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NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2014

Local artist Jeremy Smith,

OWNER OF OTHER LEVEL SCULPTURES, IS SCARY GOOD WITH A CARVING KNIFE AND HE WAS KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE V3’S OCTOBER COVER THE TRICK-OR-TREATMENT.


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A toe-tappin’, cider-sippin’, fun-for-everyone arts festival turns Sponsored in part by

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opinions

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Not all of us are fit to wait a table, and Holly Lynch points out why we should still pitch a tip, of the folding variety, on the table for our hard-working service industry friends.

features

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In the first installment of V3’s annual “V-Files” series, staffers decide to take the scariest road in Rome to count the bridges, and explore Berry College’s most famous hauntings.

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The front men for the Desoto Theater’s Guitar Explosion Music Festival, scheduled in November, explain why it feels so good to come back home. With construction finished on the Myrtle Hill Mausoleum, Northwest Georgians can now be laid to rest in the city’s most hallowed and historic burial site. Rome City Schools introduces Chad Hannah, the new director of band, whose main focus is creating the harmony of a family on the field.

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The Harbor at Renaissance Marquis has developed a community for residents who want to remember their past amidst the raging waters of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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J. Bryant Steele puts an ugly time in American history into a “front-seat perspective” and explains why a Whopper with NFL Kool-Aid is hard to digest.


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W

hile some people enjoy them far more than others, everyone likes a scary story. From fireside classics to the local urban legends we hear growing up, anything that causes the hairs to stand up on the back of our necks provides a rush like no other. I was pretty easily spooked as a child, but that didn’t stop me from listening when ghost stories were being told. Like a moth to a flame, I took in every word until the big reveal was delivered, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night or perhaps for the next three. Did I learn from this folly? Of course not. I continued to listen, ignoring my own better judgment, because you can’t allow yourself to seem scared as a tough little boy and mainly because the stories were intriguing. After attending several different summer camps and getting different renditions of the same old stories I began to catch on to the scam. The same stories were told over and over again but changed

OWNER + CEO Ian Griffin MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo

Ian Griffin OWNER+CEO

Publisher’s Note just slightly to make them “local.” It was then that I gravitated towards the truly local urban legends. If you grew up in Rome, you heard about CCC Road (a rumored breeding ground for satanic rituals) and, of course, the disappearing seventh bridge (a haunting of three-mile road) and the slew of tales involving Berry College, just to name a few. And let us not forget the unmentionable happenings in the hills of Chattooga Co. at Corpsewood Manor. The locals know this story well. (V3 Magazine Oct. 2010). Twickenham Mansion was another story I grew up hearing, in which a little girl roller-skated into a fireplace to her death. Those familiar with the home said you could still hear her skating around the ballroom, giggling before she screamed when meeting her life’s end. The house also had a woman in purple or pink, depending on who told the story, who wandered the halls crying over her lost daughter. On a Friday the 13th in the early 90s, a group of my sixth-grade chums, and one brave older brother of an aforementioned chum, decided to investigate the mansion when the sun went down. We didn’t have a plan, other than figuring out who might be the bravest of the bunch, so we took our flashlights and started on our way. The night was crystal clear. As we walked through the tree-canopied, gravel driveway, a dense fog rolled in almost instantly. Within moments, we couldn’t see each other – just the beams of our flashlights burrowing through the fog. This, of course, caused all of us to panic and run for the entrance, where we escaped into the cul-de-sac and the cool night air. When we turned to look back, the fog remained settled on the driveway behind us, confirming something didn’t want us coming in. I’d like to say my merry band of “Goonies” confirmed one of Rome’s tall tales that night, but there is no such proof. It could have been an isolated flash fog occurrence or the supernatural. I can’t say one way or the other, but I won’t ever forget that night. This month, Oliver Robbins challenged himself to debunking the legend of CCC Road by talking to others about their experiences on the road and then biking the road at dusk with a group of V3 staffers. I hope you enjoy his story and all the others in this month’s edition. Get lots of candy this year and Happy Halloween. Ian Griffin, Owner

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EDITORIAL MANAGER Oliver Robbins CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Tannika Wester WRITERS J. Bryant Steele, Holly Lynch, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Dan Tompkins, Matt Pulford PHOTOGRAPHY Derek Bell, MFA 706.936.0407 AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS Chris Forino, Arion Bass AD DESIGN + MARKETING CONCEPTS Ellie Borromeo, Christian Turner PUBLISHER V3 Publications, LLC CONTACT One West Fourth Avenue Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 v3publications@gmail.com CREATOR Neal Howard

v3magazine.com COVER ARTIST OTHER LEVEL SCULPTURES JEREMY SMITH (706) 331-0837 WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/ OTHERLEVELSCULPTURES


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Doodles,

DRIVE-THRUS, L & DIMES ong ago, before Chick-fil-A became synonymous with cows painting “Eat Mor Chikin” on any available billboard, the chain’s mascot was, ironically, a chicken. The chicken’s name was Doodles. The costume was pretty unique – complete with tights, a head comb, a beak and tail feathers. It smelled a bit on the inside of the “head” – something like what a real chicken probably smells like on the inside of its head. I know this because I spent a bit too much time inside that costume. After college, where I was lucky enough to have earned a Winshape scholarship provided by Chick-fil-A, I became a waitress at the local Dwarf House. I had earned the scholarship as a NON-CFA (which was stamped on most of my scholarship paperwork). So, as a recent graduate desperate to earn extra money, my sense of duty called me to Truett’s house of chicken. Before you think this is a column about Chick-fil-A, let me tell you – it’s not. The franchise would probably be mortified that I’ve used their name at all in this article. The point of this month’s column is to share a few moments about my sad, and short, waitressing career. I also hope to shed some insight into the world’s most underappreciated job (second to teaching). I was hired fairly easily – I could walk, talk, carry a tray and had an aptitude for learning the abbreviations for various combos. During the first week of training, I even had the privilege of helping the team who waited on Mr. Cathy himself when he dined with

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a foster family (a table of 22 guests, the owner of the chain and mostly children – how I had ended up with that table is beyond me). Despite my auspicious start in those first couple of weeks, I never quite got the hang of waitressing. In fact, I was terrible. I dropped things, I burned my arm, and I fell twice, both times with food trays. I mixed up tables and got orders wrong. There were a few fleeting moments of success, but they were rare and infrequent. I’d go home with spare change as tips and clothes smelling of sweat and chicken. As a person who thinks of herself as fairly bright and adept, I have never felt like such a failure.

I thought I couldn’t feel any worse until about the third week of employment when I realized that bad waitresses were relegated to a new, terrible fate: become the mascot. When I clocked in, next to my name on the timecard, scribbled in the manager’s handwriting, were the words no one wanted to see – “Doodles”. My job was to dress in the costume and give samples of chicken nuggets in the drive-thru. I realized I was a bad waitress. I knew that my time at the Dwarf House was likely coming to a fast end. But I stuck it out for a while, clocking in, dressing like a chicken and then going to the drive-thru. It was hellishly hot out there. The

costume smelled awful. So, needless to say, it wasn’t long before I turned in my two-week’s notice to my gracious manager. As time went on, I would hear from people I used to work with at Chick-fil-A. I’ve heard people tell me that my tale of waitressing became part of the new training procedure. “Don’t be as bad a Holly Dean and you’ll be fine” were comments shared with new hires. I joke now with the store manager (the same guy as the one who first assigned my shift as Doodles) about how terrible I was. The worst tale I’ve heard, however, is the one that I hear most often. “Were you the girl who got hit in the drive-thru giving out samples dressed as Doodles? I heard about you!” Nope. That wasn’t me. It’s a great story, but it’s just not true. There were times I wished I had gotten hit by a car – I would’ve gotten out of the suit sooner. I share that story with you, dear reader, to dispel the myth publicly that I was the girl hit by the car. But I also share my experience with you to prove a point – deep down inside every poor waiter or waitress is a person just trying to earn a living. Perhaps, being a server in a restaurant just isn’t the right calling. Perhaps, the bad waiter you just experienced is just trying to avoid becoming the restaurant’s mascot. I assure you, he or she will figure out their true calling and perhaps management will help them see their shortcomings. In the meantime, here are a few thoughts about treating servers properly. Leave a tip better than a quarter. (That literally happened to me once. The guest left a quarter. Twenty-five cents. That’s it.) Tipping isn’t as hard as you think. Although 15-20% is the norm, a great server deserves a greater tip. Most servers make less than minimum wage – you read that correctly. Servers do not have to make minimum wage, as tips are designed to augment their pay.

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TRENDS & TRADITIONS WITH HOLLY LYNCH v3 magazine 13


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“For my hEALTh, I choosE rEdmond.” Elaine

Stroke Survivor

“When I first learned I had a stroke, it was very devastating. You just don’t see it happening to yourself.” Elaine had classic stroke symptoms — weakness in her arm and leg, and slurring of her speech. She was taken to Redmond where stroke patients benefit from a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment. Elaine received speech, occupational and physical therapy as well as rehab nursing during her rehabilitation. And now Elaine is getting her life back to normal.

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B

ack in August, I visited the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in Midtown Atlanta. It is an inspiring and disturbing exhibit, perhaps especially for those of my generation who grew up with the Civil Rights movement and the integration of public places, which in my case occurred mostly during high school.

Things were comparatively peaceful in that time and that rural place if you watched the 6 p.m. news and knew what unrest was going on in the cities. I’m sure there were ugly isolated incidents in my little town and my school, but none that I was aware of. There were a couple of marches without incident except for ugly name calling by white onlookers. You wouldn’t

have known change was afoot from reading the watered-down hometown newspaper. Instead, the feeling that a breach of the familiar and comfortable was near came from listening to the adults talk about the “coloreds” and what they might be up to. The coloreds might start shopping in our stores on any day of the week instead of the day designated as “theirs” when

CENTS&

SENSIBILITY WITH J. BRYANT STEELE

DRIVING

MS.ALVERTA

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white people stayed home. Colored people might start attending the annual county fair on any day they chose, rather than just on the designated “Coloreds Day.” My older cousin owned probably the most popular restaurant in Newton County at that time, a catfish house. There was fretting in the family that he might have to start serving coloreds, and there were suggestions that simply designating his place a “private club” would prevent integration. What intrigued me then, as I fumbled to make sense of all this, was that the kitchen help was all colored. It was OK for them to prepare our food, but they weren’t fit to share the dining room? It was a number of such little things that just didn’t add up, rather than a Damascus Road moment, that led my thoughts off the path I was raised to follow. Touring the Atlanta exhibit started a mental reunion of the fragmented memories of those little events that changed my point of view and, in sum, my life. I even wrote a letter to my grown children trying to explain things that I witnessed but that they know only from sterile textbooks. It kind of bothers me now that I didn’t do more in those times, but there weren’t opportunities in that little neck of the woods. Oh, I spoke up in high school. That cost me popularity and I got called names, including the most hateful name that bigots could throw at a fellow white. Some pretty, otherwise sweet girls wouldn’t date me. One even hung up when I called. I challenged the adult deacons in my Baptist church, several of whom were my uncles, over the policy of barring blacks. I even got thrown out of my parents’ house (for about 30 minutes) not over car keys or curfews, but over my opinion on civil rights. But I didn’t go so far as to be threatened or beaten up (I was attacked once by three white

guys, but they were just drunken hoodlums at a Saturday night dance who were always ganging up on boys they felt inferior to. One of them had my mother as a teacher in grade school; that might have had something to do with why I was the target that night.) All during my childhood we had a black maid. That was a status symbol in our little culture. Some of my friends’ parents worked in factories or on farms, and they didn’t have maids. Our other status symbol was a pricey automobile barely within our means. My father favored Chryslers when we should have been a Ford family. One afternoon, when I’d just gotten my driver’s license, my mother asked me if I’d drive the maid home. Of course I would. Newly minted driver, I didn’t need a reason to get behind the wheel. I was also, by this time, a teenage rebel in full and convinced, if not erudite, over the rightness of the civil rights movement. I walked out to the Chrysler. Alverta was already in the back seat. Without thinking, I walked over, opened her door, and said, “Alverta, why don’t you ride in the front?” I opened the front passenger door, walked around the car and slid in behind the steering wheel. Several seconds seemed forever, neither of us saying anything. Finally, Alverta got out of the back and sat in the front beside me. I drove her to a shantytown a few miles away called Jamestown. I guided the Chrysler down a rutted dirt street, past dilapidated houses with black faces staring from porches, until we reached Alverta’s ramshackle representation of a home. She got out and I turned the car around. I can sort of imagine what the neighbors, at either end of that journey, must have said that day as we drove by. After that, whenever I was told to drive Alverta

home, she would get in the front seat without invitation. We never talked about that first day. Some things, like change, are best left unexamined when they’re hatching. I pray it gave Alverta a drop of dignity and hope for change. On the ride back from Atlanta and for the rest of the day I reflected on the exhibits at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and my own experiences – running my self-righteous mouth in high school and alienating classmates and family and church deacons and wondering what more I could – should – have done until, somehow, I remembered that day with Alverta. Maybe in my foolish youth I did do one small thing right. Once, I opened a door.

BIZ

BITS

Burger King is going to move its operations, on paper at least, to Canada from the U.S., to save on taxes. Between the time I first saw this news online and the time the news was in all the mainstream media, I had thought up a half-dozen smart-aleck comments I could make in this

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space. But by the time for writing this column rolled around, my brilliant wordplay had already been used by syndicated columnists, on-air commentators and stand-up comics. Instead, I’ll just pose a question: How is it that Canada can provide a better tax deal for corporations and better health care for its citizens at the same time? Could it be that its elected officials don’t waste taxpayer money in quixotic litigation? Or on sound bite legislation that doesn’t create jobs, improve education or make health care truly accessible? Just sayin’. I haven’t picked on the National Football League in a while. It used to be that the NFL paid entertainers to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl. It wasn’t the performers’ biggest payday, but it was a relatively easy gig and the entertainers would take it just for the exposure (insert your own wardrobe malfunction joke here) to a Super Bowl audience. Now, that precious few minutes of TV will go to the highest bidder. I don’t know if it’s the apex of arrogance, or just nuts-and-bolts economics, but if you want to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl from now on, you have to pony up the green backs. This bit of unsolicited advice goes to adolescent superstar wanna-bes and their agents: You’d be taking a sucker’s bet. You have to bid for this privilege before you know

which teams will be playing, how many people will watch, or whether it will be a riveting game or the usual dull fare. It’s like buying a car while it’s still in prototype. Is there any chance whatsoever this could give us entertaining Super Bowl halftimes for a change? No. You will still need to watch college football for good halftime shows. One “show” that embarrassed even the NFL was the surveillance camera tape of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé out of an elevator. The NFL came down hard and fast with a two-game suspension. Even guys whose job it is to report on pro football were screaming the punishment was not enough. But let’s be fair. Perhaps two is as high as Ray Rice can count. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listened anyway and said that, in the future, domestic violence by a player would bring a six-game suspension. Still not enough for those weenies who think men shouldn’t beat up women just because they can. Then surfaced a second video. (Memo to Roger Goodell: If, in the course of an investigation, the media can get hold of these tapes, so can the NFL.) The second tape showed Rice cold-cocking his fiancé, which helps explain the first tape. I guess someone in the Ravens’ offices must

CONTINUED from PAGE 13 >>>>>>>

waitress earned an extra tip because she was so kind about helping me. Make sure to tell your server, and his or her manager, when you’ve received outstanding service. Too many times, the boss only hears about things that went badly. Make sure to share the good news, too. My best server story involves a local steakhouse chain where we dined with my elderly grandmother several years ago. My grandmother asked so many questions of the server regarding the meat tenderness and how easy it was to cut, I’m sure the waitress was losing her patience. But then she did something remarkable – she brought my grandmother’s steak to her, already cut into bite-sized pieces. That’s a waitress who knew what she was doing. That was a woman who cared about her guests and cared about the service she delivered. Most importantly, that’s a server who was really, really good at her job and her boss was told about it. She earned a great tip, too. I’m sure she never had to dress as a chicken. All told, I truly value my short term as a waitress. I was terrible, but not because I didn’t care. The experience has helped me tremendously, both as a guest in a restaurant and in the event business. Ask any server and they will tell you – everyone who eats in a restaurant should work at a restaurant at least once in their life. It’s an

So, leave a tip. And if you have a coupon or a gift card, make sure to tip on the value of the food, not what you actually had to fork over in real dough (puns intended). For example, if you have a buy one, get one free coupon for an entrée, calculate your tip based on what both entrees would have cost. It’s the courteous and right thing to do. Remember that the server doesn’t always have control over what happens in the kitchen, so if your order isn’t to your liking, ask for what you want in a polite way. Make sure you’re clear about what you order (think Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”). I recall ordering a new menu item at a casual dining restaurant in town and not realizing the word “hot” was part of the description. I had no idea how hot! I was so disappointed in my entrée, I wanted to cry – both from the spiciness and from the embarrassment that I didn’t read the description correctly. When the server asked if I was happy with my meal, I was able to honestly tell her that I really couldn’t eat it. She graciously offered me another option, and we offered to pay (since it was my fault) for the sinus-clearing plate. Thankfully, the restaurant absorbed the cost for me. All was handled without too much fuss. That 18

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have finally turned on a TV, because Ray Rice is now out on the streets (though he should be in jail); the Ravens terminated the guy’s contract, and he’s suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Like any thinking human being, I detest the powerful preying on the weak, but especially men hitting women. I have, in my career, met women who were abused by boyfriends or husbands, and I’ve heard stupid explanations like “she had it coming.” I don’t know if it’s theologically sound, but I believe there’s an express lane for those guys at the gates of Hell. VVV

J. BRYANT STEELE IS AN

AWARD-WINNING

JOURNALIST

BASED IN ROME.

eye-opening experience, and will make you all the more appreciative of alternative careers that don’t involve serving food. Or wearing a chicken costume. VVV

HOLLY LYNCH is the owner of

THE SEASON EVENTS,

a full service catering, event planning, and design company located at 250 Broad Street in Rome.


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CCC ROAD CCC or Seven Bridges Road is rumored to bear the footprints of the living and the dead, and V3 finds out just what happens when you are not afraid of the dark. Text oliver robbins 22

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photos derek bell


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all is upon us. The leaves are starting to turn bright shades of gold, red and orange, crunching beneath our feet as we walk to and from our varied destinations. The air is crisp with faint smells of winter; the sun sets too soon, burying our fair city in the glow of twilight. And with the darkness comes an uneasiness of what lies behind the sunlight, long passed on but ready to wander the realm of the living, in hopes of finding someone to listen to a tale of woe and misery. When all is still and quiet and the distractions are peeled away from our consciousness, is that someone or something trying to speak to you? There are those who claim to have walked with the dead and heard a calling from beyond the grave. Berry College (2277 Martha Berry Hwy., Mount Berry) is a place where the lore is as deep as its vast 27,000- acre campus. With buildings erected more than 100 years ago,

at the bridge, turn off your car, put the keys out of your window, turn off all of the lights and chant “Green Lady” three times. She has been said to appear in your rear view mirror.” And after a chuckle McLucas gives a more interesting account, not in line with the typical horror movie cliché. “A more compelling story about the Green Lady is that she has actually been seen by a gentleman who worked for Berry. He was the cross country coach,” she says. “He was training with some students and one of them became lost on a trail during a run. It was cold and getting dark. They were not able to find him, and tensions were high, so everyone started to get nervous. While the coach was looking for him, he came across this gravesite and he saw a figure standing near who matched the description of the Green Lady. She was pointing and saying, ‘The dairy.’ There are two dairies on campus and where they found the student was actually an older one that was not in use anymore. There have been some

Berry College has since acquired some of the property surrounding CCC Road, but a portion is owned by citizens who decided to build a small Methodist church that sits alone in a clearing of the land deep in the woods. So, the urban legend states that the church has been the site of a little more than sermons and scripture, and the locale lends itself perfectly to the occultist ongoings reported in the area. V3 decided to take a trip down the road to find out if some of the stories were true. As we sat around the table discussing what we had heard from friends and acquaintances, some of the things we would document became apparent. There are rumored to be seven bridges on the trail to the church, but as you turn to leave you cross only six coming out of the woods. One bridge vanishes, as to say you have crossed into a world unfamiliar to most people who have not traveled the path. Others report a chime or piano, playing softly in the church. When the noise is investigated there is no source for the sound. The church is empty, except for the tinkling music and the sound of a person crying faintly for help. And findings far more menacing are the reports of the remnants of animals, used in the ritual of an occultist group, scattered about on an alter inside the church. And when investigating the outside of the structure, symbols associated with Satan himself are found painted on the walls in red. One Roman’s experience is not as glamorous, but is frightening all the same. Holly Chaffin, an art teacher at West End Elementary, is a 1989 graduate of Berry College and spent many days exploring the campus with friends while enrolled in classes there. Because she has educated children for 17 years now, it is difficult to discount her story as another wacko’s illusion of something that is not real. “It was a beautiful day in early spring. It was a weekend and we just wanted to be outside, so my friend and I hopped on his motorcycle for a ride. We wanted to do something fun and explore, so we rode out to this creepy church,” Chaffin recalls. “We parked the bike at a gate and we had to walk down a long road to get to the church. As we were walking along, these little yellow butterflies were flying all around us. They were everywhere. When we rounded the curve and got our first glimpse of the church, we could see

"I could feel this malevolent presence there. It was a place that had a lot of heavy, bad energy." its hallowed halls have undoubtedly seen and heard many stories that are now locked away forever in the minds of the deceased. However, some say the rare occasion arises, when a soul is not able to rest and seeks to remind us of the pain that prevents their eternal peace. Rachael McLucas, a curator at Oak Hill Museum and guide for Berry’s Haunted History Tours, provides some background and insight into some of the more famous spirit encounters. And because she is a 2012 graduate of Berry, she is well versed in the tall tales often tossed around among the student body. “What we try to do here at Oak Hill is to debunk some of the ghost stories and give some history as to where they may have started. The stories we focus on – or one that is more notable – is the story of the Green Lady,” explains McLucas. “She is popular for having been seen at various parts of what we consider our mountain campus. She has been consistently described as this really gaunt figure, with a skeleton-type face and wearing tattered garments. She is always described as a young woman. Most students will say that in order to conjure her, you stop

thoughts that she must have been related to someone who was buried at the grave in the woods.” The trails that wind around the mountainsides of Berry College can be desolate. There is one area, on the edge of campus, which is known by many Romans as “Devil Worshiper’s Road.” Uttering its formal name, CCC Road, is enough to open the door for stories of strange happenings, and stand the hairs on arms straight with fear. CCC Road is often traveled by those who are looking for a thrill, but some have left with a little more than they bargained for. First, let’s examine the history of this ominous trial. The CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps, was ushered in by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal. The program was started in 1933 and was meant to give unskilled young men jobs to earn money during The Great Depression. Workers were tasked with building infrastructure for government parks, developing rural areas and conservation efforts, i.e. planting trees and clearing property for roadways. In 1942, nearly 10 years later, the program was dissolved but our local road kept the name in its absence.

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that someone had spray painted pentagrams on the front of the church. There was a lot of red paint and it was really weird looking.” Her eerie tale becomes interesting when she says, “We seemed to cross this invisible line, the butterflies started to disappear. But taking their place were these bees or wasps that started bombarding us – almost chasing us. We walked a little further and I looked at Terry and told him I was turning around

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because this was just too weird. I could feel this malevolent presence there. It was a place that had a lot of heavy, bad energy.” Chaffin believes the bees were a warning. She has never returned and emphatically responds with “never again” when asked if she would venture into the forest again to visit the church at the end of CCC Road. Now it was our turn. We loaded up our gear, and set out to take the journey so many had

taken before us, in hopes of debunking the mysteries surrounding the long dirt path into the woods. The sun was going down, and a warm glow hung just above the treetops. As we progressed, the trees on either side of the road became thick and the road narrowed. Soon we were beyond the halfway point, and to turn back on the closing darkness was not in the cards. And as we bent a corner and crossed an old iron gate, half yellow and half brown with rust, we saw what looked like a small, white structure through the trees. We counted four bridges out, but the absence of daylight caused us to abandon the mission of counting the bridges. (We didn’t need that story, because it had already been told.) But what we did find was far scarier than a disappearing bridge. Derek Bell was able to snap a picture just before we mounted the bikes we rode in, not looking back to see just what it was. You see, urban legends, ghost stories and tall tales are meant to remind us that there are things in this world that we can’t explain. They can also be loads of fun, when coupled with the skills of a talented photographer and a trooper-of-a staff writer. The only thing screaming that day was my rear after riding the bumpy trail to the church. Fear, however, is very real and oftentimes our imagination can turn the most harmless event into a nightmare for the record books. All you need is an unfamiliar setting and enough mental ammunition to create your own urban legend that gathers steam as it passes through the generations. If you would like to share a haunted trail ride of your own, Berry College is happy to provide you with all the thrills you can handle. For the calmer demographic of ghost hunters, Oak Hill Museum will schedule a group for Berry’s Haunted History Tour. A guide will accompany you around the main and mountain campus, detailing all of the strange and paranormal sightings linked to the campus. And for the brave among you, The Scary Berry hayride takes a truck bed, full of travelers, through a haunted-house-style hay ride down one of the walking trails on campus. For information on both of these experiences visit www.berry.edu, and keep your eyes open for signs near the entrance to the school and along Martha Berry Highway. Can you be the starting point for an urban legend that scares the pants off your fellow Northwest Georgians? We would love to investigate your connection with the spirits who want to tell us a forgotten secret. Stay safe this Halloween, so that you live to tell your tale. VVV


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The Desoto Theater

will be rocked n’ rolled when guitarists AJ Ghent, Glenn Phillips, and Tinsley Ellis show us all how to really wield an axe. Text erin demesquita Photos courtesy of glenn phillips, tinsley ellis & aj ghent

Guitar

HEROES

TINSLEY ELLIS

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I

t’s 1929, late evening, in a city where the rivers meet and the mountains begin. Downtown, an incandescent marquee is mirroring its glow against the faces of passersby. The radiant light embraces attendees retrieving their tickets at the booth. A majestic French mirrored entrance reflects an intoxication in its patrons that only regality can convey, as anticipation steps slowly down the center of a resplendent red ribbon atop checkered black and white tiles. Elated attendees approach the gold-accented double doors, which swing open in grandiose fashion, offering an eloquent view of the heart of the brand-new Desoto Theatre. Fast forward 85 years; the entrance is just as grand, and the heart, even bigger. The Historic Desoto Theatre Foundation (HDTF), along with dedicated members of the Roman community, work ardently every day on

some of the finest fret work Georgia has to offer. Curated jointly by Ellis and Matt Davis of 95.7 The Ridge, this is so much more than just another concert. Very few things in this world can convey weeping elegance, humanizing rhythm or raw emotion the way an electric guitar can. This event is all about the celebration of the instrument – a

the energy radiated by the dancing harmonies of his front-line ladies, sister Tiffany Ghent Belle and wife MarLa Ghent, and the funky rock infused rhythms rising up from the back line: Gary Paulo on sax and rhythm guitar, Seth Watters on bass, and Will Groth on the drums. Carried by the record label of Georgia-grown Grammy winner Zac Brown, Southern Ground

"Every time I’m

on stage is an

intimate moment

with my guitar" Artists, Inc., the AJ Ghent Band formed in 2012, and already their dance card is filling fast. So, take this opportunity to see them in an intimate venue while you can. Prepare to go from dancing to gawking as the Glenn Phillips Band takes the stage by a storm that only an electric guitar could spin. Phillips weaves a wailing composition of epic emotion, needing no lyrical accompaniment. He lets the guitar do the singing – cranking out sensational ballads that stretch the imagi-

the restoration and preservation of this historic landmark so that history can continue to be made. Come November, that heart – that central stage that has stimulated so many senses over the years – will be pulsing an electric energy that is sure to make Georgia guitar history. It is our honor to introduce The Georgia Guitar Explosion, the HDTF’s 3rd Annual Music Festival. On Nov. 8th, the 498 seats inside the Desoto will more than likely be completely empty, but only because patrons will be on their feet and fully charged by the music. The AJ Ghent Band, the Glenn Phillips Band and Tinsley Ellis (in that order) will be sharing

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tribute to the guitar. Let’s start at the neck; the beginning if you will. The celebration will begin with The AJ Ghent Band, a sharp dressed six-man ensemble that radiates an elegance that is all “Southern soul.” Their eclectic sound fuses the blues, soul, southern rock, and funk into an energy that demands and well-deserves an audience in motion. Frontman AJ Ghent soulfully slides the length of his red custom eight-string lap steel guitar in a standing position that only echoes AJ GHENT


GLENN PHILLIPS

"Rome is a place that I feel very

lucky to play. It’s an area that

throughout my history as a musician has supported me and helped me through."

nation just as intensely as his facial muscles are pulling and contracting at the changing pitch of his instrument. Phillips first picked up a guitar at the age of 16 and has yet to put it down. His lifelong music career kicked off with the Hampton Grease Band in 1967; he has 12 critically acclaimed albums released under his own name; and, over the years, has played with some of the

greats (The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix and others). Phillips is no stranger to Rome; in fact, it is one of his favorite places to play. He attributes much of his support over the years to the people of Rome, with a special shout out to John Schroeder of Schroeder’s New Deli on Broad Street, for keeping the music alive. Following Phillips is legendary Atlanta-born

bluesman Tinsley Ellis. With eyes sometimes shut tight and a leg tap to keep the beat, Ellis unleashes a pain and a pleasure all too intense to be anything but the blues. Don’t let his calm stance fool you, the music is raw emotion. Ellis has been cranking out albums since the 80s and he’s had the privilege of releasing the last two, “Get It!” (2013) and “Midnight Blue” (2014), under his own label, Heartfixer Music. Throughout his career, Ellis has toured the country and beyond, sharing the stage with amazing artists like Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule. Like Phillips, Ellis is definitely no stranger to Rome. “I am very excited to be coming back to Rome. I have been playing in Rome for 35 years, all the way back to Alley Cats and Heartfixers shows at Shannon’s [a live music club in Rome in the 70s and 80s],” Ellis says. Phillips and Ellis both consider Rome to be a place where the people feel like family. With a touch of warmth, Phillips says, “Rome is a place that I feel very lucky to play. It’s an area that throughout my history as a musician has supported me and helped me through.” The common thread, Davis says, is not only their Georgian ties, but mainly, their passion

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for playing, perfecting and pushing the limits of the guitar. Moments etched in memory, accented by influential pioneers of sound, have inspired the growth these musicians have experienced; moving them to their celebrated status as guitarists. Like any fantastical feat, it all began somewhere. For Ellis, it was a B.B. King show at the age of 14 where B.B. broke a string, changed it without missing a beat, and passed the broken string to Ellis (who of course still has it). A fate sewn up by a string. Phillips, around his 16th birthday, merely had to pick up his older brother’s guitar to know what was in store for him. A transformational moment, he says, “I just hit the strings, open, with my hand and they made this sound and vibration.” I can hear the reminiscence in his voice when he explains, “When I did that, my head was flooded with sounds and I just had this clear thing go through my head … ’This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.’” And for Ghent, it was in his blood. Preceded by ancestral masters of the steel guitar, his forefathers and great uncle, Ghent knew he was meant to play. It didn’t come easy at first, but he trained and taught himself until he reached, not just excellence, but his own unique style and stance. “Every time I’m on stage is an intimate

moment with my guitar,” Ghent says. These musicians will be showcasing and celebrating their love for all things guitar, but they also bring with them a great respect for each other. Ellis calls Phillips “a Georgia musical institution” and refers to Ghent’s guitar playing as “jaw dropping.” “I love being able to connect with other musicians.” Phillips says. “To me, it’s all connected to what music was originally about when I started playing, and I love being a part of and preserving that in any way possible.” This event is the third in a series of HDTF Annual Music Festivals that keep the Desoto moving at full steam into the future – a future that, according to HDTF President Chris Jackson, is only getting wider and brighter. The first festival, he says, was actually headlined by Ellis, followed the second year by a two-day event including The Tams and the Pub & Grub Crawl. “The cool part about this is that we get to show people what a great place downtown Rome is, not only for eating but also lending an ear to some great live music,” Jackson says. “We want people to know that the Desoto is a premier venue to do that, and to do it in style.” While he knows that numerous Romans will be roused to attend, Davis hopes that the “Explosion” will reach and lure folks from the Chattanooga

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and Birmingham areas as well. Tickets can be purchased at the Desoto Theatre website, www.desototheatre.com, as well as the box office and through venuedog.com. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8th; show time is 7:30 p.m. Concessions and adult beverages will be available for purchase throughout the night. After all, it is a celebration – one that will conclude with a jam session that is sure to make a monolithic mark in the memory of the Roman music scene as Ellis invites Phillips and Ghent back on stage for a collaboration that, quite possibly, may never be witnessed again. When the smoke from this explosion clears, Davis and Jackson are sure that jaws will be on the floor and minds will be blown. I believe it was Hans Christian Andersen who said, “Where words fail, music speaks,” and we hope that after these musicians have taken the stage, all will be speechless. In 1929, when the Desoto was new, it was often called “the jewel of Broad Street.” “There was nothing like it,” Jackson says, “… and still, we step back in time.” All are invited to take a walk through that beautifully preserved Art-Deco entrance, back in time, if only for a moment, before witnessing, in 2014, what will be one of the most memorable nights in Georgia guitar history. VVV


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v3 magazine 31


ROOM WITH A

VIEW

Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome’s most storied burial ground, has expanded

to accommodate Northwest Georgians who wish to rest by the river’s side.. Text Dan Tompkins photos derek bell

R

ising majestically from the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers, Rome’s own Myrtle Hill Cemetery has stood sentinel over Rome since 1857. A member of the National Register of Historic Places, Myrtle Hill provides an amazing view of the local community and a stroll through its hallowed grounds reveals a snapshot of our community over time. Some of those buried at Myrtle Hill are familiar and famous names, but others are not so well known. For example, there is Tom McClintock, who was interned in 1915. At that time, the cemetery was segregated, and McClintock was laid to rest in the plots formerly reserved for the area’s African-American neighbors. Living in the immediate vicinity, he had spent the previous 42

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years working at the cemetery as a grave digger. Although the records of the very first person buried at Myrtle Hill have been lost over time, Mrs. Benjamin F. Hawkins and John Billups were both interned in March of 1857 and any notes prior to that time are unavailable. The name itself, Myrtle Hill, has a bit of interesting history behind it as well. Its name was adopted from the Vinca Minor, a plant which grew wild over the hill in the late 1800s. It’s more common name is Myrtle, or the Flower of Death. Many Romans will recognize it as a light blue flowering vine/bush, as it is indigenous to the area now. Among the over 20,000 graves at Myrtle Hill, are a number of famous ones that draw visitors both near and far. The most famous would likely

be former first lady Ellen Louise (Axson) Wilson. Wife of then-President Woodrow Wilson, Ellen Wilson died in August of 1914. A native of Floyd County, she graduated from the Cherokee Baptist Female College, presently recognized as, Shorter University. She was brought home by the President and laid to rest in her hometown in the Axson family plot, where she still rests. On Aug. 11, Mrs. Wilson’s birthday, a rose laying ceremony was conducted graveside on Myrtle Hill. (Mrs. Wilson was the establisher of the now-famous White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C.) In 1923, another noteworthy addition was made to the cemetery with the “Known Soldier.” Charles W. Graves was one of the last American casualties of the First World War. He was originally selected to be buried at Arlington National


northern soldiers are buried in the Civil War area. Myrtle Hill was prominent in one of the Civil War’s more unusual stories. In May of 1863, Union Gen. Abel Streight was marching on Rome to destroy the manufacturing capability and disrupt Southern infrastructure. A fort, known as Fort Stovall, had been constructed to protect the city and its important industries, especially the Noble Foundry. The outnumbered defenders of Fort Stovall held off the Yankees until Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest could arrive. Although outnumbered 1,500 to 425, Forrest’s fierce reputation scared the northern force

"It is wonderful,there is nothing like it in neither GA nor the Southeast." Cemetery, but the honor was declined by his family and his remains were brought home to be interred on Armistice Day, more commonly referred to now as Veterans Day. Referred to locally as the Known Soldier, his official moniker is lengthy and is a true honor: “The designated representative of America’s Known Dead of the Great War 1917-1918 per President Warren D. Harding and the Congressional Record.”

Visitors can also view the granite monument honoring Gen. John Sevier, which was erected in 1901 by the Daughters of American Revolution. Sevier fought and defeated a force comprised of Cherokee and Creek Indians on Myrtle Hill on Oct. 17, 1793. The War of Northern Aggression is represented, with over 300 Confederate soldiers from all 11 states buried there. Additionally, two

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into fleeing. Streight abandoned the attempt to take Rome and fled west to escape Forrest. He eventually surrendered just over the Georgia-Alabama border, where a statue commemorates the embarrassing submission. A monument, which originally stood at the corner of Second Ave. and Broad St., is now located in the Veterans Plaza, where it was moved in 1952. With the cessation of hostilities after the War, Myrtle Hill became a popular spot for Rome’s upper-class citizens to be buried. Among some of the more noted interned there are Daniel R. Mitchell, one of the founders of Rome; Daniel S. Printup; educator J. M. M. Caldwell; Alfred Shorter; Dr. Robert M. Battey, a pioneer in women’s surgery; Rep. John H. Underwood; Homer V. M. Miller; Augustus Romaldo Wright; Andrew B. S. Moseley; and Rep. Seaborn Wright. Adding a modern touch to a site as historic as Myrtle Hill can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. However, Rome has done so with style. Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour via their mobile devices. One has only to download the mobile app tour. Atop Myrtle Hill is a newly installed plaque that introduces the tour. Simply photograph the QR code using your cell phone and the app will walk you through the cemetery, detailing the history and explaining the many fascinating graves.

7

Rome Cemetery Director Stan Rogers, who is responsible for all four official Rome cemeteries, as well as the Hebrew Cemetery located in South Rome, has been instrumental in the recent beautification of Myrtle Hill and the restoration of older graves. His goal has been to make the area more pedestrian friendly, park-like so to speak, and welcoming to local residents and tourists as well. “Cemeteries are for the living,” he says, noting that the renovation efforts were funded with private donations from local citizens. Rogers, who has served as cemetery director since 2001, also spearheaded the effort to design and build the Myrtle Hill Mausoleum, a project that is finally complete after 10 years in the making. The mausoleum contains 588 casket spaces with an additional 596 cremation niches. The mausoleum was dedicated during a special ceremony on Dec. 13, 2013. The impressive structure was built by Milm Construction out of Portland, Ore. After initially intending to import the stone for the all-granite structure from China, Rogers decided instead to use a more local connection. He settled on Silver Cloud Granite, a company based in Lithonia, Ga., who has supplied the granite for such famous buildings as the Burj Khalifa, which – at the time of its construction in Dubai – was the tallest building in the world.

Find out more about the inspiration of the design by visiting American Cemetery online at www.americancemetery.com. The Myrtle Hill Mausoleum graced the cover of this publication’s September issue, an achievement that all Romans can be proud of. “It is wonderful; there is nothing like it in neither Georgia nor the Southeast,” says Rogers proudly. Overlooking the river, the Myrtle Hill Mausoleum sits in a peaceful and easily accessible location. Those interested in more information should contact William S. Kerestes, who is in charge of mausoleum sales, at 706-506-1919. You can also contact the City of Rome at 706236-4534 for information about available space in the mausoleum and, of course, more details are available on Facebook by entering www.facebook.com/MyrtleHillMausoleumRomeGA in the address bar of your internet device. More than just a resting place for the departed, Myrtle Hill continues to be a monument to Rome itself. Its quiet dignity and sweeping views offer a wonderful day-trip allowing visitors to experience some of Rome’s history. It is a place that all of us can be proud of and enjoy, especially with the recent upgrades and features put in place by Rogers and the City of Rome. VVV

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SONGS

IN THE KEY

OF US The Sound of the Seven Hills is under new leadership; however, the band comradery is still as strong as the halftime shows. Text matt pulford photos derek bell

D

uring summer vacation, over 220 students return to Rome High School. Teenagers spread across the practice field, instruments in hand, learning to march and play symphonic pieces in tandem. From June 22 until the end of football season, their life is driven by a singular rhythm: The Sound of the Seven Hills. There is no escaping the 95-degree heat on the field. Sweat dots the sheet music and the humidity soars higher than the clarinets’ notes. These students stand still, awaiting the next pattern. This is a physical and cerebral game. Enduring the swelter and holding a weighty instrument while performing marching maneuvers is one matter, but synchronizing steps with 219 others and playing complex musical pieces calls one to mentally muster focus. This is not an easy extracurricular.

What is it that brings over 200 kids together? Concert band in the winter could allow the sole musical outlet for expression and instrumental showmanship, yet this group spends five extra months outside parading. There must be something to it. To many of these marching minstrels there is an intangible draw. One senior saxophonist, Marlee Smith, poignantly noted that the band becomes like family. “You spend so much time together you just get super close,” she said. “If you want to do something with [over] 200 of your closest friends, marching band is the thing to do. Most of my friends are in band. It’s a humongous, highly dysfunctional yet focused family.” Flor Rangel, a sophomore drum major who also plays the clarinet, echoed this convivial sentiment. “I don’t like calling it ‘The’ band,” she said. “I call it ‘our’ band because we’re like a family. You see v3 magazine 37


the same people every day, you get used to them, [and] everyone is really close.” Unlike the blood that bonds her biological family, the familiar tie for her second family is their pursuit of a common interest. “We all share the same passion: which is to play music and entertain,” says Flor. “We don’t just entertain the crowds, we entertain ourselves.” Flor, who also drills in Rome’s Air Force JROTC, has been a part of band since sixth grade, and this closeness has been the hook that has kept her playing. This, it seems, is the common allurement for most band students: a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself, a second family. Rome High’s new band director, Chad Hannah, is sympathetic to this internal lure. While the newsworthiness of having a fresh director for this storied program is noted, the angle that supersedes all news value is his heart for the kids in his band. Hannah, a tall, thin man with rectangular glasses, aims to take the program to new heights, yet not at the expense of neglecting that intangible draw. “I have tried to build a family environment with the kids, regardless of their home lives,” says the Raggland, Ala. native. “When they’re home, they’re in real-life scenarios, like how [their parents] will make ends meet and other things. I want to make sure that the band program is a place where kids can be themselves, enjoy making music, enjoy the process and become better people. It’s their home away from home. We want them to want to be here.” This deeper purpose is Hannah’s driving rhythm, his heart and first goal for the program. He aims to cultivate this atmosphere because of what band meant to him when he was in high school, he says. The former drum major of the Jacksonville State Marching Southerners sits back in his chair and looks off into the distance as he recalls the sanctity and safety his band family provided for him growing up. 38

v3 magazine

“If you looked at me, [you] saw this middle class child, but what you didn’t know was that my dad may or may have been out of work,” Hannah explains. “[Sometimes] we didn’t have TV or AC. My parents were struggling to pay bills. It meant that not every afternoon was a pleasant time to be in the Hannah household growing up. Band and drum corps was a way for me to remove myself from the stress of real life. That is what it was: it was the safe haven.” Music was his outlet to make sense of life and the avenue through which he could lift himself to something better. The familiarity and security of a close-knit program offer an environment where kids can grow. Next to creating a safe place, the individual betterment of his students is Hannah’s second priority. He says that whether it’s through music or athletics, a main goal of any director or coach is to encourage and catalyze maturation for young adults. “When you get down to it past the eighth and quarter notes or the x’s and o’s [in a football play], we’re trying to shape better people to enter society,” he says. “When it’s all said and done, they will remember what we tried to teach him, regardless if it’s a sport or band.” But apart from musical prowess, what is Hannah trying to teach, you may ask? For two and a half hours each day, his students practice playing music while marching in unison and it is this character of devotedness and commitment he hopes to instill in his students for the rest of their lives. “One common thread we all share [as band directors and coaches] is that we’re trying to create young adults that understand time management, dedication and values so that when they graduate high school they’re good citizens ready to conquer the world,” Hannah explains, using his hands for emphasis like he would conduct. Discipline from hours of musical repetition and seemingly endless parading cement these values.

Every practice begins with 30 minutes of drill and music fundamentals, says Marlee, who is also band captain. Then marching ensues, instruments in hand. She says that once they learn “a good chunk” or phrase in the music, they’ll repeat it over and over. After the entire show is mapped out and perfected by all students, the band will rehearse the entire show – roughly 7-and-a-half minutes – four to five times a practice, she explains. This is repeated over the span of four months. If character building were

"I don’t like calling it ‘The’ band. I call it ‘our’ band because we’re like a family. You see the same people everyday, you get used to them, [and] everyone is really close.” a song, dedication would be this group’s chorus. Not quite behind the scenes, more like Hannah’s assistant coaches are the three drum


Mr. Hannah; he does a crescendo here, so we add it in. [There is] a music score, so instead of one piece of music for a trumpet player, we have all instrument’s notes in one packet.” The trick is within the detail, it seems. It’s a very demanding position. “Our arms are always killing us,” Kathryn laughs. Kathryn is also an Advance Placement student who also set the school swimming record in the 100-meter backstroke. It’s easy to see how her work ethic in band has informed other areas of her life. The safe, familiar atmosphere that Hannah helps to cultivate of-

fers the students a place to grow and, as per his focus, become better people. “[Mr. Hannah] is very motivational,” Kathryn adds. “He has a lot of faith in us and tells us how much he appreciates us. It inspires us to work harder.” This inspiration is the draw that calls kids to go to school in the summer and march. The common allurement to belong to a second family keeps these students in tune with a greater purpose and motivates them even on the tough days – and making music is fun, too. “We tell the kids that they matter, they have a purpose and they belong while they are here,” Hannah smiles, his heart behind the program evident. “I want to make sure that while they’re here that they make a difference, belong and have a purpose. Music is just a tool.” VVV

majors. These students are disciplined to keep the 200-plus marching formation on beat and in time with the music. These conductors are raised 10 feet off the ground, swishing their hands about in rhythm, and not only are they dedicated to the show; they encourage their fellow band mates to be as well. For two-and-a-half hours a day, the drum majors work hard in keeping the show on track; they are the pulse; they keep the family together. From learning the music and combining the musical scores to leading their fellows, these three students – all sophomores – do it all. One drum major, Kathryn Nobles, epitomizes the hard work ethic instilled by Hannah’s detail-oriented regimen. “With three drum majors with different styles, one’s [conducting] might be larger or the width might be further, but we all have to look the same,” she explains. “[It’s] very uniform. We learn with the band. We watch v3 magazine 39


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WATERCOLOR MEMORIES The bright lights and little city of The Harbor may be the perfect prescription for our seniors who struggle with memory retention. Text oliver robbins photos derek bell

O

ur Northwest Georgia seniors are some of our most precious and valued citizens. A life lived near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains fills them with wondrous stories of the past and a love for the community they call home. However, there comes a time when they must rest and pass the baton to those who will run the next leg of the race. Right here, in the family-friendly City of Rome, there is a place where they can relax and reflect with ease, while being surrounded by all the comforts of the home they remember. Renaissance Marquis (3126 Cedartown Hwy., Rome) and their two-years-young memory care unit, The Harbor, is a community where residents

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can enjoy the golden years of their lives with neighbors and friends. With independent living, personal care or assisted living, and a secure memory care facility, Renaissance Marquis’ dedicated staff works to meet the needs of seniors who may benefit from an extra hand with their day-to-day routine. The meticulously landscaped entryway opens into a lobby with wooden-railed staircases that climb to a third floor. A cherry-wood grand piano fills the space, accented by stately furnishings that invite you for a seat and a chat. A glance to the left reveals a wall adorned with portraits of the veterans who have served our country. The Wall of Honor, so appropriately named, is framed on either side by the uniforms worn by

the proud men and women of the United States armed forces. Most importantly, every member of the Renaissance Marquis staff greets you with a smile and a warm hello. Through the lobby is an outdoor area, complete with a gas fire pit, an arbor-covered kitchen and nooks peppered with intimate seating areas. Seasonal flowers line the green space and a walking trail weaves its way through the property and around a gazebo. All the space requires is a glass of iced tea and an engaging conversation. Located past the dining area, which smells of a home-cooked Sunday dinner, is the key-coded entrance to The Harbor. A separate wing of Renaissance Marquis, The Harbor is specifically designed to ensure that residents diagnosed


"Some people ask me why I do this, and if it makes me sad to grow attached to someone who leaves this world. It does make me sad sometimes, but the reward of making their lives as great as possible is worth every bit of it." with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory challenges feel safe and comfortable. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, so to speak, and find out what makes The Harbor a place perfectly suited for remembering the moments our seniors hold so dear. Upon entering the living environment, you are greeted by 50s-style décor and pictures of Rome’s history hang about the walls. An old typewriter conjures feelings of nostalgia, making the room soft and warm. The doors in and out of the living space are painted to look like shelves of books to deter a resident from attempting to wander away. Placed around the base of all exterior doors leading outside the unit is a small semi-circle of black tile that gives the impression

of a hole, further protecting our loved ones from the dangers of walking out unsupervised. The walls are covered in bright pastels, giving the sensation of a sunny spring afternoon, a thoughtful response to residents who spend quite a bit of their time indoors. The bottom half of the wall boasts a white picket fence, opening to a large common area. There, the words “Town Diner” stretch across a cabana overhanging a quiet area for eating or reading. The medical desk is clearly marked “Town Clinic” and, of course, no main street is complete without the “Town Theater,” displayed above

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the flat screen TV and surrounded by marquis lights. You can almost imagine the sound of a ’57 Chevy and the slurping of a malted milkshake as your eyes take in the sights. Renita Chambers, executive director of Renaissance Marquis and The Harbor, is excited about this addition to their services and, as she details the program, it appears she has good reason. “The Harbor is a specialized care unit with 24 apartments. And because all of the residents in this area of our community have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia or different stages of these diseases, we make sure we take extra measures to keep them safe and secure,” she explains. “We provide more one-on-one care and the activities are more specific to their needs.” With 24-hour staffing, residents are under the watchful eye of The Harbor team but no one is idle in this fine group of elderly folks. Chambers and her team of professionals keep their residents moving and shaking, which helps them to retain the fond memories of their past. Catie Mason, Harbor supervisor, explains how they structure the days of their residents to keep them busy and entertained, all with an emphasis on memory care. “We spend most of our time in the common area. We want them out there, engaged in activities, to keep their minds as active as possible,” she says. “We have people from the community who come in to sing and dance with

v3 magazine 43


with the movement comes tons of smiles. I love to hear the voices of our Alzheimers residents saying, ‘wow, what a workout!’ The exercises we incorporate into our mind stimulating games create magical moments with them.” Outside the common area is an enclosed garden, where corn stalks, tomatoes and a creeping watermelon vine thrive in the sun. “We get our residents outside as much as we can,” Mason says. “Some of them are farmers and they really enjoy growing and picking the vegetables. David Duke has incorporated these vegetables into our activities by helping them to make tomato sandwiches all summer with the harvested produce.” The senior citizens at The Harbor are active

the residents and local schools come in often to provide entertainment. We also have a really neat activity we call Sittercise that we do every day. I’ve actually participated in Sittercise and I felt the burn in my arms and legs. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know how they do this every day.’” As Mason explains Sittercise, a group of residents gather their chairs around David Duke, Harbor activity director, and he leads them in songs and aerobic arm movements. The sound of voices singing “I’ll Fly Away” rings through the halls as each senior follows Duke’s instruction, grinning from ear-to-ear. “Twist and Shout” is the next tune on the list and the up-tempo melody matches their exercise movements.

“I love to see the miracles happen as David Duke leads our residents through an activity we call the Running of Rome,” Chambers adds. “Even our residents who have very little movement will eventually go from sitting, to standing and reaching for the sky. Our exercise program really begins to involve all of our residents, and

physically, but Chambers also points out some of the unique things they do to keep their mental health sharp. “We have incorporated word games and memory games into the resident’s activities, like ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ and we have tweaked those games to stimulate their minds,” she says. “We have also developed programs that focus on what they are feeling, smelling and hearing to help them relate to familiar senses. Our “Simple C” program is unique because we have installed a monitor in everyone’s room. In that monitor are personal photos that have

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been downloaded and family members’ voices for voice recognition. The monitor may have their son or daughter’s voice telling them to wake up, enjoy their breakfast and have a wonderful day as they get out of bed.” Chambers says this helps the residents to be calm and comfortable when things around them are becoming more and more unfamiliar. “We watch over them at night while they are sleeping, but when they are awake our goal is to keep their minds and their bodies stimulated,” she says. All of the required services are also taken care of at The Harbor, such as meals, medication management and assistance with daily challenges. The numerous services are lengthy, so be sure to visit their website at www.renaissancemarquis.com. There you can view the facility, schedule a tour and see the many accommodations offered. There is also a list of the special programs available to memory-challenged residents and the details of how each activity helps to quell memory loss. A harbor is a place where a vessel that has

sailed the seas of life can find rest in the placid water of the shoreline, and Mason finds joy in helping to calm the choppy waves caused by frightening diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Some people ask me why I do this, and if it makes me sad to grow attached to someone who leaves this world,” she says. “It does make me sad sometimes, but the reward of making their lives as great as possible is worth every bit of it.”

Thanks, Renaissance Marquis and The Harbor, for helping our seniors to tell their stories again and again. VVV

to schedule a tour contact ben baker at 706.295.0014

v3 magazine 45


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The Dish 100 Covered Bridge Road Euharlee, GA

PH: 700-383-3383 www.johnnymitchells.com Open everyday from 11am-9pm Johnny Mitchell’s has hand-cut steaks, fesh seafood selections and authentic barbecue slow-smoked over cherry and hickory wood. Come experience the fusion of Southern hospitality and fine dining.

Whatever you are in the mood for, you’ll find a homemade meal at our Smokehouse that will bring you back again!

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300 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

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Jamwich - Serving distinctive sandwiches, salads, and soups. Sandwiches built with the finest ingredients: Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, Zelma’s Blue Ribbon Jams and Jellies, fresh sourdough bread, premium Boars Head thick cut bacon and farm-to-table produce.

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Fuddruckers catering can help you feed just about any size group, anytime, anywhere. Our menu will please the most discerning tastes and meet the high standards you require. We know how to make your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING.

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PH: 706-238-9000 Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00pm-10:00pm 400 Block Bar & Lounge: 4:00pm-1:30am Live music each weekend.

La Scala offers both first-rate service and terrific Italian Cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. 50% off cafe menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy portions of our food, you will see our entrees range from homemade sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes. www.romamiagrill.com

Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47


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