Grace McGee has been a fixture of the Oakhurst neighborhood since 1968. From the days of “Mama Grace’s” annual back-to-school picnic extravaganza to today, Grace’s love for children has been abundant. “This street still has loving and caring people. I don’t get out much anymore, but if they need anything, I’m here.”
Grace McGee and her husband moved to Decatur in 1968. When Grace was raising a family her home was known by all the neighborhood children as “Miss Grace’s House.” Every year, Grace would hold a back-to-school picnic across the street at Oakhurst Elementary School for the youngsters living on Olympic, Feld, and Mead Roads.
“We had a wiener roast, hamburgers, apple bites, drinks, cookies, and played music. We had a dance contest and gave out a prize. Some of the children still come by to see me, and they all remember it. They call me ‘Mama Grace.’”
Grace, who now lives with her daughter, two granddaughters, and two great-grandchildren, recalls that there was a time when all the neighbors knew each other and were like family. Over the years many of her neighbors have died, yet the character of her street has remained friendly.
“Some people probably don’t know me, but the people I meet smile, and we speak. The street still has loving and caring people. I don’t get out much anymore but if they need anything, I’m here. And I don’t mind it.”
Grace hopes that her great-grandchildren will remember the things she has taught them. She reminds them, “You can be anything you want to be. Keep dreaming. If you stop dreaming, life stops.”