Tag Archives: Civil War

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.

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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.

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WWMMD

21 Jan

What Would Margaret Mitchell Do?

I went this morning to the Margaret Mitchell House with Katye. I love that at 8 1/2 months pregnant she still wants to hang out and do stuff with me. This was one of the rare mornings that I used Walter’s preschool time for a simple pleasure outing, as opposed to working. I usually work. And clean.

The last time I hung out with someone super pregnant we went for a long walk and she started labor that night!

But this is about Margaret Mitchell, and she didn’t have any babies. Except her “baby”: one of the single best novels written of all time. The part I loved best about Gone with the Wind is not the whole slavery/Civil War thing, but how Scarlett, in a time when women didn’t always act that way, was an independent, smart, ambitious, business-minded girl. I loved her. Marriage, for her, was for helping her take another step up, and children were a nuisance. This was 150 years ago, when women were usually only allowed to want marriage and children. And they owned slaves. It was a long time ago.

Katye and I arrived just in time to explore an interesting art exhibit they had up before taking the guided tour around MM’s apartment. It was very cool and I learned lots more about Margaret Mitchell than I had found out reading her Wikipedia article after I finished GwtW. She was a very creative person and loved telling stories. She incorporated so many aspects of her life into her novel. Combined with the New South stories that her grandparents told her (she reportedly said she didn’t know the South had lost til she was 10, in 1910), the end result sold a million copies in its first 6 months. That’s some good business, both in 1936 and 2015.

MM’s apartment reminded me of the one I lived in on Charles Allen Dr. in 2008, which was also a converted 1920s house. I loved that apartment and every single moment spent there, even when the bathroom ceiling collapsed in on the shower in the middle of the night.

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A period piece in the room where GwtW was born.

Last night I attended my church’s LGBT Group dinner with Jason, my high school BFF who was my bridesman in ’11, and Katye and several other friends were there too. Jason and I very much enjoyed the first speaker, a wonderful transsexual Presbyterian minister, whom we heard when we went to an LGBT dinner in the fall, and I was excited last night to hear Joanna Adams speak. She was the pastor at Morningside when times were tough and there were fewer than 100 members, and our 1920’s sanctuary was falling apart. She turned it all around. I taught preschool at MPP in 2007 while she was there, so I met her a couple times but we didn’t get to know each other. She spoke last night on “Keeping Faith in an Interfaith World,” and it was, at the very least, quite interesting. I find this topic fascinating, as the world swirls around me with its melting pot of beliefs, news, and activity.

I try as hard as I can to find out as much as I can, all while having fun still and relaxing every now and again. There is always so much to do, and it is always a race against time, but I love the challenge. It’s life-breathing.

“It was in a way a comforting idea; if there was all the time in the world,
then the happenings of a given moment became less important.
I could see, perhaps, how one could draw back a little,
seek some respite in the contemplation of an endless Being,
whatever one conceived its nature to be.”

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

All about war

7 Aug

One of the things I love best about my husband is that he was a Marine. I am so proud of the determination and courage (and strength!) he had to have to go through that. But also it is something about him that remains a mystery to me — in a good way. There are things about him I might never know and that’s exciting. It was a seriously defining period of time for him that I can only hope to understand. I love hearing stories about it, and whenever I do, I am also so thankful that he came home alive and subsequently found me. He used to tell me that if he hadn’t met me, he would have kept going out to find wars to fight in, in the military or as a private citizen. It is a difficult concept for someone to understand who has a hard time holding a gun without getting scared. Some people just like war. Some for the destruction, and some to protect.

I’ve recently been reading about different wars. Fiction and non-fiction about WWII and the Civil War. It’s taking me a while to finish the collection of essays on the Civil War, even though they are fascinating. The author, McPherson, is a Princetonian professor who likes dispelling myths that have been gathering steam for the last 150 years. Like that Grant was an alcoholic. Or that Jesse James was a Robin Hood figure. Or that Europe really cared about slavery from the beginning and that’s why they didn’t help out the Confederates.

I find war — and history — very fascinating. Contemporary war is very different than it used to be. I know of some popular myths I could dispel with my husband’s first hand knowledge. He was there. He saw 9/11 like the rest of us, and had friends living in NYC. He joined up, and he went over there. So many people who talk about the military don’t actually know what it’s like to be a part of it. And that’s partly because people in the military don’t like to talk about it in public. They rightly think that many people will not actually hear what they have to say, so what’s the point? I think it has been this way since the Vietnam War. When I took a history class on the subject in college, I interviewed two of my dad’s friends who were in the war. We talked for an hour and a half. When we got done, they told me that was the most they had ever talked about it since they got back. How could that powerful fact not move me forever?

Somehow I’ve always been drawn to people in the military. In high school some of my best friends — and crushes, let’s be honest — were in the ROTC. Then I married a Marine. War is a very integral part of our history as well as our current climate. I’m not ever sure we will have peace on earth, though I’m not really positive why that is. I was talking to my brother recently who lives in Europe. He says he will never move back because it is so violent in the US. I mentioned this to David, asking him what he thought about that. Of course there are the debates about gun ownership, etc, but our overall violence rates are higher than Europe anyway. He suggested that our country was founded by aggressive people, who came over here and had to fight for their freedom. Maybe the love of the battle is simply in our blood. Either way, it is never ending fodder for discussion and examination.

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