Category Archives: Elizabeth Mellen

Georgia, Section 2

By Liz Mellen

Georgia, Section 2, April 17. 2015

Weekends we were en famille.  That was a relief from the somewhat alien world of schooling in Georgia.  Every other week, there was the church service across the street, my father up front conducting the service, preaching and afterwards connecting to people, along with my mother.  I loved that.  We had returned now to a situation which, while I had no distinct memories, I knew well up to when I was 3 ½.   A house, a church just across the way, a father very present, a public figure, as well, in the weekly services and us a family of interest.  I had known such a coherent settledness, however dimly remembered, before torn from it when the long period of un-settledness began–of going to China/not going to China and of living in too many places.  There was relief for me in the return in this Georgia setting to a condition, a family and home status quo after so many years.  I relaxed into it, coming to a realization in later years of the reason for this wounded child’s sense of relief and satisfaction.

I recall my 10-year old judgment of the music we sang in that church sanctuary–southern hymns often in sentimental three quarter waltz time–different fare from words and music in the regular Methodist Hymnal drawn knowledgeably from church music through the ages to which I was accustomed, and understood to be the standard.  I was judgmental about it, today thinking I may have picked up some superciliousness about it from my mother and older brother.  But no, I really got weary of those tunes and simple words, longing for some complexity, however meaningful this music, sung in community, can be. Continue reading

Georgia

Section 1

By Elizabeth Mellen

When I was nine years old, we landed on a red-dirt road in Warm Springs, Georgia.  The road sloped down from the highway, that is, a two-lane narrow paved road which curved itself through the grouping of village store fronts and their boardwalks, proceeding through with no apology and out to the countryside beyond.  It was fall, 1946 and I was very glad to be in this place after so many years of going to China and not going to China and going to China and not going, of living in New York and then Kansas, in New York and then Kansas again.  We were together now, in Warm Springs, GA, mother and father, four children, and a car, a miracle after the war years without.

It was a white, one story frame house just across the red-dirt road just as it should have been from the white, frame Warm Springs Methodist Church building.  Just beside the house, another road dropped down suddenly, to a railroad track.  At the crossing stood a white X-shaped wooden sign with ‘RR Crossing’ in large black letters on it and beside it, a horizontal sign bearing the word “Bullochville.”   I liked it then, still do, that the name Bullochville was still present in this place which carried the moniker ‘Warm Springs,’ for our life there really partook of both of this layered town’s identities.  Continue reading