Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ooo - La - La! What a Neighborhood!




Friday we met one of Anna’s ex-coworkers for lunch. Anna and this lady used to work in the same office, but a few years ago Anna was transferred, but they still communicate.

We early, as we usually are, we sat in the car in the parking lot for a while. In my rear-view mirror I saw a little Cooper-like car drive up and back up to the back of the building. Then the waiting staff all came out and helped unload the car. The driver apparently had just returned from the market. They took many huge 50 pounds sacks out of the car... maybe flour, maybe onions. It reminded me of a clown’s car at Wringling Brothers Circus one time – a little car with many clowns climbing out – much more than you would think the car could hold.

Our rendezvous place is a bakery/restaurant by the name of Douceur De France, pictures above. As the name suggests, it is a French Restaurant. It is a very lighted establishment. Some of the waitresses spoke French, and the waiter did also. The waiter with the French accent looked about 17 or 18 years old, but he was probably at least ten years older. He looked like PeeWee Herman with black hair. The place is a breakfast and lunch place so a sunshine look of yellow seems appropriate.

On the other side of the room is a balcony floor that a staircase of three or four steps take you up to. I watched a middle aged woman come in alone, and started up the steps.. then suddenly she slipped… I jumped up to help, because it looked like she was sure to tumble down the steps.. but the grabbed the railing case and pulled herself back up. No harm. She must have good muscles and good relex to more or less catch herself and then pull herself up. I felt like applauding.

The food was good. Anna and I had sandwiches and the ex-coworker had quiche. We all had crème briolette (I hope my spell-check guessed right).

Afterwards the girls wanted to sit and talk We were sitting on the edge of the neighbor I spent from age 7 to 14 in, phase two of my formative years, so I wanted to ramble around outside and see the old neighborhood, which I did.

The building is an old non-pretentious house that has been painted and awnings put on and the parking lot is unpaved and well, un-pretentious too.


When I was a boy I don’t remember this house. I am not sure I even noticed it. A classmate of mine at Waterman Street School, Carolyn M. lived in the next house from the restaurant. None of the boys liked Carolyn back then. She talked hick-country, was tall, blond, and dressed poorly. My friend Sam and I talked about Carolyn within a year or so – we hope she grew up to become a well sought after model or sharp business lady and wouldn’t give us yokels the time of the day now – it would serve us right.

Where Carolyn lived is now a electrical workers union building. Next to that is Delk Street, where my Uncle Herbert Hunter lived on, two blocks up on the other end.. On the other corner of Delk and Glover Streets used to Miss Julie’s Store. She lived behind the store. In her store, almost every thing was displayed on counter or high on shelves that reached almost to the ceiling behind the counter. You just about had to ask her for something, she would get it and ring it up take your money, then your could have it. I remember a big round wood chopping block someplace near the back. Several older women sat around near Miss Julie and her cash register. I think we probably gave them plenty to talk about after we walked out to the front, where a bench was, to drink our Coke.

Across from the Restaurant on Glover Street was a fenced-in compound that was the Texaco distributor. It is still there, but now it is another petroleum company distributor, I forgot what.

Back on the bench at Miss Julie’s Store we used to use our flips (a.k.a. slingshots) to send rocks sailing in the air to the Texaco’s huge tank above the ground.. When we heard the “CLANK!” we knew we made our target… which wasn’t easy. It was far enough away that before the rock or marble or whatever traveled that far it would lose it force and begin to fall. You have to shoot high and above the tank, and hope it will to up and come back down and hit the tank.

Next to the Texaco distributor was an old unpainted shack with Charlie and his sister living there. Charlie was blind. The had a clothesline rigged up from the steps of the back porch to the outhouse. All Charlie had to do was hold on to the clothes line and follow it. I used to enjoy dropping by to visit Charlie. He knew my father and his brothers when they were teenagers and all the mischief things they did. I wished I retained what he told me.

I remember the time Daddy told me Charlie had died. He said he was buried in an unmarked cemetery in Potter’s Field, which I think now is covered by the I-75.

Behind Charley’s house was a patch of woods. We boys had a good time looking for little nests of field mice and take the babies and try to keep them as pets – we were not very successful and keeping them alive.

Behind the patch of woods was Glover Machine Works. There was a big brick wall in the back. My grandfather worked at Glover Machine works, and it was my father’s first paying job. On Sundays sometimes I would climb over the brick wall and play on a rusty locomotive engine there. I would pretend it was a space ship. I was inspired by Buck Rogers.. Now, I think that same Glover Machine Locomotive is on display near the Visitor’s Center Parking Lot and the Kennesaw House in downtown Marietta. Now, it is painted black.

Next to Miss Julie’s Store on Glover Street the Wilbur and Thurmond family lived. In the back was a building Ted’s Mattress Shop. I think Ted was always there making mattresses by himself. All the rest of the family seemed to sit on the front porch all the time.

One kid that lived there was Mickey. Mickey was about my age. Sometimes we got alone and sometimes we didn’t. One of the times we didn’t we were having lunch in the lunch room at Waterman Street Grammar School we had words and the next thing I knew he took a package of honey and rubbed all in my hair. I was stunned.

Mickey grew up to become a successful local businessman in Acworth, owning a auto repair show specializing in VW’s.

Then I walked back to the restaurant and Anna and her friend were just about through with their conversation. – they were standing outside waiting on me. We left and we drove down Glover Street. I was still in the mood to see my old stomping grounds.

Next door to the Wilbur and Thurmond house was the Hobby house. Their son George was a year or two older than I and we were friends.

Next door to the Hobby house was the Rich house.

Both the Hobby house and Rich house was behind a single fence. Both houses were terribly ran down. There were shingles and boards falling off and holes in the ceiling of both houses. Behind the fence was a man, woman, a man in what looked to be a Marietta policeman and a dog. I wondered what they were discussing.

I pulled over in the Cobb Board of Education’s parking lot and took these pictures.

The Hobbys had a barn. The Hobbys were Catholic and they were just as curious over the Protestant religion as the Protestants over curious about Catholicism. There barn were only a few feet away from their side property line, and on the other side was what I think would be called a Primitive Baptist Church. Sometimes on Sunday night we would climb up on the barn, on the roof and go down the slanted roof towards the church. We sat there thoroughly entertained by all the hooting and hollering.

The Hobbys also bought a horse and briefly kept it in the barn.



This is the Rich’s house. Their house is on the corner of Manget Street, which was the street I lived on. In this yard is where I had the fight with Eddie, which I broke and bloodied his nose… there is a post someplace in the blog about that.

We had to go on. I think I am going to return soon before my memory settles again.

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