Tag Archives: Atlanta History Center

What do you mean summer is over?

13 Aug

It’s still hot as the dickens out there. It’s only mid August. I’m just getting into the summer swing of things… and yet school has started all over Atlanta and apparently summer is over? I’m not ready! I thought summer was at least supposed to be three months long!

Luckily we decided to homeschool Walter this year, so we can really do whatever we want. Since we moved and many of his friends just posted their “back-to-school” photos, it’s a new ballgame (thank goodness baseball isn’t over yet). We’ve got to find a new groove. I signed us up for Atlanta History Center’s first Homeschool Day of the year on Monday in hopes of not just learning a bit about Georgia’s history, but finding some new friends we can play with during the week and who can teach us a bit more about what homeschool looks like in GA.

Meanwhile, we have lots of fun on our own and with the friends that aren’t quite school age yet or are not in daycare. Despite the hole in W’s tongue, this week we went to LegoLand, swimming at Mimi and Pops, and on two big hikes.

IMG_20160810_144304466This kid was so happy and excited to be at Legoland, it really warmed my mommy heart.

IMG_20160812_140654603We finally tried out Lullwater Park and after getting lost for a bit in very hot weather, we found the waterfall. We took off our shoes to climb around in the water but I was a bit dismayed at all the broken beer bottle glass Emory students leave behind.

IMG_20160813_125431888Sope Creek, my new favorite place in Atlanta, especially since we’ve gotten the hiking bug. There were several other people there swimming and playing in the creek, and some guys had trapped a bright orange snake under some rocks. David freed him even though we couldn’t figure out if he was poisonous or not. And then we left!

IMG_20160813_134332750After a short hike to the creek, the Paper Mill ruins are quite a climb but so cool to explore. If you know to avoid the poison ivy, which is everywhere.

IMG_20160813_134523670_HDRSo. Much. Love

Advertisements

Summer Shenanigans

14 Jul

We’ve been having some fun this summer! It’s all Walter, all the time… as it should be!

IMG_20160618_181933Walter’s first movie theatre experience: Finding Dory. He liked it so much he says he wants to go see it every day. He’s not one for moderation yet.

IMG_20160714_135336

Learning to throw water balloons with daddy in our new backyard. I love that you can’t see any other houses in this photo.

IMG_20160705_115901486

Lunch dates with mommy and the chips of course. Don’t be fooled, they tasted stale.

IMG_20160706_143629335

Doing art projects like learning to work with “paper ma-clay”.

IMG_20160705_142142007_HDR

Enjoying the new exhibits at the Atlanta History Center, especially the architectural model of Atlanta. He wants to build an exact replica at home.

IMG_20160704_210422636

July 4th sparklers! Our neighbors were shooting rockets off all night. Definitely going to join them next year.

IMG_20160708_135527

Getting our swimming legs at a neighborhood pool with friends!

IMG_3560

Having a great time with cousins visiting from Miami! I had to bribe him with M&Ms to get him to sit down for the picture.

IMG_20160713_113237566

This picture makes me laugh because he had a blast at the Botanical Gardens, especially going through the scary jungles with Nini.

Thinking about Brexit, and Happy Independence Day, btw

4 Jul

Because I’ve deleted all news apps from my phone, have no cable, and rarely search out the news, I had no idea what was going in Britain until my Facebook newsfeed popped up with all sorts of Brexit and I can’t believe the vote passed memes.

What I find interesting as I reflect upon the anniversary of our Independence Day, is how many of my FB friends were against Brexit.

They want their independence, y’all. Their freedom!

Isn’t that what we want most here in the United States after all? What we fought a war over?

And here the EU and GB get to part ways (for whatever their reasons) without the bloodshed of war, and y’all decry their right to do that? There is talk of overturning the vote, that somehow it didn’t count? Well guess what, that is democracy. And when you take away the power of the vote, things get tricky and usually pretty bad.

It’s reasonable to be scared of change (folks who regret their “Leave” vote and Americans worried about the economic impact), but there are people much older than you, who want change, who are sick of being told by other countries what to do with their land and money.

The world has enough strife. Let’s accept and support our brothers and sisters in their quest for Independence, just like we celebrate and support ours every year.

Cheers, folks, and don’t get blown up by fireworks today.

13516282_10154604059226664_5002113144393952376_n
Photo taken from Atlanta History Center’s FB page. Photograph ca. 1955

We found some real history

1 Oct

I call her my cousin. She is my husband’s cousin on his mother’s stepbrother’s side. But hey, everyone is family if they connect by blood or marriage in the South.

Katye, Fin, Walt, and I took her to the Atlanta History Center to visit the Swan House and the Smith Family Farm. Apparently her Great-Grandfather was wealthy on the East end of town (down by us!), and after we mentioned this to the 1930’s historical interpreter, we found him in the 1933 phone book they have sitting in the Swan House’s phone room! (Any decent mansion of course has a phone room.) It was incredible! All my little history-graduate cells were bursting with excitement at the find!

Mary Kate visits - Chas Shepard 1933

It listed his occupation and his wife’s name, plus his son was listed below them, as a student. It really brought them alive. Unfortunately, they aren’t technically related by blood to Walter, but sometimes marriage is thicker than water too.

IMG_4818
I love that when I suggested the Atlanta History Center as our “tourist” activity for the day, she said “Heck yeah! I love stuff like that!”

Later in the evening she and her husband came over for dinner at our house. We had a blast and chatted until late in the evening. That is one of my favorite parts of marriage: the awesome new family you can acquire. Luckily her husband comes to Atlanta often for business, so the next time she can join him I’m taking her to the Margaret Mitchell House.

Connections

1 Jul

Yesterday was a very interesting day. I met two strangers with whom I had brief conversations, both of which made me feel, at the very least, entertained.

I had to drop my car off at the Nissan dealership to fix the airbag that may or may not kill everyone in the car if I got in to a wreck. Since Walter was at my mom’s, I decided to Uber my way to her house to save her the hassle of picking me up. Enter: Henry.

Henry is a full-time limo driver and Ubers on the side. He usually carries around rich people in his limos, so we talked about the difference between Uber riders and limo riders (well, besides the amount of cash they might have in their pockets). He said rich people are usually more reserved and keep to themselves. We speculated if that might be because they are always thinking about money (haha). But he said the ones who open up talk about the same type of stuff we all go through, but say, for instance, if rich dude’s sprinkler system breaks, he calls his lawn guy. If Henry’s hose breaks, he goes to Lowe’s to get another one.

He said, “We all have the same issues, we just talk about them differently.”

After thinking that that was a pretty profound thing to say, I then said that I didn’t think I would like to be mega rich, because you would never know after that if people only liked you for your money. I said a million dollars would probably do very nicely. We spent the rest of the car ride talking about what we would do with a million dollars. Henry told me he would like to go back to South Korea, a very cool place with really good food. And then he recommended a place on Buford Highway to patron. The restaurant with a red roof right next to QuikTrip off of 285.

I left the car feeling refreshed, to be honest.

I spent the rest of the morning hanging out with my son and mom. This included some castle building and a walk to the playground and a small bridge nearby on a nature trail. Luckily a friend of mine texted me that the Cyclorama was closing its doors that day. I had been putting off and putting off going, even though I had wanted to visit it for a while. I thought I had til the fall before they were closing the doors for their big move to the Atlanta History Center, and I even had a date scheduled with one of my friends to go visit next week. After picking up my car, Walt and I hurried there and went to the second to last showing in their current location.

There was a long line to wait in before we could buy our tickets. The air conditioning was not sufficient to keep the place cool. Because I had never been, when we walked in and saw the big train “Texas” and no giant painting, I asked out loud “Where is the painting?” This gentleman with long sideburns was standing nearby, and he said, “Oh you haven’t been? You can’t just walk up and look at it. It’s a show. You watch a video first, and then they take you to another room for the viewing.”

He then said, “But there are cool things to look at upstairs while you wait. Is your son a Christian?”

Hm, I thought. “I don’t know. He’s only 2,” I said.

“Well, is he a Gentile?” he asked.

“Um, what?” I said.

“Is he a Gentile?” he persisted.

“Oh, um, I don’t know,” I said.

“Well, do you see that cannon right there? You know how they used a cross and thorns and other things to kill Jesus? That’s the same type of cannon they used in the Civil War to kill General Hood. It ripped right through his chest and before he knew it he woke up in heaven,” he told me. Then he said some other things about how he brought his crazy to Atlanta from Macon, and how I couldn’t have possibly known I would run into him today and talk about this kind of stuff. Dave thinks he might have been a KKK recruiter.

Before I said goodbye to him, I said, “Well I don’t really like to label him right now. He’s too little.” And he said, “Yeah, he’s not a little lazy white boy, is he?” before he left and I didn’t see him again for the rest of our visit there. It was one of those encounters in life that I really appreciate because it just goes to show you how many different types of people there are in the world. And some of those people make me feel really lucky that I am who I am, and not them.

IMG_20150630_151406175
Supposedly we’re not General Johnston’s kin, but maybe he’s some distant cousin we don’t know about.

The Cyclorama visit was interesting. While I hate seeing it leave our neighborhood — especially since the painting shows the 1865 dirt road version of Moreland — the Atlanta History Center is one of my favorite places in Atlanta. They do a beautiful job displaying exhibits and bringing history to life. It seems like the Grant Park Cyclorama gave up after the ’70s. The best part of the video they have you sit through is James Earl Jones’s commanding narration. The upstairs museum was hard to read, the infographics were confusing, and the pictures were falling down. The carpet covering the auditorium seating at the painting was ridiculous. I think they keep the lights dim so you can’t see what you’re actually sitting on.

But, the painting is pretty badass. It’s the largest oil painting in the world. And I’ve certainly never seen a 360° painting before that you experience from the inside. All in all I was glad to bring Walt there to see it before it moved. Now I only hope we put something else awesome in that building.

All the Downtown/East Atlanta things I want to do before we move to the suburbs

19 Jan

1. Ride the Ferris Wheel.

I think we’ll save the streetcar ride for when we’re “out-of-towners”. And Walter still hasn’t been on Marta. That boy needs to ride a train soon!

Ferris Wheel
I’ve been on the one in Paris, I should brave going up this high in Atlanta. I just bought plane tickets to D.C. and I wonder why I continue to do that when I am terrified of flying (deep down). On my bucket list is traveling around the world staying on the ground. Very The Signature of All Things without the moss and the large dresses.

2. Visit the Cyclorama.

It’s moving to the Atlanta History Center soon, yay, but I have not been yet. I’d like to see it in its “original” location near the Zoo. Poor animals in the zoo. My mother has taught me not to support any zoos. And I agree. They are very sad.

CycloramaCropped-f6s
I love anything to do with history, especially if it’s interactive.

3. See a movie at the drive-in.

I can’t believe I’ve lived next to the Starlight 6 Drive-In for years and I’ve never been. We should have capitalized on this before Walter came along. I guess back then when we wanted to stay up we always went out to a bar and played darts. We never really have been a movie theater couple. We’d rather watch Netflix or the Braves (or go to a game!). And anyway I usually go see movies with my bridesman Jason.

Drive In
They always play bad movies in the 9pm slots, and 11 is just too late to venture out. Dave went once before my time when they filled the back of Alex’s truck with couches. That would be fun to do again.

4. Patron several East Atlanta restaurants

We need to go to all those little places we’ve never been but always said we wanted to go. Dave hasn’t been to Daddy D’s BBQ. And the little Greek restaurant at the corner of that street that you don’t want to drive down but it’s been there forever, so why not. Stone Soup Kitchen showed me the error of my ways. We’ve been foolishly avoiding the hole-in-the-wall joints in our very cool neighborhood.

SSK_Storefront_Spring2014-586x800
Yum.

5. Visit Oakland Cemetery

I’m finally going to the Margaret Mitchell House next week, but I’ve never seen her grave either. I have seen her alive at The Fox recently, exhumed just for that event, before the 75th anniversary premiere of Gone with the Wind. The cemetery should be a great place for photographs too.

Oakland Cemetery
How have I never been here? I used to break in to this abandoned psychiatric hospital in my neighborhood where I grew up. I wish I had pictures from that. But still, a cemetery is kind of a creepy place to visit — if you have an overactive imagination like I do.

6. The Center for Civil and Human Rights

This is one that I’ll bet I’ll be going to more than once, if it’s any good, which I’ve heard it is, so I’m excited to see it for the first time while I still live close. I just hate going down to that area because parking is so expensive near Centennial Park, and I really can’t stand having to pay for parking. I always make Dave drive to pick up our Vietnamese food at Dua on Broad Street for that very reason.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr
The Man.

7. Throw parties at the house

It’s a great house for a party. And it looks so pretty now, it’ll be fun. I’d like to host Georgia Tech folks, Walt’s preschool class and teachers, our neighbors, and more friends. If the weather cooperates we can show off our new porch. I am very close to buying an outdoor heater so only rain would keep us off the deck.

  outdoor heater
Wouldn’t that be incredible if this was my backyard?

 

Veteran’s Day with my veteran

11 Nov

Today was a beautiful day to celebrate Veteran’s Day. In a way, probably because I am married to an amazing veteran, it is becoming a more special national holiday to me than July 4th. It is not about a day off work, a day to drink, or a day to watch fireworks. It is a day set aside every year to honor those who have gone off to war in the name of America.

Many people these days despise war. I’m not sure they understand it, because honestly, who could who hasn’t been there? If all you see is what the media tells you, do you know the reality? Does the American military simply go overseas to expand our empire and kill helpless citizens? Is it so horrible that every veteran comes back with PTSD and a knack for homelessness?

I think a lot of these misconceptions hurt our military because they come back to a nation that doesn’t really want to accept the truth. That the US uses our military to take care of other nations. That they have to be trained in war because certain people in other countries do not pay attention to humane laws of treatment. Our military are also our protectors, because we are not an isolated country. We allow our citizens to have extreme free will, and not everyone in this world agrees with that.

Because I am a huge fan of the Atlanta History Center these days, I was pretty excited to hear about their Veteran’s Day ceremony and lunch in their new Veteran’s Park. Dave and his mother joined me and Walt, and it was beautiful. The National Anthem was sung so wonderfully it gave me the chills and I almost got teary. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance. I’m not sure I’ve had to remember that since elementary school, when we stood up and said it every morning after announcements. It felt good to stand with a group who are truly patriotic and repeat it together. It’s like singing a really great song with your congregation on Sunday mornings. Then there was a prayer (which started, “If you are comfortable, please pray with me” which I thought was very inclusive. Easy to tune out if you wanted to!), and a keynote speech by a very nice General who is now a Police Chief somewhere. We also met WWII veterans.

Veteran's Day 1
Walt actually behaved himself, except during the moment of silence when he said “BANANA!”

Veteran's Day 2
They had all the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were there stand up in front. I was one proud wife!

Veteran's Day 3
He actually chucked one of those at a Vietnam vet.

Veteran's Day 4
OORAH!

Fun Friday in Fall at the Farm

26 Sep

This week has been so perfect weather-wise that I knew I wanted to visit the Atlanta History Center soon. Going during the summer was great, but the farm got hot and has a few mosquitoes that also reside there.

We started off our morning with a delicious breakfast.

IMG_20140926_083616473~2
That’s actually a fork in his orange juice.

Then we met my good friend Katina and her daughter A at the farm.

IMG_20140926_103103927~2

We walked around talking about their vegetable gardens (where Walt left footprints in their perfect, raised beds), farm co-ops in the suburbs, and homeschooling. There was a homeschooling group there also that we chatted with a bit, and it only furthered my interest in doing that after Walt finishes preschool.

Then we learned a bit about blacksmithing. I cannot say enough how much I love the demonstrations and the 1864 character actors with their super Southern accents.

IMG_20140926_110511122~2~2

IMG_20140926_110604368~2~2
Walter watched when he wasn’t playing in the dirt.

Tomorrow is their Fall Folklife Festival, and I can’t wait to fight the crowds to enjoy all the other things they’ll have to offer, like storytelling and food preserving for the winter and curing meats. The best part is, they’re actually doing this stuff, not just telling you about it. I bet the actresses in the kitchen with the open fire are enjoying the fall weather as much as I am. And I’m not even wearing vintage antebellum dresses.

IMG_20140926_103055578~2
Maybe the best picture of our boy yet.

A trip to the Atlanta History Center

6 Jun

A while ago I bought a membership to the Atlanta History Center. I have been wanting to go for several years, and when they offered half-off prices ($32 for me and a guest to go as often as I want for a year), I thought, even if I go once with a friend (and kids under 3 are free) I’ll make my money back, so I went for it.

Walter and I were supposed to be on our way to Miami this weekend, but unfortunately my niece, and now my brother, are terribly sick so we canceled our trip. I decided to use this opportunity to finally visit AHC and tour the gardens, since I always like new ways to get Walter outside (and not just sitting in our front yard playing with sidewalk chalk). Well, it was really awesome. I’m a huge fan of history (for example my B.S. in History from Georgia Tech), and I love Southern history too. They have a very elaborate exhibit on the Civil War (which I’ll have to check out another time), but Walter and I loved the Smith Family Farm. Walter ran around and around, lost his shoe, and made friends with the goats. They have character actors there and that was really fun, like just walking into the past. And I love learning little tidbits like, the Smiths were really rich because they had windows. This was the 1840s after all.

Smith Family Farm
A quick photo on our way out. He wanted to get out of the stroller and run around some more, but I wanted lunch.

The other cool outdoor place we visited this time around was the Swan House, which has recently been made more famous by the movie Catching Fire. While the Smith Family Farm was transported here from the Druid Hills area, the AHC was built around the Swan House when the last owner died and donated it and the surrounding 28 acres to the historical society.

Swan-House-party-scene
For the movie.

productimage_539s_0
In real life.

Having just watched most of Ken Burns’ Prohibition documentary, it was very cool to be transported to a real 1920’s house with all original furniture and more character actors — which the Center calls “Interpreters”. At the Swan House they told me I wasn’t allowed to bring my carriage (stroller) inside. I was almost confused, except I was already looking for a place to leave it on the cobblestone driveway.

Swan House 1
Walter was quick to start exploring.

Swan House 4
Playing in the nursery.

Swan House 2
Whenever we go somewhere I usually only have a quick moment to look around, because, hey, I’m with a toddler. And you generally aren’t allowed to touch things in museums and other historical properties, which Walter loves to do. Before I snapped this picture Walt was as fascinated with the wicker toilet as I was.

We will definitely be back soon and often.