My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Home. Over the years that word has meant a lot of different geographical locations for me and my kids. I would have loved to be the June Cleaver type mom with the lovely two story home in a nice neighborhood. Instead I was an over-worked, under-compensated single mom in a trailer that I struggled to afford. For a blink I had the right house with the wrong man. After that I had a third floor condo in sunny Florida but it was anything but home to me. And then I came here to the mountains and found a peace that I've never found anywhere else.

But my first home was here -

1001 Oakdale Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia. My great-grandparents moved into this home at the end of 1923,  when my grandmother was only six weeks old. She's now ninety. The home had one previous owner but only for about a year. It's in the Druid Hills area of Atlanta on a street lined with large old trees. The magnolia tree to the right of the photo made a lovely canopy for us to play under as children. Dr. Charles Pelham Ward was an Atlanta physician who had lost his first wife in childbirth leaving behind "Pelham" and two young children. He met and married a lovely widow, Sara Jane Bulloch Baldwin in 1917. They had Jane in 1919, then my Grandma Leta in 1923 and then Bette in 1924. 

It's a nice, large home with a big backyard where they kept a vegetable garden and a few farm animals. I doubt you'd find many homes now in the Atlanta city limits with farm animals or even a garden in the backyard but it was rather normal then. Granddaddy passed away in 1939 but Grandma Ward stayed in the home with her children and his children and an assortment of relatives and other strays until her death in 1975. 

This was also my dad's first home. He was brought there as a newborn by his young parents. His cousin Leslie was born the same week and her parents also lived there. Can you imagine two new moms in the same house? My grandmother was a single mom during most of her child-rearing years and 1001 Oakdale Rd was her home base, her safety net, just like my parents' house in Riverdale always was for me. 

Even though I was very young when she passed, I remember many things about the home. I remember the Mormon missionaries living in the apartment on the first floor. When you walked through the front door there was an apartment to the right. That little apartment was my first home. There was also an apartment over the garage which was, if I remember correctly, my brother's first home. There was a very creepy cellar. A bathroom by the back porch for the help. I'd be embarrassed by that if I didn't know how kind and generous my Great-Grandmother was. The home had radiators for heat, those old ugly iron things. I was scared to death of accidentally touching them. And there was a lovely sun porch on the side of the house with gliders and rockers and an old-fashioned sewing machine. There was a breakfast nook where we would eat most meals. The rule was "no sipping before the blessing!" and that iced tea was so tempting! 

The family couldn't afford to keep the house once Grandma died. I remember being there while the house was cleaned out. Among the random items discovered were a button hook for those high button shoes, Civil War swords, a 3 cent stamp... I was 7 at the time so it's odd that those things stuck in my memory. Even then I was a history enthusiast, I suppose. 

At one point, a few years ago, at the top of the housing bubble, this house was valued at over a million dollars. It's not worth as much now but it's still in a very desirable location. I would love to be able to walk through the house once more, just to see what memories it brings back for me. 

Our home here at Cedar Hollow is our new home base. I love having my nieces here after school. I love that there are enough rooms to have the family spend the night at Christmas. I love that we are making memories here. I doubt my parents will get to spend fifty years here like Grandma Ward did at her home but what years they do have, I believe they will be full of adventure. 

I'm two/thirds of the way through a very busy week (for me). I went to the doctor on Monday. I had my eligibility interview for the free clinic today. I'm approved as long as my medical records back up the fact that I have high blood pressure (no worries there... ). They'll call to set up a lab appointment and a doctor visit in the next two weeks. They'll call in the next two weeks, not sure how quickly they'll get me in as they are only open to see patients one day a week but they were very nice there and everyone waiting was friendly. It's different to go to a program that is a free, privately run program versus a government program. There is no feeling of entitlement, no attitudes on the part of the employees or patients. Instead it was this sense of cooperation - workers donating their time and talents and recipients grateful for the gift and blessing they were being provided. I'm certainly grateful. 

Tomorrow I see the new lawyer and hope he'll be able to take my disability case. If not, back to the drawing board. I'll be glad to get through with the appointment tomorrow and have this week behind me. It was nothing painful but it has been stressful and tiring. 

I went to the library today and picked up a new selection of books. I've got a sleeping cat on me so I can't get up to get the list of them for you but there's a book by Charles Krauthammer, there's a book about the Hatfield and McCoy feud, there's a book by a woman who has a disabling illness and there's a book about historical fashion. There's something I'm forgetting. Anyways. Still enjoying my library time and appreciating the opportunity to "visit" other places and stories and to expand my mind a little bit. 

Add in Farmville2, sudoku, a trip to the grocery store with Pop (where he treated me to a Starbucks visit!) and you've pretty much got the full story of my week. Hope this hump day finds you well. Love and hugs, y'all!