A little history: After the Indian Territory opened in 1838, settlers came to this area after participating in the land lottery. The area remained a hamlet of farmers until 1897 when townsfolk established the city. Woodstock, north of Marietta and Atlanta, was the little cousin who always tagged along, watching the big boys. The face of Woodstock stayed the same--no blemishes but those undeveloped, commonplace features were often overlooked. Then, things changed in the '70s. The transformation started about the time Dukes of Hazard revealed small-town, Southern life as having savvy and humorous sophistication all its own. Country music grew in popularity. Those songs spoke of the simple pleasures of real, human interaction between neighbors, not the brusqueness of strangers making their way in a rat race. Simultaneously, the value of nature also came to the forefront in human thinking. This city, already blessed with abundant greenery, increased its magnetism instantly and easily. The rolling hills, former pasture and farmland sparked the imaginations of home builders. Commerce moved in. Biking/walking trails appeared. Parks popped up all over. Now the notability of this town has spread, and carloads of people move here from far away. Who saw it coming?
Two wonderful changes, among a half dozen, occurred this year.
A way around the conundrum: Once in a while, you may be ambivalent about change, like me. So try this exercise. Imagine Woodstock folks of the 1800s, strolling around town through the power of a time warp. Can you see the men, smelling like the dirt caking their boots, their arms scorched by the sun, and their backs permanently bent as though they still leaned over their plow? And the women, thin as a stalk of wheat from too much work, self-consciously fingering their aprons with hands red and roughened from scrubbing lye-treated clothes on a washboard? After these commendable people got over their shock at technology, wouldn't they be pleased by our enhancement of the city's beauty, by our respect for area past, and by our appreciation of local, God-given nature. I think so. Although the changes keep coming, and swift progress causes some of us palpitations, let's enjoy every minute in our town.
May you always love this place like I do.
Patti Brady is a member of Preservation Woodstock, and she is author of the Woodstock novels.