Chamblee54

Fifty Eight Years

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on November 22, 2021

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Fifty eight years ago, John Kennedy went to the oval office in the sky. The bullets hit Mr.Kennedy at 12:30 pm, CST. He arrived at the hospital at 12:37. He had a faint heartbeat on arrival, but quickly succumbed to his wounds.

In Georgia, PG was nine years old. He was in Miss Mckenzie’s fourth grade class. There was going to be an assembly soon, and the class was going to perform. There was a rehearsal in the cafetorium, and some of the kids were acting up. They went back to the class, and PG thought they were going to be chewed out about the misbehavior in the cafetorium. Instead, Miss Mckenzie came into the room, and told the kids that President Kennedy had been shot during a parade in Dallas Texas. She did not say anything about his condition. One kid cheered the news.

School let out at the regular time, and PG walked home. His mother and brother were crying. He was told that the president had died. The cub scouts meeting that afternoon was canceled.

Later that night, a plane arrived in Washington. The tv cameras showed a gruesome looking man walk up to a microphone. He was introduced as President Lyndon Johnson. This may have been the worst moment of that day. Photographs for this repost today are from “Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Esoteric and Pedantic

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, The English Language by chamblee54 on November 18, 2021


Obviously,there is something to be said for wanting to speak up, but not having anything to say. To prove that, I am going to talk about a word…esoteric. According to Wiktionary , esoteric is :”1. Having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application. 2. Understood only by a chosen few or an inner circle. 3. Confidential; private.”

The “E word” plays a role in a story from 10th grade English. We were discussing a story, “The Rocking Horse Winner”, by D.H. Lawrence. The story was, well, boring and obscure, just like most of what I have seen by Mr. Lawrence.

The summer after 10th grade I worked in a movie theater. The ushers wore ghastly yellow uniforms, and saw the movies over and over. When I started, the Lenox Square 2 theater was showing “Women in Love”, based on a novel my D.H. Lawrence. Glenda Jackson copped an oscar for her portrayal of Gudrun Brangwen, and young Larry Kramer was one of the screenwriters. It did not improve my opinion of D.H. Lawrence. If the censors had not touched “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” D.H. Lawrence would be forgotten today.

Back to 10th grade english. We were discussing this wretched story, and a girl raised her hand. Why would any author would write something so esoteric? The teacher had never heard of this word before, and was amazed to hear it.

The Lenox Square 2 theater was a long, slender thing with a small screen. This was in 1970. The multiplex concept had not matured. LS2 was under a grocery store. When their automatic door openers operated, you could hear the motors in the theater below. The movies the rest of the summer were Fellini Satyricon, The Christine Jorgenson Story, and The Landlord.

Back to esoteric…or did I ever go away? Before you can understand esoteric, you must plumb the depths of pedantic. “1. Like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning. 2. Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner. 3. Often used to describe a person who emphasizes his/her knowledge through the use of vocabulary; ostentatious in one’s learning. 4. Being finicky or picky with language.”

Pedantic is an adjective that describes itself. The technical term for this is autological. Here is a poem using autological words. This repost. Pictures for this visit to the Nixon era are from “The Special Collections and Archives Georgia State University Library”.



The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 13, 2021

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Around this time 157 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees, in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families. The other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta. Luckie Street, an extension of Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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Arlo Guthrie

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on November 9, 2021

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This is a rerun post, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original post was half about Arlo Guthrie, and half about Ralph Reed. Today, only the part about Arlo Guthrie will be shown. If you absolutely must read about Ralph Reed, you can follow the link above, or read Lisa Baron And Ralph Reed TMI.

The entertainment today is about Arlo Guthrie . Thanksgiving is intimately connected to Mr. Guthrie. Unlike the turkey, Mr. Guthrie has gone on to have a flourishing career. He probably will not come down with Huntington’s Disease, which killed his father Woody Guthrie.

The video that goes with this text was the first time PG saw Arlo Guthrie. This was broadcast January 21, 1970. PG was an unhip fifteen year old, who had not heard Alice’s Restaurant, seen the movie, or been to Woodstock. He did see the Johnny Cash show this night, or at least the part where Arlo Guthrie did the motorcycle song.

To quote the digital facility PG is borrowing from:
” Born Arlo Davy Guthrie on July 10, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Woody (a folksinger) and Marjorie Mazia (a dancer; maiden name, Greenblatt) Guthrie; married Jacklyn Hyde, October 9, 1969; children: Abraham, Cathyalicia, Annie Hays, Sarah Lee.” Abraham and Sarah Lee play in Arlo’s touring band.
The Alice’s Restaurant Masacree is a part of Americana now. There are two bits of knowledge, that are as true as anything told to a Persian king. When trying to dispose of some garbage, and finding the city dump closed, Arlo found some litter by the roadside, and made a value judgment…One big pile of garbage is better than two little piles.

The second is about the draft, and the business of choosing people to fight our wars. There is a regulation today that says that Gays and Lesbians are not supposed to be soldiers and sailors. In the tale of the thanksgiving dinner, it was litterbugs. (There was also a draft, and a different war. Lots of Americans were coming home in boxes.) The bottom line: Mr. Guthrie is confused about not being considered moral enough to kill people, because he was a litterbug.

A few years into his career, Arlo Guthrie had a hit record called “City of New Orleans”. It was about a train, and said “Good Morning America”. “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman, who is no longer with us. Mr. Goodman also wrote the perfect country and western song .

PG heard a story about Steve Goodman.
“The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd. PG is not sure if he believes this, but it is a good story.” ( A biographer of Mr. Goodman said said that the candidate was Edmund Muskie. He also says that David Allen Coe had nothing to do with the last verse of the perfect country and western song.)
As previously noted, this is a repost from a few years ago. In that time, the policy against gay people serving in the military has been dismantled. The Ralph Reeds of the world are more upset about the concept of gay marriage, than by gay people killing Muslims. Vietnam is a peaceful country, and is enjoying economic good times. The draft is something old fogies remember. The current fashion is to support war by demanding a tax cut.

Arlo Guthrie continues to make music. USA Today had a feature recently, Arlo Guthrie celebrates 50 years at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’. Arlo Davy Guthrie has a twitter account, @folkslinger, and a full head of white hair. His wife of 43 years, Jackie Guthrie, died Oct. 14, 2012. The Lenox Square theater was torn down to make way for a food court many years ago.

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Election Day

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on November 2, 2021


In my dotage, getting out to vote can be an effort. Finally, after putting it off as long as I could, I made it up the hill to the school. The first stop was the gym. When I got there, I remembered my mask. The lady said the mask was not a problem. However, I was in the wrong location. There was another voting place in the cafetorium.

The entrance by the porte cochere was closed to non-students, so I had to go around the school to get in. A quick trip back to the house would enable me to drop off the jacket, and get a mask. Soon, I was lumbering back up the path.

The last time I voted, the door was kept locked, and I had to be buzzed in. Today, the door was open, and I walked in. The next barrier was a sign that said that only people actively voting were allowed in the cafetorium. I told the poll worker that I was a passive voter, and he looked at me like I was on drugs. After showing him the sign, he told me not to worry about it.

The next step is having the man scan your driver’s license. This used to be a two person process, but it has been streamlined. You also don’t have to fill out a slip of paper with your address, but merely confirm you name and DOB. The man gave me a plastic card with a chip in it.

There were only two things to vote on. There is a city council race, with incumbent HJ “John” Park. I wonder what the HJ stands for. I had seen “John” riding through the neighborhood this past weekend. He campaigns on a bicycle, wearing a mask.

The other election was for some kind of SPLOST. I made the choices, and pushed the button. The laser printer printed a piece of heavy duty paper. It had a qv code, and my two choices.

I took the printed ballot, and the chip card, over to the lady standing by a black machine. I fed the ballot, face down to ensure privacy, into the rollers of the machine. I placed the chip card in the used ballot box, and said no thank you, to the offer of a peach sticker. Democracy lives on in Brookhaven. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

The 1956 Legislature And The Flag

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on October 28, 2021

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What Stacey Abrams said about burning the Georgia flag in 1992 The New York Times decided to show a picture of a younger, slimmer Stacey Abrams burning the Georgia state flag. The year was 1992. The state flag had the Confederate battle flag embedded. People were asking the legislature to change that. Miss Abrams was a student activist. This is an edited repost.

The NYT article sparked a twitter dogpile, about the motives of the Georgia legislature in 1956. PG remembers 1993, when the initial proposal to change the flag was made. Changing The Flag is an account of those years. If you have a minute, you should read that post before going any further. The people who wanted to change the flag introduced an argument. They said that the legislature changed the flag, in 1956, as a protest against integration. PG never believed that. One afternoon in 1994, PG found a newspaper article that supported his point of view. After that, PG did not think much about the issue. The flag was changed in 2000 and 2003.

The issue has a few shades of gray. The reason given in 1956 was honoring the Confederacy. In 1993, the 1956 legislature was said to be protesting integration. The emotions of honoring the Confederacy, and denouncing integration, are not entirely separate. Many of the same people, who are proud of the Confederacy, are white supremacists. To an outsider, they can seem like the same thing. PG can understand how someone not familiar with Georgia could mistake the two.

The debate, over the motive of the 1956 legislature, was never necessary. The flag, featuring the Confederate battle flag, was seen as a symbol of racism. Many people were offended by this flag. Why not just say we should change the flag for this reason, and not worry what the legislature was thinking? However, this was not good enough. People needed some more ammunition for their fight. The notion that the flag was changed as a protest against desegregation was born. PG never heard, before 1993, that the flag was changed as a protest against integration. People believed this notion without any evidence, just because somebody said so. 1994 was 38 years after 1956. Very few people in 1994 were active in 1956. The argument in favor of the changed-to-protest-integration notion had two parts: (1) Because I said so, (2) if you disagree you are a racist idiot.

@KevinMKruse “No, she burned the old *Georgia* flag, which had been designed specifically by white supremacists as a show of defiance to desegregation in 1956. Let’s dig in.” @chamblee54 “The Flag was not changed as a protest against desegregation. Changing The Flag” @KevinMKruse “I literally wrote a book on this, but congratulations on finding a blog post.” @chamblee54 “I wrote the blog post. If you read the post, you will see I did research. Did anyone say at the time that the new flag was a protest? Do you have a link to this?”

@JoshCStephenso “You found a single article? Maybe you would trust a paper written by the Deputy Director of the Georgia Senate Research Office – a chamber that is majority R?” This tweet was helpful. The report was written in 2000, before the a new flag was driven through the legislature. If you have the time to read the complete report, it is worth your time. If not, a few quotes will be posted here, along with a few helpful comments.

The first Confederate flag looked a great deal like the Union flag. In early battles of the war, the two flags were often confused. “The commanding Confederate officer at the Battle of Bull Run, General P.T.G. Beauregard, determined that a single distinct battle flag was needed for the entire Confederate army. Confederate Congressman William Porcher Miles recommended a design incorporating St. Andrew’s Cross.”… “Other flags such as State regimental colors were used by the Confederacy on the battlefield, but the battle flag, although it was never officially recognized by the Confederate government, came to represent the Confederate army.”

At first, use of the battle flag was restricted to historic events. It wasn’t until the fifties that the flag began to be used by those who fought integration. In 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education was handed down by the Supreme Court, ordering the integration of schools. The Georgia legislature went into resistance mode, and spent a lot of time denouncing integration. The senate research office devotes page after page to these efforts. Finally, “In early 1955, John Sammons Bell, chairman of the State Democratic Party … suggested a new state flag for Georgia that would incorporate the Confederate Battle Flag. At the 1956 session of the General Assembly, state senators Jefferson Lee Davis and Willis Harden introduced Senate Bill 98 to change the state flag. Signed into law on February 13, 1956, the bill became effective the following July 1.”

“Little information exists as to why the flag was changed, there is no written record of what was said on the Senate and House floors or in committee and Georgia does not include a statement of legislative intent when a bill is introduced – SB 98 simply makes reference to the “Battle Flag of the Confederacy.” … “Many defenders of the flag, including former governor Ernest Vandiver, who served as the Lieutenant Governor in 1956, have attempted to refute the belief that the battle flag was added in defiance of the Supreme Court rulings. Vandiver, in a letter to the Atlanta Constitution, insisted that the discussion on the bill centered around the coming centennial of the Civil War and that the flag was meant to be a memorial to the bravery, fortitude and courage of the men who fought and died on the battlefield for the Confederacy.”

This is where it gets murky. It is apparent that the legislature was obsessed with integration. The circumstantial evidence, of the flag being changed as a protest of integration, is there. However, there is no smoking gun. There are no apparent statements, from 1956, saying that this change was made to protest integration. This detail seems to have sprung up in 1993, without having been widely mentioned in the 37 years since 1956. The newspaper article PG found does not mention a protest against integration, and does mention a desire to honor the Confederacy.

“The argument that the flag was changed in 1956 in preparation for the approaching Civil War centennial appears to be a retrospective or after-the-fact argument. In other words, no one in 1956, including the flag’s sponsors, claimed that the change was in anticipation of the coming anniversary. Those who subscribe to this argument have adopted it long after the flag had been changed.” This is contradicted by the newspaper article, and statements by “Governor Griffin’s floor leader, Representative Denmark Groover … “anything we in Georgia can do to preserve the memory of the Confederacy is a step forward.” As for the after-the-fact argument, you could say the same thing about the notion that the flag was changed as a protest against integration.

John Sammons Bell is a name that keeps coming up. From 1954 to 1960, Mr. Bell was Chairman of the State’s Democratic Party. He was, by all accounts, an enthusiastic segregationist. One of the jaw dropping moments in the senate report was this: “Bell, a one-time supporter of Governor Ellis Arnall, once had the reputation of being a “liberal” on race issues.”

To sum up, the Georgia state flag was changed in 1956. The new flag contained the Confederate battle flag. Many people were offended by the 1956 flag. PG thought it was ugly. Many others saw it, with some justification, as a symbol of racism. For some reason, speculation about the motives of the 1956 legislature arose. 18 years after the passage of a new flag, people are still arguing over the motives of the 1956 legislature. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Previous postings of this feature include many details omitted today.
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We’re All God’s Children

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 24, 2021


It was September, 1976, in Athens, Georgia. Someone decided to open a disco downtown. On opening night, there was a crowd. People wanted to know, would men be able to dance with men?

The owner was said to be a redneck, who would not allow such things. Finally, the party got started. At some point, same sex couples started to dance together. The owner shut down the music, and stood in front of the crowd with a microphone. He said a few words that did not please anyone, and there was an uneasy silence. Then, out of the back, came one voice.

We’re all God’s children.

45 years later, we are still struggling. People try to solve problems, big and small, with name calling. If you don’t have the correct opinion about this or that, then you are a terrible person. We seem to forget the one basic truth: We’re all God’s children.

We don’t know who cried out WAGC that night, 45 years ago. If I had to guess, I would say that it was an African-American. Much of the name-calling today is about skin color. If you are not heard repeating the platitudes of the day, you will get called racist. You are deemed worthy of hatred and abuse. Your humanity is taken away from you. You are no longer one of God’s children. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.”

Georgia Voter Registration

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Politics by chamblee54 on October 19, 2021


This is a repost. This time last year, the election from hell was in hyper-demagouge mode. Stacey Abrams was handed a potent issue, and worked it to death. It wasn’t until after the voting that many of us learned that the counties count the votes, and register voters. While tales of voter suppression cannot be completely ignored, it now appears obvious that we were repeatedly lied to.

@LEBassett “1.Brian Kemp is running for GA gov against Stacey Abrams (a black woman) 2. Kemp is in charge of elections & voter registration 3. Kemp made a new “exact match” rule that is holding up 53,000 voter registrations…. NEARLY 70% OF THEM BLACK 4. THIS IS ALL I WANT TO TALK ABOUT” There is nothing like getting your news from twitter.

Voting rights become a flashpoint in Georgia governor’s race The story gets attention. Georgia is holding up 53k voter registrations. 70% of these registrations are black people, according to an undocumented AP story. These registrations are in the Secretary of State’s office. The current SOS, Brian Kemp, is the Republican candidate for Governor. Mr. Kemp is white. His Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, is black. As you might imagine, the sensation-driven media is in outrage mode.

“An analysis of the records obtained by The Associated Press reveals racial disparity … the list of voter registrations on hold with Kemp’s office is nearly 70 percent black.” No link is provided for the analysis, which is likely to be true. Assuming that is factual … a dangerous proposition three weeks before an election … the next question should be How do they know.? Is the race of the voter on the voter registration application?

STATE OF GEORGIA APPLICATION FOR VOTER REGISTRATION is your basic government form. On line 4, after telephone number, date of birth, and gender (a two check box male/female), we have race/ethnicity: White, Hispanic/Latino, Black, American Indian, Other (with a blank space), Asian/Pacific Islander. Qualifications include: “Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge.” Does this requirement apply to candidates?

“Why must I indicate my race or ethnic group? The federal government requires South Carolina to document race or ethnic group for voters by the National Voter Registration Act.” This is the standard answer. The documentation for Georgia can be found at Voter Registration Statistics. If you are a statistics junkie, here is your fix for today.

Georgia has an regulation requiring voter registration to have an “exact match” with information already on file with the Georgia Department of Drivers Services (DDS) or Social Security Administration (SSA). “In 2017, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 268, which codified a voter registration database “exact match” protocol that had been already shown to disproportionately and negatively impact the ability of voting eligible African American, Latino and Asian American applicants to register to vote.” The regulation was not created by Brian Kemp.

Georgia Knew Its Voter Roll Practice Was Discriminatory. It Stuck With It Anyway. The implication of the recent stories is that applications are being targeted by race. Of course, many, if not most, of the clerks reviewing these applications are black. And how would the state know if the voters were black, if it was not on the application?

New FPCA Form Eliminates the Obnoxious Race Question takes a look from another perspective. Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is designed to help military personnel overseas obtain absentee ballots. With regards to the *race question*, authorities here give the standard answer: “Also, many states ask that you provide your race or ethnic group in order to demonstrate that they are complying with the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.” This sentence has a footnote. “I have reviewed both the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“Motor Voter”), “), and I do not find any provision requiring the states to report to the Federal Government on the race of voters.” The article goes on to describe a Texas election. Absentee ballots were disputed because they were cast by non-Hispanic voters.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Cemetery Blues

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on October 15, 2021









PG and Uzi had their usual Sunday phone call, and agreed to go to “Sunday in the Park”. It is a festival in Oakland Cemetery. with live music, people in costumes, open mausoleums, and lots of good clean fun. It wasn’t until that evening that PG learned that today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day. Edgar Allan Poe met his maker on this day in 1849.

There was a Chamblee54 post about DPRD two years ago. The idea is to go to a cemetery and read a poem. An effort will be made to do that tonight, although promises about dead poets are notoriously unreliable. The 2010 post is included as part two of this feature.

The first poem read that afternoon was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. In the intervening two years, PG listened to a podcast with Christopher Dickey, the son of the writer. Sometimes bard is short for bastard. Chris Dickey died July 16, 2020.

So PG, Uzi, and Hazmat went to a festival in Oakland Cemetery. Like everything else, it is more popular and expensive. You had to pay to park, which Uzi generously took care of. The brick walls around the boneyard have been repaired, and no longer look like they are going to fall down. Those walls are important, because people are dying to get inside. This is the second time that PG and Uzi have attended the October festival in Oakland Cemetery.

There are always things that you need to see at Oakland. Margaret Mitchell, the Lion Statue, and the mausoleums are important stops. PG followed the signs to the grave of Bobby Jones. It had golf balls and a putter, which was not necessary.

Don LeVert was a member of the Atlanta Sky Hi Club for many, many years before his departure in 1997. PG and Uzi always seek him out, and it is usually a bit of an adventure finding him.

After visiting Don, PG found the marker for “Brother John Wade”. His time on earth was September 23, 1865 to January 15, 1916. This was from the autumn just after the War Between the States until 37 days before PG’s father was born in Rowland, North Carolina. There was a renewed sense of connection to the stone monuments.

On February 2, 2018, Hazmat, aka Tony Lingoes, had a fatal encounter with a hit-and-run driver.







The facebook friend said “Today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day, Oct. 7th, the day Edgar Allan Poe died. Be sure to visit a graveyard and read some poetry today”. PG didn’t have anything better to do.

The first obstacle was finding a book of poetry. PG is not a poetry person. A look at the shelf turned up a paperback, 125 Years of Atlantic. Poetry was to be found between those covers.

The book had two stickers, both saying 69 cents. At the old Book Nook, this meant that the book was half the price on the sticker. With tax, that would be 38 cents.

125 YOA had stayed in PG’s car for a few years. Whenever he was stuck somewhere with time to kill, this book was waiting. One afternoon in 1998, there was a slow day at work. PG read a remembrance by Gertrude Stein, about life in France at the start of World War II.

The cemetery of choice was connected to the Nancy Creek Primitive Baptist Church. PG has driven by this facility thousands of times. He walked past the graves until he found a fallen tree to sit down on.

The first poem was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. PG began to read out loud, and soon could smell the drug store air of Wender and Roberts. The author bought fifty cents worth of gas at a Gulf station. Today, fifty cents might buy a tablespoon of gas. Gulf was long ago bought out by BP. Wender and Roberts became a bar, which was torn down.

Buckhead is not what it used to be. When Mr. Dickey was the bravest man in Buckhead ( he took a shit in the toilet at Tyree’s pool hall), PG was not even thought of. The traffic jams on Peachtree Street are still there, as the blue haired ladies follow poets into the ground.

When PG finished reading Mr. Dickey, he put a teal postit in the book, where the poem stood. PG looked up, and the graveyard seemed different. Maybe the sun had sank a bit in the sky, and maybe the poem had changed PG in a way he could not put into words. Maybe another poem was the answer. Take the glasses off, open the book at random, and turn the pages until a poem shows up.

On page 404…the historic Atlanta area code…was “The Wartime Journey” by Jan Struther. The 1944 work was unknown territory. A group of people are traveling on a train. The wounded vet, the untried recruit, the salesmen shared the space with a lady, taking a baby for her soldier husband to meet. The theme of the rhymes was that America was totally at war, and that war is different from peacetime. Today’s war in Babylon is not like that.

Halfway through the reading, a freight train pulled by. Today, passenger trains are a novelty, and freight rules the rails. The shipment today was double decked containers, ready to pull off and slap on an eighteen wheeler.

Deaths are said to come in threes, and reading poetry in a graveyard should be the same. PG went on a random search for a Moe, to go with the Curley and Larry already digested. A page of poems by Emily Dickinson was the result. The page left PG unmoved. It was as if he was back in the sixth grade, with a horrible English teacher forcing him to memorize Hiawatha. It was time to go home.






Armistead Maupin At DBF

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 29, 2021


When PG heard that Armistead Maupin was coming to the Dick Hater Book Festival, not going was out of the question. There were rumors of a film showing/Q&A on saturday, and PG scoured the DBF website, looking for information. When the film showing was finally put on the website, tickets were no longer available. This is a repost.

On the morning of the talk, PG fussed over which shirt to wear, settling on a purple t-shirt with no adornment. Next, PG called his friend “P” to make arrangements to meet at the First Baptist Church, site of Mr. Maupin’s appearance. The ring tone for PG calls on “P”‘s phone is “Tutti Frutti.” “P” had agreed to let a friend do laundry at his house, and had to jiggle the schedule a bit. “P” wore a tie dyed t-shirt, with a chest hair display hole below the collar. This all blends in nicely with the lavender shirt, pink suspenders, and Levis that Mr. Maupin wore.

The talk started at 1:15. PG arrived at 12:30, and snagged a prime parking spot. The talk was in the sanctuary, and PG found seats in the fifth row pew. The church house setting gave Mr. Maupin pause. He said something about using profanity, and the pastor said “Its all good.” Mr. Maupin then told the story of getting lubricated on maitais, and coming out to his neighbor. She said “big fucking deal.”

When PG arrived at the church, Mr. Maupin was standing in front of the auditorium. PG went down and shook his hand. “My blog is Chamblee54, and I am writing about this, so I am going to watch what you say.” Mr. Maupin looked sideways, as if to say “who does this guy think he is.” Later, while discussing gender transition, Mr. Maupin paused for a second, and said he manted to say this properly. He was watching what he said.

The talk was a delight, as everyone knew it would be. The *southern-ness* of his parents, moving to San Francisco, the Tales of the City series, and Rock Hudson all were discussed. The pbs lady who hosted the event said that Mr. Maupin was like the Forrest Gump of our generation. This went over about as well as PG telling Mr. Maupin to watch what he said.

At some point, the racial values of 1950s North Carolina came up again. It occurred to PG that this was a very white audience. He looked in the rows ahead of him, and to the side, and did not see any POC. When the talk ended, PG was one of the first to stand up, and did a quick survey of the rest of the room. There may have been POC at this event, but PG did not see them. For painfully woke Decatur, this is an interesting development. You can welcome people all you want, but if nobody shows up, then nobody shows up.

PG spoke to Mr. Maupin one more time. While discussing the techno-gentrification of San Francisco, Mr. Maupin said that “Decatur is starting to look pretty good.” He then said that maybe you say Deck-a-tur. After the show was over, PG approached the stage, and told Mr. Maupin that the correct pronunciation was Dick Hater…. the town had been renamed Dick Hater in honor of the lesbian population. Mr. Maupin laughed, and acted like he had never heard that. A man with a DBF badge told PG “You’re making that up.”

Chamblee54 has featured Mr. Maupin one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times. Pictures, for the text to go between, are from The Library of Congress.

091121

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Politics, War by chamblee54 on September 11, 2021


This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. Every year I say this will be the last time. This year is a mess. We are destroying the village to save it. The action part of 091101 was over by 11 am. This quagmire drags on and on. Nobody knows how things will turn out.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. “This item is part of a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”

Cross Keys

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on September 1, 2021

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Mr. Bear “Speaking of obscure, do you remember the location of a restaurant downtown called the “Crosskeys”. There’s a photo of it in the Georgia State Library archives, but no notation of its location other than it appears to be near a big Gulf Oil lighted sign.” chamblee54 “I have seen that picture. There is a historic brass marker near Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry. Apparently there was some kind of trail crossing there called Cross Keys. Full disclosure: I went to Cross Keys High School. Nobody ever talked about what Cross Keys was. Google is not much help, except for an 1862 Battle of Cross Keys in Virginia.” This is a repost.

Some helpful person sent a couple of links, and soon PG was learning about Cross Keys… the militia district, not the school. Apparently, Cross Keys was centered around the intersection of Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry. The crossroads is a doozy… the two major thoroughfare are combined into a hundred yard stretch of asphalt, only to be separated again at an overworked red light. Both roads run between Peachtree and I285. One goes through pill hill, and the other leads to Perimeter Mall. None of this was going on when the Post Office was built in 1846.

“Historical records provide that the militia district of “Cross Keys” was established in 1827 and continued to be referenced as such at least as late as 1951. Prior to 1827 the only Federal post in the region was known as “Cross Keys,” and subsequently, “Old Cross Keys,” when the post moved to near current City of Chamblee just prior to Sherman’s March. … The area was increasingly settled by farming families during the first quarter of the 19th century. As land concessions were signed with the Creek (Muscogee) Nation between 1818 and 1821 more land was made available via grants to European settlers. While the mascots and symbols of “Indians” at Cross Keys High School are culturally inaccurate and reflect garb and headdresses of nomadic tribes of the mid and far west, it is a fitting and ironic tribute to the Muscogee Native Americans who long thrived on the same land…. The area remained primarily an agricultural community until the acquisition by the United States Army of a large tract of land in heart of the district in July of 1917. This tract became Camp Gordon, an infantry training and artillery cantonment. Part of that original 2,400 acres later became a Naval Air Station at the current site of Peachtree-DeKalb Airport.”

“There was a Cross Keys post office as early as 1846, when the postmaster was James A. Reeve.” A marker at Johnson Ferry and Ashford Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven gives this history for Old Cross Keys: “Ante-bellum crossroads settlement & post office, James Reeve (1792-1852) Post Master & merchant. Prior to 1864 the Post Office was removed to a point between Chamblee and Doraville where, name unchanged it was known as Cross Keys Post Office. To distinguish the one from the other, this place was called Old Cross Keys & was cited in Federal dispatches, maps & reports of military operations here in 1864. At this point, a brief contact was made between the marching columns of Dodge’s 16th and Schofield’s 23rd A.C. July 18, both enroute to Decatur from Chattahoochee River crossings.”

“Samuel House was one of the early settlers of this area, arriving in 1830. In 1850, he built a brick home that is now part of the Peachtree Golf Club. General Sherman spent the night at the home on July 18, 1864 and described it as “a brick house well known and near old Cross Keys.” … The name Cross Keys is referenced in Civil War records. Special orders from General James McPherson on July 16, 1864 instructs “The fifteenth Army Corps, Major General John A. Logan commanding, will move out from its present position at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow on the road leading to Cross Keys, following this road to a point near Providence Church, where he will take a left hand road (sometimes called the upper Decatur road, and proceed on this until he reaches Nancy’s creek, where he will take up a good position on each side of the road and go into bivouac.”

Major General William T. Sherman also issued orders on July 18. At the 15:00 mark of this lecture, the speaker quotes a dispatch to Gen. James Birdseye McPherson. “I am at Sam House’s, a brick house well known, and near old Cross Keys … a sick negro is the only human being left on the premises … we are eleven miles from Atlanta, five from Buckhead, and the signboard says ten miles to McCaffrey’s bridge and eleven to Roswell.” Four days later, Gen. McPherson was killed, in what is now East Atlanta Village.

There is little indication about why this area was called Cross Keys. In 1827, this was the middle on nowhere. “The symbol of the “crossed keys” itself traces to early Christian representations of the “keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth” famously offered by Jesus to Peter according to Matthew 16:19.” The phrase Cross Keys does not appear in the verse.

No one seems to know much about the Cross Keys restaurant. The GSU picture is dated November 8, 1951. A postcard gives the address as 237 Peachtree Street, and has the address of a CKR in Nashville. The Nashville restaurant is mentioned in a WSB-TV film from May 13, 1963. “… African American students protest segregation at two restaurants in town. … a white doorman outside the Cross Keys Restaurant. African American students march on the sidewalk … where police forcefully push the demonstrators away and let white people through the crowds.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Two articles were quoted in this post: Going way back to Cross Keys. Every few years I tell story of name, ‘Cross Keys,’ so our community doesn’t forget. The second story has a comment by Mr. Bear. Several links in this story no longer work.

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