Shopping Centers And Abortions

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on January 22, 2020

Back to empathy for a minute. The word always takes PG back to an auditorium in Clarkston GA in 1971. PG was in his first quarter at Dekalb College. Today, the institution is known as Georgia Perimeter College. One of the selling points of college has always been the outside speakers that were brought to campus. This day, the subject was abortion.

A note on set and setting is appropriate. In 1971, New York state had legalized the abortion procedure. Roe vs. Wade was in the pipeline that would lead to the Supreme Court. That ruling would not be issued for another fifteen months. In the meantime, abortion was illegal in 49 states, including Georgia. The debate about abortions was not as politicized as today. The nomenclature of pro-choice, and pro-life, had not entered the vocabulary.

The Vietnam war was still being fought, although with fewer Americans in combat. The withdrawal of US forces took most of the steam out of the anti war movement. The modern spectacle of a person supporting a war, while claiming to be pro life, did not happen.

PG walked into the auditorium and found a seat. The lady began her presentation. After a few minutes of talk, she said something about a woman who was artificially inseminated, with masturbated semen. The house lights were dimmed. A black and white film of an abortion was shown. It was noted when the fetus went into the vacuum cleaner attachment. The house lights were brought back up. They should have remained dim, as the woman was not kind on the eyes.

The closing part of her presentation was a song she wrote. She sang acapella. The song was written out of empathy with the not to be born baby. The song was titled “My mother My grave”.

PG left the auditorium, and went to world history class.

It started when PG found a picture of Toco Hill shopping center in 1961. He sent a copy to a friend who lives near there, and she replied “Amazing photo. North Druid Hills Rd. looks like the outer reaches of suburbia. Times sure have changed.”

PG (who has too much free time) re-replied “Toco Hills was suburbia, though maybe not the outer reaches. Mom and Dad got married in 1951. They got an apartment on Skyland Drive, near Buford hiway and Clairmont road. At the time, Buford hiway was a two lane road. (The widening took place in the early seventies, after I got my license and got to suffer.) Mom had choir practice at her church on Peachtree and Fourth. (The phrase Midtown was not heard until the eighties.) Dad would go get her, and bring her home. Their was a farmer who would go to the restaurants, and pick up leftovers to feed to his pigs. Dad’s car was usually stuck behind him. In the summer this was not pleasant.”

This got PG to wondering about Toco Hills, specifically, why do they call that area “Toco Hills”. (The shopping center uses the singular.) A visit to Google City showed something called Toco Hills NORC . It says, regarding the area, “Toco Hills is what we call a NORC, an acronym for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community. Toco Hills is a community where the majority of older adults have decided to remain in their homes as long as possible”. The link has retired.

PG then found a neighborhood organization called the Toco Hills Alliance , located in a church. He made a phone call, and talked to a lady working there. She did not know the origin of the name Toco Hills. She did know that her children had gone to elementary school across the street from shopping center. The neighbors had fought the plans to build a shopping center across the street from a school.

The lady at the THA recommended a construction company, and PG gave them a call. It turns out an old timer at the company knew the story. It seems like a man was in Brazil, doing construction projects during World War Two. He had a housekeeper, who was a Brazilian Indian. Whenever he would put in a bid on a job, the housekeeper would say “toco”. It seems that toco is a Brazilian Indian word for “more luck than you can imagine.”

This is a repost
Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: