Another friend from church, a transplant, once explained to me about the two Krogers in East Atlanta– the “nice” one North of I-20 and the “ghetto” Kroger on the southside. She cautioned me that the Drive-In Theatre was down there, but beyond that was no-man’s-land.
And Stumptown, I thought. Beyond that is the place where I grew up.
It’s a stretch of highway I have memorized from frequent use– a conglomeration of truckyards leading inside the perimeter. As teenagers we took Moreland from Stumptown into Little 5 Points, the coolest place anyone could think of. With our car doors locked, we coasted through the deserted traffic lights. Moreland was fast, but menacing. It sloped through a valley of landfills spotted with methane flames.
I took my driver’s license test in the parking lot of the old Grant’s on Moreland, in the shadow of those trapezoidal mountains of garbage. When I was in college and still mastering the stick shift, still afraid of the Interstates, I would take Moreland south to visit my old church. It was blank and airy those Sunday mornings. It felt like no one, no city for miles around.
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