every time i pass by an abandoned, decrepit old house (and here in the deep south, there are a lot of those), i wonder… who lived there? what kind of life did they have? i live just north of new orleans, and many times i’ve driven along old river road, passing ancient plantations and slave homes, just wondering- imagining- what was life like for those who lived within those walls? i’m fascinated by the thought of life before modern conveniences. by the image of mothers, with children just like me, bearing their way through days without indoor plumbing or electricity.. without washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, vacuums, disposable diapers, electric stoves, garbage services, etc… and so, i’ve always been fascinated by my great grandparents’ home. i have vivid memories of visiting them when i was young, pretty regularly. my mom was good about that. we would turn off of the highway into the long driveway, lined with azaleas and camellias and oaks, and slowly bump along. i would marvel at each and every flower. it seemed the bushes were always blooming, no matter what time of year… we’d pull up next to the house and park, and run in through the squeaky back screen door. my mawmaw was almost always sitting right there, on her wooden stool, washing dishes. and pawpaw, in his wheelchair, was sitting by the table in the next room, with a big smile on his face… these people, their faces lined with wrinkles, smiles, memories and hardships… who were they? i knew who they were in their old age, but who were they REALLY?
about 15 years ago they both passed, and since then their home has been left, mostly untouched, just as it was. the home was originally built with two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen; no indoor plumbing (outhouse out back), and the kitchen originally housed a wood burning stove. over the years, the front and back porches were closed in to add extra room, and modern conveniences slowly crept their way in.. as i walked over the green painted wood floors, worn bare over the years, i looked at all the little details and asked myself the same question: what was life like for them here? what kind of challenges did they face? and i swear, it was like i could feel the memories whispering all around me. i am so SO thankful that i had the idea to do this and was allowed in to capture these old walls.