Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Much like the Goderich God Rich House earlier in the Holocaust Abortion Tour, the B. Donnelly House was one of our fresh finds of the day, off the beaten path of our planned itinerary. If you haven't read the Holocaust Abortion Tour Houses (East Meets West 2) post, read it now to catch up on the tour, before continuing this post.
As we ascended the basement stairs, Rockandrollfreak turned the corner into the living room ahead of me, and let out an "Aww yeah!" or an "Ohh yeah!" or a "Fuck yeah!" or something of that nature. This excited me. I turned the corner behind him and saw the organ, and knew instantly that we had discovered a gem. The single file line up the basement stairs broke apart and the four of us all separated to different sections of the house, with Rock and I quickly meeting back up in the kitchen. As we poked through the belongings on the kitchen table and shelves, we went back and forth, tit for tat on a "Wow, look at this!" - "Oh shit, check this out!" routine. We called each other over to see old watches and a livestock tattooing kit and a baby picture and issues of Good Housekeeping magazines from the 1950s addressed to a B. Donnelly, and so on and so forth.
Exploring a confined space such as a farmhouse with a group of four is a very different experience than the solitary explores or intimate explores with my fiancee Ninja IX that I am accustomed to. When exploring alone or with Ninja, I find myself much more reflective and philosophically minded, pondering what life might have been like, and what may have happened to bring it to an end. I also have free reign over the house, to move at my own pace, come and go from room to room and spend hours poking around and reading letters and shuffling through photo albums. In the group setting, one must accommodate for the other members of the party, allowing them time in each area and waiting for them to clear out of a room for certain shots to be taken. This is the downfall of exploring farmhouses with a group. That reflective philosophical state that usually entrenches me is also quite lost in the group setting. But there is one aspect to exploring with a group of like-minded friends that is absent on those missions, and that is the shared excitement and camaraderie. To see Doom's face light up as he rounds a corner upstairs and shifts the position of an antique chair ever so slightly before stepping back and raising his point and shoot with a child-like gleam in his eye. To watch Dallas grow as a photographer with each and every expedition, shaping a style of her own and becoming more inquisitive and adventurous every step of the way. To go back and forth with Rock excitedly oohing and awwing over our little finds, like children at Christmas. To watch other explorers experience a fresh find, to see that excitement and exuberance, and hear them ask those same questions that I tend to ask, it all brings a smile to my face, even in retrospect.
In a world where I usually feel out of place, it is places like this where I feel most at home.
Have a look around, why don't you?
Baby, baby, baby, oooh.
No time like the present
Directions For Tattooing (Part of antique livestock tattooing kit)
This is your brain on drugs
Get off your pedestal high horse
A novel of American pioneering
The roof, the roof, the roof has a pretty serious leak actually.
Vogue vogue, let your body die with the cancer.
My Recipe Book
Listerine. The proved treatment for dandruff. (Good Housekeeping)
Snitches get snitches and rats get trapped
Mirror mirror on the wall
Light it up
The day the music died
Walk this way
Candy cane dreams
Sleeps with angels
Full of hot air
Nancy of Paradise Cottage
Cool Hand Luke
A shell of who she used to be
The wooden shoe is on the other foot
I'm not a player, I just smoke a lot.
Sleeps with devils
Thank you for visiting the B. Donnelly House
Once again, we hit the road. The four of us, joking and laughing, cranking our necks scoping for the next spot.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES
Monday, September 24, 2012
Photo courtesy of rockandrollfreak
Photo courtesy of rockandrollfreak
A few weeks back, the long awaited East Meets West Tour finally took place. Dallas and I made our way west to meet with fellow explorers doom vs. & rockandrollfreak, and a joyous time was had by all whilst cruising the open roads and exploring such sights as the Westinghouse boiler, Esther Lee's House and The Cat Lady House, just to name a few.
Yesterday at 6:00 am, as the sun peeked over the horizon, Dallas and I hit the road yet again for East Meets West 2. Entering Milton, I sent a text to rockandrollfreak stating that the race to doom's apartment building was on. Soon after, I got a text in return: "Guelph bitch." Just then I looked up at the Guelph sign. Pointing at the car ahead of us on the 401, Dallas joked "Wouldn't it be funny if that was him?" Hilariously enough, out of the thousands of cars on the highway that morning, it was him. We laughed hysterically, all three of us, and throughout the very long day of exploring, the laughs never stopped.
After picking up doom, and hopping into one car together, we began the second leg of our journey, continuing further west toward the shores of Lake Huron, following the route that doom had meticulously prepared for us. It was somewhere near Stratford that the second East Meets West tour was given it's name. Deep in a corn field south of the highway, a massive billboard read 'HOLOCAUST ABORTION'. We zoomed by too quickly to ascertain any other information or context about the billboard, but just like that, the tour was instantly and unanimously named The Holocaust Abortion Tour.
It wasn't just a car full of explorers, it seemed more like stand up comedians on the road from venue to venue. We joked and laughed endlessly throughout the day. From climbing monkey elves to post apocalyptic holocaust abortions. And from metal music mockery to the obligatory barrage of Trailer Park Boys quotes. And of course, some knee slapping references to some fellow explorers. If laughter is the best medicine, then we we were all fully healed yesterday.
Just as topics of conversation shifted, the bi-polar weather changed moment to moment above us. Black clouds rolled in and out, continually revealing and concealing the bluest of skies. Rain poured down in the far off distance around us and occasionally we would drive through quick patches of downfall. Some of the houses planned on our itinerary had been demolished, but rainbows came and went, revealing pots of gold in the form of fresh finds. One of those fresh finds was a house worthy of it's own post, and will therefore not be present here. CFB Clinton and a gorgeous pioneer schoolhouse were also explored but will be posted at a later date. A few times, the building anticipation and excitement approaching a fresh find deflated quickly as entry proved fruitless or interiors were just plain boring. That brings us to the other four houses that were worthy of photographing and sharing explored during the 16 hour day that was The Holocaust Abortion Tour.
Special thanks to my friends Dallas, Doom and Rock for another wonderful adventure.
*Group photo courtesy of rockandrollfreak
Welcome to The Holocaust Abortion Tour, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
Goderich God Rich House (Goderich, ON)
The Goderich God Rich House was not on the agenda, it was one of our fresh finds, and it did not disappoint. Bibles and hymnals were found throughout the home, some piled in boxes, others resting on counter tops, more torn into hundreds of pieces on the floor of a second storey bedroom. Wallpaper was peeling in every room, in one case fallen from the ceiling and completely covering the door frame to a bedroom, until I tore it down to reveal the nastiest stench of raccoon shit dusty stale air trapped inside. Spider webs clung to window frames with nothing to prey on, and window sills were graveyards for winged insects. God clearly hasn't been here in a while.
With all four of us back outside, content with our own documentation, I put the stone back in front of the door where we had found it, and we hit the road again.
Stairway to Nowhere House (Goderich, ON)
Doom had told us about the Stairway to Nowhere House. He told us that it was in an advanced state of collapse, holding on for dear life. And he told us that no one had ever been crazy enough to go upstairs. Of course, all 3 of us men together, we went upstairs, not straying from the top of the staircase.
And then I went back upstairs again, and pushed myself to do the unthinkable and traverse the collapsing floorboards. Stupid, maybe. Worth it, yep. Dallas snapped a great image of me nervously shooting up there, and I added it below.
I survived the walkabout of the second floor, and breathed a sigh of relief when I was back on solid ground. Again, we hit the road.
Stairway Stone House (Belgrave, ON)
The Stairway Stone House in Belgrave has been on my list since I first saw Doom's images of it's gloriously beautiful staircase many months ago. The staircase is most definitely the highlight of this old stone house. The home is completely empty and most of the rooms are bland and boring from a photographic standpoint, but I did enjoy traversing the collapsing veranda out back leading to the basement.
In the blackness of the basement, a noise hummed, a sump pump maybe. A raccoon scurried. I hopped back up the stairs two at a time.
The narrow second staircase in the rear of the house and some empty bedrooms kept me busy while the rest of the crew took turns shooting the main staircase.
And then it was my turn to shoot the most beautiful staircase I've yet to encounter in an abandoned homestead.
Back outside, under the watchful eye of this cow, we hopped back into the car and continued on our journey.
Wroxeter Westlake House (Wroxeter, ON)
The days explorations wrapped up at the Wroxeter Westlake House. Many Westlake family members had carved their names into the red brick outside the front door, alongside dates going back over a century. The highlight here was the kitchen, complete with antiquated appliances and bottles and utensils in cupboards and drawers. But it was too dark for me to snap any quality images in the kitchen, as I don't use a tripod. Why don't you take a look around?
This hereby concludes the first portion of The Holocaust Abortion Tour, we hope you enjoyed your ride.
I would be remiss not to add that some quick research later revealed that the Holocaust Abortion billboard could be attributed to an American based Pro-Life group and their misguided attempt to somehow equate abortions to the holocaust. I do not support this argument, or this cause. For the record, I am pro-choice. The title of the tour was decided on unanimously by all four explorers participating, for the simple reason that it had an impact on the day from a comedic perspective. I've received some negative feedback about the title, and if it offends you, I'm sorry. But no, not sorry enough to change it.
Continue on the Holocaust Abortion Tour with us, come on in to the B. Donnelly House in Lucknow, Ontario.
East Meets West 3 isn't set up yet, but it is an inevitability. Stay tuned.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES