Friday, February 18, 2011

America: Falling Down

I'm 36 years old, married for the second time and mother/stepmother to four amazing kids.  I went to and graduated from, a State University and have a full time job.  I also do contract work for friends and family when they need me to.  I'm a member (albiet not a very good one this year) of the DAR and am going to be the PTA President of Bunny's school next year.  I pay my bills, keep the family organized and running smoothly, and I even clean bathrooms.  In a lot of ways though, I'm still a lot like a little kid.  I'm still trying to figure out what I want to "be" when I grow up.

For a while I wanted to be a painter.  In high school, I learned to oil paint and man did I love it.  And I wasn't too bad if I do say so myself.  Later, in college I took a watercolor class and loved the challenge it represented.  I haven't painted in years though.  Too busy I guess and I recognize I lack the passion for it.  I liked it, but I don't love it.

I've dabbled with the idea of homeschooling my kids and the rewards and challenges that would go along with that.  I haven't followed through of course, in part because our family needs my working income, but also because I doubt I have the patience to be a very effective teacher.  Even for my own kids.  Patience is something that I struggle with daily and fail at more often than not.  I keep trying though!

For as long as I remember, I've wanted to be a writer.  A fiction writer specifically. In college, I briefly courted the idea of becoming an editor.  I'm not sure why I strayed from that.  I guess because while I am definitely left brained in my approach to most things (organized, systematic and consistent), I have enough right brain influence that whatever I do in life has to have some measure of creativity.  And reading other people's creative outlets just didn't seem like enough to feed my own creative needs.

Obviously, photographer is one of my dream jobs.  And this one might even be achievable one day when I've taken about a million more photos and really defined my take on the craft. Until then, I take as many photos as I can of things that I find interesting.  I love that I've found a way to blend a story with my photos in this blog. It gives me a purpose to my photos (which keeps my left brain happy) and an excuse to take a million more and share the stories behind them (happy right brain).

Which brings me to these old homes that are in the area around the farm.  They've been around as long as I can remember making treks to the farm, and after being given some background on a few of them from the Awesome Uncle K, I know that several of them have been around a lot longer than I imagined.

I always wondered about these buildings.  Someone built a home for his family ages ago.   They lived there, loved there, probably laughed and cried.  Babies were likely born in those buildings and given the time period, some probably died there too.

This house is on an old dirt road we called "tunnel road" as kids since the tree branches grew up over the road making a tunnel effect. We would take this road home late at night from church revivals (if we were good in church) and we would watch the stars occasionally peak in at us from behind the branches.  The road probably has a proper name, but I didn't bother looking for it.  It will always be tunnel road as far as I'm concerned.

This is one of my favorites and always has been.  This is just a hop, skip and a jump (one street and a regular house lot) from a big lake that's in the area.

The front porch - or what's left of it - faces the rising sun and the lake.  What an amazing view they would have had each morning.

I imagine that it was a great location once upon a long time ago.  Water with plenty of fishing nearby, woods all around to hunt in before development really set in.  I would love to be able to go back in time and see what this house was like when it was originally built.

This has also been one of my favorites for a long time.  Unlike the other houses that sit just off of roads that are still used regularly, this one sits on a piece of property my Great Uncle T used to own on the other side of a state forest.

This is a view of the house from only partway down the dirt road you have to take to get there.  There's actually two pieces of property down this way.  The house and the land at the end to the left used to be Great Uncle T's.  It was sold out of the family a while ago.  The land at the end to the right belongs to my Uncle S. - my mom's oldest brother. 

The Amazing Uncle K, told me this used to be a regular stop for the local stage coach.  Now it mostly houses an assortment of critters and hay.

This all of course, leads me to my latest "when I grow up" job.  I want to tour the country - maybe even the world - taking pictures of these old falling down homes.  I want to talk to the locals to find out the histories of each of the homes, and when I have enough, I want to publish a coffee table book with my photos and those stories.  I'll call it, America: Falling Down.  I claim all copyrights to this idea and the title.  Don't steal my idea or I'll.. well, I'll cry and then you'll feel bad. Honest, you will!  I don't think it will make the best seller list or anything, but it sure would be fun.

Seriously.. Thoughts?


  1. Many people do their 'dream job' after retirement. You're not alone.

  2. I'm always amazed by your photos. I, too, would love to be a photographer. I'm not nearly as good as you are though. I have zero photo editing skills. I also would love to ditch this job that bores me out of my mind everyday for something more cathartic and fulfilling. So I feel your pain.

    I really do love these pics. The second one is my favorite. Definitely frame worthy.

  3. Awww, thanks Maggie. I love taking photos, I just wish I had more time to really work on my art. Meanwhile, the second image is my favorite too and I was just thinking the other day I should print it up! Such great minds!

  4. I've wanted to write a similar photo-book - about the broken-down houses and barns scattered across the Palouse. The rolling hills make such a fabulous background for these beautiful structures. The next time you're up in Moscow, you should take some time to drive on the old goat tracks and photograph some of those barns - preferably when the hills are green and yellow :)
    For instance, This house, though not of the type I'm usually interested in, brought some fun questions to mind: (this is right off 95 :)

  5. You're right Ophelia. I feel like there are tons of opportunities across the Palouse. Love the photo! Will have to take the family to Moscow at some point and make a photo trip of it!