Have you ever happened upon a place and wondered out loud to yourself, “What the heck was going on here?”
In the late 1970s or so, while I was trying to convince myself that a living could be made with photography, Susan and I were out “riding the roads” somewhere north of Route 17. I don't remember where it was exactly, just that general area.
Idle farms. Old machinery standing in fields. Quiet.
We came up on a lovely old and very empty house. You could tell that it had been quite nice at one time — good finishing touches, nice layout. Nothing fancy, just good solid work. A pleasant family-looking place. Across the road, open rolling space no longer in use.
There was a set of roof jacks on the partly reshingled roof, an askew stack of shingles, a hammer and a jar of roofing nails still on the plank — no recent work.
When we peeked in the kitchen window we saw a set table and utensils on a red and white checked vinyl covering – salt and pepper shakers, with a sink part full of what were now very dirty dishes. Lifeless. The window curtains were torn and falling apart from the sun coming in. There was unopened mail on the table.
We tried to imagine what happened. A fall from the roof while shingling? An emergency in the kitchen. Someone died. Very mysterious. We felt a sad discomfort and decided to move along.
I made a photo notecard of the house main entrance eventually. Still have some. Two metal chairs in front of a handsome doorway. Not something I will ever forget.