Coweta An appreciation of the things that have shaped our county
Difference Coweta volunteers thrive on helping those in need
Whiskey Coweta history dotted with illicit moonshine stills and bootleggers
JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2016
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â—— in this issue
16 | Shine On Coweta County has always been a dry county. Or has it? Revisit an age of quiet home deliveries and a shadowy underworld populated by reputable public figures.
25 | Putting a Face to Volunteering From retirees and students to church members and good Samaritans, those who volunteer their time and skills to help others are the backbone of goodwill, spreading charity and binding the community.
10 | www.newnancowetamag.com
in every issue 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 44 |
36 36 | The Most Interesting Man in Coweta As an executive, musician, business owner and
48 | Our Remarkable Home
An appreciation of the things that have shaped our county
NCM’s W. Winston Skinner provides brief, near poetic synopses of several local landmarks and familiar icons and what makes them special to those of us who call Coweta home.
project, we set out to discover what locals are willing to admit when they’re assured anonymity.
60 | 62 | 64 | 66 |
Pen & Ink Duel Pages Blacktop Index of Advertisers
on the cover
lawyer, Burl Finkelstein proves he can do just about anything. Apologies to the Dos Equis mascot and Chuck Norris, but when this Cowetan enters the room, the room knows it.
58 | Secrets Taking a page from Frank Warren’s PostSecret
From the Editor Datebook Roll Call Sweet Tea Hobby Q&A
Difference Coweta volunteers thrive on helping those in need
Take a trip with us back in time to an age of our forefathers – one many would rather forget. See more on page 16.
Whiskey Coweta history dotted with illicit moonshine stills and bootleggers
JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2016
Photo by Mark Fritz
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Giving ‘em a Fair Shake
hese days, while a handshake may not be as good as a written contract like it once was — even in Texas — there’s still a necessary tradition at work as we humans interact in both social and professional worlds. Though all-inclusive — just watch the end of a women’s tennis match — the handshake widely is considered more, well, manly. In fact, YouTube channel The Art of Manliness dedicates a four-minute video on how to do it properly: Offer a greeting before engaging in contact. Be firm, but not too firm. Don’t loosely shake hands. Don’t interrupt a conversation to shake hands. Don’t grip just the fingers. Don’t engage contact for too long (Guinness record is 42 hours … ridiculous). Ensure your hands are clean. Cup a lady’s hand with both hands, if she offers. It is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands. It is also considered rude or disrespectful to have your free hand in your pocket while shaking hands. According to Wikipedia, the handshake was practiced as far back as the 2nd century BC as a way to indicate one wasn’t holding a weapon. These days, it’s just the gentlemanly thing to do. However, we often witness different generations, secret societies and the like bastardize the familiar platform of the handshake and turn it into a near stage-directed assortment of grippy sign language that takes hours to master and minutes to perform. That ain’t for me. This quote, I think, sums it up best: “The most important things in those first few seconds are, basically, a firm handshake and a smile, good eye contact and really paying attention.” The J. Peterman Company’s catalog/owner’s manual, if it were to provide a literary summary of the handshake instead of fine clothing, might read:
12 | www.newnancowetamag.com
IT HAPPENED IN AN OBSCURE PARISIAN CAFE
For him, it wasn’t all black and white. The lines were blurred, though there was no grey in this world. He sat and mused, longer still. The clock ticked away. That damned irritable clock. What time is it, anyway? Somewhere else in the world, it’s time for bed. But he merely sits there, pokerface-like, and contemplates his next move. So many options. So many miserable options, but he can’t think of one. Steve McQueen, the Tunnel King, would have dug himself out of this predicament. He recalls his great lovers and his great loves. His, not McQueen’s. Which one was Mary? She’d liked haute couture and gin. And “the Germans wore grey.” Resigned, he tips his Staunton king, stands and offers his opponent, Ivan something-or-other, a firm handshake and a “good game, sir” amid a sound defeat and saunters back to the empty counter inside for a third espresso. Another time, he promises himself.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel we are seeing a return to the traditional handshake. After a reigning trend of head nods, high-fives and multi-point elbow bumps, the true gentleman’s handshake is in full swing. Sure, Newnan’s elderly statesmen and Coweta’s country gentlemen for the most part have always maintained the classic ritual, but more and more of the younger generations also are greeting each other at local eateries and watering holes with a vape in one tattooed hand and the promise of civility and brotherly love in the other. Civility. I like it. Especially during a time in which the word “gunman” is used far too often in news headlines and social media frequently is overly polarized on how someone somewhere else is treating a farm animal or how a presidential candidate is styling his or her hair. A handshake is a physical connection in a cyberconnected world. After all, oftentimes you can measure the true character of a person — or lack thereof — by their handshake, not by a Facebook-shared political meme.
Will Blair, Editor email@example.com
THE NEWNAN-COWETA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Hear The Best Country Music From Today And Yesterday!
is excited to offer “Man of Peace,” a concert by the Atlanta Concert Ringers in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the historic Train Depot. For more information, call 770-251-0207.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT 92.5 THE BEAR!
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COWETA COUNTY CITIZEN OF THE YEAR GALA
Hosted by the Newnan Kiwanis Club, the Coweta County Citizen of the Year Gala will be held Jan. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Coweta Fairgrounds Exhibit Building, located at 275 Pine Road. For more information, call the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce at 770-253-2270.
“PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE,” a comedy
by comedian Steve Martin, will be performed Feb. 4-7 and Feb. 11-14 at the Newnan Theatre Company. This absurdist comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism. For ticket information, call 770-683-6282.
THE CENTRE FOR PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS will present
“A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens’ novel about the people of France and Britain during the Reign of Terror, on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. For ticket information, call 770-254-2787.
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january /february 2016 | 13
◗ thank you
MELISSA DICKSON JACKSON teaches
When MEGAN ALMON isn’t traveling around the nation speaking for the Life Training Institute, she’s probably curled up on her porch swing with a good book or riding trials motorcycles with her husband, Tripp, and their two children. A romantic at heart, she also considers herself sensible. Give
English composition at the University of West Georgia. Until she researched her story for this issue of NCM, she didn’t know what had become of her ancestor Dick Sewell. She’s the author of two books of poetry, “Cameo” and “Sweet Aegis.”
Her Chocolate, page 62
Shine On, page 16
W. WINSTON SKINNER is the
news editor for The Newnan TimesHerald. Both his grandmothers were storytellers, and he feels he inherited their verbal gifts and put them on paper. He loves hearing — and telling — stories that say something about people and their lives.
TINA HARVEY, a Boho beach bum at heart, feels a spiritual connection to all things outdoors – hiking, gardening, camping and beaching. She and her sidekick Beagle mix can be found walking every chance they get. The other loves in her life are her husband, Tom, and their three children. Give Her Flowers, page 63
Our Remarkable Home, page 48
PATTI FERCKEN is a native
of New Jersey and a graduate of the University of West Georgia. She is studying to work as a paralegal. She loves her dogs, and loves to laugh (despite the serious nature of her creative writing). Through,
REBECCA ROWLAND LEFTWICH is a freelance
writer, an editor and the mother of three teenagers, two of whom she homeschools. She spends her free time avoiding the mosh pits at pop-punk shows and wrestling her 75-pound puppy, Pippin. The Most
Interesting Man in Coweta, page 36
spent her Opie Taylor childhood in south Georgia mostly outdoors except for watching “The Monkees” on TV every Saturday morning. Rainy days were for reading at the library. Today, she does freelance work — writing and media projects mainly for arts-focused organizations.
Putting a Face to Volunteering, page 25
14 | www.newnancowetamag.com
CAREY SCOTT WILKERSON is the author
of two collections of poetry, “Threading Stone” and “Ars Minotaurica.” He holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and teaches at Columbus State University.
Calendar Days, page 60
Let Us Hear From You!
Feel free to send thoughts, ideas and suggestions for upcoming issues of NewnanCoweta Magazine to firstname.lastname@example.org
januaryâ€‰/february 2016 | 15
“When I started my genealogy research, I hoped to find godly men and stewards of the community; I found bootleggers and horse thieves.” - Teri Lewis, UWG Newnan Campus Office Manager
Written by MELISSA DICKSON JACKSON Photographed by MARK FRITZ
16 | www.newnancowetamag.com
White Lightning, bootlegging part of Coweta’s storied past
HE NATION’S ONLY LEGAL WOOD-FIRED DISTILLERY operates at Mount Vernon, the
plantation home of George Washington. Under the auspices of distiller-in-chief Washington, the hearth-mounted copper stills produced nearly 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey in 1799 alone. President Washington also paid the taxes his administration first imposed on whiskey craftsmen in 1791 – though it remains unclear if he paid taxes on all the whiskey his six enslaved African-American distillers produced. Needless to say, Washington did not participate in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. That pivotal moment in
American economics established the precedent for taxing a domestic product (Blame Alexander Hamilton and the Revolutionary War for that one). Contemporary production figures from Washington’s restored distilleries fail to astound, but in October 2015, two bottles of the Scottishstyle single malt fetched $32,000 at auction. This brief history reveals a rarely contemplated truth: Despite its Scottish origins, whiskey is as fundamentally American as hot dogs, bluegrass music, and fast cars. It bred NASCAR, once filled prohibition-era hot dogs, and often accompanied the fiddle and banjo strains emerging from Appalachian hollows and from Coweta porches. Indeed, America’s mythic heart beats to the thump and hum of a hidden still. In the South, that thump and hum pumps veins of corn mash. Coweta’s whiskey history may be less prestigious than Mt. Vernon’s, but it is no less storied. Farming and distilling occupied twin posts: The whiskey met ends when the harvest couldn’t, and the harvest often ended in whiskey. If the price of corn was elastic, the price of an illicit gallon was not. And if a man couldn’t sell his shine, he could always drink it to numb the anxiety of an empty wallet, an empty belly, or an empty silo. As Newnan’s Jimmy Davenport, a relative of multiple deceased distillers, notes, “a lot of farmers made whiskey because it was their only source of cash.” Farming, however, was not the sole avenue to moonshining. Newnan native Scott Lunsford says his ancestors arrived in what would become Coweta County in the 18th century as indentured mercenaries tasked with depleting the native population. When that population proved to be more elusive than expected, Lunsford’s ancestors turned instead to a family tradition: The whiskey still. Lunsford says they traded whiskey for pelts and pelts for cash and goods. In the emerging settlement of Bullsboro, they sold the whiskey to travelers and settlers along the McIntosh Trail. Newnan, Lunsford points out, was built on whiskey. That foundation reflects the American adventure and enigma, a paradox of Puritan values and skilled evasion january /february 2016 | 17
“DESPERADO” TOM DELK CAPTURED BY BOOTLEGGER
18 | www.newnancowetamag.com
of the laws presumed to protect those values. Ironically, the legal issue wasn’t the drink itself or even the act of drinking. For most of the history of alcohol legislation, the laws rested on the collection of taxes. The debt of Revolution had been paid on the back of taxed whiskey sales since 1791. A homemade pint sold neighbor to neighbor cheated the federal government of essential revenue. In an effort to recoup Civil War damage to the federal coffers, taxes on distilled spirits that cost less than 25¢ to produce rose to $2 a gallon. That was a pretty good reason for former Confederates to take to the woods and make their own – if they weren’t doing so already. The last rebel yell may well have been the right of a man to do whatever he damn well pleased with his own corn, but that cry for independence was shared by black and white citizens alike. For many freed blacks, the production of illicit alcohol may have been a more socially acceptable occupation than others. It kept the stills and the former slaves out of sight and filled a need that members of the white elite preferred remain invisible. Symbiotic relationships evolved over time that may not have served the long-term community good.
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BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOONSHINE In the postbellum era, stills metastasized along creeks and river bends, among the thickets and brambles nestled between backwoods homesteads across Coweta. Sometimes trails from multiple households led to these hidden community assets. “In those days, everybody had a worm,” says local historian Elizabeth Beers, recalling the pigtail twist of copper pipe essential to a good still. Bonds formed, feuds ensued, and more than one marriage was sealed or severed as a result of a still’s carnal charms. A less charming inevitability emerged as moonshiners became complicit criminals and criminals sought out complicit moonshiners. However, the 1897 encounter between Tom Delk, a “desperado … wanted for the murder of Sheriff G[uinn] of Pike County, Georgia” (The Hamilton Appeal), and Senoia farmer J.H. McWilliams was presumably accidental. Coweta’s first crime sensation featured stolen cows, a murdered sheriff, an outlaw on the run, a probable moonshiner, and, eventually, an Atlanta execution. The details twist and morph in heroic prose published throughout the region. The Constitution published no fewer than 26 articles and referred to Delk as “a sort of will-’o-the-wisp of crime” who repeatedly escaped prosecution for burglary, cattle theft, arson, highway robbery and murder. In his defense, Delk blamed whiskey. His capture by McWilliams included an hour-long struggle and ultimately resulted in Delk trudging back to McWilliams’ home with his own pistol pointed at his back. After Delk’s execution by hanging, Jackson Argus of Pike County wrote, “Tom Delk’s name is now a memory – his life is a small speck on the face of the past that is fading, even now, from the minds of men.” It’s unlikely McWilliams had forgotten Delk when he was apprehended in 1897, along with his neighbor J.F. Foster, for operating a large distillery “located in a deep gully and [ ] completely hidden from view by brush and trash,” according to the Atlanta Constitution. Nearby, a coal kiln burned pine into charcoal
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IN THE NEWS
After Susie Foster was arrested in Senoia for running a nuisance “blind tiger,” The Constitution in Atlanta and The Enquirer in Cincinnati published articles covering the event. 20 | www.newnancowetamag.com
and helped camouflage the still. The deputies responsible for the arrest claimed paths led from both households straight to the operation. All the evidence indicated a partnership between the men, but Foster took the fall when he told the judge that “he had never seen McWilliams around the still” and the man was “too lazy to work at anything.” For his part, McWilliams claimed that “he had nothing to do with Foster,” though the Constitution reported that “there was an evident effort on the part of each to impress the judge that they disliked each other.” Officials destroyed the distillery and Foster went to jail, but by 1901, his wife, Susie, was operating a “blind tiger” – or speakeasy – near Sharpsburg. Described by the Constitution as a “pleasant faced country woman” and by the Cincinnati Enquirer as both “a beautiful woman” and of “singular beauty,” Mrs. Foster escaped by stealing a key from the pocket of a sleeping deputy and climbing “out of a high window to avoid any unnecessary noise.” The story delivered by the Constitution seems to wink suspiciously at the weary deputy. Mrs. Foster’s luck continued after her escape through Keg Creek Swamp and her eventual recapture. She charmed her way through the legal system, stopping first in the courtroom of Alvan Dean Freeman. Eventually, Georgia Governor Allen D. Candler commuted her 1901 sentence from $400 or service on a chain gang to $200 that “her friends … raised” and paid on her behalf. Meanwhile, Coweta Sheriff Brown and Constable McCullough confiscated Susie Foster’s “twenty gallons of corn liquor, two cases of brandy and a barrel of bottled beer” and sold the bounty “in a regular sheriff’s sale.” An agreement was made with the Newnan Herald & Advertiser to promote the sale. The Constitution provided free press when it covered the episode under an all-caps headline “LIQUOR FOR SALE IN COWETA” followed by the lead “While Coweta is officially a dry county liquor and beer will soon be legally sold within its borders.” Of course laws – their interpretation and their application – change. Keeping up with legal expectations in the postbellum chaos proved difficult for more than one prestigious Cowetan. “The law is too complicated for poor devils like me to understand it,” wrote Congressman W.C. Anderson on behalf of his confounded Newnan Medicine Company constituents. In the household of Civil War veteran Hugh Buchanan, confusing antiquackery legislation signaled the end of a prosperous enterprise featuring a product called “Horn of Salvation.” Ancient Judaic folklore called for such remedies to be blessed by passing through a shofar-like horn of salvation. The product bottled in the petite white clapboard “Medicine House” by Hugh’s son Edward harkened back to this age of divine cures. The recipe is gone forever, and no one knows if the Buchanans heeded the Hebrew stipulation, but consumers were advised to “drink it if [they] hurt on the inside” or apply it topically “if [they] hurt on the outside.” The marketing claimed that Horn of Salvation “cure[d] Teeter, Ringworm, Eczema, and Chronic Sores.” There’s little doubt the cure-all contained more alcohol than miracle, but it was the biblical association that violated the new
laws. Remedies could not promise divine intervention, and the “Horn of Salvation” liniment claimed to defeat the most stubborn of ailments without proper diagnosis or sustained professional treatment. A century after FDA rules forced Buchanan to cease production, current homeowners Mike and Leah Sumner still find liniment bottles and petrified rubber stoppers on the grounds of Hugh Buchanan’s Buena Vista located on LaGrange Street. The Buchanans weren’t the only local family with a prosperous enterprise in conflict with the law. In Roscoe, six miles outside of Newnan, the Sewell brothers, Harvey and Dick, found themselves the owners of a distillery destroyed by revenuers, federal agents who enforced liquor laws. Dick Sewell was convinced that his cousin Ben Sewell had sold them out. On the morning of Sept. 20, 1902, Dick rode to Ben’s farm and invited his cousin to take a carriage ride, during which he drunkenly “abuse[d] him for giving information to the revenue officers, and … told Ben that he would have to leave the community.” Ben, “wishing to avoid a difficulty,” returned to his home and stood guard at the threshold with a Winchester rifle. “Dick,” the Constitution reports, “at once opened fire with his pistol.” Ben, presumably sober, took aim and fired. Dick fell dead with “three bullet wounds in his face and head.” Later photos of Ben show a rather curmudgeonly one-armed man. There’s no record of when Ben Sewell lost his arm. But even two armed, it’s a mystery how three rounds hit a moving target so precisely in the days before automatic weapons. Until Grantville passed a citizen referendum in the 1980s, the sale of distilled liquor had always been illegal in Coweta County. The exceptions, of course, were the specially sanctioned sheriff’s sales like the one
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Sheriff Brown held for the sale of Susie Foster’s merchandise. The Temperance Movement and the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 may have meant such sales could no longer be publicly advertised, but it’s unlikely they ceased altogether. In Coweta, trade continued underground, as it always had, but federal revenue agents invaded with the force and fury of a new Northern Aggression.
THEY CALLED HIM SHERIFF POTTS Davenport describes the Federal Revenue agents of the 1950s and ‘60s as large imposing Northerners with arrogant attitudes: “They thought they were above the law and Lamar didn’t like that.” They drove their Plymouth Furies at top speeds through residential neighborhoods; they shot deer out of season, and on other people’s property; and they were overtly condescending to local citizens and lawmen. According to Davenport, Sheriff Lamar Potts was all too willing to hold them accountable for their transgressions, and that may have led to a quieter civil war with Potts as the chief target of the federal agents. From 1937 to 1969, Sheriff Lamar Potts kept a tight fist on crime and decorum in Coweta County. Published reports claim that there was not one unsolved felony during his tenure. The private testimony of Potts’ remaining friends and colleagues, however, indicate that some crimes simply didn’t make the record books. Bootlegging, moonshining, even murder seem to have quietly dissipated during Potts’ regime. If a distiller disappeared in the woods, or a man lost an eye on the courthouse steps under the whack of an official’s black jack, if a certain amount of white lighting got redistributed through private channels, if distillers were forewarned of impending raids – that was just the extension of established practice. Two hundred years after their mercenary ancestors arrived in Bullsboro, members of the Lunsford family continued to distill
Benjamin M. Sewell (Ben) and his first wife Birdie (above) are buried at Liberty Christian Church, a short stretch from Macedonia Baptist in Roscoe where his cousin Benjamin R. Sewell (Dick) and wife Alice (at right) lie. In 1902, Ben shot and killed Dick in a squabble over a still. Ben claimed self-defense and was acquitted in 1903.
PROHIBITION JOHN WALLACE Prohibition gave skilled southern distillers the opportunity to ply their trade on a national scale. Men like Meriwether County bootleg kingpin John Wallace were rumored to have partners as far away as New York and Chicago. Wallace and Al Capone had served time together at the Atlanta Penitentiary until Wallace was paroled or pardoned in 1930.
Wallace was also rumored to have encountered and maybe supplied FDR in Pine Mountain. He often claimed to have received a pardon at the would-be president’s behest, but that’s probably mere bravado: FDR was not in a position to begin issuing his 3,687 pardons until 1933. Until 1934, presidential pardons were public information.
22 | www.newnancowetamag.com
A cover from a 1909 satirical magazine, Puck, features “revenuer” Teddy Roosevelt sneaking up on his opposition in Congress.
spirits. Albus Lee Lunsford operated a still that he claimed had Potts’ stamp of approval via a fee program that allowed certain distillers to pre-pay if distribution occurred through a network of quietly sanctioned “Sheriff Sales.” Associates at the time said distillers ran their product through Potts or ended up in the Roscoe swamp. There’s no evidence that’s anything more than folklore, but it could explain the legendary stories surrounding Screaming Bridge over Cedar Creek. B.B. Smith, a mid-century fixture at the Coweta Courthouse, told his children that he was a special deputy tasked with notifying the Potts’ network of distillers if federal raids were likely. His son, octogenarian Jack Smith, recently returned to Newnan after a long military career. He remembers accompanying his father through tunnels connecting the Court Square storm drains where B.B. retrieved distilled spirits from a 50-gallon drum. Davenport recalls Potts pouring the spirits down the storm drain while, just yards away, a bedraggled Roscoe-area farmer in knee-high black boots and a beat-up straw hat sold produce and corn liquor from the back of a Model A Ford retrofitted with a homemade wooden truck bed. On Greenville Street, another farmer made regular stops by a local filling station to dispense his corn liquor into half gallon jars and blend it equally with water from the proprietor’s hose before distributing it around town. Both farmers appear to have been in-laws of the Potts family.
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Turn-of-the-century Newnan featured wide passage for buggies and pedestrians. Though Sheriff Lamar Potts kept tight reins on the liquor trade, it never ceased altogether. At right, Potts examines the presumed cremains of murdered share cropper, bootlegger, and moonshiner William Turner (aka Wilson Turner). Many locals claim Potts’ pursuit of Turner’s assailant, John Wallace, was motivated by a desire to eliminate competition in the local moonshine business.
Davenport takes his coffee undiluted virtually every morning at Leaf and Bean Coffee Shop where the Gem Theater once thrilled his young heart with the allure of B Westerns and Post-War newsreels. A clutch of close friends often surrounds him as he refills his own and everyone else’s cups and leaves generous tips in the countertop jar. He’s hung about listening to and absorbing stories since his 1940s youth. He ran a pool hall on Jackson Street, managed the Newnan Cotton Mills baseball team, served on the Newnan Police force, delivered mail in College Park, and informally accompanied Lamar Potts for evening rounds during 1966. His friends ranged from the town elites to the town’s quiet underhand. If there was mischief or intrigue, Davenport is likely to know something about it, or someone who does. But he’s quick to add it’s all just hearsay. Like the story that Lamar Potts was indicted in 1963 by federal agents but somehow the entire episode disappeared when Potts had a heart attack on his way up the courthouse steps. When B.B. Smith’s son Tony reported that his mother once divulged that Potts “got caught” and traveled to Louisiana or Mississippi to deal with the federal transgression, Davenport smiled and said, “You’ll never find any records.” Indeed, outside the press and acclaim associated with the popular John Wallace case, there are virtually no public records on Potts. You can find press on raids or crime but nothing about Potts as a private citizen. Supporters of Potts say it’s all bogus, lies invented by people who couldn’t have known how fine a man he was. Sometimes, they repeat the statistic that during Potts’ 32 years as sheriff there was not a single unsolved capital offense or felony. In fact, Davenport repeats that statistic even as he paints a more nuanced picture: A chain-smoking (“three to four packs a day”) overextended man who often worked 18 hours seven days a week keeping a lid on county-wide crime as well as 24 | www.newnancowetamag.com
managing a large sweep of land filled with cattle (and some say, stills) in the western part of the county. “You didn’t sass Lamar Potts,” says a Sewell descendent. “He was soft-spoken, but you didn’t interrupt him,” recalls Jack Smith, whose first car, a 1936 Ford, was purchased at one of Potts’ auctions of confiscated bootlegger’s property. “That car could hit 100 easy,” says Smith, who dreams of finding another.
TAIL-END While the Smith brothers are comfortable sharing their memories, other stories remain closely guarded in Newnan, Coweta County, and surrounding areas. Meriwether folks report and then deny that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s excursions into the coves of Pine Mountain were largely motivated by the promise of “stump juice” hidden in hollow trees. Local residents recall that a man’s suit, freshly pressed and delivered from Addie’s steam cleaners, came with a half-pint in the breast pocket; the florist truck arrived with a bouquet for Mama and a secret delivery for Daddy; garbage cans picked up full were replaced by cans containing a gallon or two; bundles of firewood arrived with a heart of shine. More than one long-time citizen repeated the sentiment: “Lamar Potts said he couldn’t control who drank bootleg whiskey, but he could control who sold it.” None of these quietly divulged tales can be verified, and in every case the spiller of the mash asked for anonymity. But it seems certain that Coweta’s appetite for alcohol has never run dry, regardless of the law.
Special thanks to Jimmy Davenport; Dick, Helen, Mike, and Diane at the Newnan Genealogy Society; the Newnan Historical Society for use of the Hugh Buchanan file; Joy Barnes for the introduction to the Smith brothers; Colleen Adcock Bohannon for a thorough tour of Roscoe and Rico; Brad Sears, Newnan's city attorney, for the comprehensive briefing on Coweta’s liquor laws; and innumerable unnamed storytellers.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” — Gandhi
toVolunteering Cross-section of Cowetans engages the community in the most selfless way possible
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and you may see a local citizen planting fresh flowers in the planters around a church or someone mentoring a student at the Carnegie Library. Ride out toward the soccer fields and you may see someone coaching a team of young players. Go shopping at a pet supply store and you may see people working with dogs to get them adopted. While driving through the countryside you may see someone tethering
Written by LARISA MCMICHAEL | Photographed by AARON HEIDMAN
“To us there is no more beautiful thing; these children’s worlds are upside down and we are honored to be here for them.” — Gloria Jeffery
a horse that a special needs child sits astride … When weary of one’s own troubles and woes, one of the most effective ways to shed earthly burdens is by doing for others in need. Luckily for Cowetans, there are plenty of organizations eager for volunteer service. From hospitals to horse ranches, there are dozens of places to share valuable skills and satisfy the need many feel to make a difference. Indeed, the hardest part of becoming a volunteer in Coweta County may be deciding which of the many organizations to lend
support and services. In the following paragraphs, a narrow cross-section of volunteers, presently hard at work in our county, is in the spotlight. Perhaps these personal stories of giving will inspire more Cowetans to choose to make a difference in the lives of others.
OFFERING A BETTER TOMORROW On a recent chilly, somewhat foggy Thursday morning, a well-groomed couple, the Jefferys, enters the office of Coweta CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and almost
Though working with children in need is serious work, Gloria and Anthony Jeffery try to remain positive and upbeat each time they enter the CASA office. 26 | www.newnancowetamag.com
immediately the room illuminates with a positive energy. Those present stand wearing broad, warm smiles to greet the couple. “The Jefferys are special here,” says Jennifer Hungerford, Coweta CASA’s volunteer coordinator, “because of what they do.” What the Jefferys do is volunteer as Coweta CASA child advocates. In this role the couple acts as objective guides, offering a stable hand and safe harbor for children in our court system facing harsh life circumstances. And they do it tirelessly. Anthony and Gloria Jeffery came to Coweta County in 2007. They had raised two sons successfully and wanted to help other children who did not have adequate parental support. Soon they were working with youth groups and getting to know leaders in the community. They started mentoring and helping with fundraising at Thomas Crossroads Elementary. Then, one day in 2010, Mr. Jeffery was reading the paper when a Coweta CASA advertisement for volunteer recruitment captured his attention. “Something had been pulling at me about this community. The ad was about being an advocate for children in need, so I called to find out more,” he says. From there Mr. Jeffery and his wife went through the approval process for becoming Coweta CASA volunteers. “At first,” Mr. Jeffery says, “I had my case and she had her case. Now we do
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The Jeffreys have built a trust with Coweta CASA staff in the five years they’ve volunteered with the group.
cases together. It is such a delight.” “We sit down with the judges, the superintendent, principals, and other leaders in the community, but we are ground soldiers,” Mr. Jeffery says. “We believe by changing living environments, we can change lives for the better, so a young person can see with fresh, new eyes. We also believe in collaboration and combining our county’s resources to help more children in need.” While Mr. Jeffery does most of the talking, Mrs. Jeffery nods along and interjects from time to time and then adds, “We love it. The relationships we’ve made are overwhelming. We are honored to serve this community in a such a way.” Mr. Jeffery beams proudly toward his wife and says, “When I look at my wife and see her at work taking the time to share her life, her heartbeat, it is such a joy.” As positive and energetic at the Jefferys are, they admit that the work they do with Coweta CASA is not easy and often can end in heartbreak. In one case, Mrs. Jeffery was torn when the mother desperately wanted her children yet realized she did not possess the parenting skills necessary. “In the end I have to make a recommendation from the perspective of what is best for the children,” Mrs. Jeffery says. Mr. Jeffery adds, “Reunification is the ultimate goal, but in many
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Anthony Jeffery and his wife, Gloria, came to Coweta County in 2007 and wanted to help local children who did not have adequate parental support. The couple started volunteering with Coweta CASA in 2010.
cases, it is not the best outcome for the kids. The court takes our report to heart and the judge wants to hear what we have to say. In some cases, we’ve had to recommend against reunification.” One successful case involved a young man who’d lost his mother when he was 8 years old. The child went from DFACS to a children’s home nearby. The child wanted to be reunited with an older sibling, but the young adult was not in a position to care for him. The Jeffreys visited the boy often. He would show them games and other items given to him. Then one day the child broke down and began to cry, “God, what do I do?” “He broke, so we could see the real person inside,” Mr. Jeffrey says. Eventually, with the Jeffreys’ assistance, a couple from the boy’s church adopted him. Mrs. Jeffery smiles as she says, “It’s an older couple, but they love him with a genuine love.” 28 | www.newnancowetamag.com
Another case ended tragically when a boy the Jefferys were helping landed in jail with a long sentence. “The judge, so many people were fighting for this child,” Mr. Jeffery says. “The child was smart, but he pushed the limits. He pushed too far and now all of the work we’d done was lost. You may not win them all, but when you do win one, it means the world to that child. We take a few weeks off in between cases, to regroup and be fresh for the next child.” “To us there is no more beautiful thing,” Mrs. Jeffrey adds. “These children’s worlds are upside down and we are honored to be here for them.”
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN “I’ve read the Bible and studied the scripture. I’m done talking about it. It’s time for action. It’s time to get things done. My goal is to wear myself out
every day trying to love people.” Meet Anthony Novak, chief volunteer at i-58 (in reference to Bible verse Isaiah 5:8), the nonprofit he founded with wife, Karhma. He is an ambitious man with dreams of building micro-houses for the homeless and starting a program to teach life skills, but for now there’s a storage building that needs to be built and it is being built on the back property of Vineyard Community Church in Senoia, where Mr. Novak is a member. Novak smiles as he describes the steady progress being made on the storage building by a small construction crew that is hammering away nearby. The storage building, an immediate need since Novak’s homeowner’s association asked him to stop running his nonprofit out of his garage, is almost complete. Novak is already storing an array of furniture and appliances in the partially
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A high school teacher by day, Anthony Novak spends much of his spare time after work helping those who are used to being “shuffled off to the side.”
finished building, items that will eventually be distributed to those in need. He will personally make most of the deliveries. Fortunately, Mr. Novak has help and is quick to point out that while i-58 is primarily managed by his family, the breadth and scope of the nonprofit could not endure without the cooperation and collaboration of many other individuals, churches and nonprofits. He continues to build a network of resources so that i-58 can grow and serve those in need. More often than not, those in need are young single mothers with children, people just released from jail or those recovering from addiction. Working on tips from DFACS, Coweta CASA and Community Welcome House, Novak typically will find out about such a family and deliver an entire truck (or two) of goods to the surprised and grateful recipients. A recent example was when Coweta CASA made Novak aware of an elderly couple who had to take in their grandchildren. The couple did not have the extra income to furnish the children’s bedroom, so i-58 “jumped in with both feet” and delivered beds
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“I’ve read the Bible and studied the scripture. I’m done talking about it. It’s time for action. It’s time to get things done. My goal is to wear myself out every day trying to love people.” — Anthony Novak
and other needed items. Raised in Fayette County, Novak had dreams of traveling the world seeking adventure. “I made it as far as Coweta County,” he jokes. Now he works long hours on what he calls “a family adventure” with his wife and two young children – the i-58 adventure of acquiring goods, working collaboratively with others in the community, identifying those in need, delivery, and installation. Novak’s day job is a gig at Newnan High School teaching trigonometrybased physics. He graduated from University of West Georgia and LaGrange College with degrees 30 | www.newnancowetamag.com
in education. He marvels at his co-workers and loves his job, and then there’s i-58, a project in which the seed was planted in Christmas 2009, when Novak and others from his church had “a big time” delivering presents to families in need. Although it was fun collecting and distributing all those presents, the level of poverty Novak witnessed less than 5 miles from his comfortable suburban home astonished him. Later, after a few more years of distributing goods, he says he and his wife were riding in the car when he turned to her and said, “Let’s make this official. Let’s create a nonprofit.”
Novak says that the families he serves have often been marginalized by society and are used to being “shuffled off to the side.” “When we show up with nice furniture and goods rather than junk, it sends a message to them that we believe their family has value,” he adds. “When i-58 is able to provide and supply a family in need, it’s like heaven’s kingdom right here on Earth, because in heaven, there is no need.” Even with all the progress that i-58 is making, there are some big items on Novak’s “wish list” to help grow the services of the nonprofit. Thanks to a commitment from Legacy Church in
Cindy Luckie provides cheer for patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America by hosting bingo nights. She is affectionately known throughout the facility as “The Bingo Lady.”
Senoia, the storage building is almost complete, so the next biggest need is a box truck for deliveries. There also is a need for more volunteers and donations. I-58 supplies clothing, household items, appliances of all sizes and furniture. “In the process of working to help people,” Novak says, “I find I don’t necessarily have all the skills and resources, but other people with their hearts open help connect the dots.”
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It’s an overcast, rainy Wednesday evening, but inside Cancer Treatment Centers of America Southeast in Newnan, patients are wearing sunny smiles as they sit down to a long table meticulously laid out for a lively hour of bingo. Cindy Luckie, a volunteer with CTCA since 2011, is a petite woman whom many patients would contend has an oversized heart. She reports to CTCA three to four january /february 2016 | 31
“I like the people and I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it’s a happy place. It’s a happy place because there is so much hope here.” — Cindy Luckie
times a week to facilitate bingo games with patients who travel from all over the country to be treated. Luckie, a Cowetan since 1992, credits watching her mother back
Charlie Ferguson also volunteers his time for bingo night, assisting Cindy Luckie. 32 | www.newnancowetamag.com
home in Wisconsin as she volunteered throughout the community as her inspiration. There were five girls in the family growing up and they saw their mother volunteer for everything from Meals on Wheels and the school system to being a “Pink Lady” at the local hospital. “In fact, she’s 80 and she’s still at it,” Luckie says. Luckie, a former corporate employee and current stay-at-home mom, early on got active in her children’s schools. She’s been a tutor for CLICK and has volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, which coordinates transportation for cancer patients. Then someone from
her church told her about volunteer opportunities at CTCA. Luckie remembers starting during CTCA’s fall festival event with games for the patients. That led to doing crafts like pumpkin painting with patients. She became a greeter in the CTCA salon and helped give out snacks on movie night. Eventually, Luckie had the idea to start regular bingo sessions, and now bingo has become what she is most known for among the patients who call her “The Bingo Lady.” She made laminated bingo game cards and acquired all the supplies necessary to play bingo. She works alongside a CTCA employee to gather donations
for patient bingo prizes and coordinates other volunteers who help with bingo. “People ask me why I spend so much time at CTCA and joke that I must live here,” Luckie says. “I like the people and I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it’s a happy place. It’s a happy place because there is so much hope here. I think doing the patient activities like bingo is a good distraction for the patients and their caregivers. I feel like I can help them be carefree and maybe even get them laughing so they don’t have to think about their troubles and why they are here.” Luckie shares a card one of the patients wrote to her thanking her for her “encouragement and uplifting personality” and for “giving us your time and smiling face.” The patient also wrote, “This place is like a home away from home because of people like you who are full of compassion.” “By helping people from all walks of life who come to the Newnan CTCA for cancer treatments, I also help myself, because I believe that the happiest people are the ones who help others. These wonderful visitors to our town need to know that our community cares about them. I think it sends a powerful message that volunteers are here for the patients, because the patients realize we are here not because it’s a job, but because we want to be here. From the moment you walk through the doors you know that you are in an environment where there are people facing hard challenges, but there is an amazing energy that keeps me coming back. I’m grateful to be a part of it.” Everyone has something to give, but perhaps the most valuable thing you can give is your time. These four citizens, plucked from hundreds making a difference every day in Coweta, demonstrate exceptional compassion and are an inspiration. The work done by conscientious citizens can’t be measured, but look around and you’ll see the fruits of their labor evident throughout our community. NCM
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Pictured are some of the many local residents who donate much of their time and expertise in order to help those less fortunate in the community. Gathered at the Newnan Lofts for a one-of-akind photo shoot are, kneeling, Julie Boyd, Backpack Buddies; Jackie Young, Toys for Tots; Dawn Hinds, Coweta Public Library System, Friends of the Library; Cindy Lauer, Newnan-Coweta Humane Society; Dorothy Pope, Newnan Coweta Historical Society; Andrea Harrison, CORRAL; and Pat Tidwell, Coweta Ferst Foundation for Literacy. Pictured in back are Jerry Robinette, Newnan Carnegie Library; Rusty Knorr, Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary; Marie Marshall, CAREing Paws; Sharon Rogers, Community Welcome House; Wayne Martens, Coweta Habitat for Humanity; Dr. Charlie Cheney III, Summit YMCA; and Kathy Shrader, Meals on Wheels of Coweta.
januaryâ€‰/february 2016 | 35
Written by REBECCA LEFTWICH | Photographed by MARK FRITZ 36 | www.newnancowetamag.com
Finkelstein adds new meaning to ‘jack of all trades’
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BURL FINKELSTEIN TAKES A CALL from his wife, Joanna. With a mischievous grin curling ever so slightly at the corners of his mouth, he informs her she’s interrupting his interview. His grin widens as he waits. Joanna’s long-suffering sigh is clearly audible, but he drowns out her words with a conspiratorial chuckle and hangs up. “She said, ‘You shouldn’t have answered the phone, then!’” announces a still-smiling Finkelstein, settling back behind his tidy desk at Kason Industries Inc. in Newnan. His titles – executive vice-president and general counsel – indicate a steady rise through the Newnan company’s ranks over the past 37 years. As a child in New York, Finkelstein says, he fueled his compulsion to learn how things work by taking apart and reassembling whatever he could get his hands on and was obsessed with building and launching rockets. As a young adult, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering before hiring on with Kason in 1978 and relocating to Georgia in 1980. Finkelstein’s lengthy career with a single company is remarkable enough, but it’s the astonishing level of undertakings he has woven into and around his career that may arguably earn him yet another title:
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Most Interesting Man in Coweta. Gesturing toward what he jokingly calls his “I Love Me” wall in his office – simply framed paper reminders of dozens of extraordinary accomplishments, one or two of which might typically represent a lifetime of ambition for a regular joe – Finkelstein admits his bucket list is pretty short these days. “My goal is always to try in whatever I do to do it well,” he says. “People tell me that when I set a goal, I go racing toward it.”
‘I DON’T ALWAYS ROMANCE MY WIFE, BUT WHEN I DO, I USE DYNAMITE’
Finkelstein sent Joanna an unusual gift for Valentine’s Day: A bouquet consisting of a couple of blooms and four sticks of dynamite. “I wanted her to have a ‘dynamite bouquet,’” he said. The gift marks quite a departure from the early days for the couple, who first met at the Atlanta Sky-High Club (Joanna is 6’3” and Burl is 6’5”) 20-plus years ago. She insisted he give up risky hobbies like racing go-karts at 125 mph on the Enduro circuit, which at that point Finkelstein had been doing for 14 years. “She told me she wouldn’t date me if I kept doing this stupid stuff,” Finkelstein said. “I was flying airplanes and doing other things she said were too crazy, so I quit doing them.” The couple married, became parents – their daughter and son are now in their late teens – and Finkelstein discovered a new hobby in rocketry while simultaneously exploring pyrotechnics, fireworks and explosives. He already had dusted off the guitar he’d set aside in college, playing sporadic gigs with a band. All the while, he continued building his career and reputation at Kason. “I’m at my best doing three or four things at once,” Finkelstein said. “In fact, my wife teases me about it. She’s gotten used to it. I think she thinks it’s cute.”
‘I DON’T ALWAYS PLAY MUSIC, BUT WHEN I DO, I PLAY WITH FIRE’
Finkelstein plays bass in Fire in the Hole, a local classic rock cover band. He also plays guitar and drums, though he admits his younger sister is “way better.” In fact, she flew in from the West Coast at his request to man the drum kit for a Halloween gig one year, and in costume to boot. He tried his hand at guitar in his teens but decided bass suited him better. “I thought it would be easier, and that’s the part of the music I listened to anyway,” Finkelstein said. “But in college, I didn’t have time to go to band practice and study engineering and calculus. So I made the choice I would park music on the side.” Since reviving his interest in music, Finkelstein has 38 | www.newnancowetamag.com
MARCHING TO HIS OWN BEAT
Finkelstein, a drummer and bassist, performs with local band Fire in the Hole. In fact, fire is a running theme in his life; he is a member of the National Fire Protection Association’s Technical Committee On Pyrotechnics, on the board of directors for the Peach State Chapter of the International Society of Explosives Engineers, a consultant with the ATF, and an expert consultant with NASA.
amassed a working collection of 26 guitars and eight basses, two of which he built. It’s a skill he developed when his children were very young. “I figured if I was going to be up all night anyway, I might as well be doing something constructive,” Finkelstein said. “So I started rebuilding and selling guitars. One was a ’53 Epiphone, a big jazz guitar that somebody found in parts, and I put it back together. The other was a ’64 reverse firebird Gibson; I fixed it up and refinished it.” Because members of Fire in the Hole have similar schedules filled with work and family commitments, the band rehearses once or twice a month and gigs every few months. But Finkelstein’s interest in music isn’t limited to his participation in Fire in the Hole; in fact, it has had an unexpectedly positive effect on his extended family gatherings.
The eldest of four siblings, Finkelstein said arguments broke out at every reunion. “We would sit down and immediately start a political discussion,” he said. “We’d call each other morons, and whichever one of us was the loudest was right. We are a family of big and loud people, so the in-laws would always be cowering in the corner.” When the family matriarch moved to Georgia to live with her eldest son’s family, the gatherings moved with her and the tone of the reunions drastically changed. “We learned to serve people martinis as soon as they walked in the door,” Finkelstein said. “After the first round of martinis, we’d move up to the music room. We started having great times. “Or we’d all go outside and start blowing things up,” he added.
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A LOOSE CANNON?
A pneumatic cannon capable of launching 12-inch pumpkins is now crossed off the bucket list of Burl Finkelstein, shown with his son Jake.
No need to worry, folks. Remember, heâ€™s certified and licensed. 40 | www.newnancowetamag.com
‘I DON’T ALWAYS CARVE PUMPKINS, BUT WHEN I DO, I USE EXPLOSIVES’
As a member of the National Fire Protection Association’s Technical Committee On Pyrotechnics, Finkelstein helps write code regulating fireworks and pyrotechnics. He also is on the board of directors for the Peach State Chapter of the International Society of Explosives Engineers, a consultant with the ATF and an expert with NASA. Finkelstein is a licensed pyrotechnic operator who served as special effects/pyrotechnic crew chief for the TomorrowWorld festival in 2013 and 2014. He has supervised or been involved in an estimated 110 commercial fireworks events, including holiday shows in Peachtree City and at Callaway Gardens, and he has served in leadership roles for several rocketry organizations. Working with mortars that could blow his head off is one thing, but Finkelstein said it was the insurancerelated cancellation of Punkin Chunkin that was a real American tragedy. “One thing left on my bucket list was to make a 100-foot pneumatic cannon to do Punkin Chunkin, and now I’ve lost that opportunity,” he said. He decided to build the cannon anyway. “I just happened to have two 12-inch fireworks mortars, so I sent my wife to the store with a ring to use as a caliber gauge for the right size pumpkins,” Finkelstein said. “She came home with four and we shot them out of the cannon – they went about a quarter of a mile.” Not bad for unofficial Punkin Chunkin. Finkelstein also makes backyard “bombs” – two-gallon gasoline mortars. “You use five or six ounces of black powder to propel the gasoline up,” he explained. “It makes a 40-foot fireball and burns in about three seconds.” No need to worry, folks. Remember, he’s certified and licensed. “Actually, I’ve even been recognized
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A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
A man for all seasons: Along with many (many!) other pursuits, Finkelstein has been a competitive shooter and go-kart racer. These days, he settles for drives in his eye-catching Jaguar and utilizing the law degree he spent five “hard” years earning in his 40s.
“... there’s always going to be toilet paper in the lawyers’ bathroom.”
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for knowing what I’m doing,” Finkelstein said.
‘I DON’T ALWAYS VISIT THE SUPREME COURT, BUT WHEN I DO, I USE THE LAWYERS’ BATHROOM’
Perhaps his most ambitious undertaking was Finkelstein’s decision to earn a law degree in the early 2000s. It took five years, during which he continued to work full time, and he said the process tested not only his own limits, but those of everyone around him. “People at work are finally starting to talk to me again,” he said. After finishing his coursework at John Marshall Law School, Finkelstein took a three-month leave of absence from Kason to study around the clock for the bar exam, which he passed on the first try in 2005. Because he made certain to meet its set of requirements – and despite the fact he may never argue a case there – Finkelstein chose to be sworn in to the Supreme Court of the United States. “It was really pretty awesome, because I could go there and I could use the lawyers’ entrance, and lawyers’ library and the lawyers’ bathroom,” Finkelstein said. “Which was the main thing I wanted to do, because there’s always going to be toilet paper in the lawyers’ bathroom.” And so Finkelstein is the well-heeled professional in the photo with the president of Georgia Tech, being recognized for his work with the school. But he’s also the grinning weekender in the other photo, wearing an outback hat, T-shirt and shorts, preparing to launch a gasoline mortar in his back yard. And he’s the man sitting behind the desk playfully chastising his wife over the phone and checking in with his children; he’s the engineer-lawyer who runs Kason Industries, Inc., intimately familiar with everything from the bolts on each machine to the future of the industry. One minute, he’s assessing liability insurance or working on a lawsuit, and the next, he’s out on the floor helping repair the hydraulic press. “Yep, I’m all those guys,” Finkelstein said. “That’s what makes me smile about life.” NCM
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Hobbies? Newnan’s Susan Gillespie has a few. She has so many, in fact, she considers them seasonal. In the winter months, she knits and crochets. In the spring, it’s golf — playing once or twice a week and competing in tournaments. When hotter weather arrives, she switches to genealogy. Come fall, it’s time to golf again and to make Christmas ornaments. She also acts in local plays. She’s active in the Daughters of the American Revolution. She tats. She paints. She sews, and she used to make her own clothes. She’s into knitting, beading and paper crafting. Paper crafting — particularly making elaborate cards — and beaded jewelry are two of Gillespie’s newest hobbies. “All the time, I’m beading, knitting and making cards. It just depends on where I’m sitting,” Gillespie says from her home in SummerGrove.
Susan Gillespie isn’t limited to cards. This wall hanging, with individually stamped, decorated and cut sections, was a project in one of Gillespie’s classes.
How did you get into crafting?
I’ve been doing some type of craft ever since I was in the third grade. The first thing I can remember is my grandmother gave me a nursery rhyme cross-stitch frame, and she gave us needles and thread. It had the x’s on the fabric; you just covered the x’s with crossstitches. After I finished it, I would pick it out and do it again, pick it out and do it again. I just wanted to do it over and over and over. For some reason, my mother wouldn’t buy me any more. When I was in the fifth grade, my brother, who is 13 years older, gave me some yarn and knitting needles and a book on how to knit. So I started knitting, and I knitted and I knitted. Years later, when my husband, Charlie, retired from Delta, I quit my job and we opened a craft store in downtown Fairburn. That is how I got into doing so many different hobbies. When I married Charlie, his mother was a quilter and tatter, and she
Compiled by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL | Photographed by AARON HEIDMAN 44 | www.newnancowetamag.com
taught me. When my niece was little I used to do smocking. I used to make stuffed animals. I can’t think of any craft there is that people do that I haven’t done. I’ve even woven a basket. I made a macrame hanging basket holder. Then after we decided we didn’t want to do the craft store – it’s like a child you couldn’t leave on its own – we started doing craft shows. I went to all the places, met all these interesting people.
1690 Hwy 34 E • Newnan
How did you get into paper crafting?
I have a friend, Gloria. She is also a crafty person and she knows I like crafty things. She calls me up one day in June 2009 and says, “I’ve been doing this thing on Fridays and we go over to so and so’s house and we stamp.” I asked, “Do you mean like postage stamps?” I thought to myself — I’d done that, because my father worked for the postal service, and I didn’t want to do that any more. She said, “No, like rubber stamps.” I’d done watercolors and made cards out of them; I’d even made some cross stitch cards. We went about three times to that girl’s class; she was a good teacher. I thought, this is really interesting art, I like this. So I started working on an invitation to the baby shower for my niece, and I came up with a card. This was my first non-class card. The girl who gave the class was with Stampin’ Up. I needed some more paper so I found my local Stampin’ Up demonstrator. She told me she had a stamping club and I immediately joined and bought everything to make these invitations. By October, I’d decided I didn’t need to be going to a class anymore. I needed to be teaching a class. I signed up to be a demonstrator and I ended up with my own group. We started meeting in 2010. This past summer, I decided that there’s nothing new to teach them. We’re not going to have a monthly club anymore. Some people
Gillespie shows some of the many steps involved in making an elaborate thank-you card. “A card is not complete without ribbon.”
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were just getting really busy, and they already had everything. I still have a segment of friends that I get together with and do things once a month – we have our craft day.
Gillespie shows off the variety of hand-made cards she has either made or received.
Do all your friends and family get handmade cards for all special occasions?
They get a birthday card. I go to a lot of trouble to make a special birthday card. The ladies golf group I’m in, anytime anybody is sick or has surgery or has a death in the family, they get a card. But you’ve got to be card-worthy. I’m not going to spend a lot of time making something for somebody that they’re going to toss in the trash. I have a friend who’ll say, every birthday, “Oh no, another card I’ve got to keep forever.” I have people who make cards and send them to me. A lot of cards I try to make up early and I have on hand. I make up a card and I put it in an envelope or a plastic sleeve, and then in the sleeve, I make all the parts to make two more of them. I never sit and just make one card. What do you like about making cards?
The card thing is something that is so easily shared. Everybody brings their
stuff, you sit at a table, you all make the project.
Q. A. Q.
What do you like about crafting?
It’s my creative outlet. What would I do if I didn’t have that? It’s somewhat of an instant gratification. My sister loved that part. She used to go with me to craft shows. She is a crafter, too, and was an event planner. She would plan all these wonderful events and three weeks after the event she would get a letter saying how much they enjoyed it. She would say, “Here you spent a week creating things, and as soon as someone sees it, they love it. They admire you because you’ve done that.” People come to a craft show or your house and they go, “Oh my God, I love that!” That’s the instant gratification you can’t get from any other source. Do you have a favorite hobby/craft?
No. I go from one thing to another. You can get burned out doing the same thing. From watching you work and talk about your craft, I get the impression you really like tools.
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46 | www.newnancowetamag.com
Gillespie’s newest hobby is beading. Specifically, bead weaving. “I think it’s good for your brain because you’re continuously creating, but you’re counting."
A. Q. A. Q. A.
You can’t do it right if you don’t have the right tool. You’ve got to have all the tools. I have every punch board, every scoring tool. I have ever pen, every marker, every color of paper. Of course, I have a million paintbrushes. I’m a ribbon and paper whore. I love ribbon and paper. Do you mean “hoarder”?
We call it a “whore.” I whore myself out for paper. What are your favorite tools?
The punches are my favorite tool because they are quick. You’ve got to have all the punches. And you’ve got to have a great pair of scissors. To do quality cards and paper crafting you’ve got to have good things that cut paper. You make some gorgeous and unique beaded jewelry. How did that happen?
Last October, I saw this cute little thing on Pinterest. I said, “Oh my goodness, I can do that.” I went and bought every bead. Stacks and stacks. Literally thousands of beads. I do bead weaving. I don’t do a lot of “strung” beads. I prefer bead weaving because it’s sort of Zen-like to me. I like to just sit and do it. I think it’s good for your brain, because you’re continuously creating but you’re counting. It’s good for both sides of your brain. NCM january /february 2016 | 47
“The ode lives upon the ideal …”
These words by the 19th century French writer Victor Hugo lay out the challenge for odes to aspects of 21st century life in Coweta County. Many facets of life are good but far from ideal. Others are sublime but not perhaps shared by enough of us to be worthy of an ode. Life, however, is the stage on which we stand. Everyday things, even the commonplace, can inspire poetry when the moment is right. Coweta's own Alan Jackson has proven himself up to writing and/or presenting odes in a way that remind us of everything from bologna sandwiches to young love to the world-stopping emotions of 9-11. What in Coweta County today is ode-worthy? No doubt the list is different for every one of us. Here are odes to eight of the things that make our county a great place to call home.
Written by W. WINSTON SKINNER | Photographed by STACI ADDISON
48 | www.newnancowetamag.com
ode to BOOMER
ike Cher or Madonna or Liberace, he requires no surname. Boomer – his real name was Danny Bishop – touched many people’s lives and he continues to make us smile as we remember his love of Coweta sports and his easy way of connecting with people. Not many people are famous enough to have a restaurant named for them. Most eateries with a person’s name are named for the owner in one way or another. In Newnan, however, a place opened a while back where you could sit down for a burger and fries – a place named for a real, honest to goodness small-town character. Coweta County has had other characters over the years – and still has plenty of colorful folk among its citizens. Boomer was unique in that his personality connected him with people from a wide spectrum of society. He loved sports, kept up with the news, and could – and would
– talk to anyone. There was an aspect of town crier to Boomer for several years. He would walk around downtown and share the latest news. Often this was sports commentary – how Newnan High would do Friday night. He could offer critiques about the upcoming game but was invariably a booster of the Cougars. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Atlanta Braves were also Boomer’s passions. As he traveled the town, he also passed along information from the business community – what store was opening or closing, who was retiring. The only thing Boomer ever told me that didn’t come to pass was the opening of a Varsity in Newnan. I think that was wishful thinking on his part, because he loved the Varsity almost as much as he loved the Cougars. When he was inducted into the Coweta Sports Hall of Fame, he was recognized as “Coweta County’s most loyal and dedicated sports fan.” His family, in a letter to the editor after he died, used the term “urban legend” to describe his transformation from Danny Bishop to the phenom known by a single name. TimesHerald writer Clay Neely aptly described him as a “local folk hero.” A few other characters have made their mark over the years. I remember Opal Abner, who walked everywhere, always impeccably dressed and with a fashionable purse on her arm. Today, we have Mr. Personality who wears colorful clothes, waves signs and hawks for local businesses and writes of his love for Newnan and its people. Boomer Bishop, thank you for telling it like it was – as only you could. We’ll watch the Cougars play or maybe have a burger, and remember... NCM
january /february 2016 | 49
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ode to CHATTAHOOCHEE
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hattahoochee Bend State Park, thank you for being there. Thank you for preserving the natural beauty in a place where people can experience it. And thanks to all those people who helped make it possible. To walk, hike, camp, picnic, canoe or kayak at Chattahoochee Bend is to experience the beauty of Coweta County. Pine trees and hardwoods, rolling hills, squirrels, chipmunks. The Chattahoochee gurgles its way through the park, bringing a cooling balm on a hot summer day. Chattahoochee Bend is quite close to McIntosh Reserve, the Carroll County park on property that belonged to Chief William McIntosh. So, Chattahoochee Bend can – in certain spots at least – take us back to McIntosh’s world, a place with a few trails for connections to the outside world and lots of natural beauty to remind us of the Creator and of our reliance on the natural world. Today, most of us Cowetans work indoors. We use a mouse instead of a bow-and-arrow and keep watch over a desk rather than a forest or field. Chattahoochee Bend gives us a way to escape from that world of deadlines,
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bills and schedules. There is a playground to delight youngsters, spots for picnicking, and several options for campers of various skill levels. There were some folks in Coweta County who knew there was a need for a park like Chattahoochee Bend some years ago, but they were basically told to forget it. It was a time of tight economics, and the state seemed to be inclined to streamline its parks rather than expand the system. So the park is also a testimony to the determination of Coweta people and to the spirit of cooperation that so often trumps political boundaries when good people work together for the good of their community. The county put resources into preparing the park property, and volunteers got so involved in the project that Chattahoochee Bend – Georgia’s newest state park – came into being with an active Friends group to support, improve and promote it. State Rep. Lynn Smith used her grace, charm and political savvy to help, too, as she has with so many projects over the years. In July 2011, I covered the opening of the park. It was a hot summer day, but a day of excitement. There was a great sense of anticipation, a feeling that this day was just the beginning of something big that would have an impact on our county long after all of us who were gathered there were gone. Lynn Smith said that day that Chattahoochee Bend had “a legacy aspect.” I believed her then, heading into the gift shop to buy something for my granddaughter because this was the start of something great. Thank you, Chattahoochee Bend, for being there, for taking us away from the workaday world, for giving us a chance to reconnect with nature. NCM
ode to GRANTVILLE POLITICS
Chattahoochee Bend State Park is a spectacular tract of wilderness in northwest Coweta County. Protecting seven miles of river frontage, the park is a haven for paddlers, campers & anglers. A boat ramp provides easy access to the water, while more than 12 miles of wooded trails are open for hiking, geocaching & exploration. Two picnic shelters, 24 RV sites & 38 tent campsites are available for rent. Call for reservations: 1-800-864-7275.
rantville, dear Grantville, how do I count the ways that you have made my days easier? Grantville, which straddles Meriwether County on Coweta’s southwestern border, has had a troubled city government for the last quarter century. There have been times of relative calm, but – seemingly inevitably – trouble erupts, often from unexpected sources. In the newsroom at The Newnan Times-Herald, Grantville has at times been referred to as “the gift that just keeps giving.” On more than one slow news day, the lineup for the front page has been livened by unrest in Grantville. Among the momentous stories that have come out of Grantville over the past 25 years or so, a couple particularly stick in my mind. Once, the city hall staff quit en masse and members of the council actually ran things until the situation could be resolved. Then there was all the unrest that took place when it was discovered that some utility bills had not been paid in many months and the city took the – to some citizens, apparently unbelievable – step to try to actually collect the money. I also recall a time when the city discovered it was selling water for less than it was paying for it. At the meeting where all that was explained, a Grantville lady stood up and told the council they could not raise the water rates because she just could not pay any more. Apparently, the concept of covering the actual costs of the water did not matter to her. I also remember the arrival of a recreation director, hailed by the mayor, who then was suspended by that same mayor when she didn’t attend a meeting in response to an email she didn’t get. She was told various things about a car – she would be provided
425 Bobwhite Way Newnan, GA 30263 770-254-7271 GaStateParks.org
january /february 2016 | 51
with one, she wouldn’t. She had the wisdom not to move to town and finally quit amid complaints that the mayor (not the one who hired her, but his successor) and a council member were micromanaging her. At last report, she had filed an EEOC complaint. A trivia game could be developed around the parade of city managers and police chiefs who have revolved through the city hall. Another could center around all the elected officials who have been the subject of recall efforts. Among them is the current mayor. One city manager got arrested by a Grantville police officer when he tried to buy marijuana in a park in the city. A police chief visited Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff found guilty of racial profiling, and had his picture made with ol’ Joe and then got it published in the newspaper. This same police chief then seemed mystified as to why African-American members of the council – not to mention the black community as a whole – were not happy about this. Then there was the Defamaport. This report that led to a lawsuit and all sorts of upheaval envisioned an evil scheme that involved folks all over the county.
ode to JUSTICE
ustice, we build mighty edifices to you. Sometimes we tear them down, sometimes not. They stand as witnesses in stone and wood to our commitment to doing what is right.
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The Grantville allegations, however, raised many eyebrows following allegations of an affair involving top city officials. More than once, city hall was staffed with people related to each other or to elected officials – Grantville is a small town, after all. On the council itself, the political alliances have tended to be eternally roiling. During his time as mayor, Jim Sells went all out to get Leonard Gomez and David Riley elected to the council – ousting two longtime council members. Within six months, Gomez and Riley were opposed to most everything Sells did, and that’s just the latest such reconfiguration of political alliances in Grantville. Other Coweta towns have had similar, but more low key, issues. Sharpsburg’s elections seem to always draw at least one candidate who thinks the current city council “stinks.” Senoia has made great strides but has been through some periods where it was in the headlines almost as much as Grantville. At one point, someone quipped that Senoia was “just Grantville with better grammar.” There are so many good things that happen in Grantville – and so many
good people. I admire greatly many of the people who have served as mayor and on the council. The same is true of most of the staff over the years. Grantville has a club, The Ladies and Gentlemen of Grantville, who hosts a big dinner for the whole town every year. Many beautiful old homes are in the city, and the people I know who live there, for the most part, love it. A colleague of mine experienced that innate Grantville flavored goodness. This young lady came to us straight out of college where she had been president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter. She was determined to follow the ethical dictum to accept nothing from any news source. At her first Grantville City Council meeting, City Clerk Evelyn Robertson – a crusty but kind woman – came in with a brown sack filled with tomatoes. She set them down in front of our reporter and said, “I grew these. Take them home.” Without a murmur, she did. I hope for better days and better stories from Grantville in the future. Hope springs eternal.
Sometimes we even live up to those ideals. In 1948, a murder trial held in the majestic, upper floor courtroom of the Coweta County Courthouse. John Wallace, a prominent Meriwether County landowner, was accused of murdering his farmhand, William Turner. Key testimony was brought by Mayhayley Lancaster, an eccentric Heard County fortuneteller, and by Robert Lee Gates and Albert Brooks, two African-American farmhands from the Wallace place. It was not – as is sometimes stated – the first time a white man was convicted in Georgia on the testimony of black witnesses. It was, however, a moment when justice seemed to be truly colorblind. Wallace
was convicted to die in the electric chair. The Wallace story has been chronicled, dissected and re-evaluated. Some more recent chroniclers have questioned if Wallace actually killed Turner in Coweta County – giving credence to Wallace’s own version, that Turner’s death was an accident that took place on the Wallace farm. Still, the story and the courthouse where the trial took place have endured. There have been four courthouses since Newnan became Coweta’s county seat, succeeding the almost forgotten Bullsboro. The initial log structure was used for about a year before a fine, two story, brick Greek
revival temple of justice was built at the center of town. The builder was Col. William Hitchcock, who constructed some 20 Georgia courthouses in that era. The old Banks County Courthouse in Homer looks much like Coweta’s 1829 edifice prior to the addition of a clock tower. At the turn of the last century, counties were building magnificent new courthouses to signal the rise of those communities in the emerging New South. Coweta’s leaders wanted to join the bandwagon, and the Hitchcock courthouse was deemed unsafe. When voters would not approve a bond issue to build a new courthouse, the commissioners had the old building torn down anyway. It took several weeks to completely pull down its “unsafe” walls. The new courthouse remains a magnificent symbol for Coweta County. Its dome has been stylized and used
on book covers, logos, posters and all matter of promotional materials over the years. The courthouse was designed by James Wingfield Golucke, a gifted but untrained architect who designed 19 Georgia courthouses. Golucke’s story is fascinating. The son of an immigrant Austrian cabinet-maker, he gained prominence for his courthouse designs but was jailed in Baker County on charges – Golucke denied them – of improperly handling funds for the job. He died while in jail and was buried in Crawfordville, where he grew up. The R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company built the 1904 courthouse, which has seen several renovations and restorations over the years. At one time, Sheriff Lamar Potts had the Coweta Browns, a semi-pro baseball team, sleep in one area of the courthouse. The Newnan Church of Christ held its organizational meeting there. Space for court services, however,
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began to run out. Offices were moved to other buildings, and courtrooms were established in the Carnegie building and the county office building on Perry Street. In 2005, the Coweta County Justice Center on Greenville Street opened. The design by Gardner Spencer Smith Tench & Jarbeau, P.C. offers soaring spaces and an open feel that transmutes the majesty and dignity of its predecessor into 148,000-squarefeet of courtrooms, offices and corridors. A commitment to justice is a cornerstone of American society, and the justice center testifies that real justice is still a goal and a commitment. Justice, long may you live. Help us to get it right. NCM
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ode to FICTIONAL WOODBURY W
oodbury, thank you for settling in our midst. We sometimes have to be reminded that Woodbury is not a real place. There is a town called Woodbury (population 961) just a few miles south of us in Meriwether County. When two or more Cowetans, however, are gathered together and talking about Woodbury, they probably are talking about the fictional Woodbury, the central town in “The Walking Dead,” an immensely popular AMC cable series about zombies and the people who would like to survive in a world where zombies surround them. I have never been a huge “Walking Dead” fan, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the widespread loyalty the show has engendered or the impact of
ode to GOOD
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the show on popular culture generally – and particularly in Coweta County. The fictional Woodbury is set in the east Coweta town of Senoia, a place where my relatives once went to buy cow feed and overalls. The town retains its historic charm and has become a sort of enclave for Peachtree City folks who want to live somewhere that existed before a planner sat down with some sketch paper. Visitors often roam the streets, stopping to take pictures in front of anywhere that is recognizable as a Woodbury landscape. The town hall and “the wall” have proved particularly appealing to “Walking Dead” fans. Out in the country is the old Bethel Methodist Church, later named Mt. Moriah Baptist. Services are no longer held in this lovely church building, where I have preached and visited over the years. Bethel was a filming site for the “What Lies Ahead” episode in Season Two. Scenes for the series have been shot at many other places across the county – including the home of a friend of mine who does not like the
oweta food is nourishing to the body – and to the heart. Whether we are eating at the table at home, dining out at a restaurant or feasting at a community event, a family reunion or a church dinner, food is an element that brings people together. “Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” Elsa Schiaparelli was not a Cowetan, but her insights about food could just as easily have been offered by someone from Sharpsburg or Haralson.
idea of zombies at all, at Newnan High School, and in Grantville. It is in Senoia, however, that Woodbury is centered. The merchants there are recompensed when filming interferes with their business,and there is a store and museum dedicated to the series, The Woodbury Shoppe, on Main Street. Each year when the news comes that the series has been renewed, I can almost hear the sighs of relief from the east. The cast, crews, fans – and cash – will be coming back again. The longevity of the series in our area means local folks sometimes meet stars of the series out at dinner or while shopping for groceries. I have been struck by how open and friendly those actors are. Their Coweta fans usually leave with a selfie. Nothing lasts forever, although fictional places sometimes take on a life of their own that outlives the book, movie or television series that inspired them. Woodbury, thanks for bringing your ghoulish persona – with all it entails (and with all its entrails) – to us. NCM
Food does more than sustain the body. It creates family around a dining table and community in other settings. I still remember things my mother made for me in the little house near Moreland where my first memories are set. Beef patties in gravy, milkshakes with an egg in them – I was a picky eater then – and birthday cake, always a yellow cake with chocolate icing and pecans for decoration. Meals at church are always fun. There are people who bring dishes that everyone knows will be good. At any homecoming, there is a cake that quickly disappears from its plate because people know the reputation
of both the cake and its baker. Homecomings at Turin Baptist, First Baptist in Moreland, First Methodist in Grantville, Haralson Methodist and Freeman Memorial all have memories for me that are part spiritual, part fraternal and more than a little gastronomic. In earlier times, the chitterling supper was a popular social event. Large meals offering up the pork entrails were a staple of political campaigns in Coweta a century ago. I am thankful to have come along a bit later, when barbecue had become the food of choice. Barbecue often has a political flavor to it. Harold Barron used to tell the story of helping to serve barbecue at a big rally for gubernatorial candidate Ellis Arnall. There was such a big crowd that Mr. Harold – then a young man – didn’t get a bite to eat. He was a bit disgruntled until he discovered the next day that everyone who partook was ill. It turns out contaminated rainwater had gotten into the stew. When Moreland began its July 4 barbecue in 1947, Congressman Sid Camp spoke. That tradition continues to be the centerpiece of Independence Day for many Cowetans. When Turin observed its 125th anniversary a few months ago, it is no surprise that a barbecue dinner was part of the daylong celebration. Then there is Sprayberry’s. Sprayberry’s has its own unique story, having started as a sideline in a gasoline service station. It has become an institution known around the world. When Highway 29 was the main drag between Fort Benning and Atlanta, many soldiers stopped in for supper and then went home in some distant state proclaiming the wonders of Sprayberry’s succulent pork and thick stew. Coweta cooks and chefs, thank you for bringing spectacular joy to life. NCM
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ode to STREETSCAPES
h, Streetscapes. You make us smile – though sometimes the smile can turn to a grimace. The beginning of Streetscapes was not without controversy. Newnan has always had an attractive downtown with a healthy shopping district and lots of activity. The downtown area had sidewalks with hexagonal pavers, and there were those – I admit it, I was among them – who really didn’t want to see them go. A downtown merchant proclaimed that he had been stumbling over the sometimes uneven pavers for years, which caused one wag to comment the project was an expensive tribute to awkwardness. The real reason for Streetscapes had a couple of facets: 1) the desire to “improve” the appearance and
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walkability of downtown and 2) the availability of some state/federal funds to make said changes. While a neighbor confided in me that we were exchanging something real and historic for Main Street Disney – in a style being replicated in countless cities across the country, Streetscapes proceeded apace. A facet of Streetscapes that continues to the present day is the use of “bumpouts” at intersections. While officials always stoutly proclaim they are not much different from what was there before, they often feel that way, at least at first. One year in a “Coweta Capers” gridiron show, Norma Haynes’ character scanned an invisible moving car and then proclaimed in mock horror: “He was just standin’ on a bumpout but they ran over him anyway.” By now, Streetscapes has become part of the fabric of Newnan, and part of the vocabulary of local government. Similar projects – on a smaller scale – have been done in both Sharpsburg and Senoia. A Streetscapes project for Moreland is on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s list. A generation has grown up with Streetscapes, which I admit created
o the words on the page – whether written with a pen dipped in an inkwell, with typewriter keys or on a computer – they bring to life the feelings, scenes and events of today and yesterday ... and of the imagination. Coweta County is fertile ground for writers. Today there are a number of talented novelists, poets, letter writers and journalists who feel compelled to put words on paper in hopes that someone may find them interesting, informative – maybe even
wide, walkable paths and great places for outdoor dining as that aspect of downtown life grows. Whenever I walk past Redneck Gourmet, Rednexican or Leaf and Bean and see people dining alfresco, I am reminded that Streetscapes has certainly not hurt the appeal of downtown. What was lost in authenticity perhaps purchased an ambience that takes the historic core of town and makes it more usable, attractive and marketable to young adults today and the generations yet to come. Young adults simply see Streetscapes as part of how their hometown looks. It has become to them what the hexagonal pavers were to people of my generation. And ... while Newnan has a forward thinking city government, the city fathers generally are glad to embrace and salute what is good about the past. A couple of sections of the old pavers were saved. Amid the Streetscaped city, buildings constructed from the 1870s forward continue to showcase their beauty and functionality. Streetscapes, thanks for the stories you have created – and will create – in our lives. NCM
inspiring. There are writer groups that meet at the libraries and whose members critique each other’s work and strive for a better-written story tomorrow. In Coweta’s history, there have been three particularly successful writers – Erskine Caldwell, Lewis Grizzard and Margaret Anne Barnes. I had the pleasure of meeting all three and of knowing Lewis and Margaret Anne on a first name basis. Caldwell is the first and best known of the three – a classic novelist from
the era when the nation was turning out writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner. Caldwell was born in the rural White Oak community near Moreland. His father was a Presbyterian preacher, and the family moved a lot. Only one of his books. “In Search of Bisco,” deals extensively with his time here. He is best known for such novels as “Tobacco Road,” “God’s Little Acre” and “Tragic Ground” – dark tales laced with unlikely humor that chronicled how change ground down the poor Southerner. Lewis grew up in Moreland, the rare child of divorce in the 1950s. He loved sports – and writing. Some of his early work was for The Newnan TimesHerald Centennial Magazine in 1965, stories about small towns including his hometown. Lewis had great talent as a journalist, and this was recognized when – at 23 – he became the youngest
ever executive sports editor of The Atlanta Journal. After a sojourn in Chicago, he returned to Atlanta and wrote columns that often defended the South and the Southerner. His gift for humor led to a stand-up comedy routine and a recurring appearance as the brother of the Sugarbaker sisters in “Designing Women.” He also wrote books with humorous titles that became best-sellers and often held gems of longing and reflection amid the jocular narrative. Margaret Anne had worked for The Newnan Times as a young journalist. She came back to Newnan in the 1970s and rejoined the staff of The TimesHerald while writing the book that would be her claim to fame, “Murder in Coweta County.” Margaret Anne lived through the events that took place in and after 1948 surrounding the John Wallace murder trial. She knew – and idolized – Coweta Sheriff Lamar Potts.
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Her book became a best-seller. It was serialized in the Atlanta newspapers and made into a television film. Dick Atkins, producer of the movie, and Gary Nelson, the director, have both visited Newnan in the past few years. The legacy of that story also continues as plans proceed for a stage play based on the murder trial. Caldwell wrote in “Bisco” that the South is “a state of mind – a local purgatory or an earthly paradise – and often an economic inequity, a social anachronism, a political autocracy and a racial tyranny.” Thank you, Erskine, Lewis and Margaret Anne, for sharing your genius with us. May the muse inspire writers yet unknown to give us more stories that also will entertain, enlighten and endure. NCM
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january /february 2016 | 57
IF IMITATION is the sincerest form of flattery, then we at NCM obviously are impressed with Frank Warren and his PostSecret project, an effort that has earned the author and curator numerous awards over the years. His premise in the beginning was simple: “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.” Those who wanted to share wrote their secret on a postcard and mailed them to Warren, and the results were printed along with
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eye-catching, congruent artwork. The end product has been such an absorbing read over the years, we thought we’d attempt a similar concept with Coweta residents, except along with Warren’s refrain we asked our brave participants to keep the content PG rated. And we handed out self-addressed, stamped Christmas cards from TJ Maxx because that’s what was on sale. It goes without saying, we are pleased with the results.
I despise d’s my boyfrielnd child. 8-year-o
Yalv By Illustrator
january /february 2016 | 59
A collection of original works by Coweta poets and writers Calendar Days
By the end of February, it seems inevitable that someone will notice how we just simply forgot
With fire in his lungs and all the speed he could muster, he crested the last hill. Had he been on foot for hours or for days? He couldn’t remember. Had he eaten? Had he slept? His pack was heavy. His body was tired. It didn’t matter. Resolute, he was long past the point of stopping. He broke his run on his hands and knees in a gravelly slide that stopped shy of the edge of the overlook. Gasping for air, sweaty hair plastered to his forehead, he surveyed the next tract of land. The place he sought lay in the narrow pass below. From a distance, it simply appeared to be a small house surrounded by a garden. The wind from that direction told another story. He was downwind of something putrescent, something rancid. Only in raising his hands against the foul blowing air did he notice the lacerations on his palms, the acrid air stinging his torn skin. The wind nauseated him. Friction burns marred his shoulders from the weight of the
by Carey Scott Wilkerson
about Beethoven’s birthday back in December, or that in our time of perfect clocks, we remembered, too late, those rocks from the surface of the moon, on display in a summer museum tour not far from here, after all. Or someone will remind us that in April, without explanation, a Gutenberg Bible appeared in the city square and lay open for three days during which we speculated about its meaning from a safe distance, its untouched pages shuffling in the wind, until at last it vanished, taken, no doubt by Vatican librarians under cover of night, reclaiming for themselves the mysteries we almost lost in derelictions of sleep, if not for someone secretly dreaming of January light bending toward the crunch of morning frost, across the shock of rivers’ mirrored cold, through windows of sudden waking.
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by Patti Fercken
pack, heavy with its precious cargo. He considered that an outsider witnessing his journey might think him mad, pressing on in this environment and in his condition. Was he out of his mind? He weakly chuckled to himself; perhaps they’d be right. He tightened his pack and headed down to the valley. His efforts were being monitored, he could feel it. Unseen things leered at him from within the walls of the house, which, as he approached, he saw was just a crude little shack fit to be condemned. The stares unnerved him, made him itch worse than his own damp and dirty clothes. The things that watched him also slurred judgments and obscenities. They growled insults, he knew, in attempts to derail him. A singular voice hissed his name above the others. Its oily-slick rasp was amplified by his own shadow, which he could not be certain belonged to him alone. Mad. The volume of the coagulated voices rose but he continued undeterred to the dilapidated garden gate. The garden itself was a thick tangle, with blooms made of thorns, attended by a swarm of sharp-toothed parasites. Their job was to lace doubt and fear into the thorny blooms’ nectar and spread it in the garden and around the valley. It oozed from the rotten buds and stank like battery acid. Steeped in lethargy these winged atrocities hovered a couple feet above the path. His legs knocked against their bloated bodies as he walked. They snapped at him, leaving burn holes in his resolve. He tried swatting them from his mind, but in this place it was no use. Still, he did not stop. There was movement among the thorn
bushes as that slick voice again spoke in stereo from inside the shack and from inside his head. It told him to turn around, to go back. Why even bother? It howled a terrible laughter. Or a graduated snarl; he couldn’t tell which. Don’t stop, he told himself. The deeper he walked into the garden the tighter the bushes closed around him, thorns piercing his clothes, poisoned welts rising on his skin. Fool, you are lost. The voice’s feculent laughter shook the air. It breathed no life; yet he gagged on its breath. Thorny branches like drug addicts snaked around the pack on his back. They ravaged him for their fix: To relieve him of his precious burden, to coax him into rescinding the promise he’d made to himself. They restricted his body and the parasites feasted on his flesh. Rows of sixteen-gauge teeth injected the acid nectar, paralyzing his heart, dissolving at his soul. His mind was sinking; he struggled now. What if it’s right, what if I can’t do this? Under the fulsome influence of this place he considered the difficult journey, his own hardships and what a relief it would be to rest. Bile rose in his throat at the thought. He wanted to confront the owner of that voice. If it had a body to hang clothes on, he imagined they would be tailored with infuriating precision. Sharp, as the voice was audacious. A starched white collar he’d love to get his hands on. The branches were making it difficult to breathe. He’d arrived at this place – this obstacle – hoping only to move beyond it. Yet here he was, paralyzed by the suggestion that he had not the ability to pass, the will to try, the worth to ever
make it beyond. He must have passed out. He dreams: Soft footfalls approaching on warm sand. At the angle of light he guesses it’s around midday. Rodney Atkins plays on someone’s car stereo. Squinting, he sees the sun illuminating her hair and the seaglass earrings he gave her: A beautiful blue, like the Atlantic. “Hi Mike.” She pokes him playfully. With a gasp he wakes, the smile in her voice a precious echo. A notion crystallizes (why didn’t this occur to him before?) - What makes me think I CAN’T? At this, the thorny branches seem to exhale – they twitch and slacken, falling limp. He wastes no time. Screw this place, he thinks, and picks up running. Mid-stride he checks his pack. Still fastened and intact. The heinous laughing voice reaches an awful crescendo. It is screaming now, and the parasites explode in mucous fireworks. A violent subterranean shockwave splits the garden down the middle with a sickening tear. Tongues of pyroclastic heat and flame repossess the shack and its garden. And as violently as the ground opens it closes back, reduced to a cauterized scar of burnt earth. He hadn’t stuck around to watch. As the dust settles a few leftover thorns fall where the shack had been, and the only sound in the valley is a soft pinpoint tinkling as they land. The valley is still. But all things are cyclical, and the garden only lies fallow, waiting patiently for the next one to try to make it through. NCM
january /february 2016 | 61
IN THIS CORNER
“Flowers are truly beautiful and emit a pleasing aroma. But after a couple of days (assuming optimal environmental conditions and the availability of plant food), they’re a wilted, crumbling memory of what was.”
When MEGAN ALMON isn’t traveling around the nation speaking for the Life Training Institute, she’s probably curled up on her porch swing with a good book or riding trials motorcycles with her husband, Tripp, and their two children. A romantic at heart, she also considers herself sensible.
Give her chocolate
HIS VALENTINE’S DAY, I’d like the
record to show that when Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” her printers slapped “Sonnet 43” on it by mistake. I’m sure that in some long lost dusty diary of the poet’s the true title reads “Ode to Chocolate.” Chocolate is, after all, an expression of love that encompasses the whole person. Flowers are truly beautiful and emit a pleasing aroma. But after a couple of days (assuming optimal environmental conditions and the availability of plant food), they’re a wilted, crumbling memory of what was. Not so with the culinary masterpiece that is chocolate. First sight of the box stirs anticipation, both because of and in spite of the fact that it’s clear what the package contains. This is true whether you are the recipient of a bag of oh-so-timeless and perfectly simple Hershey’s Kisses or that ribbon-wrapped box of wonders that is Godiva – the Christian Louboutin of chocolate. Let’s hope for the latter. The moment of unsealing releases the scent, which has an immediate and relentless effect on both nostrils and salivary glands. The removal of that thin layer of tissue paper – with its distinctive whispering rustle as it slides away – unveils perfection. Again, the eyes are engaged as they study the play on texture that chocolatiers create. Milk chocolate creamy smoothness and dashing dark, some marked by ripples, others with a telltale white chocolate signature. Art for the heart, and for the mouth. The assorted boxes are clearly the way to go. They provide the chocolate connoisseur with adventure – a journey to be savored, perhaps shared. Oh, the choices! The truly daring among us (ahem!) ditch the labeled blueprint. The hand hovers slightly above those tantalizing treats unwilling, for a moment, to disrupt the utter completeness as they all lay nestled in cozy compartments. Then the selection is made. Forefinger and thumb lightly grasp that first morsel, raise it to parted lips, and voila! The sensual assault
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is fulfilled as (enter Etta James with “At Laaaaaaaast”) heaven meets tastebuds. Naturally, as the teeth close in for that initial bite, the taster secretly hopes to find caramel. Nevertheless, whatever awaits is wonderful because it’s, well, chocolate. With a little self-restraint, a gift of chocolate keeps on giving for days. Unlike its Cupid day counterpart, chocolate is effective across the love spectrum. Sure, flowers make the recipient swoon for her/his honey, but they only serve to make the single crowd feel singled out. Chocolate gives romance to the romancers and simultaneously provides a comforting lift to the portion of the population spending Feb. 14 like any other Sunday. Scientific studies have shown that the polyphenols in cocoa have similar effects to those in coffee. The added bonus is that they may also work as antioxidants that actually reduce LDL cholesterol (aka “the bad kind”). So a mocha latte is practically a health food. Step aside, kale. You don’t need a Ph.D. to prove the medicinal benefits of chocolate. Seriously, just pop a Ferrero Rocher into your mouth. Aside from the unlikely possibility that you have a hazelnut allergy, personal experience will confirm the truth. Chocolate also allows you to skip the utter embarrassment of choosing and/or receiving the “wrong” flower. Roses are a go-to, but be warned that if you choose the wrong color, your “I want to profess my undying love for you” might just turn into “let’s be friends.” Easy solution – chocolate roses. They exist. And you’re welcome. Conversely, if you must go the botany route, know that chocolate comes from the Theobroma cacao tree. With a little ingenuity, a greenhouse with 20-foot ceilings and a thermostat set to “rain forest,” you could be producing your own chocolate in a handful of years. For the lactose intolerant in our midst, also know that the darker the chocolate, the lesser the lactose. But if chocolate truly is a forbidden fruit for you, here’s a word to the wise. Skip the flowers. Go for the Louboutins. NCM
IMILAR TO THE LYRICS of an old song,
our sense of smell triggers favorite memories. Do you recall the sweet scent of grandmother’s Southern Magnolias growing in the side yard? How about the tropical aroma of the yellow Plumeria blooms from your destination wedding? It’s no wonder that flowers are connected to many of our deeprooted memories and often are the preferred gift for Valentine’s Day. Without a doubt, I am a self-identifying chocoholic. If given a dessert choice – always chocolate. Cake, cookies, ice-cream, milkshake? Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. And more chocolate! So what should one send their chocolate-loving valentine? Flowers. The holiday of love is for expressing affection, showing appreciation, and celebrating not only your valentine, but your relationship. The idea is to render a matchless smile, to send a special sentiment. Your gift should express your thought, your emotion, and your adoration. Not even my beloved chocolate can accomplish all of that. Chocolate is of the every day. I can and do buy it for myself. It is my go-to splurge. Sure, we’ve all purchased a potted plant for our home – fair enough. But nothing feels as special as walking into a room or opening the front door to beautiful blooms with our own name attached. “For me?” Choosing flowers shows forethought and consideration. Dating back to the 1700s, flowers have a specific meaning ascribed to them, making it possible on their own to convey conversation. Even today, they speak to us. Contrary to popular belief, the Valentine’s Day flower is not reserved for romantic love alone. A father sends a rose to his daughter from the MOST important man in her life. Best girlfriends deliver bouquets to celebrate each other on this traditionally romantic holiday. A flower from her son will make any mother swoon. A potted succulent or tropical palm says masculinity and individuality at its best. Still, the flower language does not end here … Roses – A holiday tradition that says “I love you.” Tulips – Fresh beginnings.
duel pages IN THIS CORNER
Give her flowers
Orchids – Delicate and graceful, representing love, luxury, beauty and strength. Sunflowers – The yellow petals and open face of this big bright flower symbolizes the sun. An entire bouquet conveys warmth, happiness, adoration and lasting love. Gerber Daisies – Innocence, loyal love. I’ll never tell. Purity. Carnations – Pink carnations symbolize a mother’s undying love. Black-Eyed Susans – Encouragement. Gardenia – Joy. Potted Bamboo – Good fortune, wealth and luck. Geranium – Comfort. Daffodil – Regard. Unrequited love. You’re the only one. The sun is always shining when I’m with you. There is even a chocolate scented flower for the chocoholic in your life. Native to Mexico, the chocolate cosmos is a dark red-brown, sometimes almost black, velvety flower on a long, slender, reddish brown stem. If that doesn’t say unique, what does? Your loved one may even be inspired to pull out that candy stash they earlier secreted away for themselves. Short on cash? Have no fear; the single rose imparts a lovely message. (A single chocolate … eh, not so much.) Experiencing even fewer funds this holiday? A [legally] hand-picked bouquet of wild flowers or a bunch from your own backyard gently tied with ribbon or rustic twine is an unforgettable gesture, exuding charm. The beauty and aroma of Mother Nature’s work can be enjoyed by all who approach it. Flowers can brighten a desk, a table, or a patio for days, even weeks. If chocolates last that long, were they truly all that tasty? Endearing and uncomplicated, artistic and original, lavish and luxurious: Nature’s garden can accommodate your style. With so many choices today, there are no rules. However, be mindful of the statement your gift offers. “Running late.” “This day is an afterthought.” “Loathe this day.” By all means, grab that box of chocolates at your nearest drugstore. But if a thoughtful, more personal sentiment is what you want for your special someone, then the flower is the best pick for you. What will you say to your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?
“Your gift should express your thought, your emotion, and your adoration. Not even my beloved chocolate can accomplish all of that.”
TINA HARVEY, a Boho beach bum at heart, feels a spiritual connection to all things outdoors – hiking, gardening, camping and beaching. She and her sidekick Beagle mix can be found walking every chance they get. The other loves in her life are her husband, Tom, and their three children.
january /february 2016 | 63
k Gross ic R y b o t Pho
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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 92.5 The Bear............................................ 13
AllSpine Laser & Surgery Center..............9
Arbor Terrace............................................ 55 Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates... 21 Atlanta Market Furniture
and Accessories..................................... 37
The Bedford School................................. 50
Brookdale Newnan................................... 46 C. S. Toggery................................................4
Charter Bank.............................................. 55
Chattahoochee Bend State Park............ 51
ChemDry of Coweta................................. 33
Cosmetic Laser & Skin Care Center.........3 Coweta-Fayette EMC............................... 67
Dental Staff School................................... 41 Dermatology Institute.............................. 31 Expressive Flooring.................................. 47
Georgia Farm Bureau............................... 21 Heritage of Peachtree.............................. 51
The Heritage School................................ 29
Kempâ€™s Dalton West Flooring................. 23
Lee-King Pharmacy.................................. 57 MainStreet Newnan.................................. 31 Massage Envy............................................ 23
McGuireâ€™s Buildings................................. 19 The Newnan Centre................................. 53 OrthoAtlanta................................................7
Peachtree Immediate Care..................... 43
Posh Prom & Formal Wear...................... 29 SmallCakes CupCakery........................... 27
Somerby of Peachtree City........................6 Southern Crescent Equine
Services, LLC.......................................... 27
Stemberger & Cummins, P.C.................. 41
StoneBridge Early Learning Center...... 37
Treasures Old & New............................... 45 Uniglobe McIntosh Travel....................... 39
Vein Specialists of Georgia........................8
West Georgia Health................................ 68 Yellowstone Landscape............................11 66 | www.newnancowetamag.com
Backpack Buddies of Georgia............... 770-880-3766..............................www.backpackbuddiesga.org Cambridge House Enrichment Center..................................................... 678-423-8700..................................email@example.com CAREing Paws..............................................770-363-5169...........................................www.careingpaws.org
Community Welcome House................770-304-0966..................www.communitywelcomehouse.org
CORRAL.........................................................770-254-0840........................................ firstname.lastname@example.org Coweta CASA, Inc......................................770-253-0046.............................................www.cowetacasa.org Coweta County African-American Heritage Museum............................. 770-683-7055.............................................www.cowetacasa.org Coweta Ferst Foundation....................... 770-253-6839.......................................................cowetaferst.org
Family Patterns Matter...........................404-944-8024............................www.familypatternsmatter.org Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park...............................................770-254-7271.............................................www.bendfriend.org
Friends of the Library............................... 770-683-2052.....................email@example.com Georgia Heartland Humane Society................................................... 770-830-2820................georgiaheartlandhumanesociety.com
Habitat for Humanity................................770-252-9049.............................................firstname.lastname@example.org Keep Newnan Beautiful.......................... 770-253-8283.......................... www.keepnewnanbeautiful.org
Meals on Wheels........................................678-423-1700......................................email@example.com Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance...........678-492-3161 Newnan Carnegie Library...................... 770-683-1347............................................newnancarnegie.com Newnan-Coweta Historical Society......770-251-0207...................newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com
Newnan-Coweta Humane Society...... 770-253-4694....................................................... nchsrescue.org One Roof....................................................... 770-683-7705......................................... firstname.lastname@example.org
Prevent Child Abuse Coweta..................770-652-7625.... facebook.com/PreventChildAbuseCoweta?ref=hl Senoia Area Historical Society...............770-599-9677..................www.senoiaareahistoricalsociety.org
Magazine Advertising Deadline February 5, 2016
Next Publication Date: March 4, 2016
For more information on advertising opportunities in Newnan-Coweta Magazine, please call
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