A few weeks ago I met someone who encouraged me to take the backroads to Lawrence for a Sunday drive. It was something I’d never done before, and he said it was beautiful and it would be so much fun with Cooper (my oh-so-perfect MINI Cooper convertible). It’s not that I was blowing off the idea, but wow, weeks have begun to fly by and before I realize it’s Sunday it’s already Monday. How does that happen? Oh, right… a busy social calendar and lots of thoughts.
Yes, lots of thoughts. My mind is full of lots of thoughts now but it seems like there has been a lot going on lately. This isn’t really something I want to go into on here, but let’s just say my heart and head has been hurting a lot lately. I’ve decided to move out of my oh-so-adorable “mini house” to save some money and to be able to make a last minute move decision if the need be, which would of course be for a good reason. I’m not quite sure what that means right now but you will know when I do. It could be Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, or even Paris…. or even no move at all. Surprise? Hm.
As I was driving home from Aubrey&Michael’s photoshoot in Lawrence, I realized I didn’t have anything else on my agenda except for working on photos and doing some research. Plus, I’m without a voice, so might as well not strain it anymore than it had been strained the rest of the weekend, right? (Rhetorical question).
Without any idea of how the backroads actually would take me home I figured I had enough time that it really didn’t matter if I ended up in Oklahoma because I could still be home by sunrise. (Just kidding. The iPhone’s new maps may not be spectacular but I could still pinpoint where I was). I saw a house I’d always been curious about and I exited the highway to explore.
This house was almost eery, which fits in perfectly given the Halloween season. It was old, empty, and the once-screen door kept opening and closing in the wind. Turkeys were in the background gobble-gobble-gobbling at the uncomfortableness of my presence. But the HOUSE. Oh my gosh it had so much character. There were metal “Texas” stars on the outside of the red brick, designs carved in the wood surrounding the windows, and there was an empty bottle out on the back porch. I could just see the old floors being refinished, the walls with deep contemporary colors, a beautiful wood table in the kitchen, and a wrap-around porch being added with a firepit and grill in the back and a tire swing in the front. But for what I could see for the future of this house I could also imagine the past. Actually, I couldn’t really see it but I was curious about it. How long has this place been empty? How many families have lived there? When was it built and what was the first family like? The highway wasn’t there then, so why did they choose that location? Was it there before 1900? If I had a voice I would have gone to ask the neighbors… but, well, that wasn’t happening. But it made me wonder… what’s the story of YOUR house? Do you know the history of it? Have you ever wondered what the people were like that lived there? Why they moved? Please share with me!
As I moved further, I found this abandoned plant. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but upon further research I was able to figure it out. Back during WWII, Sunflower Ammunition Plant was the largest smokeless powder plant, employing over 12,000 people. (Talk about job creation!) In 1951, production at the plant was put on standby but reinstated for the Korean war, deactivated in ’60, and reactivated in ’65 for the Vietnam war. In 1972 it was reopened off-and on until 1995, when it was sold to build houses. Well, as far as I can tell, there aren’t any new houses there. The buildings are completely deserted and the welcome gate no longer has any glass.
While my mind didn’t wonder too much about what life was like as an employee there, it did as I got to the baseball field. Unlike the house earlier in this post there in envisioned a future, here I envision the past. I could see the baseball players sitting on the bench both in uniforms and also in work clothes. I could seethem really getting into the game and having a great (albeit competitive) time. I could see family members and friends lining the outside fence and cheering for their favorite players (ie friends). It really made me want to go back in time and see a game.
There is so much to America that is beautiful. We have beautiful homes, roads, stores, landscapes, and parks. Even though there are places like these that are run-down and deserted, they are still beautiful in their own way because of the stories that came from their past and possibly even their future. Much like the places I visited on Sunday, I may not know where I’m going, but I canalways imagine my future. I’m sure the family that built the house never thought they’d see it deserted one day, and the same goes for the Sunflower Ammunition Plant. Even though I can imagine my future, it has a mind of its own and will change. That change? Well, hopefully it’ll present itself sooner rather than later. I’m getting impatient.