In Part 1, we learned the history of Julius and Addie Mae Mainor and their journey to homeownership in Hunter Hills. Their youngest daughter, Ms. Shirley Mainor, continues to tell the story of her life in Hunter Hills. . .
"Most of my neighbors’ homes were built in the 40’s, before my family’s home was built. I do remember all my neighbors were very friendly and neighborly. On my street, if one neighbor had an event, then all neighbors were invited and they showed up."
This genuine camaraderie amongst the community left an impact on Ms. Shirley as she was growing up. While recalling some of the people in Hunter Hills who left an impression on her the following came to mind:
Ms. Boykin who taught piano lessons to many children at 264 Chappell Rd.
Ms. Norma Dawson, a principal, lived at 251 Chappell Rd.
Mr. Ogletree, owner of Ogletree Barber Shop on the old Hunter St, lived at 159 Chappell Rd.
Ms. Shirley did not hold back when she was asked how the neighborhood kids entertained themselves in Hunter Hills when she was growing up.
“My favorite things to do then was to ride my bike or skate down my hill (and what a hill it is!). Playing with neighbors was fun, because we played Dodge Ball, Kick Ball, Hide-n-Go-Seek, Marbles, Jacks, Hop Scotch, Chinese Checkers, Checkers, and made doll clothes.” One friend she always remembers well was a young man named Herman. Herman was the son of Julius and Addie’s best friends, Luther and Lenora Cain. Yes. . . Herman Cain, who would later go on to become a 2012 candidate for President of the United States.
Aside from skating down the rolling hills of the neighborhood, Mozley Park was also a go to place. . . but not always. It wasn’t until 1954 that neighboring Mozley Park officially opened to African Americans.
As Shirley remembers, “Mozley Park had a huge swimming pool about the size of a lake with 2 or 3 sliding boards. The park also held an annual Gospel Caravan that came to perform for residents. They had well known gospel singers performing hosted by Bro. Esmond Patterson, Zilla Mays and Tippy Calloway who were WAOK-AM radio DJ’s. These events were free.”
The 50’s and 60’s were a time of great development in Atlanta. Ms. Shirley even recalls when Chappell Road was first paved.
“My most important experience in growing up was living all around dirt roads and seeing trolleys run up and down Simpson. I have very vivid memories of catching the trolley at Chappell and Simpson to go downtown. I always looked up and was amazed about how many wires were overhead that were sparking as trolleys went by".
Growing up during the Civil Rights Movement and seeing Atlanta grow into a major metropolis, Ms. Shirley understood there was no time to be still.
“I attended Morris Brown College as a Math Major while working as a telephone operator for Southern Bell Telephone Co. Back in the day, I was a waitress/barmaid at the well-known Aquarius Club located at 2621 Gordon Rd (MLK) and the Silver Fox on Bankhead (Donald L. Hollowell). Later I accepted the job as an Air Traffic Controller and eventually retired from the IRS as a Customer Service Manager."
One project Ms. Shirley is very proud to have been affiliated with is The Atlanta Project (T.A.P.) which was created by President Jimmy Carter.
"I served as Hunter Hills’ Housing Coordinator in which I made referrals for seniors and low income families for roof replacements if needed. Today, I am a member of a nonprofit organization whose mission is to change eco-social conditions in the area. Currently, we are working with Sadie Mays Health & Rehabilitation, Carrie Steel Pitts Home and Pruitt West Atlanta to deliver items that are needed.”
As you can see, Ms. Shirley has worked in some very interesting and prestigious positions, but the title she is most proud of having is GRANDMOTHER.
She shares: “I had two children, Scott and Mesha. I lost my son Scott Mainor at age 22. Scott was a graduate from Douglass High School and NASCAR Training Institute. My daughter is Georgia State Representative Mesha Mainor for District 56, and she is mother to my wonderful granddaughters Chloe’ and Alexis.”
After reflecting on such an interesting life and many generations of the Mainor family, Shirley says she hopes her legacy will be of kindness and generosity. She also shared the person who inspires her and what gives her hope.
"President Barack Obama inspires me the most, because he exemplifies leadership and demonstrates how a loving caring person interacts. What gives me hope right now is God. Too much racism, violence against others, ‘anti everything’, children’s education being impacted, low paying jobs, etc. We must stay ‘prayed up’. “
Ms. Shirley’s advice to the next generation of Hunter Hills residents in regards to stewardship of the neighborhood is as follows:
Work together to keep yards and sidewalks looking good.
Stay on the City of Atlanta to do their part.
Promote a “Get to Know Your Neighbors” yearly event