Past Tense

To readers of Past Tense:

When a few lines in The Crier announced in 2006 that a search was on for someone to continue Jim Perkins Past Tense column, I jumped at the opportunity. I often tell people, “I didn’t stop to think about it. I just knew I wanted to do it.” I loved Jim’s columns and fortunately with Jim as a mentor, Cathy Cobbs and Dick Williams let me write the column.

The Crier began in 1976 with Joan Cartwright as the publisher. That bicentennial year was also the year of the first Dunwoody Fourth of July parade. Susan Courtemanche published the newspaper from 1977 until 1996. That’s when Atlanta Journal and Constitution columnist Dick Williams bought the newspaper. The Crier coverage of the 1998 tornado, which kept Dunwoody informed for months, was recognized by Atlanta Magazine as “Best News Coverage in the Face of Mother Nature’s Worst” in its annual Best of Atlanta edition.

As someone who always loved to write, I’m grateful to Dick Williams for letting me continue to write Past Tense. His encouragement through the years kept me inspired. He told me he was a Civil War buff and enjoyed my Civil War columns. He let me get a bit wordy on occasion when I got carried away with a subject and had trouble editing an article to a reasonable size.

Many wonderful people have crossed my path while I’ve written the Past Tense column. I interviewed several veterans, veteran families, and many others with history to share. My first column was about Camp Gordon, suggested by Jim Perkins, a subject I have returned to many times and will continue to research.

The stories I love best are the memories of special moments or people. From ringing a church bell when World War II ended, fond memories of a beloved teacher, working on a dairy farm, sending produce on a train to Atlanta, swimming in a pool built within a creek, or stopping in a country store after school for a Coke or piece of candy. These are the memories and history that led us to where our communities are today.

Local history is important, and readers knew they could find it in The Crier. The newspaper will be greatly missed by all. I will continue to write Past Tense articles and begin posting them on pasttensega.com soon. I will also continue gathering and researching local history for this community and for the Dunwoody Preservation Trust. Please continue to share history and historic photographs with me at pasttensedunwoody@gmail.com or pasttensega@gmail.com.

It was often readers of The Crier that inspired the articles I wrote. Thank you to all of you who have written me through the years with your own family history and memories. As Bob Hope used to sing, “Thanks for the memories.”

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