This is not your typical engagement announcement. Our story is not your typical story. But, we are definitely two typical, bright eyed and homegrown Peachtree City kids.
Jeff and I were both born and raised in Peachtree City. We met in kindergarten where we attended Oak Grove Elementary, and we continued our schooling together at Huddleston Elementary, Booth Middle, and McIntosh High School. I was very musical and Jeff was an athlete, so we didn't really run in the same circle of friends. However, Jeff did have a crush on me in the 5th grade, and he distinctly remembers that I "picked another boy over him" at my birthday party. Thank goodness he gave me a second chance!
We started dating after reconnecting at our ten year high school reunion, and on our second date we went to a friend's party in Peachtree City. On the drive back, we started talking about the new expansion of Highway 74 and how we didn't like it. This opened a whole new can of worms and a whole flood of childhood memories.
We fondly remember when the only grocery store in town was at the Aberdeen shopping center, now the site of World's Gym. We remember when the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Hwy 54 (where Big Star used to be) was so small that there was only a stop sign.
We remember pizza eating contests at Partner's Pizza, birthday parties at Picnic Park, and twilight concerts at the amphitheater. We remember exhilarating 4th of July celebrations with hundreds of golf carts!
We remember peacefully watching the deer graze at dusk in a meadow where the Kedron Kroger now stands. We remember early morning star gazing labs with Mrs. Wild's science class and late night soccer games and marching band competitions.
We remember the steadfast dedication of our parents, teachers, coaches and ministers.
We lovingly remember riding our bikes, building forts, fishing at Huddleston Pond and Lake Peachtree, and exploring the outdoors pretty much every day until the sun went down. We remember eating dinner at the table every night with our families, and we remember feeling happy and safe.
You see, Jeff and I learned very early on that our attraction to each other is incredibly strong because we are both products of Peachtree City. Now in our thirties and slightly more wise with experience, we've learned what to appreciate in others and in ourselves. Our upbringing in Peachtree City made both of us independent, hardworking, adventurous, and caring individuals. We have a deep appreciation for the environment and an intense interest in helping others. We feel exceedingly lucky to have been nurtured and supported by our families and our whole community.
Jeff and I have definitely seen some changes in our small town throughout the years, but Peachtree City is still a beautiful gem of a place, and we can't wait to raise our own children here. We only hope that this city will not lose sight of its original purpose, as a delightful and well planned community where people live and work together as a tight knit group that supports one another. Where we can send our kids out to play until the sun goes down, because we know that everyone is looking out for each other. Jeff and I can only hope that our children will experience our same good fortune. Here's to a happy marriage and a happy life in Peachtree City.
Jeffrey Spatz and Ashleigh McDaniel will be married April 21, 2012 in Dahlonega, Ga.