What's in a name, revisited

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

All right, girls and boys, today we’ll take up the matter of Peachtree Corners, a community in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County that thinks it would make a good city all by itself and rejects the notion that it will be swallowed whole by the ever-burgeoning metropolis, Norcross.

I Googled a map of Peachtree Corners and honestly, the intersection of Peachtree Corners and Peachtree Industrial Highway is about the only manifestation of Peachtree Corners on the map. According to Internet articles, there has not exactly been a citizen uprising one way or another on the subject, despite an impassioned editorial written by a Byron Gilbert who is aghast at the possibility of incorporation.

Come to think of it, Peachtree Corners may be the only community in the world not experiencing widespread protesting this week.

But that’s not why I am regaling you about Peachtree Corners. The whole plan seems to overlook the fact that we already have too many “Peachtree” names in the Atlanta area, including Peachtree City, where there are at least four roadways alone.

Parenthetically, on a smaller scale, our fair city once asked the early developers of Peachtree City to stop naming streets alike, but “peach” was not the miscreant. No fewer than 11 place names in our town are based on “Pine.” The planning commission and the fire department are both alert to prevent the kind of confusion that could be deadly.

The whole Peachtree thing seems to be based on old-timer’s lore, and that we were hearing “peach trees” when the Indians were talking “pitch trees.” Besides, I can find no dictionary that legitimizes “peachtree,” one word. The term is “peach tree,” two words, just as it is pine tree and apple tree and walnut tree.

At least that would legitimize using PTC as a contraction if it were not misspelled too.

How Peachtree City got its name has been the subject of speculation, but supposedly, when our forebears were scratching their heads over what to name the new town, one of them looked out the window of the downtown office where they were meeting, saw Peachtree-something and said, “Peachtree City. It has marketing potential.”

I like to believe that Joel Cowan was not the one who voiced that suggestion, but I won’t ask him. “It has marketing potential,” indeed.

I’m concerned that Peachtree Corners will be getting mail intended for Peachtree City folks. The postal service is not real good about distinguishing street names and numbers, as we can attest. From whenever Planterra subdivision opened until recently, we’ve received mail about once a month forwarded from the good folks at 127 Terrane Ridge to our 127 Terrace Tay. Some postal computer can’t tell the two apart.

Heck, when I tried to use the browser to focus on Peachtree Corners by quote marks and omitting the word “City” altogether, I got only two or three “Peachtree Corners” before it went to “Peachtree City” and dropped “Corners” entirely.

Have you thought about just “Peach Corners,” new neighbor? Need another good reason not to use the P word? I can tell you from experience, when they give you little boxes to print your address in on a form or application, the average city name does not allow enough space for “Peachtree City.”

Yours is three digits longer.

Trust me, Peachtree Corners, you don’t want to do this recklessly.

Last weekend Dave and I were honored to be invited to a 90th birthday barbecue for former mayor Fred Brown. There were more than about a hundred guests, the vast majority of whom were in some way involved with Peachtree City in its formative years.

Talk about a room full of history. Most of those who attended took part in our fledgling volunteer government.

Except for one, all the former mayors or their widows were there, from Joel Cowan up to and including Bob (and Debi) Lenox. Joel (and Geri) were there; so were Chip (and Katie) Conner. Brownie Jones, Ralph’s widow, was there, as well as Howard Morgan’s wife, Dolly.

Dolly aced them all. She is five years older than Fred, looks five years younger.

What a legacy. These were the years when dignity still mattered to office holders and to the voting public.

Or as someone once quipped, When they wrote the dictionary, next to the entry “mayor” they stuck a picture of Frederick Brown, Jr.

Mark your calendar: The tenth annual Interfaith Thanksgiving service will take place this year on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity on Antioch Road. The service will include traditional readings and music from the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish communities.

The service will be followed by desserts and coffee and tea. Bring non-perishable foods for donation too Fayette Samaritans, a community outreach program for the needy. The public is most welcome.

SallieS@Juno.com

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