Monthly Archives: June 2022

Buckhead Days

I returned to Atlanta in August of 1979, after going back to Chicago in April when my father passed. During those four months in Chicago, I assisted my mother in cleaning out his with personal effects and made money by subbing at a school and working as a payroll supervisor at my old summer job at the YMCA. I was determined to return to Atlanta because I felt that we had some unfinished business.

My friend that lived across the lake from me in College Park was marrying her Prince Charming and heading to the Pacific Northwest. While at the wedding, I was able to sublet an apartment located in Buckhead, from one of her friends. I moved into the one-bedroom which was right off of Peachtree Street.  Actually, there are several Peachtrees in Atlanta such as roads, streets, circles, avenues, etc to truly confuse any driver new to the area.

I was off the main one at 25th Street not far from where I-75 and I-85 come together. The partying days of Cedarwoods were long over as life had truly taken on a more serious tone. I slowed down and thought things through more carefully.  I turned off the disco songs and evolved into enjoying smooth jazz radio stations. I mellowed a bit and took life more easily.

I again worked as a temp at my old reliable TempForce Agency that I had used in the past.  I was working at an insurance company that I sometimes walked to when either gas was low or if I just wanted to have a meditative walk. And, one day I was getting on the elevator at work and poof, there stood Charlotte. She was one of my sister’s best childhood friends from Memphis.

Our mouths fell open and yes, she was my proverbial ‘ram in the bush.”  She worked in the building too and had a nice, steady job with the Department of Agriculture. From that point on, we bonded, hung out together and supported each other during my second act in Atlanta. She even lived about five minutes away and eventually moved on up to Sandy Springs; but we remained close during my stay in Atlanta.

Life was relatively calm and here are a few highlights from living on the north end of town. I took a Gregg Shorthand class at Georgia Tech to stay busy. I found the wonderful Oxford Bookstore where the books of the Florence Scovel Shinn fell into my lap.  Her, The Game of Life and How to Play It was my study guide, along with her other writings.

I enjoyed driving up to Lenox Square where I once found some really soft leather walking shoes.  Across the street at Phipps Plaza, which was more high-end, I splurged and bought some green suede open-toe low heels. They were the bomb, so to speak, and I kept them for years!

Around November of that same year, I was led to a temp agency called Temporary Talent. They were looking for proofreaders and I was an English major, so I applied.  I was hired and to my astonishment, I was a proofreader for the Georgia Legislative Counsel. I held on to the name tag for years. There, I met Alisha from Cleveland and Bea from Rochester, New York.  We were all Northern women of color and up to that point, they had not been able to keep any proofreaders.

The hours may have been a factor because we reported at 8 or 9 in the morning at the gold-domed Georgia Capitol Building and did not leave until 11 pm or even midnight. We played Scrabble until legislation was over and then the typed bills came over for us to proof starting around 5 pm in the evening. Alisha and I were single with no kids and Bea’s kids were older and her husband was very supportive. Thus, we made it to the finish line of the 1980 Session in June. That experience alone could easily be a novella!

Around that time the political scene became troubling. because of the Atlanta Child Murders. It was a national story and an old friend from my journalism job contacted me to say that James Baldwin was coming to Atlanta. His arrival from France was in the headlines, but she gave me a heads-up and we rushed out to Emory University to at least get a glimpse of him.

When we arrived, there were only about 15 to 20 of us in a small lounge. He sat on a couch with large twinkling eyes. He was diminutive, yet powerful. We sat at his feet on the carpet just staring up at him as if he was a mini god. I don’t remember him saying anything, but I will never forget being in his presence. I did get his autograph which I held onto for years but lost during my many moves.

His publicist said that he rarely went to the American South because seeing the condition of his people made him ill for a period of time upon his return to France. But, he had been commissioned to write an article on the topic and I believe it was later published in The Esquire Magazine. I am honored to have seen him before his passing in 1987, some seven years later.

The proofreading job ended and I was able to get a position with Upward Bound in Ohio through Twiggy, another writer-friend. It was time to move on so I put my things in storage, went to my friend Marty’s house and we partied at a club like it was 1999 (Prince) with her Bahamian friends. Me and Atlanta ended on a good note and I felt that I had left my mark and it definitely left its mark on me!

Lynn M.
June 25, 2022

College Park, GA

We had just marched across the stage to get our master’s degrees from Jackson State University. It was the summer of 1978, and I was moving to Atlanta, Georgia and my friend helped me drive there. We had left a bland, serious academic setting, but when we arrived in Hot ‘Lanta, we stepped onto a Live Stage! Things were popping! 

Maynard Jackson was the first black mayor of Atlanta, then known as the Black Mecca. Blacks from all over the country converged there to hopefully get at least a slithering of the American pie. Fortunately, I had a network of former Chicago teachers who had already moved there, and I stayed with one for a couple of weeks until I could get my bearings. 

We took my friend to the airport to say a painstaking goodbye, but my tears soon dried. There was too much to do to stay sad for long. As fate would have it, my cousin, his wife and their three young daughters had also moved there from Memphis and lived close by. His wife used her connections to help me get my own apartment in Cedarwoods which was in College Park, a southern subdivision of Atlanta. 

It was a beauty and a gift from the gods to me for having passed the last test. The complex was a wooden-like structure, and I was upstairs. I had a large balcony which overlooked a small lake. It had ducks and I soon discovered that their leader’s name was Charlie. If we called him, the others obeyed him, and followed his moves. My furniture soon arrived and with it came a host of visitors. Everybody wanted to come to Atlanta! It was like running a hotel as many came from Chicago, Memphis and Jackson. 

My sister and her two children came down from Chicago and stayed a month. Cedarwoods had a huge children’s pool and a large adult pool. When I came home each day from my harrowing job as the boss lady at a journalism program, they hugged me, still wet from being in the children’s pool all day. Cousins came, friends came, and my mother came. The biggest challenge was keeping toilet tissue for my continual guests. 

When my mother came, I went out with co-workers and danced in her glass-like slippers until my feet were swollen. I was so happy that she was there, and I knew that she also needed a break from the Chicago scene. I found friends and I attracted foes, as life goes. I met people from all over the United States who shared their stories.

The apartment complexes had both unique names and characteristics. One friend, also a former Chicago teacher, lived across the lake in Nu Dimensions. My cousins lived in Candlewood and another teacher-friend lived in Windjammer. Most had beautiful, stretched pools which were sorely needed in the humid heat and as stated earlier, mine had two! 

I could write a novella about that summer, but here is an overview. We lived close to the airport and often teased that we could wave at the passengers as they landed. Here are some things that brought us joy. My little cousins could beg to go to Piedmont Park in a such a way that melted our hearts, and we often found a way to get them there. It is a huge, beautiful park up in central Atlanta. We partied hardy at nightspots such as Cisco’s or Mr. V’s. We preferred Cisco’s and we danced to tunes like Shame by Evelyn Champayne King, Boogie Oogie, Oogie by Taste of Honey or Bustin’ Loose by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, to name a few. 

We shopped at Greenbriar Mall and often scrambled to find money to have breakfast at McDonald’s off Camp Creek Parkway. It was like eating on the French Riviera to us because money was quite scarce.  We were used to Chicago’s abundance but being broke in Georgia heightened my spirituality. We had to lean on a Higher Power to simply cope and we often made it to one of three Sunday services at Hillside Chapel to help us remain steadfast.

We also searched for the illusive celebrities who lived nearby. We looked for the singer Peabo Bryson who supposedly lived in Cedarwoods. We looked for the famed writer Toni Cade Bambara and we drove quite a distance to try to see Yolanda King (MLK’s daughter) at an acting workshop. All were in vain, but I did see Toni Cade Bambara years later in another city.

Our quests kept us on the move because in Atlanta, one can easily drive for over an hour to get from Point A to Point B. That summer is forever etched and my friend who lived across the lake is still in my life. We often relive those times in Hot ‘Lanta during the summer of 1978. Push play and enjoy the music from back in the day!

Lynn M.
June 18, 2022


“Nothing is pleasanter than exploring a library.” Walter Savage Landor

The other day, I saw a small bookmobile parked outside a nearby middle school. The library staff had set up a table displaying books on the school lawn. Middle schoolers hungrily gathered around as they thirsted for knowledge and new books.

I paused as I walked by and smiled because it triggered precious memories from my past in Memphis. When I was about that age, we were always excited when the bookmobile rolled into our neighborhood. We were very quiet and respectful as we anxiously waited for our turn to explore the shelves and check out the latest books. 

The bookmobiles back then were very large and they could accommodate several people at a time. Somehow, the ding of the check-out machine always intrigued me and as fate would have it, I later became both a children’s and young adult librarian.

So, yes, whenever I see a bookmobile either parked in the library parking lot or certainly in action while being parked outside of a school, my heart still skips a beat.  I am happy to know that some library districts still have the will and wealth to include bookmobiles in their host of library services.

Bookmobiles include those who possibly cannot go to a physical library for multiple reasons. They bring books to the community whether they are children, teens or seniors. and they are highly valued as they minister to many souls When they pull up and park, they still bring smiles to those patrons who have been patiently waiting for its timely arrival!

Bless the bookmobiles in 2022!

Lynn M.
June 12, 2022


A couple of weeks ago, I was channel surfing, and I came across the movie, A Trip to Bountiful starring the accomplished Cicely Tyson. She made the movie in 2014 at the age of 88 and she played a woman who escapes her relatives and takes a Greyhound bus back to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. She felt that she had to go back to her roots so that she could begin to accept her current life while living in the home of her adult son (Blair Underwood) and his not-too-kind wife. (Vanessa Williams)

The movie touched me on so many levels and I have now seen it over and over, whenever Grio TV replays this highly artistic piece. Cicely Tyson (Mrs. Watts) smiles and feels her freedom as she hangs her head out of the bus window after sneaking away from her son and his wife. She meets a young married woman (Keke Palmer) and they talk about their lives, and air out their personal concerns. 

It made me think of the many Greyhound bus trips I took to see my older sister in Evansville, Indiana. During the 80’s, I traveled there from Memphis to also air out my concerns. It is my father’s hometown and that is where he always went to get away from it all. Whenever I called her long after his passing, she simply said, “Come and unravel your thoughts.” We called her Tiny and sometimes, she had to get up at 2:30 in the morning to pick me up at the bus station. That is the way it works when going to those small towns in the wee hours of the morning, as the movie also highlighted. 

Those trips allowed me to think, see middle America and to meet several interesting and memorable people, just like Cicely Tyson met Keke Palmer. I often had funny stories to share with Tiny once I arrived at her home. Once, a woman was telling the bus driver how she had been trying to help her sister and how her sister did not appreciate her efforts. He said emphatically, “Then, go home!” She said that she was on her way home. I never forgot that short but powerful lesson. Know when to leave, period. 

Another time, I was going to see Tiny but this time, it was in the 90’s and I was leaving from the south suburbs of Chicago. A woman was loud and out of control before the bus even left the station. The driver walked back towards her, and she shouted, “Don’t start in on me.” We were all very quiet and the next thing we knew, we saw her and her traveling companion deboarding the bus. Another passenger turned and said, “He could not drive with all that going on.” We all nodded in agreement, as the then serene bus pulled out towards the highway. 

I truly related to Cicely Tyson’s sense of freedom as she took flight from her troubles though she knew that it was only for a short period of time. During that time, she was able to breathe and flap her wings for a few moments until she could remember who she really was and what her life had been up to that point. Those Greyhound bus trips allowed me to also breathe, think and listen to multiple stories from other travelers.  

I had highly skilled drivers who treated their buses like ponies on a racetrack; I had talkative drivers and quiet drivers and even a couple of sick drivers who had us all wondering if we would make it. Somehow, we always did make it to our destinations. The Hound (as we affectionately call Greyhound) can still get people to locations that airplanes and trains do not go. Trailways, its competitor, is now extinct and fell by the wayside, but Greyhound remains. It truly is one of small-town America’s national treasures! 

Lynn M.
June 4, 2022