One of the great things about Country Walk is that it is a real neighborhood, not just a place where people live. Neighbors bond in lasting relationships with the folks who live next door. We asked some residents who have lived here for 25 years or longer what they valued about the neighborhood and their favorite memories — discovering some hidden history along the way.
Ray Winter and his family moved here in 1990 when his job relocated from Alabama to Atlanta. Country Walk offered a combination of benefits: proximity to his job, the McEachern school district, and a house with a flat driveway, basement, and porch.
Ray treasured the camaraderie with the neighbors. “The neighbors watched out for each other. We used to watch each other’s kids,” he said. They used to block off the cul de sac on Quail Hunt, set up a big screen TV, and share food and friendship at their block parties. He remembers when the pool, always the social center of the neighborhood, was packed on summer weekends.
“In 1995, when the Braves won the playoffs, we chartered two buses and had a tailgate party down at Turner Field,” he said. “We had a hooting and hollering time at the ballgame, then came back to the pool.”
Though he and his wife were never on the tennis team, they used to enjoy watching the matches.
Ray remembered that Country Walk used to have its own AM radio station, with a broadcast area limited to the neighborhood. Robbie Spears, a former resident of Country Walk and local radio DJ, would tape a program featuring news about nearby sales and social events, as well as realtor announcements. Some of those social events might have included the adult costume parties at Halloween, or caroling at Christmas.
Ray recommends that new residents “try your best to get to know your neighbors … you can help them, and they can help you.” He hopes that the HOA stays strong and keeps up the property values, because he is happy here and absolutely has no plans to move out.
The McEachern school district also enticed Suzy and Kent Shelton, who had lived in Marietta most of their lives, to become original homeowners in Country Walk.
Suzy remembers that the Country Walk amenities were the first of their kind in this area, and that to this day, “most neighborhoods don’t have established greenspace and trees like ours does.”
Most neighborhoods don’t have established greenspace and trees like ours does.
Suzy Shelton, Country Walk resident
Suzy fondly remembers “our son Chase, who is now 27, growing up with the Lockamy, Gilligan, Sides, and Jones children. They all played outside until dark, rode bikes and swam at pool together.
“Even though the Sides and Jones families have moved, we still keep in touch with them after all these years,” she said.
Suzy prizes the way all the neighbors on Quail Hunt still look out for each other on their quiet street, and she likes to welcome new residents with a card and some baked goods or cookies from Publix or Kroger (two stores that were but a dream when the neighborhood was first built).
Steve and Marge Tamas are original homeowners who bought their home on Deer Chase in 1987, drawn by the playing field, country store and the consistently attractive design of the houses and landscaping — with lots of trees.
Like Ray and Suzy, Steve recalls socializing at the pool, “especially when the kids were younger,” and the fun of trick-or-treating with the kids on Halloween night, often dressed in costume himself. Marge, who comes from a town in Wisconsin that outlawed nighttime trick or treating decades ago, was delighted that her girls could trick-or-treat at night as she had when she was very young.
Marge also remembers when we used to bring meals when families had someone in the hospital, and how the Country Walk Babysitting Exchange was a Friday night sanity-saver.
As for his favorite memory, Steve notes that the drainage into the little creek at the edge of the field has changed during the past quarter century. “After a rainstorm, the creek used to fill up much higher and flow much faster than it does now,” he says. “A couple of times, the entire field flooded, and once, some of older boys were paddling around in canoes on ‘Lake Country Walk.’ ”
Steve remembers when everyone on the street was a new homeowner, and how “you couldn’t work on your yard without frequent, pleasant interruptions.
“Everyone was in a get-to-know-you frame of mind,” he adds. Steve advises new residents to “take the initiative to introduce yourself. You will find your neighbors universally friendly. You are now the one in meeting-people mode, and we know what that’s like!”
The social dynamics of Country Walk as it was 25 years ago can’t be replicated — most of the little kids who used to ride their bikes have grown up and moved away, and all of us original homeowners are 25 years older besides. But it’s great to see the old neighborly attitudes very much alive — thriving — and in fact polished to a high gloss!