My life in the ’60’s
Written by Marie Nygren, Posted in "krispy kreme", "margaret lupo", "woodruff's bed and breakfast", marie nygren
When Mother bought Mary Mac’s in the early sixties, Ponce de Leon was already an eclectic and colorful mix of businesses and homes. It was an interesting area to explore- though my exploring was limited to a block. Across the street was a laundry, nightclub and Landers Poultry.
I was fascinated by Landers. When you walked in, the floor was covered with saw dust and chicken cages filled the left wall. The right side of the store was the counter where you could get eggs, every chicken part imaginable and butter. In the back was where they did the chicken processing. It was one of the few places left in the city where you could get fresh chickens butchered to order.
The next block was taken up by the original Krispy Kreme location in Atlanta which is still in operation. My big treat was to get a nickel from Mom and walk across the street to get a chocolate covered doughnut topped with whipped creme and a cherry! In those days, I was allowed to go by myself at the age of 6. The ladies at the counter knew me and and would have my favorite doughnut ready for me if they saw me coming.
The most colorful neighbor though was Miss Bessy. She ran the local brothel which was located directly across the street at the corner of Ponce and Myrtle. The building still stands and is now Woodruff’s Bed and Breakfast. Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to go into the building. At that time, the call board for the girls was still in the downstairs office/foyer.
I do not remember Miss Bessy just Mom’s stories about Miss Bessy coming over for lunch during breaks to get a lunch for herself or the girls. And, the patrons having lunch themselves after their visits. Mom never shared names of the clientèle but it was always a who’s who of local and state officials and business men.
Mom always had a cordial relationship with Miss Bessy- no judgments. She said Miss Bessy was providing a service just as she was. Mom always had a welcoming atmosphere for all of Atlanta’s colorful characters. In her dining room, everyone had a place at her tables. It provided a great lesson for me in the years to come.
Great to read this. I work with John Ferrell on Mary Macs marketing items like the book and website, but I’m a huge fan of the history of the area. Thanks for taking the time to write and post it. And of course we love Serenbe. Haven’t been in a while but always love it.
Thanks for this walk down memory lane. Pam Foster, here. You and I have a bit of shared history – you were at my 6th birthday party! We were in Mrs. Cunningham’s kindergarten class together. We also have a friend in common. Karen Carter used to spend afternoons in the kitchen at Mary Mac’s with you. Your site, blog, Serenbe itself – breaths of fresh air. Thanks for doing what you do, following your passion.
Thanks for reminding me about our kindergarten teacher’s name. I had forgotten.
I am really enjoying looking back at my life with Mother and the inspiration she was to me for following one’s passion. She certainly did! And, Mary Mac’s was an amazing testament to that.
Most exceptional holiday table! Mrs. Margaret Lupo goes over the menu and tells the News Monster’s food and adult beverage editor, Ted Vigodsky, how she transformed Mary Macs on Ponce de Leon into a world class restaurant. (From December 16th, 1983.)
Limited holiday posting through Christmas 2011.
Thank you sharing your history with me and also giving me a new place to dine. Ponce de Leon has gone though a lot of changes. I am a fried chicken fan, 7 day a week I eat chicken not always freid, but it is my favorite. Thanks again God Bless
Wednesday will be my first time going to Mary Mac’s. I am taking my mother there for no special ocassion, she’s just always wanted to go and I could never find the time with my busy schedule of school and work. But I have set a date and I am sticking to it. I can’t wait!
Nonah May 26, 2012
Thanks for the history. As a Tech student I ate there many times. My father would eat lunch there 3-4 times a week in the 60’s and 70’s. I am bringing him there next week for dinner. He is 89 years old and it’s one of only places he wants to eat on his visit to Atlanta other than the Varsity.
About Marie Nygren
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m the co-founder of the Serenbe community and the Inn at Serenbe. But, the truest Read More...
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