I am fifth-generation Jewish Atlantan. My great-grandmother was a child when Leo Frank was lynched. My grandfather was sent to Christian school and converted to Christianity as a young child, actively working to make sure no one discovered his Jewish roots. To his then-chagrin, my father did, and began attending synagogue in the same place that past generations of Dornbushes had. The Temple, whose walls are full of old photographs of my family members who died well before I was born, was where I officially converted.
I love Atlanta. The city is in my muscle memory and in my subconscious. It’s been five years since I lived in Georgia, but I can still walk through the backroads around Emory without getting lost. I sometimes wake up craving cheese grits from Georgia Homegrown. My nightmare—a recurring dream of driving off a highway overpass—was spawned by Atlanta’s heavily congested interstates.
Atlanta builds and rebuilds, constantly reinventing itself, never quite acknowledging or healing the scars of its past. I know the city not just by its current places, but by the places it used to have. Ponce City Market I know also as City Hall East. For my Dad, it’s the Old Sears Building. He told me that the shopping center across from Ponce City Market/City Hall East/The Old Sears Building, which I know as The-Place-That-Used-to-Have-a-Borders-and-Still-Has-a-Whole-Foods was home to a minor league baseball team, called the Atlanta Crackers, when my grandfather was a child.