25 May 2015

[TPC] - Leaving Mansfield: A Write-up by J. Ellis Millsaps

The Piedmont Chronicles

~ est. 2010 ~

[State of Georgia]

[Newton County]

(Covington, GA) * 25 May 2015

Leaving Mansfield: A Write-up by contributing writer J. Ellis Millsaps

Special to The Piedmont Chronicles 

I lived in Mansfield, GA for 20 years. I never considered myself a Mansfeldian, however, never considered myself a Newton Countian - I'm from Fannin County, a mountain boy.

But my children are Mansfield. They are Newton Co. They were raised here. It's the only home my son can remember. My daughter was born at Newton General. It was a wonderful place for them to grow up.

It had by far the best elementary school in the county - although I must say that the test scored didn't really shoot up till my kids got in the pool, haha. But seriously, when my kids started there was only one class in each grade so one kid's score had a lot of weight in the average. My kids would walk or ride their bikes the three blocks from our house to the school. My son actually rode his bicycle to Kindergarten (we did see them past Hwy 11). 

At home they played outside unsupervised. We never locked our doors. The front door didn't even have a lock. The only crime we ever had was when a kid tried stealing my bike but the Mayor of Mansfield helped me run the little snot down.

But Mansfield wasn't where it was happening. It still isn't... 

One night I was sitting on my porch in the wee morning hours smoking a cigar. Across the street at Beaver Mfg. a worker, he sounded African-American, yelled, "rock and roll Mansfield!" I almost fell out of my rocker laughing. Mansfield, you see, does not rock and roll.

Except at the Millsaps residence it did. My kids and later their friends grew up on my vast and always cutting edge record collection. They'd watch their Dad dancing free-form to "Refugee" and "Psycho Killer." When they were elementary school age they complained that our large, ramshackle turn-of-the-century house (nobody calls 1999-2001 turn-of-the-century yet), didn't have the icy AC and shiny stuff that all of their friends' houses did, but by the time they were old enough to drive they, and all their friends, only wanted to be at our abode in Mansfield. 

There was no adult supervision. The two-thousand-aughts were the golden age of the Millsaps in Mansfield. There was a pool, a bocci ball court, and some serious wiffle ball going on. There were usually kids sleeping over and always some rock and roll going on!

But then the kids all grew up and moved away. The huge house was so empty and the music didn't sound the same anymore.

Now I've moved to Porterdale. More on that later... 


Editor's note:

I first met Ellis in 2005. I was part of the gang of kids (although I was 30 at the time) that would sometimes move in like a swarm of locusts consuming his consumables, playing his R'n'R vinyl records, imbibing, and generally having a fine ole time and - "Keepin' it real in Mansfield!" I'd gotten to know Da (the nickname for Ellis) when he had signed on to manage the fledgling rock and roll band that I was a part of at the time - The Cool Swap. The Millsaps place in Mansfield was a special place. A lot of memories there. It also served as our rehearsal space later on when we were known as Neon Madmen. And I so get that the house had gotten too big and how the music just didn't quite sound the same. I think Ellis is definitely more in his element in P-Dale. I look forward to reading his thoughts on life in the ole mill village. - MM