If You're a Native Atlantan, Here's a Club for You
A conversation with Jan Appling
Appling, a sixth-generation DeKalb County native (“on both sides”), joined the club in 2002, twelve years after its formation. A former Realtor and insurance saleswoman, now a Mary Kay Cosmetics beauty consultant, Appling, fifty-eight, lives in Tucker and heads the club, which has about 180 active members. She talked with sixth-generation Atlantan Charles Bethea.
Why have this club? What’s the purpose? To keep Atlanta’s brand of Southern hospitality alive and well and build the community.
Any initiation rituals? You just need a birth certificate saying you were born in Atlanta. We also accept DeKalb Medical Center. Then fill out the application and pay dues: $49 a year or $295 for a lifetime.
Have nonnatives tried to sneak in? We’ve had a couple of spouses born elsewhere who wanted to be Natives; we allowed them to join as “associate” members. Like my sister’s husband: His parents lived here, but his dad was in the Air Force Reserve and got called to Valdosta for six months, and he was born there. We don’t encourage that.
What goes on at meetings? We’ve toured the Fox Theatre and Oakland Cemetery. We’ve dedicated trees. Recently we’ve simply had lunch somewhere followed by a speaker. So many members have hearing issues (the average age is seventy-five to eighty) that we have to have a private room and a microphone.
Do Atlantans care about their geographic identities? I think so. But they all just have so many other things going on.
Photograph by Zac Henderson. This article originally appeared in our December 2012 issue.