Atlanta, Ga


The only travel I experienced during my childhood years was within the limits of Emanuel County except for visiting my grandparents in Lyons and my uncle in Dublin. Yet I knew the state capital was a great and exciting city and longed to go there. My father read to me from the Atlanta Journal, and we listened to baseball games of the Atlanta Crackers.

When I was probably around ten years old, this dream came true. My father was eager to visit a session of the state legislature when Swainsboro’s own son, George Smith II, became Speaker of the House. He made plans to give me this trip. A train ran daily from Savannah to Atlanta and returned the same day. The only stop near Swainsboro was Wadley. We drove there in the morning, left the car parked and boarded the train. Of course, this was my first train ride also. We chugged through the Georgia countryside and arrived in Atlanta in the early after-noon. Our noon meal had been a bag lunch brought from home.

After checking into the downtown Henry Grady Hotel, we were just in time for our first adventure. We climbed onto one of the big red electric buses to take us to Ponce de Leon Avenue. At Ponce de Leon Park, we would see the Atlanta Crackers (now known as Braves) baseball game. Since we were too early for the game, we went across the street to the huge store of Sears and Roebuck that was filled with items we had seen in the catalogue. We ate our supper sitting on stools at a counter in the store before heading to the game. Don’t remember much about the game except the Crackers won, and someone hit the ball over the fence for a homerun. It was amazing to see the players.

Day two, Daddy and I spent in the beautiful capital building and proudly watched from the balcony as George Smith presided over the legislative body. Of course, Daddy found time to shake his hand. The governor was named Talmadge, and my father knew him well enough to visit his office. If any reader might remember my father, he always knew everyone. My mother used the time to visit Rich’s and Davidson’s. This filled the morning, and we enjoyed our noon dinner at the S&W cafeteria just in time to board the train to return to Wadley.

From that day forward, my ambition in life was to always live in Atlanta. This grew even stronger when as a senior, I attended the Beta Club Convention that was held in The University of Georgia Atlanta Division in downtown. I knew I would head there after graduating from SHS, and I did.

To be continued.

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