As most of you know I recently traveled to New Mexico to assist my father in his move from his house to a retirement community. It was a very difficult time for me because I had to come to terms with “letting go” of the house which had been my childhood home, and all the things within. Although I brought back a few items, I left behind my mother’s wedding dress. There is no one on my side of the family or my husband’s that would potentially use it. I decided to leave it behind to be sold at the estate sale rather then see it boxed up and stored away. It broke my heart and I questioned whether I had made the right decision. As it turned out I had. A week after returning home I received an email that moved me to tears and one I will never forget. I want to share this with all of you because it is so beautiful.
Let me introduce myself, my name is M. P. and I’m a photojournalist in Albuquerque. Today I went by the estate sale at your father’s house and bought something so special I had to reach out to you. I hope you don’t mind and that this email finds you well.
I ended up buying your mother’s wedding dress. I am getting married this September in Albuquerque and will be wearing it. I just wanted to let you know it went to a loving new home where it will be treasured for years and hopefully a little luck or love rubs off and blesses my marriage. It sounds like your parent’s love story was a great one.
The ladies running the estate sale took some cell phone photos of me trying it on to show your father. So I hope they remember to do just that. The dress fits like a glove and I will be having it professionally cleaned and restored before my big day. It means so much to me. I actually had another dress picked out but when I saw that one and tried it on I knew that was the dress for me. My friend and I were crying because it was so perfect as she helped unzip me out of it.
So thank you to you and your father for allowing it to be passed on to another family and wedding. I will forever treasure the dress.
Much love and gratitude,
Although I have lived in Atlanta for four years I have not visited The Margaret Mitchell House until today. Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind at this residence at 990 Peachtree Street. She wrote the last chapter first and the others in no particular order. After completing a chapter she would place the pages in a manila envelope and hide them in various places in her apartment. When she had visitors she covered her work with a towel to keep her novel a secret. By the time Mitchell completed Gone with the Wind she had amassed about 80 envelops. The book was published in 1936 and was 1,037 pages long. Mitchell became an overnight celebrity and continued to be in the public spotlight through the premier of the movie, Gone with the Wind, in 1939. She died at the age of 48 in 1949 after being struck by a drunk off-duty taxi driver. I only have sketchy memories of watching Gone with the Wind with my mother as a youngster but today’s visit to the Margaret Mitchell House has inspired me to read the book and watch the movie that made Atlanta proud.
Today I had the opportunity to tour the exhibit “Resettling in America, Georgia’s Refugee Communities” at the CDC Museum in Atlanta with its curator, Louise Shaw. I am honored to be one of the contributing photographers to the exhibit. In 2012-2013, I had the opportunity to photograph international farmers in Decatur, Clarkston and Stone Mountain who had come to the United States as refugees. The gardens and farms in which I photographed are managed by Global Growers (www.globalgrowers.org). My introduction to Global Growers occurred serendipitously in the spring of 2012. I was driving along College Avenue in Decatur when a splash of color caught my peripheral vision and I turned to look. In a large garden plot next to the road several African women in colorful traditional dress and one with a baby slung on her back, were gardening. It was a scene out of National Geographic. I made a hasty U-turn, parked my car, grabbed my camera and introduced myself to a woman who was overseeing the group. I learned that the beautiful women gardening were from Burundi and affiliated with Global Growers. I was not allowed to photograph that day but shortly afterwards I formed a partnership with Global Growers and had the honor of photographing many of the farmers. I was fascinated with their stories about resettling in America and the challenges they faced navigating within a foreign culture. I admired the people I met for their tenacity, resourcefulness, work ethic and warmth. The image above is one that is featured in the exhibit. Bamboo is being harvested at Bamboo Creek Farm in Stone Mountain and was used to build a fence around the Decatur Kitchen Garden to keep the deer at bay.
To learn more about the refugee communities in Georgia visit the exhibit “Resettling in America” (http://www.cdc.gov/museum/). The exhibit is beautiful, informative and runs through December.