Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I talked to Dad today over the phone. He said he viewed an aerial map of Kennesaw. Lots of roads, he observed. He asked me how I find my way around.
My answer was, “I can’t.”
The days of taking leisurely drives were gone when we moved here in Kennesaw, GA.  In New England, our roads were originally trails and cow paths. They wound around swamps this way and that and went up and down hills. We had scenery, and sometimes we would go on a drive without any particular destination.
Here the roads wind around too, but around one another. There is also lots of traffic and rows and rows of stores. Every road looks the same. Cumulatively these streets are “spaghetti”. It is very hard to have a good sense of direction. Some I spoke with about this said they have their places to go, they know how to get to them, and that’s about it.
Another thing down here is that the roads have similar names. We’ve Cobb Place and Cobb Parkway. There’s Chastain Road, New Chastain Road, Chastain Xing, Chastain Corner Road, and a Chastain Ridge Drive. My worry is breaking down and need to call AAA or 911 not knowing enough where I am to tell them. I suppose I could use a GPS and tell them the longitude and latitude if that would be more than helpful.
In New Hampshire particularly, when they put in the 911, they asked the towns to change the names of some of their streets to avoid this confusion. The only thing then was learning and getting used to the new names, but that didn’t take too long to do.
In a way, I feel a little more trapped here than in New England. One would think the opposite considering that down here the weather is warmer and there’s no snow or ice on the roads.  However, the traffic does get to me. I have to watch the lights, read the signs, and make certain I’m not too close to the car in front of me wherever I go… and so on.
This is hard to explain to folks who hadn’t visited this area. They envision majestic plantation homes, tarpaper shacks, and/or any other stereotypical southern characteristics. Kennesaw is in metro-Atlanta. It is a city. Cities have businesses and need roads to get to them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Well, this dummy Yankee thought these bugs were bumblebees. Yes, I did. Only thing that sparked my suspicion was that they were twice as big. I was never afraid of those big, sluggish bees. You wonder how that can fly due to their build. They aren't aggressive, and I only know of one story of someone getting stung by one. So, when I began my sojourn here in Kennesaw, Georgia, I had no idea that these big bees were in fact carpenter bees and they can cause considerable damage.

These carpenter bees are called such because they burrow into wood to lay their eggs. I think they are a kind of wasp, but not aggressive like the German yellow jackets I contended with in New England. I was told that they don't sting unless they are really threatened. Some people down here whack them with tennis rackets. They are an unwanted pest, known to drill holes right through walls.

In New England, we have carpenter ants. Fire-ants down here. Which is worse? Carpenter-ants seem to prefer pine perhaps due to its sticky pitch and soft wood. They gnaw wood, weakening it, and then it would be gone. Fire-ants are carnivorous. So which of these bugs are the worse of the two evils? I think I prefer carpenter bees over German yellow jackets, and carpenter-ants over fire-ants.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kennesaw Talk

There is one form of address I never was called in New England, and that address is “Ma’am”.  Wow.  I’m called Ma’am at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, at the dry cleaners, and so on.  It doesn’t matter the business being conducted.  I am Ma’am.  I have to admit it was weird at first, and after living here in Kennesaw, Georgia awhile, I’ve grown accustomed to it. 
In the more casual arena, I hear “guys”.   Yes, we say “guys” in New England, but I hear it more often down here.  It is used to address a group of two or more persons.  “Hey guys!”  Frankly, I don’t like it.   I try avoiding addressing any group of people that, especially if that group is comprised of women.
Southerners are polite.  They say “y’all” which is more appropriate.  I’ve heard it a couple of times referring to just one person.  “Y’all have a good day.”  Regardless, they know men and women are different genders and ought to be acknowledged as such.
There are those who say both “guys” and “y’all” in the same sentence.  I think the younger people who came of age since the population boom of the 90s speak this hybrid dialect.  There must be some grammar rule behind this modern speech pattern, but I don’t know it yet.
Polite forms of address seem to be disappearing here though.  Firstly Kennesaw is a city and folks by nature are ruder in cities.  Secondly, rudeness has become socially accepted perhaps due to television.  Why folks tolerate rudeness I don’t know.  It is easier to be rude, I guess.  Being polite requires more effort using those extra words in a sentence.   After all, “I appreciate it” takes longer to say than “thanks”.

Friday, December 9, 2011


  What surprised me about Kennesaw, Georgia is that it really doesn’t look Southern.  I do see neighborhoods comprising of one-story brick houses with carports, but those with modern homes surpass them in number.   We call these homes “McMansions”.  They are built very quickly.  Perhaps too quickly that quality suffers.  Down here, they are pretty much cookie-cutter, standing close together.  Too close, I think.  Being the country girl that I am, I prefer to be surrounded by a bit of yard.  Kennesaw, though, is a city with a population of about 40,000.
   Southerners are very polite.  It is bad manners to outwardly insult the newcomers to Kennesaw.  However when I do converse with some of them, I sense a little sarcasm.  I don’t think they’re too happy that their home had changed so dramatically in the 90s.
   In rural New Hampshire, especially in towns where they don’t have public sewage and water systems, ordinances had been passed.  They have to be.  Even a McMansion has to stand on a sizeable piece of property that can support a leach field, septic tank, and well.  The towns also designate areas for businesses.  Stores cannot locate outside certain parameters.  The locals do what they can to prevent explosive growth.
   The government down here is county based.  Locals have less control.  They cannot attend a planning board meeting regarding giving a business permission to build.  If they don’t want a particular retail outlet, they have less power to fight and keep it out. 
   People who live here now are from all areas in this country.  We have folks from upstate New York, far west California, and the southern tip of Florida.  I can safely conclude that while Kennesaw may no longer be Southern in the true sense, it does represent mainstream America.  It has been a learning experience for me to see this American lifestyle.  I love being American, and the freedom that this country offers, but New England has a distinct culture that I miss.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Santa Parade

      There is something we New Englanders take for granted that folks don’t have down here. Today, the city of Kennesaw, Georgia held its annual Santa Parade. We saw in the lineup Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, clubs, bands, cheerleading squads, and beauty queens. Churches and businesses also came out of the woodwork. The parade was quite long. The participants had a festive spirit, but something was missing and that something was snow.
       On our way returning to our car, we laid our eyes upon a fenced in area. It was a pen with hard-packed snow inside. Where they imported the snow from I don’t know, but that really isn’t the point. Kids were playing in it, making snowballs and throwing them at one another. They were having fun. They had the Christmas spirit.
        I’m not saying it never snows here in Kennesaw. After living here for three Christmases it had snowed more than I had expected. Snow is beautiful, the kids love it, but adults have to tend to the serious side of it. Down here, the city doesn’t have the luxury of snow plows. It has a modest sander or two and that’s about it. Kids don’t mind the major inconvenience. They simply don’t have school.
         I’ll have to say that I miss home, and the first fall of the clean white stuff can boost everyone’s Christmas spirit. But soon it gets dirty. It doesn’t take long to grow tired of snow blowing paths and shoveling the porch steps. I especially don’t miss sanding and salting the walkways only for them to be soon covered again by ice. Kids, though, they don’t think of that, and I can say there is nothing that lifts my spirits more than when they are happy.