November 11, 2012
Driving through downtown Doraville on Veterans’ Day, I was struck by how good the flags lining park avenue look. This was a really nice display – thank you to all who have served.
October 25, 2012
by Joseph Geierman • Doraville Spotlight
There are some people who love Halloween – and you can often tell who they are from the awesome (and spooky) displays in their front yards! Jeff Thornton, who lives down the street from me in Doraville, is one of those people. For the second year in a row, he has been one of the recipients of Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association’s “Best Fall Yard” award. He puts a lot of work into this, and the award is well deserved. This year, Jeff’s theme was a Zombie Apocalypse. It was actually inspired by a zombie gnome he saw early in the year, and the seed took root in his brain and grew. When he was able to score some free plank wood, Jeff realized he had the material he needed to create his zombies. With the help of his step-dad, Ron (a third generation cabinet maker), Jeff got started on turning his vision into reality. Not only was it fun to see his zombies take “life,” but the project also provided a great bonding experience for the two men. The give and take between Ron and Jeff, as they bounced ideas back and forth to each other, made the end result even better than initially anticipated.
Along with the help of some friends, Jeff took several days over the course of a balmy October weekend to start decorating his yard. Things started out unassumingly enough, but before you knew it, there were zombies running around. Jeff isn’t so into Halloween decorating as a simple means of scaring people. What he enjoys is the opportunity to express creativity in unique ways. Jeff tells me that he likes creating costumes and other illusions, and has done this since he took drama in high school. He looks forward to the opportunity to make home-made decorations and costumes – enjoying the challenge of getting it right. Halloween ties into this, because Jeff feels it’s the time his yard can be “in disguise”. Unlike other holidays, the imagery surrounding Halloween is very open – it can be anything that people find scary or weird! That, combined with the long history surrounding Halloween that goes all the way back to Europe, are just some of the reasons Jeff loves the holiday. The scenes he created this year were stunning and deserved to be recognized Of his love of decorating his yard, Jeff says:
We moved around a lot when I was a kid.. and I don’t remember ever really decorating the yard. I do remember seeing that everyone else did, and enjoying the interesting displays, all through the years. It was always fun to see the creative ways people would decorate. The delusions of grandeur through the years “ When I have my own place….” Have been in my mind through the years. Now That I do have my own house… the realization of the need of money has hindered the elaborate dreams. I plan to grow into the decorations as best I can each year. Last year I won the “yard of the month” the first year in the neighborhood. That alone has encouraged me to be better every year.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next year!
Photos courtesy of Matt Gunn & Jeff Thornton
October 17, 2012
While walking my dogs, i have been so impressed by all the Halloween decorations my neighbors have put up. Some of them have put an amazing amount of work into their displays. I snapped a few pictures of them, which I’m posting here.
House on Haunted Hill:
This house also went all out decorating the mailbox, which won it the title of “Doraville Mailbox of the Week – Spooky edition:”
Nothing to see here; just a little graveyard in the front porch:
Watch out for the spiderwebs at this place!
Last but not least was a house on a corner – In my opinion the spookiest of the houses we walked by, featuring “life-size” zombies in full-attack mode, and a really big spider:
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood – Happy Halloween!
October 3, 2012
by Joseph Geierman • Doraville Spotlight
On the evening of September 22, over 100 people attended an evening reception at Doraville’s public library in honor of Bob Kelley (who lives in the Northwoods neighborhood) and his new book Images of America: Doraville. The book is a history of the city containing stories and pictures going back to the 1880s. It is a gorgeous volume that looks great on my bookshelf.
Doraville Library Director Tammy Henry approached me about an email she had received from Arcadia Publishing seeking someone to edit such a book and I thought, “I could do that!” so I responded to Arcadia and started the ball rolling. I thought it would be something the citizens of Doraville would find interesting and became an effort to boost local civic pride in the city.
The library was an especially appropriate location for this book signing and launch party, as the book book would not have been written if Arcadia Publishing hadn’t contacted Tammy Henry shortly after she took on her new role as Doraville’s Library Director. They wanted her to write a book about the city, but since she was such a new arrival in this community, she reached out to Bob (who she had just met) instead. Although he had mainly been focusing on travel writing when this opportunity was first presented to him, Bob was up to the task. It was gratifying that the city’s library was able to host this event, bringing the entire journey full-circle, so to speak.
One of the interesting, although maybe not surprising, effects of the book project was the sense of community it helped build. Bob had lived in the city for 10 years, but it was in the course of this project that he was really able to build a strong local network. This is how he describes it:
People were reluctant to place their personal, treasured photos into my possession because they really didn’t know me. I tried to get the photos scanned and back into each person’s possession within 2-3 days and this made others feel more comfortable once they knew I was giving that kind of turnaround. The great thing is once people started participating, I soon had an enlarging network of people willing to share their photos.
Besides bringing people together for this project, Bob was also able to bring them together for the reception and book signing. As mentioned before, more than 100 people were there – the place was packed!
With all these people, you can imagine that a lot of books were sold – although there are still some available there if you want to pick one up. Bob’s hand also got quite a work-out as he autographed copies for the attendees.
Susan Crawford, from the Oakcliff neighborhood, stated, “the book signing was was a perfect combination of people, tasty donations, a great author, and a perfect hostess.” She goes on to say that she “loved every minute” of the event! Thanks, Bob!
All photos except for the book image are courtesy of Jeff Jenkins. Also, special thanks go to Tammy Henry, Bob Kelley and Susan Crawford for their contributions to this article.
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