Monday, July 18, 2011

Detour to the Past

Has this ever happened to you? You are traveling with your family and you spot some place you want to stop.

A roadside fruit stand, an abandoned barn, an antique store. 

You mention this to your darling loved ones.

There are exasperated sighs and eye rolling. They proceed to tell you "Of course if you REALLY want to stop we can go back..." Your husband probably says "go back" the same way mine does. Apparently in the official MANual backtracking to do anything is listed on the same page with asking directions and reading Jane Austen.

But no, they assure you that if YOU really want to "we can stop"...You doubt the sincerity in their voices...because you know them. And because they are saying this with the amount of enthusiasm they could summon for cleaning out the garage or eating tofu, or cleaning out the garage WHILE eating tofu. 

For several years while traveling on Alt 45 in Mississippi I would longingly point to an abandoned school on the side of the highway as my husband pressed the accelerator and my kids turned up their i-pods to drown me out. But recently I traveled with a friend (we are reinventing ourselves from mothers to real people now that everyone is grown up) and I told her about the school. We watched carefully for it since I wasn't exactly sure precisely where it was. Mid day we rounded a bend and it appeared.

 It seemed ghostly and I wondered about the children who attended it, what happened, why it closed. The curved walls and glass tiles with their art deco sleekness seemed like they would have been out of place in rural Mississippi so long ago.

Nothing about rural Mississippi says art deco.

 We walked around and I shot some photos while 3 black men casually eyed us as they played dominoes under a big oak in the heat of the day. I got the feeling they were use to trespassers.

My fearless friend suggested we try to go inside.
I declined. Letting my overactive imagination conjure up snakes, hornets nests, and spiders. No, outside is fine. This is all I wanted. It took all of ten minutes.
 When I came home I tried to google the school because that's what we do now, isn't it? I came up with this site: Abandoned Places.

I so don't need another addiction, but this site is fascinating. If you've ever wondered about those places that call to you from the highway, those houses that look like they were loved once upon a time, those forlorn barns or ruins in foreign countries, then check it out. Apparently there is a community of people who wonder about these ghosts of brick and stone.


  1. Oh boy did this one make me feel guilty. I didn't know backtracking was in a MANual. I always thought it was a genetic thing I had no control over. Maybe cure is possible. :) I like hisory manuals err books though.

  2. No need to feel guilty Troutbirder, the cure is simple. When she says "Oooh, that looks interesting." Pull over! Life isn't a race. :) Thanks for reading.


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