By Mollie Davis
On almost any pleasant night on Mercer’s campus, around dusk, you’ll find students coming in from intramural games, tossing a Frisbee on Cruz Plaza, or heading downtown for a bite to eat. Amid this hum of activity underneath the Mercer spires, you’re bound to run into Mercer English Professor Dr. David Davis and his wife Kris. They’re unmistakable: even if you happen to glance past his towering 6’6” frame, you can’t help but notice their three dogs strutting across the quad, scurrying and sniffing around while their owners catch up with each other after a long day. Though they have been in the Corridor for only five years now, the couple has become a fixture on campus and around the neighborhood.
Born and raised in Taylor County, Ga., David grew up with a healthy mistrust of neighboring city of Macon. He recalls periodically coming with his family to the old Macon Mall to shop, because for him and many families growing up in Central Georgia in the 1980s, Macon was “the big city.”
Much has changed since David first made the trip to Macon. “Our home today was just an old crack house back then,” he admits laughing.
It’s hard to imagine his slate gray house on Rembert Avenue as anything other than a happy home. Greeted with excitement by the family’s dogs, I sat down to chat with David and Kris, a fourth grade teacher at Alexander II, about their move to the College Hill Corridor, favorite community events and special family outings.
In 2008, David transferred from Wake Forrest University in Winston-Salem, NC to Macon to begin his career as a Mercer professor. An accomplished author and avid William Faulkner enthusiast, his work focuses on American literature and southern studies. Though his family has only lived in Macon for five years, he admits the community felt like “home at first sight.”
When they were looking for a place to live in Macon, Andrew Silver, a fellow Mercerian and self-proclaimed Maconite, led David and Kris around town to find a new home for their family of four.
“We looked at a lot of areas downtown, but after we saw the Huguenin Heights neighborhood, we knew where we were supposed to be,” Kris remembers fondly.
The couple recalled the day they pulled into Rembert Avenue to find several young boys playing in the yard, families relaxing on porches, and other couples coming out to greet them at their car. Within seconds, both of the Davis’ sons, Lucas and Ayden, were whisked away to neighbors’ backyards to play, and the visiting family had met half the neighborhood. “Yes, it was a set-up. Andy had told them we were coming and the whole neighborhood was ready to make a great impression,” David admits with a laugh, “but that’s really how it is around here. We love it.”
“We decided to buy the house based on that first experience, we just needed to make sure it had flushing toilets!” He continues. The southern charm and blank potential of the home resonated with the couple, and as their sons made friends and played with the neighbors, the whole thing just felt right. Gesturing to the beautiful early fall day outside, David admits, “In the end, we realized we paid for the neighborhood, and it came with a house to live in.”
Since their move five years ago, the Davis’ have made themselves at home in the Corridor, getting to know their neighbors, enjoying Mercer athletic events, eating at Mercer Village, and walking several of their dogs around the area at night. “In all honesty,” David begins, with the air of an academic musing on his reflections, “we spend 90 percent of our time in a half-mile radius of Tattnall Square Park. Everything we need is here, or in a short driving distance. In terms of convenience and community feel, this was our ideal spot.”