Thursday, August 16, 2012

Abandonment Issues: Barb Lavallee's Ceramic Shop

The rule of threes

Lets go back in time to the 1980s, shall we?

Lets put the Nintendo controllers down and head outside for some fresh air. We can take a drive east of Sudbury in our yellow Dodge Dart, with the windows down and the wind in our ridiculously awesome hairstyles. We'll flip the Fly On The Wall cassette over to the B side and scream along with Angus. You, driving with your big poofy hair and neon pink shirt, with your leg warmers over your acid washed jeans and a pair of Chucks. Or maybe you'll decide to rock those spandex pants with the Alf shirt and denim jacket with shoulder pads, and a pair of flip flops. And of course, you are always wearing the lace fingerless gloves with a Swatch watch and a friendship bracelet with every outfit. Me, I'm rocking torn and frayed cut-offs with Doc Martens and a sleeveless Metallica tee, same as every other day. My Ray-Ban sunglasses with neon arms resting atop my head in the 'business in the front' portion of my mullet. Every time I look down at the ashtray, I smile and think about how much I love you. It is overflowing with your pink lipstick covered Export A Green death cigarette butts, because no one ever empties it, we just flick our butts out the window.

Further down the road, the tape clicks to signify the end. You eject the ACDC cassette, and we have that cute argument that I always win. You want to hear that damn Madonna album again, or even worse, Cindi Lauper,  but I reach into the console and pull out whatever tape is closest to the top of the pile. We wait for the brand new Guns N' Roses tape to rewind, and you smile at me like you always do when I get my way by force. I lean over and kiss you on your blush covered cheek, and tell you how sexy you are. While the tape rewinds, we talk about how gnarly last nights episode of American Gladiators was, and discuss where we are going to go to watch Wrestlemania next weekend. At some point, you complain about your mom, thats just what you tend to do. I'm half listening and half focused on trying to roll this joint. Speaking of your mom, I say, isn't her birthday coming up? Click. I push play on Appetite For Destruction.

I had just mentioned your mom's birthday, so it is my own fault that you are pulling over in front of a ceramic shop. Fuck off, you know I hate this sort of shit, I think, but don't say. I baptize the freshly rolled joint and throw it into the console before getting out of the car and stretching my arms and belching loudly. We head inside and the shop owner comes from the back room, where she was seated working on different molds, and she steps behind the counter. She introduces herself as Barb Lavallee and asks in a soft voice what she can do for us. She kindly sparks up this conversation with you, as you play with your hair clip and smack on your Dubble Bubble gum. You tell her your looking for a birthday gift for your mom. The woman reaches behind her and lifts up and recommends the angel with a crown of thorns, which makes me laugh, because I know how much you hate your mom. I wander about aimlessly while you converse with the proprietor, until I see an awesome mold of a dragon, which I place on the counter, and tell you to buy for me, before heading outside and lighting another cigarette. As I flick my butt to the ground, the sound of the bell on the door rings and you emerge with the angel and the dragon, as well as a small cardboard box. You refuse to tell me what is in the box, but your smile makes me think its a gift for me.

Several years later, its the summer of 1991. We are sitting in the backyard listening to the new NWA cd on the boombox, playing a game of chess with the pieces that you bought for me that day at the ceramic shop, years ago. The angel with a crown of thorns sits on the window sill behind the kitchen sink, because you took it with you when you moved out of your parents house. Your big hair is no more, it is long and straight, flowing down over your Nirvana shirt. My baggy Exhaust pants sag off my ass as I get up and say checkmate, lets go for a drive. We hop into the outdated station wagon we bought when the Dodge Dart died and insert a Public Enemy cd into the Sony discman that is connected to the cassette player. Another ashtray full of butts, another long drive filled with laughter and love. To our surprise, when we pull up in front of the ceramic shop, it is closed. Not just closed for the day, but for good. There is no sign of the kind woman that sold you the angel, the dragon, and the chess set. We peek in the window to find that the shelves are still fully stocked, everything still in its place. But the door is locked, and a sign in the window reads 'Gone out of business'.

Flash forward again to last week, in the summer of 2012. We left our campsite at Killarney Provincial Park and began our voyage back to the ceramic shop, also stopping at the abandoned Northern Nippising House for a look around. The jam packed 80 gig ipod on random playing everything from P.O.S. and Astronautalis, to Neil Young and Ella Fitzgerald. You, in your khaki capri pants and Birkenstock sandals, with your long blonde hair flowing over a white tank top. Me, in my baggy cargo shorts and Adidas shell toed kicks, with a black Biafra Inc. shirt. We pull up on the ceramic shop that has now been abandoned for 21 years, and park our silver 2012 Nissan Sentra SE. The white paint is peeling from the exterior framework of the shack, and the windows are covered with plastic sheets. Inside, the shelves are surprisingly still stocked with ceramics and molds, and jars of paint, but the building itself is decaying around them. As I pass you the camera, I tell you that I love you more today than I did then, and that you get more beautiful with every passing day. We continue to pass the camera back and forth, and these are the pictures that we take.

Barb Lavallee's Ceramic Shack
Barb Lavallee's Ceramic Shack

Mold it together
Mold it together

Locked stocked and over a barrel
Locked stocked and over a barrel

Huddled together for warmth
Huddled together for warmth

Hibernating
Hibernating

The rabbit hole
The rabbit hole

Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage

Birds of a feather
Birds of a feather

Swan song sung
Swan song sung

Midnight Clouds
Midnight Clouds

Parsley Flake
Parsley Flake

Tangerine
Tangerine

Checkmate
Checkmate

Beheaded
Beheaded

If you Break it you Pay for it
If you Break it you Pay for it

Who?
Who?

Horsing around with photoshop
Horsing around with photoshop

No cash transactions
No cash transactions

No returns without a receipt
No returns without a reciept

This is where it happened
This is where it happened

A little girl and her teddy bear
A little girl and her teddy bear

Things that make you go hmmm
Things that make you go 
hmmm

The hand of god
The hand of god

Again, we hit the open road. Where we end up, and who we may become next is anyone's guess.

With the exception of last weeks visit to the ceramic shack, this post is a work of fiction.

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

6 comments:

terapr0 said...

great photos and an excellent writeup as always. Such an interesting location!

jerm IX said...

Thanks Terapro, appreciate that. It was a unique explore, that's for sure. It was nice to write something a little different. Thinking I might expand on this fictional style in a few future posts, maybe even write a story about a fictional family that once could have inhabited one of these houses.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work.... Again

Anonymous said...

I was born in the tail end of the 80s and you somehow made me feel nostalgic about a time I didn't really experience. Great writing.

Jenny Morris Wood said...

I love the story telling. I could picture it perfectly in my minds eye. Thanks for bringing us along 😉

Jenny Morris Wood said...

I love the story telling, along with the pictures. You drew me in and I could picture it all with my minds eye. Thanks for taking us along.