Sunday, August 31, 2014

Give Me Back My Hometown...

I thought it'd be fun to do a little post about growing up in my hometown in Georgia, Alpharetta. I know a lot of the fellow bloggers I follow are from towns not too far, so some of this might be familiar!

When I first moved there, there was like nothing. I know it's all developed now but back in 1990, there was nothing there. Just lots of hills and some barns and silos. My house was one of the first in the subdivision and next door to our development was a large red barn. At night in the summer, our driveway would be covered with frogs. I could hear them from upstairs in my room and they really bothered my mom. As the construction continued, the frogs later disappeared when their homes were gone. 

The closest theatre, Walmart, etc was in Roswell so there wasn't a lot to do if mom wasn't feeling up to driving. I don't really ever remember going out to eat much or really going out a lot. Outings were usually to go get groceries or when it was the weekend and we were looking for things to do.

My dad liked to drive around randomly and I think that's where I get that habit. We only went downtown when there was company or we had to go to the airport. Back then, Underground Atlanta was fun. There was a Cafe Du Monde. Our only other really big outings in Atlanta were during the 1996 Centennial Olympics (we have bricks in the park) and the day they demolished Fulton County Stadium. 

We had a large backyard filled with trees and all kinds of animals. We had a motion detector so it was always kind of fun to see what was wandering out there. We've seen everything from armadillos to possums, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and the neighbor's dog. Behind our house was a small lake that most of us kids didn't go to because there was a rumor someone died in it.

I played in the backyard when the weather was nice which resulted in most of my white T-shirts being covered in red dirt. A few friends and I attempted to make a fort on the slope over our driveway but the ground was too slippery and the cardboard boxes were not working out as we had hoped. 

My pets were the fire ants who lived in the huge mound behind the house. This thing was about the size of a loveseat. It was pretty common to find lizards in the house and sometimes I would keep the prettier ones and carry them around in my pocket. Our biggest problem was usually squirrels crawling into our chimney and getting stuck. I always thought one would find its way into the house. 

North Point Mall hadn't been built yet and that whole area was trees. Our farmer's market (which has since become a Whole Foods) was one of our favorite places to go and check out the "exotic" foods. One of my fave places to eat was called Dinner Deck and it was off GA-400 towards Dawsonville. They had really great hush puppies and instead of dessert, there was a sherbet bar. When I got older and my dad had ham radio meetings, we would go to Ryan's or Quincy's. That was a "big outing" for me, I just loved the rolls. 

When I was in kindergarten, after a school field trip I saw a huge cat in the big hill behind my school. When I mentioned it to my teacher, she assumed I was just seeing things. I talked to my dad about it a few years ago in passing and he said that was very likely a mountain lion. Freaky! One of my earliest memories of living in Georgia was being herded into the school basement for our first ever tornado warning. We had our own little shelter beneath the basement stairs in our house. My dad kept his hunting rifles and later his Y2K food stock in there. We made use of it quite frequently. The shelter, not the food.

We always had ice tea in the fridge. Our freezer would sometimes be filled with meat from when my dad went hunting. We had a big beautiful John Deere until my dad accidentally drove it into a tree in our backyard and broke his ankle. Our house had some really pretty bay windows and my mom made lace curtains for the ones in the kitchen. I think it may have been haunted. We would hear footsteps in the crawlspace at night and see shadows move down the halls where there were no windows. 
Our burglar alarm would go off for no reason every few years. 
Sometimes I would even hear someone run up and down the stairs. 

We took a lot of cartrips when I was younger. We would go to Shelby, North Carolina every year for the big ham fest. My mom and I would wander the swap meet. At least once a year we would go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We always had a lot of fun there. When I got older we started doing bigger trips to farther places but when I was little, we stuck to the South. The biggest deal was Disney World. 

On weekends, my dad would often take us down to the Chattahoochee. We would sit by the water and feed the ducks. Sometimes they would try to sit on my dad. At least once every couple weeks we would go to my dad's fave shooting range so he could shoot skeet. The owners had a cat there but they would usually put her away when we'd come over because my mom didn't like cats. The manager was a good friend of my dad's and while they were shooting I would get stuffed with taffy and pink lemonade. Sometimes we would even go all the way to Augusta for his shooting (I told Charles and Dave of Lady A this and they got a kick out of it). When I was a teen, my dad got a fishing boat and weekends usually consisted of bass fishing at the lake (up at 5AM grrr) and then frying it up at his friend's house. When we had company we would usually take a trip up to Helen, Georgia and wander the German town and visit the Tanger Outlets.

When I was close to middle school age, they built our big mall. Before North Point, the other malls were like 30-45 minutes away so we rarely went shopping. This mall was a huge deal but even then, we didn't go too much. The biggest draw for me was the carousel. When I was older and home-schooled, my favorite thing about our large shopping area was the JoAnn's Fabrics. I would go in every weekend and buy fabric to make dresses because I loved to sew. 

I put together a Pinterest board here in case you want to see what my childhood looked like. :-)
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