The Banks County News
November 14, 2001
Just call me
Preparing for the arrival of a new baby
is exciting and hectic. There is the shower and all the preparation
that goes into it. Then there is planning for, shopping for and
decorating the nursery. Not to mention shopping for all of those
cute little clothes.
With all of the excitement and chaos surrounding the preparation
for a new baby, it's easy to forget that another person will
soon be joining the familya real, live, breathing person
who will claim a part of your heart and not let go.
Family and friends gathered at the hospital early Monday morning
to await the arrival of the newest member of our family. It still
didn't seem real that in just a few hours I would be holding
my nephew. For the first time ever, I would be an aunt.
We arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. and I thought we would have
a baby by lunch. My sister, Amanda, and baby Jake apparently
had other plans. Around lunchtime, after receiving the epidural,
my sister decided to take a nap. For several hours, she peacefully
snoozed while we all nervously looked at her, walked the halls
and answered phone calls from family and friends. The news was
the same for hours, "She's asleep. Call back later,"
or "Still no baby."
When she did wake up and get to work, it really didn't take long
at all. The only ones in the delivery room were Amanda, her husband,
Jacob, the doctor and two nurses. The rest of us were gathered
in the hallway with our ears to the door. I'm sure it was a funny
sight to see six adults with their ears pressed to a door. We
were trying our best to hear something, but with all of the noise
in the hallway, we didn't get much. It was a special moment for
the two families-Amanda's and Jacob's as they joined together
to await the arrival of the baby that would join them together.
One of the special family members there was Hazel Carter, who
was with Mama at the hospital the night Amanda was born. She
arrived early Monday morning and was with us until late that
night. Amanda and I have always considered her a grandmother
and she has been there for the special moments in our lives.
When Jake was born, a nurse stuck her head out the door and said,
"Angie, come on in." As the "official family photographer,"
I was the first in to capture all of the special moments of the
new arrival for the family. I was so busy trying not to miss
anything or see anything that would make me faint, that I didn't
get a good look at my little nephew. You really can take four
rolls of photographs without really looking at what is in front
After the photographs were taken and all of the family members
and friends had come into the room to get their first glimpse
at the new baby, I got to hold him. I haven't held many babies
and have never held a newborn. He seemed sotiny, even though
eight pounds and six ounces isn't considered a small baby. He
still seemed small to me.
I smiled down at the tiny baby, wrapped in a blanket and with
a cloth cap on his head, and said, "I'm Aunt Angie."
He smiled. He really did (no, I wasn't just tired). I'm sure
that special moment is just the first of many more we will share
as he grows up. The fun has just started and I can't wait to
see the man he grows up to be.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and
editor of The Banks County News.
November 14, 2001
Slap a name tag
on the new kid in town
Why must introductions be so formal? As
a kid on the first day of school, everyone had to stand up and
introduce themselves to the class. We had to state our name,
age, where we were born and maybe something that made us a little
different from the other 24 kids saying the same thing throughout
"My name is Kerri Graffius, I'm 23-years-old-year, I was
born in Sugarland, Texas., which is outside of Houston, and I
put syrup on my macaroni and cheese."
It's amazing how years after those days of stating your name
before all of those kids that already knew you, society still
wants to put you into those categories that are so easy for quick
Case in point, by the time I got to high school, people would
no longer simply ask "What's your name?" they wanted
to know "what" you were. For high school kids, that
classification meant one of several potential categories: jock,
brain, grunge (for those kids in school throughout the 1990s),
nerd, prep, sorority-wannabe, etc. In Texas, we even had the
"Kickers" for the hard-core cowboys with hats, boots
and the signature "hubcap" belt buckle fastened to
their tight-fitting jeans.
It was acceptable in high school to classify everyone into one
of those categories (or something similar) when image was everything.
Face it, when you think of someone from high school you automatically
think back to "what" that person was during those years
of immaturity and shallowness.
So what was I like in high school? Kinda preppy, a little brainy
and pretty nerdy.
When I moved to Georgia my sophomore year of high school, I was
known as the quiet, studious short girl who (when she talked)
had a distinctive Midwestern accent. Truth was, I didn't want
to be in Columbus, Georgia-I had never even heard of the place
until I was told at the end of my freshman year that we would
be moving there from our quaint suburban town.
After all, I was going to move back to Texas. That's where I
grew up and that's where I was gonna stay, not in Georgia where
I can't understand half of the things people say.
I soon realized, however, that I had to break out of my shell
and make the most of Georgia. I befriended another girl from
out of the state (and country) who was stuck in the same situation
I was in and I became heavily involved in extracurricular activities.
By my senior year, I was that kid who was involved in every club,
organization and honor society that I could get into with the
yearbook photos to prove it.
Yet, by the time I arrived at college, I noticed that people
don't really care "what" you are, they want to know
"who" you are. As noble as that sounds, it really isn't.
The "who" they want to know about in college is the
"who" as in, "'Who' are you dating?","'Who'
are your parents?",and most importantly "'Who' do you
know and 'who' knows you?"
I suppose we needed that redefined system of classification while
attending a college with more than 30,000 students, such as UGA.
We needed to figure out how we were all connected to one another
at that vast and intimidating university. Better yet, we needed
the inside scoop on everything that was going on around us just
to survive those four years.
In the few weeks that I've been working in Jackson County, I've
been amazed at how everyone truly knows each other-something
that I thought never really existed any longer in these times.
When I tell people the name of my boyfriend, a graduate of Jackson
County Comprehensive High School nearly five years ago, not only
do they know "who" he is, but they know surprisingly
more about him.
"Oh, James, yeah I know him. We were on the sameLlittle
League team together in the fourth grade. How's his brother doing?
Is his mom still at the same school? Tell him I said 'hi,' I
haven't seen him in about eight years."
My god, as a big city girl, I don't know if I should be amazed
by those kinds of comments or scared to death.
I suppose it's just my defense mechanism from growing up in cities
where anonymity in the suburbs, on public transportation and
excessively large schools can be a good thing.
For what it's worth, living in a smaller town seems to bring
more comforts than can be afforded by a metropolis. Since moving
to the Peach State nearly eight years ago, I've come to realize
that Georgia has had more to offer than Houston could have provided
me. It's simply a matter of slapping on a new name tag and waiting
for what happens next.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for Main Street Newspapers. Her
email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.