Friday, May 20, 2016

My Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Madeleine Deisen / youthjournalism.org
The author's father, Manuel Deisen (left) and younger brother, Lukas Deisen at North Forest neighborhood swim meet.

By Madeleine Deisen
Junior Reporter
Youth Journalism International
MARIETTA, Georgia, U.S.A. – My hometown is Marietta, Georgia, where the pollen in spring is thicker than the amount of snow school is closed for in winter.
We’ve got a Trader Joe’s, a Target and a movie theater – but even better, a cheap movie theater with $1 tickets on Tuesdays where movies play a couple of months after they are released. That’s where you are likely to find me and my high school friends spending our babysitting money.
East Cobb Park is always filled with families on weekends. School performances take place on the small outdoor stage, family soccer games are played in the open field of grass, and children learn to ride their bikes without training wheels on the path.
On the last day of school, the neighborhood moms and dads meet at the elementary school bus stops with water balloons, silly string, and popsicles to celebrate the coming of summer. Then, the neighborhood swim team practices and meets start.
Madeleine Deisen / youthjournalism.org
On a neighborhood street, this sign warns
drivers to slow down.
Nearly all the children in the neighborhood participate, until they reach middle school and get service hours working at the meets as a line caller or a concession stand worker or a ribbon labeler, or reach high school and help the little three-year-olds learn to swim.
Many residents of the mostly white, mostly upper middle class Atlanta suburb believe riding MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is an act of daring, or something to be avoided at all costs.
MARTA is too “sketchy,” they’ve been told by a friend of a friend, and they say drug deals happen on MARTA. I’ve developed the skill of keeping a straight face during conversations like these. “East Cobb snobs” is an accurate expression.
There’s a “Feel the Bern” sign on the main street of our neighborhood, and a Trump sign was stolen out of another yard. It was replaced after complaints.
Madeleine Deisen / youthjournalism.org
A flowering tree heralds spring in the
Deisen family backyard.


My middle school social studies teacher said the Civil War was fought over state’s rights. My high school social studies teacher staunchly opposes this view and is ready to whip out the primary documents in a heartbeat. But I still see Confederate flags on the back of pickup trucks.
Walton, my high school, is known either as a high-achieving school full of opportunities or a stress-inducing school full of homework. I suppose both are true.
Fall break of sophomore year is when the college tours start. Winter break is for skiing. Spring break is for cruises to the Caribbean or road trips to the most popular Florida beaches. Not for everyone, but that is what I hear.
My hometown is like the tree in my backyard. Like the spread of the tree’s pollen, people and houses and stores spread through Marietta at alarming rates. But there are also flowers growing on the tree, beautiful ones that make me smile at the sight of them. 

Madeleine Deisen / youthjournalism.org
The author's backyard garden in Marietta.
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