Paul was nominated for The Faces of Athens by Courtney Mapp Cirou. Courtney said: He’s a cool cat, funny as heck, smart as a whip and loves all that is Athens!
Paul Allen was born in Lawrence, Kansas and moved to the Eastside of Athens with his family (including sister Rachel, who did this interview) when he was 10. He attended Barnett Shoals Elementary, Patti Hilsman Middle and Cedar Shoals High Schools, and graduated from UGA with a degree in Physical Education. He is the Tennis Pro and Director of Tennis at the Georgia Club. Paul lives on the Eastside, 4 doors down from his childhood home in Green Acres, with his wife Tonya, daughters Mia and Cora and dog Punky.
What do you love about your current career?
I love that I get to be outside and get exercise. I love that I get to teach, I love teaching. I love that I get to teach a sport. Sports in general has been one of my biggest passions since I was a tiny little kid. I also love the fact that I have autonomy.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
If I had to pick one it is probably DePalmas Eastside and their Seafood Charmaigne, but I get it with angel hair pasta instead of fettuccine. I have several other places as well that I am a huge fan of. The Cuban Especial at Cali-N-Titos is incredible and the Italian special sandwich at Peppino’s/Little Italy is also on the list. I could go on and on, really.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Well, I would say the first thought I would have is pretty typical for a white guy is Western Europe, England, France, Spain, Ireland because that is where most of our family is from. Norway, we have a lot of family there, but it doesn’t seem to be as appealing to me. I would also love to see all of the old architecture of Italy, too.
What is your favorite movie, or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a movie theatre?
Well, this answer is not the answer to either question, but it is kind of a close answer to both questions, which is the movie The Natural. I saw it in a movie theatre in 1984, so I was eight years old. It is not the first movie I saw, but it is one of the first ones. It is definitely the first non-kids movie I saw in the movie theatre. I fell in love with it. It was the first VHS movie that I had that Amo [our grandmother] bought for me for Christmas one year so I watched it over and over and over. I love movies so much that trying to pick one as my favorite is like picking a favorite restaurant and so my go to is The Natural because of I love the movie and the significance it has to me.
What current or former business makes you most nostalgic about Athens?
I definitely get the nostalgia when I go to the skating rink with Mia and Cora because that is a place I only went to as a kid and then I didn’t go to it for forever. I don’t go to it very often now, but whenever I go back it looks exactly the same, it hasn’t really changed. Also, right next to that is Satterfield Park where I played baseball and haven’t really been back much since. It is kind of sad because now with Hilsman demolished all three of my schools that I have gone to have all been torn down and rebuilt so I would probably say that except the fact the buildings are no longer there.
If you could see any band, dead or alive, at any venue who would it be and what venue?
Well, the very first thing that pops into my mind isn’t a band, but to go back to like an opera house and watch Mozart play piano would be amazing and my first choice. But, besides that if we are going to go with a band, something more modern I really enjoy listening to musicians who are prodigies and the stuff they did when they were younger is amazing. Like Stevie Wonder when he was younger, Stevie Wonder pops into my head because he plays all these different instruments to see him play the Apollo in Harlem would be amazing. I am sure along with everyone else I would agree with seeing The Beatles and seeing them at a small club in London would be pretty amazing. The combination of watching Stevie Wonder play piano, play other instruments when he was 14 and 15, I think that would be pretty incredible.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Well, I guess it is not a secret anymore, but a lot of people did not know I like to sing and perform. People who have known me since childhood know that, but a lot of my newer friends had no idea.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Athens, Eastside, and Green Acres. As you know, Green Acres was my home from age 10 to 18 and has been my home from age 35 to 42 as well. It has always always been home, really, since our parents live there.