Although many things have changed in my hometown, Albany, Georgia, since I lived there, Betty Rehberg has photographed some of what has not changed and what is beautiful.
I grew up on a farm where every morning brought sights and sounds of nature. Beside our house was a giant old Oak tree and in the backyard was a China-berry tree under which we played and in which I climbed. Behind the barn grew a pecan tree that covered the ground each fall with nuts. Squirrels and birds of all kinds lived in the trees.
The livestock never hurt for water. Three ponds provided cool places for the cows to wade out and drink. The small lakes were surrounded by trees that drooped limbs over the banks when I was a kid. Many of those trees were May Haw trees that provided little tart red berries we gathered for Mother to make jelly.
In the video you will see the bridge where my school bus crossed the Flint River on the way to the school I attended. We could see the train trestle from the bridge.
Also in the video are pictures of the waterfront where, after I left, a lovely area was built so that visitors can walk and sit to enjoy that powerful river. She shows us thee statue of Ray Charles and his piano. You see, Ray Charles was born in Albany one night when his mother was passing through town. I doubt he ever spent a day there until he came back as a man and sang at our Civic Center.
We had several famous people who did live in Albany. Ray Stevens, the singer, went to Albany High School when I was there. A famous baseball player, Ray Knight, lives in my hometown and his wife, a famous golfer lived there also.
In this video, I saw the old State Theater where my brother, Hal, was supposed to pick up his two little sisters after his date one night. But Hal dropped us off and forgot about us. When he got home late that night without us, Mother sent him back to town. The manager had come out and found us huddled together, sitting on the curb. We told him we were waiting for our brother to pick us up. So, he turned off the lights and went home. Hal found us there in the dim glow of a street light in front of the movie house. I don't think Mother ever trusted Hal to bring home the babies after that night.
I saw pictures of Lake Worth where Barry took me on a boat ride on our first date. I'll never forget the moss covered trees and the quiet water with sounds of frogs calling out as dusk fell.
The music in the video is perfect -- all about home. I don't plan to live in Albany again. I love it here in the mountains, but this glimpse of my hometown brought tears to my eyes. When I go down there again, I will look at it with different eyes. I will look for the beauty, the history and the good memories.