Driving home from Gainesville the other day I was passing through the town of Lawtey just before dusk. The term out in the middle of nowhere comes to mind, although the citizens of Lawtey probably deserve better than that. I’d driven off the main street for a moment, when these houses caught my eye.
Obviously unoccupied but at one time probably lovely, doesn’t it make you wonder about its story? I once dated a man who lived, truly, out in the middle of nowhere, in a house similar to this one. Its condition was only slightly better. It’d had a fire, but was already in a wretched state. There wasn’t even a proper mirror in the house, but a jagged piece of one I’d prop up against the wall to do my makeup in.
Another abandoned and interesting place, the soft light of approaching twilight muted its shabbiness and made what might have been an eyesore into a rustic sort of memory.
They clearly aren’t shacks, but someone’s former homes. How long have they been absent of their human residents? Surely there were people who loved these places at some point in time. Lawtey, Florida is not a place where gentrification is in the vocabulary. It’s a rural area, a one-stop-light town; a place I pass through on the way to Gainesville.
Next month I’ll check in on these houses. I do think they are lovely, albeit past their expiration date.
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Jeannie Greenwald is a blogger, neighborhoods / 'go local' evangelist, hobbyist photographer, and degreed psychologist.