What Would You Save?

Abandoned house - St Mary Mo c 1966Running across these photos of an abandoned house in St. Mary from around 1966 got me to thinking about something.

For a long time, I carried around¬† a list of stories I’d like to do. Eventually, I came to realize that stories found me, I didn’t go looking for them, so I set the list aside.

Still, the idea that stayed with me the longest was something about the early settlers who headed out west in their wagon trains. When they started out, they carried everything including the kitchen sink. As the trail got steeper and food and water supplies got low, they had to lighten the load by throwing out possessions they thought were least important. What was the last “nonessential” to go out the back, I wondered?

What would you save?

Abandoned house - St Mary Mo c 1966Before I got around to asking strangers to let me to photograph them with the three things they would save from their home if it caught fire, I decided to pose the question to friends and coworkers. Turned out most folks were very predictable: family; pets, then photographs, were what would be carried out.

When it became obvious that most of the photos would look alike, I abandoned the project.

What did they take?

Abandoned house - St Mary Mo c 1966Still, when I look through this open window, I have to wonder what did the owners take from those opened drawers, and why did the random beads, buttons and juice squeezer not make the cut? (As always, you can click on the photos to make them larger.)

So, what would YOU carry out of your burning house? Are you going to be like most folks and say “Family, pets and scrapbooks?”


Nellie Vess Revisited

Nellie Vess 08-13-1968Back in 2012, I did a piece titled Turtles, Frogs, Dogs and Desperation where I explained how I come up with story ideas. (The key word was “desperation.) It’s worth a visit, even if I say so myself.

In it, I introduced Mrs. Nellie Vess, one of my favorite subjects. You can click on the photos to make them larger.

Rhonda and Patty Sue

Rhonda Kay Judson, 5, plays with Mrs. Nellie Vess' dog near Trimble 08-13-1968It told the story of how an elderly woman found that puppy Patty Sue attracted the neighborhood kids like Rhonda Kay Judson, 5. The headline of my 1968 Athens Messenger Picture Page was Lonely No More.

‘Now I have lots of company,” Mrs. Vess told me.

Fast-forward to 2015

Nellie Vess layout web versionI love getting comments, but today’s mail brought one from Sheila Knott that was super-special:

“This is my sister and our neighbor years ago!!! It was such a joy to see this. I knew Mrs Vess very well and she was a wonderful woman. I was born a year and 5 days after these pics were takin! Thank you so much for sharing and I’ll have to show my sister (Rhonda) the second one, I don’t believe she has ever seen it!”

Speaking of desperation

I mentioned over the holidays that I had some stuff that I needed to get done and that I might slack off for a week. As it turned out, I produced rerun pages during that period that took almost as much time as if I had come up with fresh content.

My van buying / selling experience put me even further behind.

On top of that, I may have a chance to pick up some freelance work that may actually mean that Wife Lila and I won’t have to fight Bleeping Cat for dinner. (We haven’t bothered to name most of our feline parade over the years. Oh, yes, there is an official name on file with the vet, but we usually just call them “Brown Cat, Big Cat, Little Cat, Orange Cat or, in the case of the current resident, “Bleeping Cat.”)

So, don’t be surprised if I come up missing from time to time or all that gets posted is a photo gallery of what I happen to be editing at the time.

Of course, while I’m gone, don’t forget to click on the tiny yellow DONATE button at the top of the page  to keep Phoebe the Bleeping Cat fed.