around atlanta: discovering home

Mostly photos today, and a lot of them, all taken on Sunday when Jim and I drove around Atlanta, my new adopted home town -- I'm finally willing to admit it.  Jim has lived here for over 30 years. I have been here seven. We have been married four. I now have grown children living in Atlanta, and a six-month-old grandgirl, too. I am once again grounded. It takes time. I know y'all know that.

But I don't know my city well, and I want to change that. So I rode shotgun on Sunday, my camera at the ready, and documented what I saw on our quest for pumpkins and hometown.

Atlanta is a city of neighborhoods. It's not laid out on a grid like Washington, D.C. or NYC; it is defined by its neighborhoods all kitty-cornered to one another. Here are some of them.

I know it's not as brilliant as New England (where I was just working) or Frederick (where I waited for it all year), but we do have a fall season in Atlanta.
 And we do love Halloween, my favorite holiday. This house is in Virginia Highlands.
(You have to look closely for the hanging skulls. I love the fences. Cabbagetown.)
(More Cabbagetown.)
This Halloween I want to go back to my fire in the driveway, my chili and hot dogs and cider by the fire, and my ghost on the light pole... if I can find my bucket. If I can find a light post. Or, I can find some new traditions, too. I'm finally ready.
( Old Fourth Ward.)
I lived in Frederick, Maryland for 25 years, in the same house, where I raised a family and became a writer. I was so homesick when I moved to Atlanta, I thought I couldn't stay here, couldn't put down new roots, couldn't be happy here, away from there.
(More Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown.)
(Waterfall feature at the beautiful new Beltline Park at the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood site.)
 (It was "Multicultural Day.")
(Old City Hall East will be turned into mega shopping, dining, working, and living places. It backs up to the Beltline.)
 But I am happy. I am learning to love Atlanta. I want to get to know it as well as I knew Frederick. I have many years ahead of me to discover this place. Lots of Sunday drives ahead. (Old Fourth Ward and Sweet Auburn, below.)
When I was a kid growing up in Prince George's County, Maryland -- Camp Springs, where Franny lives in Countdown -- we used to go on Sunday drives after church. We'd stop and go through model homes in all those new neighborhoods that were built in the sixties. My dad got ideas for things he wanted to try at our house. I'll never forget the tiled mirror wall in the entryway -- all the tiles had gold swirls through them. Very sixties.
 (This is my D.J. son Zach's old neighborhood in East Atlanta.)

I still love Sunday drives. I want to get to know Atlanta as well as I knew Frederick and Camp Springs. As well as I know Mississippi -- like the back of my hand.

Time and family have been great healers and beckoners. Resistance is futile, thank goodness. So. Dear Atlanta: after seven years living here, I am ready to fall in love. Be good to me: when I fall, I fall hard. Here we go.


  1. Atlanta will love you back. I spent 15 amazing years as an adopted daughter of "the city too busy to hate." I miss Candler Park. I miss my friends and the food... I miss my 70 year old pecan trees... but I can always go visit! Sweet post, Debbie!

  2. Thanks, Nina. I'm counting on it. Come visit! xoxoxo

  3. Love your Atlanta shots! Believe it or not, my first apartment in Atlanta, in 1971, was at the corner of Auburn and Bradley St. just a block from your shot of Auburn and Old Wheat---- in a house that has long since been torn down and replaced with new infill housing.

  4. Debbie, I love that neighborhood. It has really been gentrified, though -- good and bad, I suppose. I want to find Buttermilk Bottom, an old neighborhood that I think is now a parking lot for the stadium... or maybe it IS the stadium. I've read about it, and it sounds like it was an amazing neighborhood of close neighbors and rich history that was obliterated for urban growth.


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