For the “Macon in the Mirror” project, we asked people across the city why they live here and what they like most about Macon. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
Emanuel Germany, 24
Germany grew up in Macon and is now pursuing a medical degree.
“I love Macon’s culture and history, and it’s my home. It’s nice, quiet and humble. It’s an extremely peaceful place to live. It’s a really good place to raise a family.”
Mark Stevens, 61
Stevens is a retired banker who was born and raised in Macon and graduated from Mercer University.
“I certainly like the people. I like the size of Macon. I like the fact we have a great medical community and we also have a great arts community. And I like the proximity of Macon to Atlanta, and I love the cherry blossom trees.”
Jusak Yang Bernard, 54
Bernard is a small business owner who moved to Macon in 2012.
“I love the people. I think the people are very friendly. People are very supportive.”
Veronda Ford, 26
Ford moved to Macon in 2005 to attend Mercer University and is now a public health adviser with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I think Macon has a lot to offer as a far as geographic location. It is right in the middle of two big, thriving cities -- Atlanta up north and Savannah down south. There is always something going on for no matter what type of crowd.”
Leroy Thomas, 68
Thomas, a retired cab driver, was born and raised in Macon.
“It’s beautiful. The city itself is a city in a park,” he said. “All of your downtown streets running north and south are named after trees. Mulberry Street, Walnut Street, Pine Street, Cherry Street. And if you look at Washington Park near the post office, it’s representative of the shape of Macon. And it’s extremely beautiful. It was beautiful long before William Arthur Fickling brought the first Yoshino cherry tree, but that has made it even more beautiful.”
Macon is home for most of his family, including his 85-year-old mother.
“I was separated from the United States Navy in 1969 at the Philadelphia naval shipyard. When I told my friends and colleagues that I was going to Macon, Ga., they looked at me as though I had a hole in my head. ’You going back down there?’ The way you change ‘down there’ is to go down there and change it. I know I couldn’t change it. But I thought that I could be a part, and I have been, I think, in a small way.”
Column Dever, 24
Dever, who has family in Macon, moved to the city two years ago to teach high school.
“I do like how it’s walkable. It has a classic city plan. From my apartment I can walk to work. I can walk to church. You know, that’s a neat thing about it.”
Candace Roberson, 39
Roberson is a certified nursing assistant who enjoys taking care of people.
“It’s my home, my birthplace. It’s where I’ve been living all my life.”
Jones moved to Macon two years ago and likes the city’s architecture. She is an evangelist who spends her time helping the homeless.
“I live here because the Lord sent me here to walk in the midst of his people and to love the least of these and to come and tell him that he is still their hope.”
Charlotte McMullan, 70
McMullan moved to Macon in 1968 and worked as an accountant until she retired. She described Macon as “the best-kept secret in the world.”
“The friendliness of the people,” she said. “At first I thought it was insincere and phony. I came from Cleveland, Ohio, which is typical of a big city. People don’t have time or appear to not have time for other people. ... When people in Macon said, ‘Y’all come,’ they meant it. When they stopped to talk to you, there were sincerely interested in who you are, and it was so refreshing and so charming. ... People still say hello to each other in grocery stores and restaurants, and they have no idea who they are saying hello to. They are genuinely nice people.”
McMullan said you get out of communities what you put into them.
“My preconceived ideas of Macon were totally different than what was here because I was a big city girl, and all big city people think everywhere that is not a big city is a hick town,” she said. “But I fell in love with it as soon as I got here.”
Sgt. Earnest Bronson, 51
Bronson is an administrative sergeant in the police department’s Precinct 2 off Houston Avenue.
“I was born here and I was raised here, and this is just a good place for me. It has a good fit, a good feel to it. I’ve gone other places, I’ve visited other places and I haven’t found anywhere I wanted to move to.”