl records and turns them into something beautiful — luminous roses and dahlias for both home and garden. “There is nothing natural about a record. It’s one of the most unnatural consumer products, with more chemicals in it than you can imagine,” Stender said. “It’s kind of funny. Nobody ever thought vinyl would make such an organic medium.” Stender’s vinyl flowers are — figuratively speaking — “pop art.” And country art. And rock art. And jazz art. (You get the picture.) Stender recently spoke about his creative process from his home in Newnan.

Q. A.

How did you come up with the idea of making flowers out of old vinyl records? Someone gave me a bunch of old records. They knew I had launched myself as this kind of “upcycle” guy. I dropped a record into a pie plate. It was a fancy, depression glass pie plate. I stuck it into an oven and it kind of melted into the plate. I pressed it into the pie plate and it took on all these textures. Then I started making these really cool candy and chip bowls out of records. Somebody said they wanted a red one, so I painted one red and it kind of looked like a flower. The bowls turned into crude, loosely interpreted flowers. When I melted a 45, I saw the way the vinyl behaved when it was hit by intense heat. It becomes very organic; it becomes very natural. It wasn’t until I started using high heat [using various torches] that the flowers took shape, and like anything you do enough, you improve on it. I’ve been working with records as a medium now for almost two years. I have a strong attraction to Mother Nature and all her work, flowers in particular. I have always had a

“And vinyl is the worst material in the world. It’s loaded with petroleum — that white cloud of death that comes off it when you hit it with the torch. I’ve knocked myself on the floor with a big whiff of the fumes.” Photographed by aaron heidman


Adam Stender makes luminous flowers from old vinyl records. He’s been an artist nearly all his life, but with his roses and dahlias, he says he’s finally found something he can’t put down.

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hobby

Adam Stender’s more popular flowers include roses, dahlias and now sunflowers. On opposite page, he demonstrates the process of melting, stretching and shaping the petals before multiple layers of paint are applied.

Q. A.

Q. A.

passion for creativity, and after painting, drawing, wood work and mosaics, this just feels right.

I’m at now. I have been falling in the creative pool for a long time and I’ve finally a found a section of the water that feels really good. I also like the affordability. It’s art for the people.

How long have you been into art? I’ve always had my hands in creativity. Most of my history or background is in painting and drawing and chalks. My dad has always instilled in me that we’re having to learn to be good at a lot of things, but we’re all naturally excellent at one or two things. I’ve always known I was good at creating art stuff. It has gone from drawing and painting to mosaics to wood to metal, and now to this. What is it about flowers that appeals to you so much? I’ve found something that I just can’t seem to put down. And everything else just kind of goes by the wayside. It’s what I love. I love the finished product. I love getting better at it. It’s an evolutionary tale from when I put my first rose together to where

18 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Q. A.

So how do you transform vinyl into a flower? There are generally three sizes. A small flower requires two LPs, a medium requires three, and a large is four or more. I use torches on the vinyl, cut the petals, and stretch and shape them with my fingers. You’ve really got to stretch the stuff. If you don’t burn them hard, and people then put [the flowers] outside – during the summer – they’ll get soft. The torches create an abrasive surface, which is ideal for paint. After they are shaped, each one is painted with a primer and as much as four coats of paint. I use an assortment of finishes — gloss, satin, velvet – to name a few. I’ve also discovered that mixing certain finishes creates some really


interesting effects. ... I never cut the petals the same, nor do I cut the same amount of petals. This guarantees that no two are the same. It keeps it challenging and fun for me. You have to study flowers, because the petals are very organic.

Q. A.

Is this craft dangerous? I’ve suffered all kinds of second- and third-degree burns. And vinyl is the worst material in the world. It’s loaded with petroleum – that white cloud of death that comes off it when you hit it with the torch. I’ve knocked myself on the floor with a big whiff of the fumes. The oven I originally melted the records with is in the basement. march / april 2015

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Passers-by can’t miss Adam Stender’s Newnan home. In front is a garden that never stops blooming. Vinyl isn’t the only medium Stender turns into flowers. Some of his smaller flowers (opposite page) are made from DVDs.

Q. A. Q. Q. A.

Some music fans might find it difficult to ruin

perfectly good records. Do you ever run into that? I do. I get that all the time from people – “How

could you do that?” I used a Quincy Jones record once and one of my buddies said, “Oh, you know

that was one of his best albums. I would have paid $30 for that album.” ... I have one stack I’m having

trouble cutting up. I’ve got a Johnny Cash album in here worth $125. I keep a lot of the album covers. 20 | www.newnancowetamag.com

A.

You’ve worked with records from different decades. Do they all react the same? No. The older ones are thicker and work better. [Speaking of dangerous], one newer album, Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams,” was a re-release. It was thicker than any album I’ve ever gotten. I hit that with my blow torch – and I woke up on the floor. Now I wear a respirator. Lesson learned. With the finished product, you can still see the label from a record. Do people request specific records? Some do, and some people don’t care at all. Some don’t have specific requests, but they’ll ask, “Do you have anything country music because my mom really digs country?” or say, “My mom was a big ’70s rock fan.” One guy ordered an album off Amazon and had it delivered straight to me. Going through a stack of albums is like going on a trip down memory lane. It’s a very nostalgic thing and it’s really amazing to me how powerful a memory it can be for people.


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Q. A.

Q. A.

On the flip side ... have there been any albums you enjoyed melting? Yes. Any of the old, white, polyester-wearing gospel singers. I whack them up. I whack them up good. I can assure you every one of these [pointing to the vinyl flowers in his home] has some white gospel. I like black gospel. I’m not much of a religious man, but I like black gospel ... not white gospel. What is it you like about making things for people? It’s not so much what sells and what doesn’t sell. I’m all about that impactful moment when somebody sees something or I put something in someone’s hands and they say, “Wow!” NCM

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Spring

Cleaning Written by CAROLYN BARNARD | Photographed by AARON HEIDMANN

22 | www.newnancowetamag.com


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HISTORIC DOWNTOWN NEWNAN

presents MARCH & APRIL EVENTS

THAT TIME OF YEAR

With spring approaching, now is a good time to eliminate those items you won’t — and shouldn’t — ever wear again.

It may seem hard to believe, but spring is around the corner, and that means it is time to take a fierce inventory of what may be lurking in our closets.

PICKIN’ON THE SQUARE

1st and 3rd Saturday of each month All music genres and skill levels welcome.

SPRING ART WALK

Fri., March 20 • 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Come downtown and stroll through storefront exhibits and demonstrations as we celebrate our local artists! www.mainstreetnewnan.com #maintreetnewnanga

march / april 2015

| 23


Fran Krigline, mother of fashion writer Carolyn Barnard, considers one of the remaining green outfits during mother and daughter’s spring cleaning session.

My first piece of advice when tackling such a daunting task is to grab a good, honest friend and get that second set of eyes on your clothes. While we may be our own worst critics when it comes to certain things, often it is difficult to determine for ourselves

what may or may not be flattering, age-appropriate or up-to-date in our wardrobes. Asking a friend or two for help when cleaning out the closet is a great way to make an ordinary, oftdepressing job a fun girls’ night in. When it came time to recruit participants willing to let NCM into their closets, I forced one and begged the other: My mother, who is fully accustomed to yours truly regularly sifting through her things, and my amazing friend Lauren Holloway, who is three months post-baby and who graciously let me barge in. Every few months or so, I attack my mother’s closet. In this particular

episode, I found some things skulking there that I’d sworn we’d given away at least once before. One of the main offenders in mom’s closet was a horrific collection of man shorts. Pleated man shorts, plaid man shorts, brightly colored man shorts – they just went on and on and on. Although I was assured that they were saved only for “working in the yard or for wearing around the house,” I insisted they disappear immediately. Comfortable or not, some things just do not belong. Similarly, there was a shocking number of hunter/army green camouflage there, most that included enormous cargo pockets necessary

As for shoes, while Mom has loads of classics, there were some serious crimes against fashion in there. 24 | www.newnancowetamag.com


SHOULD THEY STAY OR SHOULD THEY GO?

Classic high heels are typically a keeper, but some shoes most definitely need to come out of the closet, according to NCM fashion writer Carolyn Barnard.

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style

HMMM ...

Lauren Holloway (top) and Alise Cartledge (bottom) weigh in on what outfits are keepers in Holloway's closet.

Cleaning out the closest was a girls’ night in for friends Carolyn Barnard, Lauren Holloway and Alise Cartledge.

SURPRISE FIND

Sometimes, something old may end up being something new for a friend.

only if you are actually in the army. We quickly disposed of the lot. There were old, pulled, faded, stretched, etc., shirts that we dragged out. Boxy shirts with no shape, wide horizontal stripes, and lady-golfer polo shirts were given the boot as well. We weeded out a few jackets, and here’s a tip: Just because something is a name brand (in our case, a corduroy Lilly Pulitzer blazer), that doesn’t make it a keeper. For example, I had been hanging on to a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans for the past few years that recently I consigned because the style was just not going to be making a comeback. Designer brands do not always equate to being keepers. As for shoes, while mom has loads of classics, there were some serious crimes against fashion in there. For example, one I called “The Orthopedic Sandal Situation.”

26 | www.newnancowetamag.com


Unless you work in a profession that requires medical-strength support from the shoe, please shy away from a 4-inch sole. And because my mother is not quite a hiker or a mountain woman, we were able to discard the draw-string sandals as well. Practical for those who wade in fast-flowing rivers but not for the typical suburban housewife (note: these shoes were purchased without permission from yours truly). In Lauren’s closet, our friend Alise Cartledge joined us for a little fun. Since Lauren is currently in every woman’s leastfavorite body season (the post-baby phase), we wanted to pull some things out that should be avoided for a few months. For example, anything with an empire waist had to go. Truthfully, the only people who should ever wear an empire waist are pregnant women. In the denim section, we pulled out multiple pairs of jeans Lauren was confident she’d had since high school. Flare, wide-leg, and high-waist jeans are out, as are any that look like someone took a bedazzle gun to them. These styles need to find their way to the giveaway bin, along with brightly colored jeans (exceptions: team colors and festive holidays). For Lauren, we kept classic A-line shaped tops to be worn with leggings but got rid of any horizontal stripes or tops that were cut too short; think long and lean when dressing post-baby. Elongating the waist and torso will give you the most flattering look, and black is your best friend. Never buy pants without pockets on the back unless you wear a tunic long enough to cover your assets. A sparkly necklace draws the eye upward and takes the focus off the mid-section. When wanting to camouflage any trouble zones, do all you can to distract the eye. Focus on your best features, and remember: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!” NCM

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What’s in the

Box?

Written by W. WINSTON SKINNER | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO 28 | www.newnancowetamag.com


UNEXPECTED FIND

Susan Green holds the wooden box that held a mystery.

Early 20th century visitor’s papers provide glimpse into his past

The name meant absolutely nothing to Susan Green. When Green married her husband, John, she married into a Newnan family with deep roots. By now, she knows the names in John’s family tree well, and Perryclear wasn’t on a single branch. Yet when she opened up the wooden file box, there was a trove of papers – all related to Baynard Perryclear. It was as if

a slice of someone’s life had simply been preserved. But why? “I don’t know why they’re here,” Green said. “They’re not related to my husband.” The wooden box had been “in the den behind the couch ” for years when Green decided to open it. She has been going through John Green’s families’ papers, organizing them. Local historian Tom Lee

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closer look

has been helping her. The Perryclear papers were not the only items in that box, but they constituted the mystery in it. The packet included letters from his parents, references to girlfriends and receipts for furniture, books and household bills. One set of bills clearly shows Perryclear living in Newnan, while others have him in various towns around the state. Lee used genealogical sources to connect with Nancy Talbott, Caulder Perryclear’s granddaughter, who lives in Massachusetts. Her father was Perryclear’s only child, and she shared some memories of her grandfather as a courtly older gentlemen who was devoted to his wife and occasionally wrote poetry. “What we don’t know is how he got to Newnan – or why,” Green reflected. Talbott was unable to shed more light on her grandfather’s time in Newnan. The mystery gave rise to some theories in Susan Green’s mind.

HISTORY PASSED ALONG

Susan Green placed the Perryclear papers into a binder for his family.

30 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Why was Perryclear in Newnan? She wondered if he might have been a salesman of some kind. He was constantly on the move – Macon, Louisville, Savannah, Social Circle. Green said she imagines Perryclear being much like one of the traveling salesmen on the train in the opening section of “The Music Man.” There are some indications Perryclear may have been a “drummer” who went from one Georgia town to another selling things. Papers from early 1910 indicate he was probably working for the Virginia Carolina Chemical Company at a time when he was living – at least temporarily – in Social Circle. Some of the paperwork suggests he may have been a collection agent. There is a 1903 letter from the Savannah Collection Agency seeking payment of a $3 bill from M. Papadea. “We understand that you collected $3.00 on this account,” someone from the collection agency wrote

to Perryclear. "We want the matter settled, and if Papadea does not make a full settlement during the next few days, return the claim to us, and we will put it in the hands of a Magistrate for collection.” Receipts also show Perryclear getting unclaimed items from the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company, perhaps payment for unpaid bills. While receipts for “drayage and delivery” could certainly have been for transporting his personal items from the train station to lodgings, they could also have been for transport of property collected against a debt. "Where did the man stay? If he had saved all these papers, why did he leave and not take them?” Green wondered. Whatever the business interests that brought Baynard Perryclear to Newnan in 1910, Susan Green does have some thoughts about how her husband’s kin wound up with his papers. She believes Perryclear likely


rented a room either from A.B. Cates, who had a house – which no longer stands – across the street from the current Green residence on West Washington Street. Another possibility is that he rented from Jennie or Emmie Robinson. The Robinson home, next door to the Greens, is now the residence of Paul and Sandra Young. Baynard Perryclear had married Elizabeth Patterson in Savannah in 1906, and their son was born the next year. By the time he came to Newnan, perhaps Perryclear was growing weary of being constantly on the road. He may have asked Cates or one of the Robinsons to hold onto some paperwork for him – intending either to retrieve it or have it sent to him later. As life unfolded, the papers were forgotten and left to be discovered by Susan Green a century later. The wooden box contained words that bring Baynard Perryclear’s personality to life. Before he married Elizabeth Patterson, he was looking for love. In 1898 he treasured a lock of Aurie Ximena Sandeford’s hair. Four years later he was courting Cecile Kennedy. There also was a letter written in 1901 from Lottie Belle Keller, telling him, “I shall be delighted to have you call this evening.”

A 1900 letter from his brother, who was then a seminary student in Massachusetts, made it clear that Baynard Perryclear was a talented letter writer whose missives were appreciated. “Nobody could complain of your letters being dry. I was feeling badly on the evening that your letter reached me. When I got through, I can tell you my spirits were much brighter,” his brother wrote. Perryclear had apparently used some advanced level vocabulary. “But what got into you?” his brother wrote. “Did you intend for me (to) swallow Webster’s unabridged Dictionary?” The bills and receipts from Newnan – dated from May-December of 1910 – show a picture of the local retail options at that time. Perryclear purchased cough drops, shaving cream and calomel, as well as an atomizer and some candy, from Holt and Cates Company. John R. Cates, one of the partners, was John Green’s grandfather. The bill for Sims’ Sanitary Market, 30 Court Square, describes the company as “wholesale and

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closer look

retail dealers in beef, pork, mutton, fish and oysters – game in season.” Perryclear had purchased veal and beef roast worth $1.35 from them. He had a larger tab, $13, from W.E. Woods, 13 E. Broad St. – “Dealer in fancy groceries, cigars and tobaccos – Country produce bought and sold.” Glenn O. Carmichael’s stationery featured a line drawing of a healthy cow on the left and the words: “Dealer in Fresh Beef, Pork, Sausage and Mutton Ham and Bacon – Pure HomeMade Lard – Prompt Delivery Phone 28.” L.R. Powell Company, a grocery; I.N. Orr, a firm described as the farmers’ headquarters; and W.M. Askew, who sold “fines shoes and men’s furnishings,” were among the local businesses where Perryclear traded. Newnan Water and Light Commission billed him $1.15 in June and July. In May, there was an

extra charge of $1.40 from the city utility “for lamps.” Coweta Fertilizer Company sent Perryclear a bill in December 1910 for $9 of coal, probably used to heat his room. Baynard Perryclear’s son went to Princeton. Baynard and Elizabeth spent their last years in Baltimore and are buried in the cemetery at a Presbyterian church there. The pieces of paper he left behind in Newnan provide tantalizing clues about the early years of his adult life – clues Susan Green discovered when she opened a wooden box. Green has now sent a notebook containing the papers to Talbott, but the mystery of Baynard Perryclear may linger a while in her mind. “It’s like putting a puzzle together of someone else’s life,” she said.

A number of the letters Baynard

Perryclear left behind were from his mother. Susan Green, who discovered the letters, was struck by several facets of the mother/son correspondence. She noted Mary Alice Eaton Perryclear often wrote on seemingly every inch of paper – once even writing a complete letter and then turning the paper sidewise and continuing her message across the paragraphs already finished. Many of her letters refer to economic hardships at home. “From looking at them,” Green said of the letters, “you can tell they were very poor.” Mrs. Perryclear frequently had questions or advice regarding her son’s moral and spiritual path. “She was very concerned about him,” Green said. In December 1899, Mary Alice Perryclear wrote her son: “You will always regret lost opportunities. But, unless you determine that you are

It was as if a slice of someone’s life had simply been preserved. But why?

32 | www.newnancowetamag.com


going to get an education and put forth every effort to do so, you’ll never get it.” The following, undated letter is one of those from mother to son:

"Thursday night "My darling Boy, "I am so tired, so completely exhausted, that I fear I will not be able to write many minutes. I have been ironing ever since 12 o’clock until late this afternoon when I stopped and dressed and went to Guyton to see if I could hear anything from my boy. When you left me on Monday I felt a great big …. rising in my throat and something began pressing my heart until it made great drops of water come out of my eyes. I had heart

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closer look

The veranda remains a testament to Southern history

A SMILE AND A WAVE

From her front porch on busy Hwy. 16 East, Senoian Nancy Roy has seen many of her neighbors drive past her home over the years.

Porch Life

It used to be called “the veranda.” In Senoia, it still is. Nancy Roy takes a moment to rummage through her memories as she sits for dessert at The Veranda, the Senoia bedand-breakfast that takes its name from the Southern cultural icon described by noted architect Andrew Jackson Downing as “a positive luxury.” “Oh, I remember sitting out there on the front porch back when Highway 16 was just a little two-lane road,” Roy recalled. “Now, a lot of people in Senoia will remember this – not just me,” Roy said. “But one thing I will never forget is Miss Kathleen Hutchinson waving at me on my porch as she would drive by in her car.” Miss Kathleen was of an older generation that still viewed driving as something of a sport, or even a novelty. The Newnan Herald and Advertiser lamented as early as 1909 that the “automobile craze” had taken “complete possession” of the county: “The idea of having the roads of Georgia macadamized or asphalted for the pleasure of ’joy riders’ who come out from the cities is too preposterous for anything.” But, before long, the Hutchinsons were up to their touring hats in chrome and leather, operating Hutchinson Motor Company on Main Street from 1928 to 1947. Cars and trucks during those days would be delivered one at a time by drivers, rather than by train or large truck delivery. Miss Kathleen wound up with one of them. The newspaper lectured that if “there were no machines to be sold” by dealers like the Hutchinsons, then “we dare say the Written by JEFF BISHOP | Photographed by AARON HEIDMANN

34 | www.newnancowetamag.com


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closer look

“The back porch was more casual, the front porch more formal. The back porch was for Sunday afternoons. But that’s all changed now. It’s mostly gone.” — Elizabeth Beers

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36 | www.newnancowetamag.com


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craze would soon die out, and country folks could then venture upon the highways without danger to life and limb.” But what if the country folks were the dangerous ones? Especially with so many front porches to visit. “I remember I first met Miss Kathleen when she was pulling out of the grocery store,” Roy said. “She ran right into this other car in the lot, and then just kept on going.” Roy ran into the store tell the clerk, who smiled and said not to worry. “Oh, that’s just Miss Kathleen. We know her phone number,” the clerk said. Roy recalls that Hutchinson would slam on her brakes when she’d spy someone sitting out on the front porch as she was driving by. She would swerve to the roadside, or sometimes into a ditch, to steal a word or two with a friend or acquaintance. “Those were different times,” Roy said. “You couldn’t hardly do that on Highway 16 the way it is now.”

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closer look

Candler, daughter of prominent 19th century Coweta landowner Major Young James Long, in her memoir, “Reminiscences of Life in Georgia During the 1850s and 1860s,” recalled growing up in a home on Greenville Street “on the edge of Newnan,” part of a 100-acre tract that had the city limits running “through our hall, so half the house lay in town while the grounds extended back into the dense wildwood.” Candler died in 1947. The home sat on the boundary between the ordered, platted city and the “wild” of the country, and so it was with the early verandas, portals negotiating the divide between the order of interior domestic life and the beautifully verdant but sometimes frightening outside world. Candler carefully observed it all as she was growing up in Newnan in the 1850s. From the front porch on Greenville Street she made “flower dolls” that “gave balls and promenades,” and she made “play houses in the roots of the oak trees” just beyond. The base of the shady oaks “was a castle of many apartments – parlors, banquet halls, grand ballroom, (and) elaborate terraces,” in the mind of a young girl at that time.

IN THE BACK

According to local historian Elizabeth Beers, the back porch of a home was intended for Sunday afternoons and offered a little more privacy for families.

“I played with acorns, pretending that the fairies drank dew from the cups,” she said. Food was raised at home in those days, and much of it was prepared on the porch. “There were so many people to feed (that) great preparation had to be made for the coming year’s supply,” Candler said. “In the summer quantities of fruit was dried; for in the winter ahead there would be pies, turnovers, and tarts to make, and stewed fruit every day. Sheets of white cloth would be stretched in the sun. Peaches, apples, pears, and figs would be prepared and carefully laid out on these sheets. When they were well dried they were put away in stone jars and sealed.” There were no lawns in those days – the yards were “clean swept.” The sounds of children muddling through music lessons, practicing pieces like the “Louisville March” or “Jenny Lind’s Favorite Polka,” or of Major Long striking up a fiddle to play “Auld Lang Syne,” would fill the air as Candler sat on the porch, breathing in her surroundings: “Across the front was a veranda, and at the side was a stoop porch,” she said. The house, which today has been relocated to 21

LaGrange St., was a white colonial cottage with a broad hall running through the center. “From the house to the front gate swept a broad walk of snow white gravel bordered in a tiny boxwood hedge,” said Candler. On each side of this walk were, alternately, tall, slim arborvitae and round balls of cape Jessamine, about seven of each on either side. The cape jessamines were white with bloom from April through the summer, filling the air with perfume. At the gate were two magnolia trees.” All this beauty was maintained by the unpaid labor of slaves, of course, the lives of whom Candler sentimentalizes in her remembrances. But this way of life would come to an abrupt end with the advent of the Civil War, which Candler also observed from her front porch. “One day in the dewy freshness of early morning we were all sitting on the front porch, serene and comfortable,” Candler remembered. “In the group were my aunt, my cousins, a little neighbor girl … Suddenly burst upon our serenity, the house boy, Nelse, crying, ‘Mistress! The Yankees is coming!’” Orders were


given by the adults to hide the horses and valuables, as “the little neighbor girl was weeping and screaming,” Candler wrote. Things would never be the same in the South, but many lifeways endured. The life of the front porch remained much the same – at least for a time.

A Place to Chill “In a cool climate, like that of England, the veranda is a feature of little importance, and the same thing is true in … the northern part of New England,” explained Downing in his classic 19th century work, “The Architecture of Country Houses.” But in the humid, hot South, “a veranda is a positive luxury in all the warmer parts of the year, since in mid-summer it is the resting-place, lounging-spot, and place of social resort, of the whole family, at certain

hours of the day,” Downing said. It’s true that a front porch was never “an absolute necessity, like a kitchen or a bedroom, and, therefore, the smallest cottages, or those dwellings in which economy and utility are the leading considerations, are constructed without verandas,” Downing said. “But the moment the dwelling rises so far in dignity above the merely useful as to employ any considerable feature not entirely intended for use, then the veranda should find its place; or, if not an architectural veranda, then, at least, the arbor-veranda, covered with foliage … or the open porch. “To decorate a cottage highly, which has no veranda-like feature, is, in this climate, as unphilosophical and false in taste, as it would be to paint a loghut, or gild the rafters of a barn: unphilosophical, because

all that relative beauty suggested by features which indicate a more refined enjoyment than what grows out of the necessities of life should first have its manifestation, since it is the most significant and noble beauty of which the subject is capable; and false in taste, because it is bestowing embellishment on the inferior and minor details, and neglecting the more important and more characteristic features of a dwelling.” One local company in particular flourished, in part, from the increasing architectural importance of the front porch and the complex decorative arts of the Victorian era: The R.D. Cole Company, founded just prior to the Civil War by R.D. Cole Sr. By 1904, the firm had grown to employ 535 people, with revenues in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every historic home in Newnan

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DAYS GONE BY

The advent of air conditioning changed everything and signaled the end of an era in the South. People no longer had to step outside and sit on the porch to avoid the sweltering heat inside their homes.

features materials and artisanship from the R.D. Cole Company – most notably in the bargeboard and intricate millwork showcased on the facades and front porches in the College-Temple Historic District. At its height, the R.D. Cole Company was the largest employer in Newnan, and the area’s major industry. “An idea of the extent of the business done by the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company may be gained from the statement that over one thousand car-loads of material and manufactured products are received and shipped each year,” it was noted in the company’s 1904 souvenir 50th anniversary book.

All Good Things Come to an End Some Newnan residents still recall when the R.D. Cole Company was a going concern, and when the front porch was still a central part of life in Newnan, as it was for the South as a whole. That all changed suddenly in the 1950s. “Two words,” said local historian Elizabeth Beers. “Air conditioning.” The stifling heat had a long, powerful impact on the culture of the South. The long summers led to its development as an agricultural center, and doubtless the “lazy” ways and slow speech of Southerners were in many 40 | www.newnancowetamag.com

ways a result of the climate. But for all the changes wrought by the “Yankee” victory of the Civil War, it could be argued that they paled in comparison to the impact of a single New York engineer, Willis Haviland Carrier, who invented a machine for chilling air in 1902. By the 1930s, the “Carrier Cooling System” made its way to Southern movie theaters and department stores, and by the 1950s window units were becoming widespread in local homes. It was a relief for Southern families, but it was the beginning of the end for life on the front porch. “Out in the country, I remember we had vines that grew up over the porch to shade it. I remember when I was a girl that after all the horses and cows and mules were fed, and after supper, we’d all retire to the front porch to cool off,” Beers said. “It was really hot in the summertime and daddy would draw well water and wash the front porch down to make it cool. Mother would make mattresses from corn shucks and we would sleep in our ’air conditioned’ front porch.” She remembers how dark it was in those days out in the country, but neighbors would regularly walk from house to house, sitting out until bedtime.

“Daddy would sit out with his lantern and his dogs and sit with the visitors on the front porch. That was the visiting place,” Beers said. “That’s where you sat after supper and wound down the day and discussed everything.” Beers can still sometimes be seen out on her front porch, at her home on Robinson Street, if it’s not too hot outside. “What I have was originally a stoop, but we made it into a porch, all across the house,” she said. “That’s where I still go to wind down, especially when the moon is full. Many nights I go out at the end of the day just to sit there and reminisce and meditate, and to just be by myself.” People don’t visit from porch to porch like they did in the old days, she says. “We used to have dinner in the middle of the day, then we’d freshen up and sit on the porch to receive visitors walking by from about 1 p.m. to 3 or 4,” Beers said. “My back porch was screened in for a while, but we took it down. They were the cool places. The back porch was more casual, the front porch more formal. The back porch was for Sunday afternoons. But that’s all changed now. It’s mostly gone.” NCM


closer look

Speaking

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Explore charming porches along the historic

Greenville-LaGrange Street district as the downtown Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation introduces the first annual Southern LitFest 2015. The porch tours on June 5 will provide participants the opportunity to enjoy good bourbon and lively, literary discussions on the Foundation’s anticipated programs. On June 6, Southern LitFest festivities will kick off with a full day of programs. “War, Women and Bourbon,” a panel discussion, will feature scholars from Lynchburg College and Georgia Southern University who will explore the dark enigma of Atlanta-born poet James Dickey. The discussion will be held in Newnan’s famous courthouse. A “literary lunch” on the downtown square at Meat ’N’ Greet will include a discussion on Confederados and the exodus of Confederate soldiers to Brazil after the Civil War. Festivities will continue with several regional writers discussing their recent works, including the story of a Charleston family who faced several obstacles after adopting a Korean baby and a presentation on William Faulkner’s changing stance on the Civil War. Southern LitFest will conclude with a Saturday night barbecue that will include live music and an auction. See www.southernlifest.com for more details. NCM

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Photo of Alex by BRENT WALKER


march / april 2015

| 45


SELF-REFLECTION

From his apartment in Newnan, Brent Walker recalls what it once was like living life on the edge.

46 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Brent Walker navigates through a forest of light stands to reach his prop area, a stockpile of vintage finds, flea market treasures and studio equipment. He calls it his toolbox for photo shoots. He reaches into the rubble to pull out the latest acquisition, two wooden legs found on the side of the road and left for that day’s dumpster haul. He speculates about their origin, and assumes the legs are from a double amputee.


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gallery, as one of her favorites from The Hidden South. Ella (also noted as Ela) is an addict, a recurring theme in Hidden South, along with poverty, homelessness, religion, and drug, alcohol and sexual abuse. Walker is attracted to what’s deeply flawed and imperfect in life because “it’s real.” He plans to self-publish The Hidden South as a book through Kickstarter, and make the project a full-time endeavor, as soon as he figures out how to make it practical. He makes a living as a photographer for Lucky Pinup, a business he runs with his girlfriend, Suzu Tran. It pays the bills along with Atlanta Locations, another company he operates that scouts and manages locations for filmmakers, music videos and commercials. Walker photographs the socially marginalized and tells stories about how they got that way in Hidden South as an effort to shed light on people who are often inaccurately portrayed as being solely liable for their plight. In addition to giving them a voice, Walker parts with his own money in exchange for their time. Supporters and fans of his work donate on his website to help him continue his mission as well as to directly help those he comes across. While it helps them, he also hopes that his work will help us, We The People, reluctant to admit we’ve gotten so inoculated against societal problems that our most popular form of involvement is reduced to pressing a "like" button on whatever cause célèbre manages the best social media campaign. Brent Walker demands more. He wants more from the government “so that the next time a person comes along … and wants to dismantle social services, we’ll, hopefully, be better educated and in a better place to recognize it.” He wants more from the Bible Belt. “Shame and guilt are the lowest forms

of feelings you can have, and I think religion gave me that,” Walker says. “It’s indoctrinated in the culture that you’re either going to heaven or hell. There is no middle ground.” He wants more from society. “I want people that I talk to to get things off their chest, and bring their secrets out of the darkness. My hope is that it can eventually affect society in a positive way. When you tell people’s stories, it makes them more human and makes people less likely to do inhumane things.”

Telling the stories of the socially marginalized often starts with a secret, and so does Walker’s story. He started drinking when he was about 12 or 13 years old, after being molested by a stranger in a park across the street from his home. He kept it a “dark secret” for about 20 years.

OFF THE STREETS

’Suzu Tran’ is a departure from the Hidden South and is an example of Brent Walker’s fine art photography. More can be found at brentjwalker.com.

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’Self-Portrait’ by BRENT WALKER

It’s a disclosure that most press on Walker keeps respectfully vague, yet Walker acknowledges revealing it had everything to do with his recovery. It gave birth to a “Seek the Truth” purpose in his life, a mantra he has tattooed on his chest. Telling the truth helped him, and he wishes the same healing for others in similar predicaments. “What I found is that when secrets come to the surface, they don’t have the power that you thought they had. They lose their power,” he says. He was in his 30s when he finally told someone, his mother. He had been in and out of rehab and detox centers, and had joined several support groups for alcohol and drug abuse. 50 | www.newnancowetamag.com

“My mom, absolutely, has always been a pretty phenomenal person, and I’m sure she would have gotten me help if she had known, but I think there was definitely a point in my life where I would have rather taken a bullet than tell that secret to anyone, and it’s one of the reasons for this project. It’s to give people a platform to get those things off their chest.” Walker ranks the difficult years following the incident as bullet points on a timeline: “Molestation, uncle died, mom lost her religion, dad quit drinking and found his religion, and then they divorced.” He grew up in the middle-class suburbs of Alpharetta. He was the oldest of Wesley and Phyllis Walker’s

three sons. His father, who died in 2002, owned a florist shop off Holcomb Bridge Road in Atlanta. His mother made sure her three boys had all the best they could offer, including enrolling them in private school. She arranged for her children to have access to privileges typically reserved for wealthier families. She talked her husband into providing free florist services to a country club in exchange for family membership. She taught her sons to develop a sense of community responsibility and compassion for the less fortunate, making them work alongside her assembling sandwiches for the homeless. But Walker’s idyllic family setting shattered midway through puberty.


The sexual predator who molested him was arrested about a weekand-a-half later after being caught with another child. Phyllis Walker remembers her oldest son as an angry teenager, but she couldn’t figure out why. She wishes she had known. “They are afraid and embarrassed to tell you, and it’s a shame,” she says. “It’s like his Hidden South project. I would say 80 percent of the people out there, they had the same thing happen to them.”

Brent Walker forged on, earning a GED, and then a culinary arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. He worked his way through Atlanta’s tony restaurants before leaving the industry after a few years, citing burnout, plus “it was hard to stay sober working that life.” He taught himself web design, and was working as a contractor for SunTrust when he was hired as their interactive creative director. It was during a time when print media was king, so when SunTrust wanted to consolidate his “digital” position with the creative director “print” position, Walker didn’t apply. He wasn’t experienced with print and considered his eventual layoff a forgone conclusion. He lived off his 401K while trying to figure out what he was going to do next. His mother and one of his brothers had moved to Newnan years earlier, and that’s when Walker refocused on his sobriety. He felt being near family would provide more stability for him and for his daughter. Walker, married twice, has custody of his daughter from his first marriage. He moved to Newnan in 2007, and has stayed sober ever since. Before the move, one of his lowest points was when he “ended up on Ponce De Leon smoking crack all night.” It was also a period he was spending hundreds of dollars on the drug, so eventually someone threatened him with a gun. Walker recalls running

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for his life that day, both literally and metaphorically. It was around that time (dates are “wonky”) that he picked up a camera. He recalls a picture his mother took when she was going through some changes in her life. “She took this one picture of an old man sitting on the front porch of his shack. I really loved that picture. It showed me that if she could do it, that maybe I could do it as well. I guess I was making that transition, too.” Walker emulated the work of those he admired (Araki, Jan Saudek, Bellocq) before settling on boudoir photography. It was a way to earn an income and still be able to express his creativity without having to rely on the wedding photography route. “I think the process of creating art has been very therapeutic for me. I think that it saved my life. I don’t think I’d be here today [if I’d stayed at the bank]. I think I would have died of a heart attack or some addiction.”

Walker walks down railroad tracks near his Newnan loft to follow up on one of his former subjects, and then cruises through an abandoned hotel near a Newnan truck stop. Later, after driving through trailer parks and underprivileged neighborhoods in south Atlanta, he settles on Terry, who is working a path in front of some apartments off Cleveland Avenue. It’s about 2 p.m. Walker circles a Marathon gas station to pass by her again. She wears saggy black sweats, a red bomber jacket and a pair of white Reebok hi-tops. She resembles Rod Stewart before makeup or hair styling. Two faceless men draw in as Walker’s car slows down. “Let’s go down here a little,” he says, drawing her away from the men before he stops. He’s chewing on Altoids like they’re antacids, a leftover habit from quitting cigarettes. “First they think I want to buy drugs or sex. Then it’s [convincing them] I’m 52 | www.newnancowetamag.com


not the police,” he says. But there’s nothing police-like about Walker. At times he looks like any forlorn guy nursing a drink at a bar, but under the wispy, cirrus clouds he loves (“looks like someone painted them and then erased them”), he conveys a gentle brooding presence. He scans the back seat before unlocking the door for Terry. He tells her he wants to photograph and interview her for his book. He explains he’ll give her money for her time, and that there are some releases for her to sign. He asks most of his subjects to get in the car because it’s a quieter, controlled environment. Terry climbs in, still cupping a lit cigarette. He passes her a laminated sheet that explains the project and lists the questions. “I can’t read,” she says. He drives to a dead-end street overlooking I-85, close to its split with I-75. A mattress, covered in wet pine

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straw, lies on the side of the road. This is where Terry, 48, spills her life story. Her father molested her when she was about 8 or 9 years old, followed by her grandfather before her mother "turned her out for tricks." She’s been homeless since she was 10, and has never been to school. She recently learned she has HIV. Walker asks if she’s sought medical help. “What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?” he asks. She talks at length about 7 Bridges to Recovery, an Atlanta nonprofit ministry that regularly visits her and a band of others who sleep under a bridge near the split. The church offers food, hygiene kits, clothing and prayer. They hug her, tell her they love her, and that God loves her. “What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?” he asks. “When I got raped,” she says. “I thought he was going to pull out

money, but he pulled out a knife.” She details her injuries from the attack and starts weeping. Walker pauses then asks if she reported the assault. “They didn’t do anything. The police think because we’re prostitutes that we don’t have any feelings,” she says. Walker steps forward and wraps her in a hug. NCM

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Photo of Ella by BRENT WALKER

54 | www.newnancowetamag.com


Brent Walker is a fine art and documentary photographer. Some of his photographs from The Hidden South are on display at Studio 905 on Juniper, an art gallery in Atlanta. As part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival last year, Studio 905 on Juniper featured work from photographers who challenged “the commonly held conceptions of what society deems ’beautiful.’”  Gallery owner Adriana D’LaRotta had talked with Walker and other photographers about featuring a series of women who weren’t run-of-the-mill “model types” to show for the festival when Brent proposed some of his Hidden South pictures and the name for the exhibit, “Uncommon Beauty.” D’LaRotta first met Walker in 2013 when she offered the gallery’s location for filming. When she found out he was also a photographer, she invited him to participate in The Divided State of America exhibit, a showing inspired by muralist Chor Boggie. “With that exhibit, I asked the local artists, ’What do you think it is to be an American citizen today and how do you think America is viewed today?’ Brent did a picture of a pregnant woman with a gas mask on her mouth. She’s completely naked and surrounded by nothing but trash. The name of the work was “Rebirth.” Basically what it said is, right now, the only hope we have is our youth because we are destroying our own environment.” “Lost Third” from the gallery’s Sensuality to Eroticism exhibit is the photograph that receives the most feedback on artsy.net, a worldwide database of historical, modern and contemporary art. Walker’s photograph is of a redhead with exposed breasts against a dark background.  “It looks like a painting of a Rubens,” D’Larotta said. NCM

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closer look

Monuments and

A brief history of a few Coweta roads and how they got their names

Miles

As quick as humankind is to honor

its leaders and landmarks, it is even quicker to surpass and forget them. In Coweta County, the evidence of this truism lingers on Hospital Road, where there is no longer a hospital, and on Poplar road – or as older records dictate, “The Big Poplar Road” – where there is no longer a big Poplar but a fine new hospital. What is now called Broad Street was once named Hancock. Hennesey Lane has disappeared, taking with it Charlevoix Place and a questionable stretch named Hooligan Lane. Bullsboro, the site of Coweta’s first settlement, now shares its name with a congested four-lane thoroughfare most Cowetans prefer to avoid. To revisit the original rural outpost of Bullsboro, head east and wander around the Publix parking lot at the intersection of Bullsboro Drive and Millard Farmer Industrial Parkway. Who was Lambert? Hennesey? And what of the inauspicious Hooligan? Or Millard Farmer? While Newnan’s Court Square features familiar names commemorating

a national story – Jefferson, Washington, Jackson (Andrew, not Alan), Madison and Buchanan – the local stories are embedded in names like Salbide Avenue, Henry Bryant Road and Baggarly Way.

Salbide Avenue, Newnan Manuel Salbide was only 56 when he died in 1905. He’d just built two homes on Wesley Avenue for his young daughters and the families he dreamed they’d raise. His own home, around the corner on College Street,

Written by MELISSA DICKSON JACKSON | Photographed by MARK FRITZ 56 | www.newnancowetamag.com


Written by W. WINSTON SKINNER | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO march / april 2015

| 57


closer look

WELL-TRAVELED

Manuel Salbide began life in Spain, then traveled to Cuba, New York and Florida before ultimately settling in Newnan.

was an antebellum cottage expanded and Victorianized in high turn-of-thecentury fashion. His cigar factory in downtown Newnan prospered with regionally coveted products. An 1893 correspondent for The Goldsboro Headlight from North Carolina raved, “Post master Brown made us a present of a fine box of cigars by the name of ’The Newnan Girl.’ Call again, ladies!” Notices also appeared in The Atlanta Constitution, and the National Agricultural Register listed Salbide as a Georgia tobacco buyer and cigar manufacturer. His Presbyterian minister, Rev. Martindale, described him as “courtly,” “retiring,” “unyielding” in his convictions, and “full of industry.” Salbide began life in the Basque region of Spain along the Bay of Biscay. According to his Atlanta Journal obituary, he left “to seek his fortunes” as a teenager, stopping first in Cuba where, presumably, he learned to make cigars in the Cuban fashion. Salbide then traveled to New York and Florida. Great granddaughter-in-law 58 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Lenore Odom of Pooler, Ga., says Salbide met his wife, Annie Rainey, a Newnan girl, in Jacksonville, Fla., while she vacationed there with her widowed mother. The couple married in 1878 and soon settled in Newnan, where Salbide established his business and quickly became a pivotal member of the community. He was 31 when his 16-year-old wife gave birth to their daughter Alma Salbide (Kestler). Annie Rainey Salbide was a 42-yearold widow in 1906 when Alma married in an elegant ceremony at the Salbide’s College Street home. The Newnan Herald correspondent praised the “beautiful bride in her princess gown of olga crepe with a deep yoke and bertha of rose point lace.” Before an audience of 75 locals, the bride was escorted down the stairs by her 18-year-old sister, Ysabel. Within 12 years, Ysabel Salbide (Odom) would be a widow herself. And Alma, too, would be gone. Local artist Martin Pate and his wife, Rhonda, live in the home Salbide built for Alma. Next door is the home he built for Ysabel. Pate has

kept a decade-long auction search for any artifacts from the Newnan Girl Cigar Factory; he’s yet to find anything. Within a year of Manuel Salbide’s death, city officials proposed that Bridge Street be renamed in his honor. In only 25 years, Manuel Salbide had become indispensable to his adopted community. He was a City Alderman and the Eminent Commander of the Knights Templar. The Coweta Chronicles reports the lifelong Catholic joined Newnan Presbyterian Church in 1903, two years before his death: “But his was a Christian life under whatsoever banner he marched.” The funeral service was conducted by a committee of five local officiates. Reverend Martindale sang the praises of his parishioner in a service that included Masonic rites: “He had an ear attentive, a mind retentive, a tongue instructive, a heart responsive, and a breast faithful until death. He was mindful by the pencil of time that all the workings of soul and body are observed and recorded by the Most


setting a

High to whom as the sands of his hourglass ran out he was hastening to render up an account.” Salbide is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. He and Annie rest alone in a plot large enough for their daughters and sons-in-law. The graves of the courtly cigar manufacturer and his young bride are understated, even modest. Few locals know the origins of the strange and frequently mispronounced name. Relatives say Sal-bea-day; newcomers say Sal-bide; and locals say Sal-bee-dee. There is no remnant of the Newnan Girl Cigar Factory. A penciled note on the municipal maps of 1889 indicates a tobacco business on the second floor of a three story building on Hancock Street and Jefferson. That and a name are all that remains.

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closer look

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

The folklore surrounding Henry Bryant includes fantastic tales of his ability to heal the sick.

and travels just under a mile before crossing the railroad tracks to join Sargent Main Street, where evidence of a once vigorous cotton mill can still be detected. Henry Bryant didn’t deed property to the county or work as a mill official employing widows and housing orphans. He wasn’t a descendant of prominent landowners or an ambitious immigrant entrepreneur. Henry Bryant was born in Banning just west of Sargent in 1870. As a young man, he migrated to Texas for cotton mill work there. Ohio-based relative Caroline Maloney recalls family anecdotes about healing work Bryant performed for co-workers in Texas. But “The History of Coweta County,” published in 1988, records the origin of Bryant’s gift: “When he was a boy of 12 or 13, God spoke to him as he was chopping wood, saying, ’I am going to give you a pair of boots, and you must wear them.’ The boy tried to push the message aside, but it kept bothering him, and finally he did try to heal someone who had been burned and it worked.” When his first wife, Alice Lavonia Johnson, died in 1903, Bryant returned to Sargent with six children. He worked in the mill until retiring and then provided taxi services to the community. His ministry of healing continued and proved to be his legacy. Those who remember Henry Bryant claim he could stop a migraine with the caress of his hand, remove a wart by rubbing it, clear thrush from an infant’s cheeks and “talk out fire from a burn.” Some report he

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helped from remote locations if a neighbor could get word to him. Newnan resident Jimmy Davenport says members of the African-American community believed he could lift a hex, or if he felt inclined, cast one. At a time when cotton mill workers were little more than indentured servants whose pay often ricocheted into the pockets of the cotton magnates employing them, Henry Bryant functioned as the de facto village doctor. In fact, “History of Coweta County” claims local doctors were known to refer patients. Maloney says “Taxi” Bryant never charged a dime for his services. He was merely the custodian of a gift granted for the benefit of others. Granddaughter Elaine Bryant-Day remembers her grandfather as a man who inspired respect from his family and community. “He went to bed with the sun and got up with the sun,” she recalls. She also remembers that he never turned away a neighbor in need, even when that call came in the middle of the night announced with panicked knocks on his cabin door. Henry Bryant lived in a log cabin in a curve of the road now named for him. He married again – another Lavonia, only slightly older than his oldest children. The couple had seven more children. The youngest shared her mother’s name. Young Lavonia Bryant attended Sargent Elementary school where, in 1933, she met Elizabeth Beers. Beers calls the Bryants “the most loving family I have ever known.” She


Those who remember Henry Bryant claim he could stop a migraine with the caress of his hand, remove a wart by rubbing it, clear thrush from an infant’s cheeks and “talk out fire from a burn.” spent many afternoons in Lavonia’s company playing with Tilley the Toiler paper dolls clipped from The NewnanHerald and stored in Mr. Bryant’s cigar boxes. “I never heard an unkind word in that house,” she recalls. “Everybody got along and loved each other.” She smiles wistfully: “When the creek froze over, Lavonia and I would skate across it in our galoshes. Nobody knew what we were up to.” During a time of high infant and child mortality, the Bryants “raised 13 children to adulthood. That was unusual in those days,” she adds. Beers remembers that Mr. Bryant was often called upon to help her mother with frequent hemorrhaging nose bleeds: “They stopped in about the time it took daddy to hitch up the mule and get to the Bryants’ place. All Henry Bryant had to do was think about it.” Henry Bryant died in 1955 at the age of 85, but the road he lived on continued to be associated with the man who had served his community so generously. In the 1980s, a committee petitioned that the road name be changed to Henry Bryant. To this day,

the people of Sargent and surrounding areas recall him with respect and gratitude.

Baggarly Way, Senoia Just off Main Street in Senoia, a splinter of road bears the name Baggarly. While locals know the story, most Cowetans are more likely to associate Senoia with ambulant corpses than with the family that founded the tiny but prospering community. Reverend Francis Warren Baggarly (1818-1880) purchased the land on which Senoia sits in 1860 just prior to the Civil War. There he founded and presided over the Methodist Episcopal Church and paved the way for the formation of commercial and residential interests. Reverend Baggarly’s twin sons, Walter and Warren, started the Baggarly Brothers Buggy Company. According to “The History of Coweta County,” which is available at the McRitchieHollis Museum, Walter Baggarly was the first person in Senoia to purchase an automobile. He “later operated the first service station in Senoia.” A

wise investment given that his buggy business was unlikely to survive the coming of horseless competition. Reverend Baggarly’s house is now the home of his great-great grandson, Tray Baggarly. Tray and his children represent the fifth and sixth generations to live in the mid19th century woodframe home. After tearing out the plumbing, carpet and electrical wiring, Tray Baggarly put all the furniture back where his grandmother had arranged it: “The way I remembered from childhood.” He also found the original living room mantel in the bowels of the old buggy shop and replaced the 1950s-era brick renovation. Today, the Buggy Shop Museum on Main Street (operated by a family member) attracts tourists drawn by the promise of zombies but seduced by the charm of vintage Senoia. Buggy museum hours are whimsical and often dependent on the weather, but a glance through the glass windows offers mysteries as rich as any television script and reminds visitors of the unpaved, unnamed paths of yesterday. NCM

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FAMILY LEGACY

Reverend Francis Warren Baggarly’s home in Senoia is now occupied by his great-great grandson, Tray Baggarly.

A

Road

by any other name

Vernon “Mutt” Hunter was “just a pup” when he was tasked with registering all Coweta County roads with the state of Georgia. It was 1962; few county roads were paved, and road names were common community wisdom not county dictates. Drivers went by Bertus Hunter’s farm to get to Philip Tope’s place and over by the Grey Girls’ to find Line Creek. The road to

Welcome crossed Ishman Ballard’s Farm, and if you wanted to take a look at the lots Marian Beavers had to sell, you needed to follow The Big Poplar toward the highway. If you were headed in the other direction, the Wager’s had a mill you passed on the way to Carrollton not too far from Dr. Elliot’s house. Rather than come up with an arbitrary scheme for new names, Hunter invited a committee of county employees to assign names in each Coweta district. His committee members were “old,” he says, “real old.” He prudently enlisted men and women who had known those roads and the people who lived on them all their long lives: They would know what names people used for the paths they

MONUMENT TO THE PAST

Coweta Road Director Bill Cawthorne with one of Coweta’s oldest road markers, which is located on Tope Road. The engraving reads: "To Raymond." 62 | www.newnancowetamag.com


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traveled, what names the communities involved had grown accustomed to. “In those days,” the 84-year-old former county administrator and councilman says, “you saw wagons loaded with furniture headed down the road every January … seldom did people stay over a year. Share croppers paid their rent with cotton” and moved along with the shifting seasons. Rural roads were routes to specific farms generally owned by well-known members of the community. His grandfather, also Vernon, was known by the nickname “Shack.” He grew cotton to trade and corn to feed his livestock. He wasn’t rich, but he had land, and some of that land was deeded to the county for a road now called Shack Hunter. The same was true for Ishman Ballard, Wallace Gray, Lora Smith and countless other local landowners. “That,” said Mutt Hunter in a recent conversation with Coweta Road Director Bill Cawthorne, “is how all the roads got named at one time” by the official vote of Coweta County Commissioners under the advisement of one young man’s committee of elders. That, too, established Coweta as “the first county in Georgia to comply with the official road registration.” Still tenacious half a century later, Mutt Hunter’s decades of service are commemorated on Mutt’s Way, the entrance to the Coweta County Recreational Complex in Sharpsburg. The truth is, when it comes to getting around in Coweta County, it’s Mutt’s Way or the highway. That’s not just a bad pun; it’s a fact. NCM

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closer look

REMAKING

HISTORY

Redesigning, remodeling a labor of love in City of Homes

Old homes are plentiful in Coweta County’s historic downtowns, and Newnan – the City of Homes – is especially ripe with these monuments to the passage of time. These structures are packed with history waiting to be mined by the right people. Someone with an eye to see creative possibilities, the means to renovate, and most certainly the patience required of someone building new life from the preserved past. Two homes on College Street in Newnan are seeing new life under

GRAND UNDERTAKING

Pat and Mike Strain say they were hesitant to buy their home on College Street when they first viewed the house online. However, once they saw the antebellum mansion in person, they never looked back.

Written by ELIZABETH MELVILLE | Photographed by shauna veasey 64 | www.newnancowetamag.com


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REPURPOSE WITH PURPOSE

The Strains have been committed to remodeling their home in keeping with the era, using old-fashioned lighting throughout the house and leaving an upstairs maid’s quarters untouched.

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completely different circumstances. One home, a grand antebellum located at 52 College St., is being renovated into a forever home by Pat and Mike Strain during the course of an extensive renovation project. Another home, located at 72 College St., is being given new hope and possibilities by Lauren Carlson, an independent and creative soul looking for her next chapter in life. The Dent-Wall House at 52 College St. was built in the 1850s by merchants from Pennsylvania, according to Pat Strain. Although the home has stood the test of time, seen countless families come and go, and even welcomed 17 children in its birthing room, the Strains say they needed to be “charmed” by the property. “I didn’t like it online,” Dr. Mike Strain said. “We were not impressed – it looked like a gingerbread house,” Pat added. But the home was much more impressive in person. The large, three-story antebellum home with an inviting front walkway and stately balcony had been dwarfed in online pictures by the trees in the front yard, according to Pat. Despite their interest, they also knew they would be facing daunting renovations. “Mike wanted to do it, but he had to convince me,” Pat said. “We saw the potential in the house. The heart pine floors were a big draw. So were the large windows and the large yard.”


Eventually, the Strains decided to purchase the home and make the move from nearby Brooks, Ga. Dr. Strain is a gastroenterologist with Digestive Healthcare of Georgia with a location in Ashley Park. The Strains attend Four Corners Church in downtown Newnan, and both were attracted to living in the College-Temple historic district. “The Lord wanted us to come here and be part of the church and the Newnan community,” Pat said. They purchased the home on Dec. 6, 2013. They have worked feverishly ever since to create their dream home, which is expected to be completed sometime in March. Once completed, the home will boast six bedrooms, four full baths, one half-bath and a newly constructed, detached, three-car garage with a loft apartment. For the project, they hired what many would consider an all-star team of professionals. James T. Farmer III is a relative and their interior designer and landscape architect. More importantly, Farmer is an editor-at-large for Southern Living Magazine. Jesse Noble is one of his top designers and is the decorator who took the lead to bringing Farmer’s vision to life in the Dent-Wall House. Local Mitch Ginn is their lead architect and Jerrel Griffin is the local contractor executing the project. “It has been the most wonderful experience working with everyone,” Pat said. Before the project could get under way, however, the first home inspection revealed the presence of lead paint. The couple endured a pricey eight-week abatement period, during which the home was draped in a giant tarp. The Strains have committed to repurposing materials when possible. They are using old-fashioned lighting and cotton blinds to keep in tune with the era of the home. They will be finding use for a large antique mirror found in the home, and a maid’s quarters located upstairs will be left alone. Original doors stand dramatically throughout the house. The Strains’ builder has also taken steps to make the home energy efficient. Griffin used a felt wrap on the exterior of the home to seal it. He then covered it with cypress siding to match the original wood. The crew also wrapped the home’s original beams under the house and in the walls with insulation and finished with spray foam. Together, the team has expanded the footprint of the original home by 12 feet to create a porch, a keeping room with a breakfast nook, a master bedroom and a master bathroom. The floor plan of the downstairs has been reworked over time. The original home had a detached kitchen, which was attached in an addition made in the 1900s.

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WORK IS NEVER DONE

Projects undertaken in the Strains’ home include restoring nine fireplaces, adding a cedar shake roof, and removing a wall in the front of the home to make a "Great Hall." The Strains anticipate completion of the home remodeling project in the spring but admit work is never really done when it comes to historical homes.

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The Strains are now renovating that part of the home into their master bedroom (complete with a renovated brick porch using the original basket weave design). Visitors will enter the side door of the home into a new, larger kitchen. The Strains removed a wall in the front of the home to make what they refer to as the “Great Hall,” complete with floor-to-ceiling, built-in shelving units on one wall. They also were able to create a small office off the master bedroom. Other projects undertaken have included restoring the home’s nine fireplaces to working condition; reinforcing the cantilever balcony; updating two bathrooms on the second floor that were added in the 1900s; adding a cedar shake roof; and adding French drains on the exterior, along with copper flashing and copper downspouts. The final stage of renovations will be reworking the tiered landscape. The large trees in front of the home were removed during the project’s inception. The backyard will boast a pool and a pavilion. The front walkway will not be altered, though. “The walkway grass is the width of wagon wheels – we’ll keep that historical element,” Pat said.

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Meeting Its Potential

In a home built down the street about a century later, Lauren Carlson is continuing to settle into her newly renovated dwelling. Carlson, who works in marketing at Southwire Company in Carrollton, made the decision to downsize into her 1,700 square-foot bungalow in April 2014. Before that, she had renovated a 1940s home on Reese Street in Newnan from floor to ceiling. Twoand-a-half years before that, she had been living unhappily in a new home on Roscoe Road. “No matter how much I decorated it, it felt lifeless and empty,” Carlson said. “It didn’t feel like home. I also decided

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I wanted to get closer to downtown Newnan and the lively scene.” It took two years to renovate the home on Reese Street. When she put it on the market, it sold within a week. Carlson temporarily moved in with her parents. She was immediately drawn to 72 College St. It had beautiful molding and hardwood floors, according to Carlson. The home on College Street hadn’t been on the market 24 hours before she made an offer to buy it. “I saw the potential,” she said. Just like she’d done with the home on Reese Street, Carlson brought in Daniel Lichty of Lichty Brothers Homes to carry out her vision. Above all, she prefers a space to be functional. Although her furnishings are typically traditional, her decor is mostly antiques. Her style is very much like the home itself – a blend of new with the old. And each home she has

HISTORIC CHARM

Lauren Carlson has lived in several residences, but says she never truly feels at home unless it’s in a historical house.

purchased progressively has gotten smaller for Carlson. “I don’t need that much,” Carlson said. She loves the size and flow of her home now. It’s a respite from her fastpaced life.


vascular


artist spotlight IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS Lauren Carlson’s style is a blend of modern and antique.

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LOOKING OUT

Now that she’s got the interior of her College Street home to her liking, Lauren Carlson says she’s ready to take it outside and envisions a deck with a pergola.

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“It has the charm that I look for,” she said. “I love the location. It’s just a charming little bungalow.” Coweta County Farm Bureau Carlson was featured in the 2014 Tour of Homes in 19 Bullsboro Dr. | Newnan, GA 30263 Newnan. Renovations wrapped up just in time for the December tour. Carlson closed in a doorway to create Call Us Today!! a master bedroom. She also updated the kitchen and (770) 253-3649 added a pantry. Visitors to her home on the December tour were so impressed that some made offers to purchase it on the spot. “Although I’ve always seen the bungalow’s charm, I never realized that its character would resonate with Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company others so much,” Carlson said. “I was deeply humbled. That in itself was confirmation of a historic home’s power to inspire new memories and continue its legacy.” The space in her home is defined by Carlson’s infusion of design and decor decisions. Built-ins in the dining room display antiques, including a clay pitcher hand-painted by her grandmother. Built-ins in her office are filled with family ancestry – including a steel mandolin her great grandfather welded during the Great Depression when he was without work. Heritage of Peachtree is an award-winning senior living “I’m an old soul,” she said. “I’m a collector of community in Fayetteville, Georgia, offering all of the comforts anything old. I thrive on the question: How did of home without the challenges and responsibilities. we get here?” Our family of residents can have all of the privacy and For now, she’s enjoying the fruits of her labor. Since AtAt HeritAge of PeAcHtree HeritAge of or PeAcHtree independence of living at home they can choose to have she’s never lived in a home for more than three years Heritage of Peachtree senior living Heritage of Peachtreeisisan an award-winning award-winning senior living all of the help and support our community can provide! community in Fayetteville,Georgia, Georgia, offering of of thethe comforts community in Fayetteville, offeringallall comforts at a time, Carlson knows she will probably get the of home withoutthe thechallenges challenges and responsibilities. of home without and responsibilities. and start living life today at Heritage of Peachtree itch to do it all again on down the road with another Come see for yourself family of residents can have all of the privacy and OurOur family of residents can have all of the privacy and independence of living at home or they can choose to have home. For now, she’s looking forward to finding more independence of living at home they cancan choose to have all of the help and support our or community provide! all of the help and support our community can provide! ways to maximize the space she’s in, and she’s alreadyCall 888-410-4561 Come see for yourself and start living life today at Heritage Peachtree! today to sChedule aofComplimentary Come see for yourself and start living life today at Heritage of Peachtree! daydreaming about a deck with a pergola. lunCh & tour to see how muCh we have to offer! Call 888-410-4561 today to sChedule a Complimentary “I will keep myself busy,” she added. CALL888-410-4561 770-631-3461 TODAY TO AaCOMPLIMENTARY lunCh & tour today to see how muCh we have to offer! Call to SCHEDULE sChedule Complimentary LUNCH &&tour TOUR to TO see SEE HOW MUCH we WE have HAVE TO lunCh how muCh to OFFER! offer! For the Strains and for Carlson – and for the countless others undertaking similar labors of love HERITAGE OF PEACHTREE – a home is not merely four walls and a roof. It’s an a Senior Lifestyle community P e r s On a l c a r e invitation to life: A place for rest, love, community e rsst On|aFa l cy a reet t e v i l l e , G a 30214 1967 H iGH wa y 54 wPe 1967 H iGH wa y 54 w e s|t PEACHTREE | Fa y e t t e v i l l e , G a CITY, 30214 1967 HIGHWAY 54 WEST GA 30269 W W W. sW. e sneior lom e .c om WW n ior l l iiff ee s ts yt l ey.c and the stretching of the soul. WWW.SENIORLIFESTYLE.COM And quite often in the City of Homes, it’s an investment in history. NCM

Southern charmed...

Southern charmed... Southern

charmed...

At HeritAge of PeAcHtree

P e r s On a l c a r e 1967 H iGH wa y 54 w e s t | Fa y e t t e v i l l e , G a 30214 W W W. s e n ior l i f e s t y l e .c om

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duel pages

In this corner

And really, that’s the draw of reality TV. It’s a chance to observe the multi-car wreck from the comfort and safety of your couch.

JON COOPER

has been a freelance writer for nearly two decades, the past 15 in Atlanta. He’s a contributor to ESPN. com, MLB.com, NBA. com and Ramblinwreck. com. When he’s not typing at his computer or attending a sporting event, he likes to watch reality TV and keep up with the Kardashians.

Keeping it Real with Reality TV Mark Twain once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Twain said that long before there was television or reality TV. Having to stick to possibilities, or at least not having to stick to a script, is what sets reality TV apart from sitcoms. Reality is the first part of reality TV (unlike situation in situation comedy) and, regardless of whose reality it is, people dig it. Anyone who’s seen “Raising Arizona” knows the following exchange between Glen (Sam McMurray) and H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage). “It’s a crazy world,” Glen says. “Someone oughta sell tickets,” McDunnough responds. “Sure, I’d buy one,” Glen snaps back. Through reality TV, no one has to buy anything. Just turn on the television, pick a station, and let the voyeurism begin. And really, that’s the draw of reality TV. It’s a chance to observe the multi-car wreck from the comfort and safety of your couch. It’s essentially schadenfreude with a remote. Yet, if you want, reality TV CAN BE you. With luck, Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame can be extended to 60 minutes over 13 episodes. It’s so good that Cage’s real-life son, Weston, and Cage’s ex-girlfriend (Weston’s mom) are getting their own show. Of course, I could go on and on about how sports is the ultimate reality TV — two teams, one winner, all kinds of unpredictable twists and turns. Who’s going to have an unexpectedly bad day? Who’ll have an unforeseen bad one? Will a play or a call allow a lucky fan to send his kid to the Ivy League or force him to wipe out the kid’s college fund? I’ve gone off the script, something you’ll NEVER see on a sitcom. Does that make “Snooki” (real name Nicole Polizzi) or “The Situation” (real name Michael Sorrentino) from “Jersey Shore” better actors than Jim Parsons (Sheldon in “The Big Bang Theory”) or Alan Alda (Hawkeye in “MASH”)? No, but you do hang on to every word they say. Unlike sitcoms, reality TV is not formulaic and show spin-offs are aplenty. That’s why the “Real Housewives” series, which began

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in Orange County, Calif., now has shows in Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Miami, Vancouver and Australia. Who knows? Newnan could be next. One thing is for sure. Reality TV is here to stay. Adventure shows like “Survivor,” the show that arguably started it all, is up to season 30 and is shot in nine different countries. “The Amazing Race” is up to season 26, while “Big Brother” is up to season 18. Entertainment shows have similar staying power, as “American Idol” (up to season 15), “Dancing With the Stars” (up to season 20), “America Has Talent” (up to season 10), “The Voice” (up to season eight), and “So You Think You Can Dance” (up to season 13) and others are showing no signs of letting up. Reality TV can turn anyone into a star, having brought moody chef Gordon Ramsay (“Hell’s Kitchen”), infamously unforgettable William Hung and Sanjaya Malakar (“American Idol”), Duane “Dog” Chapman (“Dog The Bounty Hunter”), the entire Robinson family (“Duck Dynasty”) and, of course, the Kardashians into your home. And they’re gonna keep coming. The insatiable appetite for reality TV ensures there will be more shows displaying do’s and don’t’s in cooking (“Master Chef,” “Cake Boss,” etc.), dressing (“America’s Top Model”), and dating (“The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”). There also will be more for the wacky – more “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” “Half Pint Brawlers,” “Amish In The City,” “Celebrity Rehab,” “Sex Rehab” ... the list goes on and on. That’s good news for the millions who tune in to see who is “The Biggest Loser.” They are the biggest winners — as are the tabloids, the paparazzi, out-of-work sitcom writers and former sitcom stars. Makes sense to me. Then, again, reality has to. NCM


The temperature plummeted, my fever crept higher and all I craved was must-watch TV. It was early January, cruelly frigid outside, and I had contracted a mystery plague from my sweet children. Remedy: Bury myself under the duvet and let the medicinal nostalgia of "Friends" on Netflix wash over me. Before I could say, “How YOU doin’?” the familiar banter and storylines transported me out of my sick bed and into Central Perk. Could this modern-day, binge-watching miracle have occurred similarly after hours of viewing, say, "My Strange Addiction," "Celebrity Wife Swap," "Storage Wars" or (horror of horrors) "Teen Mom"? For me, at least, that’s a resounding NO. Give me a quality sitcom over a reality television program any day of the week. In the immortal words any Gen-Xer should remember — reality bites. “But Amy,” you might argue, “reality TV is an authentic, unscripted reflection of our culture. It’s much more entertaining than your dated ol’ sitcoms.” I’m no Judge Judy, but I’d counter that watching reality television is like gnawing on an air sandwich with Styrofoam buns: Mmmm, chewy nothingness. Where’s the peanut butter and jelly? Sure, my sitcom PB&J is lacking in nutritional value, but at least it’s filling and delicious. I’ve always loved watching bite-sized comedy: "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Family Ties" with a brace-faced babysitter; "Who’s the Boss?" and "Growing Pains" with friends giggly over Kirk Cameron; "Sanford and Son" and "The Andy Griffith Show" on my grandfather’s lap in his La-Z-Boy. There’s history in the laughter, a bond across the decades. Sitcoms have substance, too. They’ve not only focused on conventional household situations over the years, but have evolved with society to include racial diversity, women’s liberation, war, workingclass dynamics, single adult friendships and non-traditional families. The scripted nature of sitcoms also appeals to me. They’re neat and concise, with problems solved in less than 30 minutes, or at least by season’s end (unless ...

CLIFFHANGER). Life is messy. Escapist entertainment shouldn’t be. Plus, improvisation and spontaneity make me nervous – I watch beauty contestant interviews through splayed fingers like a horror movie, and don’t get me started on those poor "American Idol" singers led to the stage like lambs to slaughter. The antithesis of the tidy sitcom package is the sloppy reality show. It’s slick, plastic, deceptive, mean and utterly forgettable. And exactly how “real” is the reality show? I’d wager it varies, but most manipulative “unscripted television” seems like nothing more than contrived scenarios and misleading editing. Where’s the harm, right? I have no problem with “Bravolebrities,” a little voyeurism or the feeling of self-importance one feels compared to those onscreen. What does bother me is what young viewers may see: the warped objectification of women; the humiliation of participants; rampant consumerism; non-stop drama and arguing. Plus, I’m still a little bitter that reality TV ate an entire childhood channel formerly known for playing music videos … In any event, reality TV isn’t going anywhere — episodes of "COPS" and "Cheaters" will linger like roaches and outlive us all. Sitcoms aren’t disappearing, either, and they suffer some of the same pitfalls as reality shows. Both formats can be mind-numbingly simplistic, and questionable role models abound no matter the genre. Fortunately, sitcoms also harness the power of storytelling, which is kind of the point. So, with reality TV’s cyclical popularity in a current slump, now is a great time to revisit your old friend, the sitcom. The format hasn’t died, not by a long-shot ... it’s just matured. Say goodbye to the annoying laugh track and hello to mockumentary style! Don’t see your favorite show in the listings? Check Hulu. From "The Mindy Project," "New Girl" and "Modern Family" to "Blackish," "Louie" and "Parks and Recreation,” there’s something for everyone. Besides, genuine laughs always beat lowculture gimmicks. In a sea of Kardashians and “Pawn Stars,” I’ll stick with my “Friends.”

In this corner

Sticking with Sitcoms

duel pages

In the immortal words any Gen-Xer should remember — reality bites.

AMY LOTT,

a utility co-op communicator and a former crime reporter for The Newnan TimesHerald, is also a mother of two, a south Georgia girl and a lover of all things sitcom, especially reruns of “Friends.”

NCM

march / april 2015

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A collection of original works by Coweta poets and writers Present Tense By Cindy Nelson

She sat there in her car – not a car, a sporty SUV he insisted she would love – and looked up at the maple tree next to the driveway in front of her home. No, she thought, not my home, my house. It’s never felt like home. She used to love that tree, for the promise it brought in those still cool days of March. The tiny buds, heralding a new spring as they slowly grew, a sign of things to come - green leaves, warm sunshine, the sounds and sights and smells of spring, her favorite season. Or at least is used to be. With a turn of the key, she started the SUV and watched the leaves, red and brown and robbed of their fall brilliance, drifting down slowly and landing like feathers on the browning lawn. She no longer lived for spring and the hope it used to bring. Now, she loved the fall and even looked forward to the winter, when the world changed and nothing seemed to move. She knew she needed to move. Her thoughts were not clear – they never were anymore – but there were things in her head, ideas, notions, she could not shake. Would he understand? He’s a 78 | www.newnancowetamag.com

good man. That’s what everyone says. That’s what she told people. A good man. Church-going, civic club-joining, a smile and helping hand for everyone. Might have one too many glasses of wine at a Christmas party, might stare too long at the waitress at the local sports bar on a Friday, but a good man. That couldn’t be denied, could it? The plaintive singing voice from the car CD player shook her from her reverie. That voice, filled with pain and hurt but yet promise and passion at the same time. “Still I long for your kiss ...” She had played it for him once, and all he said was, “Why do you listen to that whiny music? I like stuff that makes me feel good, not want to climb in a bathtub and slit my wrists.” He said it with that smile that wasn’t really a smile – the one only she knew. Was this wrong? Of course it was. But it was equally right. She didn’t ask to move to this small town with its cliques of “my kid is going to a better college than yours” women, with its incestuous gossip and shopping circles and whispers and sideways looks. This was not for her. Nothing was for her. But something needed to be for her. The perfect house in the perfect neighborhood with the perfect lawn and the perfectly

constructed families that walked by and waved, trying to hide their suspicion and judgment – no, that was not for her. He said it was, but it was not. The house was beautiful, but what was it, really? Just bricks and stones and drywall filled with expensive furniture, impressive paintings and a deafening silence. The old house had life, at least for a while. But kids grow up and move on, and where did that leave her? Living in a museum of emptiness. Why couldn’t she be grateful? She’d heard that all her life. Are you never happy with anything? Well, she thought, what does happy mean? How can your idea of my happiness have any relevance to me? This really makes me a selfish witch, she sometimes whispered out loud. No, she’d answer herself. It makes me a woman. The silence was broken by the excited yelp of a child that shook her from her state of contemplation. She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw, across the street, a little girl – maybe 5 or 6 – a carefree spirit in a pink dress, running and squealing and smiling as a handsome young father chased her around the lawn, pretending to have a worm in his hand. The pretty mom stood on the front steps and watched the whole scene, a satisfied smile


on her face, a smile that conveyed security and contentment and a belief that these moments would never end. Oh, they end, honey. They end. There’ll come a day when that same little girl is asking why daddy is gone so much. Why does his job make him stay so late? Why does he not answer me sometimes when I talk to him, or not want to watch “The Little Mermaid” with me any more? She remembered those days. The late-night phone calls from the office where he sounded a little like he wasn’t at the office at all. The sudden overnight trips that couldn’t be avoided. The silent moments at the dinner table, holes that nothing could feed. But still, did he deserve this? Maybe not. Would he understand? No, probably not. Hopefully, he would never have to. How long can these things last, anyway? Do they have a future? No. What was she even getting out of it? That would be hard to explain, but she knew the answer – she was being noticed. That may be pathetic and cliché and a little sad, but life often is all of those things. Not everything needs a future. Some things just need a present. She needed a present. She put the SUV in reverse and began to back out slowly. The last leaf of the season broke loose from its moorings and danced crazily through the air, lighting on her windshield like a broken butterfly. She stopped and stared it for at least a minute, her mind a blank slate, the voice coming from the speakers her only companion and still longing for that kiss. She backed the car into the road, turned left, and disappeared from view. She understood. NCM

Apples and Edam By Melissa Dickson Jackson

          Mary said you couldn’t bring them back, it didn’t work that way.  She was a new friend, older and not inclined to sentiment – about food or people. But there I was, a guest in her kitchen, the beaches of St. George beyond the shutters, a Fuji apple split open at its seeded heart, a block of Edam cheese, room temperature, and soft enough to tear apart with my fingertips. That’s what I ate those three days, apples and Edam, an occasional slice of heavy-grain German bread. Because I was off the coast of Florida in a house of busy women. Fish camps and sunbathers dimpling the shore. Because in that busy house I was alone, or lonely, or just sentimental. Because what I wanted was to take again our grand journey, twenty years distant. Britta on the train to Prague. Mette on the ferry from Aarhus. My dumb self kneeling at Karen Blixen’s grave as though I had known and loved her. In the knapsack – butter and cheese sandwiches, three apples. In the days to come, we girls will take trains through Medieval towns and industrial villages and find not one green thing on the restaurant menus: sausages and boiled dough, beer, stewed meat, pickled cabbage. There will be bell towers, and churches, and tourists, orchestras composed of dental assistants and street sweepers. There will be a fruit vendor selling navel oranges. And the one I buy for us to share will taste as sweet as the one I cut open with a stranger’s pocketknife   on an Amtrak train from Boston, alone, learning what it was I wanted from the world in the days before I knew. NCM

Writer’s Note: As a young woman, I took a three-week European journey to visit college friends from Denmark and Germany. The trip was a challenge and, admittedly, poorly planned. I didn’t have enough money; my friends had obligations that couldn’t always include me. It was a naive and foolish adventure that, in some ways, didn’t end well. A quartercentury later, I count those 21 days a rare and beautiful blessing. They taught me what I wanted from the world, that it wasn’t life on the edge without a net and strange things in exotic places. They humbled me even as they elevated me. Later, I found myself a wife and a mother on a getaway with new friends. Though the trip was short and in familiar cultural territory, I felt a renewed kinship and appreciation for the companions of my youth. To call them back into my present, I turned to the rucksack meal of our travels: Apples and Edam cheese. march / april 2015

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Index OF ADVERTISERS 92.5 The Bear...............................................55

AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center............9

Arbor Terrace............................................... 51

Atlanta Market Furniture............................ 67

Austin Outdoor............................................ 69 BeDazzled Flower Shop............................. 21

◗ may/june preview

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what's

The Bedford School....................................37 Brookdale Senior Living Solutions...........61

C.S. Toggery...................................................4

Carriage House............................................37 Charter Bank ................................................53 ChemDry of Coweta...................................47

Collector's Corner and The BoneYard.....41

Cosmetic Laser & Skin Care Center...........3

Coweta-Fayette EMC..................................83

One Step at a Time

Dental Staff School .....................................51 Double Bar H Stables..................................21

Edward Jones...............................................11 Expressive Flooring.....................................73 Farm Bureau Insurance...............................75 Foot Solutions..............................................29

Georgia Bone and Joint, LLC.....................59 Healthy Life Chiropractic .............................7

Heritage of Peachtree.................................75 The Heritage School...................................21

Imagine Yourself Organized......................23

Kemp's Dalton West Flooring...................67

Lee-King Pharmacy.....................................39 MainStreet Newnan.....................................23

Massage Envy...............................................69

McGuire's Buildings....................................31

The Newnan Centre....................................25 Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.........37

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute..........6 Pain Care.........................................................5 Piedmont Newnan Hospital.........................2

Renaissance Plastic Surgery................42-43

Savannah Court of Newnan.......................41 Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C.......................27

Southern Crescent Equine Services, LLC.......63

Stemberger & Cummins, P.C.....................49

StoneBridge Early Learning Center.........63

Uniglobe McIntosh Travel.......................... 17

University of West Georgia.......................... 8 Vein Specialists of Georgia........................ 33

Soon the weather will be warming up and it’ll be time to break out the New Balance sneakers. Need a little inspiration to meet your fitness goals? Meet Nancy Fisher of Sharpsburg. She’s a dental hygienist who runs half-marathons – one state at a time. Twentyseven states down, she’s got 23 more to go. Find out how and why she does it in the May/June issue of Newnan-Coweta Magazine.

Put Away Your Phones

What’s the capital of Indonesia? What’s the distance of a nautical mile? What’s Kramer’s last name (trick question)? Many of us might need Google to find out the answer, but Newnan’s Joe Yarbrough spends a lot of his weeknights immersed in trivia and answering similar questions and more. Often single-handedly competing against groups of tables gunning for the top prize, Yarbrough frequently comes out the victor on trivia nights in Coweta. Find out more about the trivia genius in our next issue.

details

Vinewood Plantation ..................................13

Magazine Advertising Deadline

West Georgia Health .................................. 84

Next Publication Date: May 1, 2015

VITAS Healthcare......................................... 35

Wild Animal Safari....................................... 19 82 | www.newnancowetamag.com

April 3, 2015

For more information on advertising opportunities in Newnan-Coweta Magazine, please call

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ranks in the top 10% in the U.S. West Georgia Health Heart Clinic

A healthy heart is at the center of your life. West Georgia Health is doing its part to keep it that way. Our caring team of specialists and support staff diagnose, treat and rehabilitate a number of heart conditions. Our leading edge facilities are equipped with the latest testing and diagnostic tools, including a cardiac catheterization lab capable of life-saving minimally invasive procedures. So while you’ll find our cardiovascular program among the best in the nation, you will also find us close to home.

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March/April NCM 2015