Saturday, April 13, 2013

Atlanta...Is It The Same Place If There Are No "T's"?

Whenever I have made friends with people from other states, they are always a bit surprised to learn that I am from Texas. Apparently, according to many of these people, I do not have a "twang." In yesterday's post, I mentioned that my mother's family are relative newcomers to the US. Both her maternal and paternal fore bearers are Germanic and immigrated to the US in the late 1880's. As is true with many immigrants, they spoke their native language, especially among their friends and family. Also, not surprising, their children learned German as a native language. This was true even to my mother's generation. My Aunt Mary Louise, (Meetsie to me), did not speak English prior to starting school. Unfortunately for her, the lesson for my grandparents, to teach their children English, was learned at her expense. My mother, the second eldest, learned English as a toddler as did her subsequent siblings. Also, my father was a Kansas native, so, he certainly didn't have a twang in his speech either. My theory is that since my mother actually learned English from "second-language" parents and my father was a border-line Yankee, I just didn't pick up any discernible accent or twang, (unless I'm really tired, then all bets are off...).

My mother speak with an interesting combination of sounds. Seriously, I love to hear her speak. While it certainly would not be considered a true "twang," she does say some words very differently than do any of her daughters. One specific example is "Atlanta." When mom says it, it sounds like "Alana." Of course we all know what she is talking about and if she wasn't such a good sport, we would never mention it. But she is a GREAT sport so, we this blog that is being read by people across the US, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Burma, and the UK, the last time I checked. So, to answer my own question...Yes, it is the same place, whether or not it contains T's.

ANYWAY, our first, (and only) full day in Atlanta started with our awesome hosts and tour guides at the Cyclorama. Now, I realize that the name sounds like it is some sort of carnival or amusement park ride that probably spins the occupants until they are all ready to puke, BUT, it's not. The Cyclorama is a theater, inside a Civil War museum. The "Cyclo" part explains that the theater is built "in the round." There is a painting, a HUGE painting that is hung on the wall of this "circular" theater. Then, in the center, is a set of "stadium" seats. The seat platform actually turns slowly so the audience can see the painting in its entirety. There is an audio presentation that accompanies the rotation and a spotlight highlights specific things in the painting. The subject depicts fierce battles of the Civil War as Confederate troops unsuccessfully defended Atlanta against the Union Army. Aside from the history depicted in the painting, the Cyclorama is worth the trip for a couple more reasons. It is located in Grant Park, a beautiful location and home to the Atlanta zoo, (definitely a must see...), also, the painting was completed in 1887...126 years ago! It is in amazing shape and I highly recommend taking the time to visit.

Our next stop was to "Underground Atlanta." This type of area is becoming more common in large cities. It is in downtown Atlanta and is full of shops, restaurants, clubs and tourists. The area actually traces its history to Atlanta's rebuilding efforts after the Civil War when the city expanded around the railroad lines that brought in goods and people. However, by the 1920's, traffic was horrible and the city began to build above the railroad tracks. Soon, the original, or ground floors were sealed up and forgotten until the late 1960's and early 70's when they were rediscovered and the revitalization began.

 These two photos, on the left and right, illustrate some of the art and decor in the Underground. There is an eclectic mix of history, modern shops, live entertainment and assorted sights, smells, and sounds. One thing I can will not be bored!

We wrapped up our Atlanta trip with a visit to Stone Mountain. Technically speaking, Stone Mountain is the world's largest exposed granite monolith. At its summit, the elevation is 1686 feet and it stands 825 feet above the surrounding landscape. In addition to its enormous size, Stone Mountain is also famous for the bas relief carving on its north face. The carving depicts three important Confederate men: General Stonewall Jackson, General Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis and their favorite horses. The carving was conceived by Mrs. Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to do the project and he actually started it but abandoned it in 1925, (he later went on to begin Mount Rushmore). Augustus Lukeman until 1928, after which the project was abandoned until 1964 when Walter Hancock was hire to complete it, which he did on March 3, 1972.

So, our time in Atlanta came to an end. We are so grateful to Jerry and Renelle for their hospitality, their stories, for playing tour guides for us and for opening up their home to a trio of "travelling old ladies." 

Our trip continued as we continued east, this time to Charleston, SC...come back tomorrow for that leg of our journey.


No comments:

Post a Comment