Monday, March 31, 2008
Someone used to live here
London, ON, March 2008 [Click to embiggen]
While driving my daughter to a playdate last week, she noticed that an apartment building across the street from one of the synagogues in town was being torn down. She gasped audibly when she first saw the scene, and asked why this kind of thing had to happen.
I paused for a bit before I answered. It's not as if this building was any great prize. It was the kind of run-down structure that you'd probably forget you'd seen mere seconds after passing it. Three storeys, brown, old and very much the kind of place you hoped you'd never live.
I resisted the urge to express my satisfaction that this corner might finally become home to something nicer. After all, people had lived there once. Perhaps folks who were new to this country, building their lives, hoping for a better future. All gone now, of course, their former homes now slowly being consumed by giant machines that didn't have much patience for sentiment.
We talked about how everything has a finite lifespan, how even buildings eventually wear out and have to be replaced, how this transition opens up opportunities for builders and regular folks alike. Five minutes later, we pulled into her friend's driveway, and she was happy with the outcome of our discussion.
As luck would have it, I had brought my camera along for the ride, so I offered to take pictures on the way home. To remember not just someone's home that would soon be a memory, but a moment when our daughter learned just a little more about impermanence and supposed progress. She happily nodded as she bounced out of the van, making me promise I'd show them to her when I came to pick her up.
Your turn: Please look into this photo and try to see the home that once was. What stories could it tell?
P.S. We returned the next day. The machines were busy chewing through what remained of the structure. By midweek, the entire thing was gone.
One more thing: We're still taking your best captions for this week's Caption This contest. Click here to open up a photographic Pandora's Box. It won't hurt. Really.