In which our intrepid hero is reminded that the world is always changing…
It’s amazing how very different we can feel depending on whether or not we are going somewhere or returning from somewhere. The leaving is filled with expectation—hopefully a happy, excited sort of expectation, but we all know we sometimes leave towards destinations we dread. The return, though, is usually completely different. Sometimes we are simply anxious to get home and it doesn’t even matter what is around us—we have only that one thought in mind: GET HOME. Sometimes we are more relaxed about it and can enjoy the journey, understanding that at its end is the comfort and familiarity of home. I remember once, when I was in high school, returning home in the darkness from some interminable bus ride from somewhere in west Texas. I had a Walkman with me and was playing Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park. When the song “Homeward Bound” played, it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I’ve grown older (and am now pretty close to the half century mark), the song has only become more powerful to me and if I ever hear it while I am coming back from a long trip I get quite melancholic.
In which our intrepid hero drives on Cleveland rather than to it…
My sixth excursion was a trip primarily in northeast central Ohio. Rather than take the quick way out of town, I deliberately headed north out of Columbus on Cleveland Avenue, so that I could take some pictures of Linden on the way out. Linden (a neighborhood in Columbus, divided into North Linden and South Linden) is considered one of the “worst” areas of Columbus (“the Bottoms” in Franklinton is right up there, too). South Linden is considered worse. Income levels are about half of the Columbus average and crime is higher, too. Cleveland Avenue is the main “drag” that passes north through and bisects Linden. One can readily see signs of blight driving up Cleveland Avenue. There have been various attempts to reinvigorate Linden, especially South Linden, but they have had mixed success at best. And yet, it is important to note that “blight” is relative. Let me illustrate what I mean.
In which our intrepid hero encounters a mystery building…
One of the saddest things about life is that we can never re-live things we experience. Do you remember a time when you were deep in the throes of a new love—how that person made you think, how it made you feel? Do you remember the first time you saw your favorite movie and how it made you feel? You can’t get those feelings back; you can only vaguely remember and appreciate what it was like to have them. It’s a less illegal version of that first hit of heroin—even if you married that person you fell in love with and have been happily with that person for decades, you don’t physically feel the same way about them. Literally, the chemistry is different. And you can watch that movie again, but you won’t be scared or amused or moved to the same extent that were the first time. The movie has worn grooves in your brain now; it is no longer as fresh. You can’t get that “first time” back.
In which our intrepid hero leaves the safe confines of his home and encounters an unexpected bit of Africa…
On my first excursion out of the city, on April 6, I decided to drive around southeast-central Ohio. Although technically spring, it still seemed like winter. The weather was brisk, the sky soon became somewhat overcast, and leaves were nowhere to be found. Gray seemed to be the color of the day.
However, as I began to leave town driving east on East 5th Avenue, I soon encountered an unexpected splash of color.
In which our intrepid hero drives up and down two streets…
Although the original goal of my first excursion was to photograph the Silent Woman Bar, a goal that was thwarted, I knew there were other things I would want to photograph along the way. The reason is that the bar had been located on East Main Street. Another name for East Main Street is US 40. US 40 becomes East Main Street as it approaches the Columbus area from the east. Somewhere around downtown it shifts a bit and continues west on West Broad Street until it is out of the city.
US 40 is also known as the National Road and it is one of the most famous roads in the history of the United States. It was the first road ever built by the federal government, starting in 1811, and linked the Eastern seaboard to the Midwest, almost to the Mississippi River. However, for me, US 40 holds a particular fascination.
In which our intrepid hero’s desire for instant gratification is immediately thwarted…
From the moment I decided that I would start this blog–which, lazy as I am, was some time before I even started taking pictures, much less started the blog itself–I knew what image I wanted to feature as the very first image of Ohio Unearthed. It was something I had for years been hankering to photograph and document for posterity somehow, someway.
What I wanted to photograph was The Silent Woman Bar. Continue reading