Grand Dame

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OK, the glory part is long gone, but to an “abandoned” addict, (you other addicted photographers know who you are) this was a euphoric moment. I had no time to explore because I had to get back on the road.

A few weeks later I told my husband, David, that we were going on a little road trip. Great adventurer that he is, he was up to it. Only one tiny problem, I couldn’t remember what exit I had I used or what town I was near when I made the discovery on that fateful day! Then I had a brilliant idea – check my bank account and see where I had purchased gas that day. Bingo! all the info was there, we were set to go.

It was a beautiful morning, bright blue sky, white clouds and the trip was a good one. Once we exited off the interstate, I started feeling a rush come over me, and there she was, such a beauty.

I had a thousand thoughts going through my mind. I wished some of my buddies, Scott, Mike, Cindi, and Catherine were here enjoying this with me, I knew they would be as excited as I was. As we were driving up the road, I posed the question to David, “How does someone walk away from this once magnificent piece of architecture? I just don’t get it.”

There was a long dirt road from the main road to the house. David complained about the tall briars as we turned in. I had to remind him that this is the very reason I traded the Jag for the Jeep. Briars, mud, potholes, brush, rocks, the Jeep allows me to plow my way through to indulge in this type of photography, or any other off-road junket that I might need to take. He got the point and we were on our way to the ultimate prize.

It was a great time for me. I’m not sure David felt the same level of excitement that I did, but he had fun watching me climb around. I knew my photography friends would love this place.

The other side of the anticipation and excitement of any abandoned place, are the little scary, eerie feelings I always experience. Scary, not from a ghostly standpoint, but because you don’t know if anyone else is in the house or if someone unexpected might drive up the road. Eerie, because you are standing in the decay of what was once so full of life. Cold air was blowing through, broken furniture, debris, dirt and clothes were littered about. And over it all, the silence. Because of that silence, every step we took, every creak of the decaying floors was magnified, just like being in a scene from a Stephen King novel!

No matter how many of these abandonded places I walk through, I will never get over the desire to know what the soul of this house looked and sounded like in another time. Who were the families, what kind of life did they have?

In an upstairs bedroom, there was a door leading to a big screened balcony. I can only imagine what it would have been like, before the interstate was built, perched up on that hilltop, looking out at the awesome view. The romantic in me sees a couple on a sultry southern night lit only by stars and lighting bugs, sipping a mint julep, sitting on a big porch swing talking, or maybe just enjoying the silence broken only by a chorus of frogs and katydids.

Well you can tell my imagination gets the best of me when I’m shooting in a place like this. I’m sure that whoever buys this land will demolish the house because parts of it are beyond repair. It will be a sad end to a once glorious Grand Dame. I’m so happy I got to spend some time with her.

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