The acquittal of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was not a surprise. I told Carey last Friday it will be an OJ verdict, but hearing the news yesterday unleashed a tsunami of sadness. The county I grew up in has not existed for some time, but the verdict was a rude reminder the community I long for is long gone.
Growing up I could not wait to get out of Clayton County, because I knew the world had grand adventures waiting for me. In my eagerness to make tracks I naively thought the home of my youth would weather all, but always remain with open arms for visits.
My parents selected Forest Park to establish roots when my father received a job at the Atlanta Center. Not long following the move Dekalb County contacted my Dad to run the county tower where the Navy base had closed in Chamblee, now Dekalb Peachtree Airport. Dad drove from Forest Park to Chamblee and back for decades. He never considered moving closer to work, because my Dad recognized and appreciated the community values.
Bill Jayne was constantly called for jury duty, even served on an extended grand jury once. He always elected foreman of the jury. At home Dad never discussed the cases, but I remember the angst on his face on the few murder trials. Superior Court Judge Banke was a man my Dad had great respect for, I believe Judge Banke reminded him of his father who had been an elected Squire in Johnson County, the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Justice was served in both counties.
I’m sad my children did not experience grocery shopping at the copper roofed A&P, little league parades fall and spring, homecoming parades, football games at Tara Stadium and Kiwanis Field, dropping off clothes at Fred Carter’s cleaners, Christmas shopping next door for your mother at Evelyn’s Dress Shop, two vegetables and a meat with the best cathead biscuits at the Forest House, Mrs. White at Bank of Forest Park, school shopping at Stanford’s and Belk’s, air conditioning at the Forest Park Library, Bruce Payne haircuts at the Imperial Barber Shop, the original Cheers Smith Hardware, Dr. Johnson, filling prescriptions at McDuffy’s and staring at his enormous mustache and a city where the policemen knew your name not because you were a trouble maker. I miss home! Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj