A small town to call home

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
When you move, it follows that everyone will tell you what they think about it, whether you ask for their opinion or not. Friends and family back in Birmingham almost always said, “Atmore? Isn’t that the place with the prison?” I would laugh and tell them, “It’s not so bad. It’s the other direction off the interstate. Plus, my boss says that if anyone escapes they’ll head straight for Interstate 65.”
Then, when I actually arrived in Atmore for good, I was met with, “Do you know anyone here?” to which I would say no and they would tell me how brave it was to pick up and move like that.
To be honest, I never thought much about it. Having recently graduated from Alabama in December, I’ve been itching to go off on my own. Atmore’s not quite the big city I envisioned, but it is a great opportunity in a great city, no matter how big or small.
Not until I was here for several days did it hit me that I had actually moved to a town where I knew no one, but by that time everyone had been so welcoming I didn’t think much of it. People don’t realize how much it means to the newcomer when they ask how I like it or if I need anything. True to our Southern manners, I think every single person I have met, after inquiring about my housing situation, has offered to help me find a place to live.
Growing up, my hometown, Trussville, was about the size of Atmore but quickly grew into a bustling suburb where now I can walk into Winn-Dixie and not see anyone I know. I look forward to this being different in Atmore. Well, maybe not on a bad hair day, but knowing your neighbors, whether next door or three streets down, is something to be appreciative of.
Already, I have felt I have made real connections with people. My first in-depth story was with the parents of the late Jacorey Johnson. My first meeting with Pat and Charles Johnson was at the site of their son’s accident. Then they met with me again at Pat’s office and then their house. To allow me into such a personal part of their life and share it so freely with me was an honor. I feel that I was truly blessed to have met them. Their story, Jacorey’s story, is an inspiration to me.
The United Fund kickoff allowed me to meet so many people and to experience first hand the kindness and generosity that makes up Atmore.
I’ve already started the first of many rounds of meeting and greeting around town, and I can honestly say that I look forward to meeting every one else out there.
As you can see evidenced by the new Web site, we are innovating the paper and are hoping to add many new features. To do so, we need your feedback and input. Please get online and post on our guest book or e-mail me personally at lifestyles@atmoreadvance.com with any ideas or suggestions you might have. Thank you for already making me feel at home. I think Atmore is going to better than any big city I could have dreamed of.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at lifestyles@atmoreadvance.com

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