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This Old House...


Kawika

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I'm sorry to say it's another rerun from the archives... I'm working on something new so thank you for your patience and for reading my blogs...

In 1966 there was a movie starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford based on a story by Tennessee Williams called This Property Is Condemed, about life in the south during the depression and the physical and emotional effects of abandonment, abuse and neglect... the story and movie as you may guess is not an uplifting one and (spoiler alert) there not a happy ending... but with it began my fascination with abandoned places.... and in particular places that used to be grand and opulent. 
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Because I like to imagine the lives that were once lived there... the holidays and parties, celebrations and also the sorrow and tragedy... The question I always ask is... was it abandoned because of neglect or abuse or a disaster natural or otherwise... because no one just walks away from places like this and moves on because they are not in the right place?... or do they? I've always said it's very psychologically damaging to live in a hated home... I've said here before no one runs away from or can break up a happy home... but this seems a bit extreme.
 
Part of the beauty I've found in my travels around the world is there are houses and churches and temples that have stood the test of time of war and peace and everything that comes in between and they are still inhabited and functioning... and there are also the ruins of ancient civilizations  that are respected and revered for what they represented in the past and what they contribute to the present and hopefully the future.
 
But what about the other places like a shopping mall...
 
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You can imagine the crowds busy shopping for the holidays and girls going to buy a dress to go to the prom... and the buzz of everyday life in almost any suburban town.
 
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Does a mall become abandoned because the economy of the town can no longer support it?... was a bigger and better mall built? ... was it built on a radioactive land fill?... Because the people who live near this mall in Akron Ohio still shop for gifts and they still go to dances and such... in this case it closed due to declining consumer traffic and Amazon is planning to build a large 700,000 square foot facility that will replace the Rolling Acres Mall.
 
In the case of Grossinger's resort in New York...it was a matter of changing times and tastes and a world with more mobility and choices. Grossinger's earned a place in history as the first ski resort to use artificial snow. In my opinion because it was part of the "Borscht Belt" of resorts that catered primarily to jewish clientele from New York City... as time went by many did not want to be pigeon holed by what it seemed to represent and preferred to go to Aspen or Vail instead. It was Grossinger's that was used as the inspiration for the movie Dirty Dancing...
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The end of the demolition was completed in 2018!
 
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This gymnasium near Pittsburgh... I can almost hear the sounds of games won and lost and the cheers and sighs from the crowds of fans... I have no details on this or of the following two images but I want to be optimistic that they paved the way for something better than an Amazon facility...
 
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The abandoned homes are of the most interest to me... because twice in my life I've lived  in them... once in Italy I was staying in a villa owned by the family of a friend and they wanted someone on the premises to thwart vandals or vagrants who might choose to move in until it was sold. 
 
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The other time was a beautiful house in St. Thomas that was changing ownership and they wanted me there for the same reason to keep everything running and in order until the sale was complete. 
 
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I'm happy to say that this property still exists and is currently a Bed & Breakfast... what both of these experiences had in common was that I was living in  large home mostly devoid of any furniture... or much of anything for that matter... I had a wonderful kitchen in both and laundry  facilities and in St. Thomas had my own private swimming pool. It was rather eerie in both especially on certain dark and stormy nights... but I often walked around and pictured in my mind what they had been like in their original glory!
 
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All of these forgotten places have a story, some are more steeped in history and passion than others... if you have time take a few minutes to learn more about the haunted Hotel Del Salto in Bogota Columbia.
 
Of all the places I've been or even the places I want to go to... you know you are where you are supposed to be when you wake up in a place and everything feels right... your thoughts are positive and your vision for the future is clear... you are at peace with where you have been and where you are headed... finding that place is not always easy but it's easy to know when you are not there and it's time to move on... One of the most important aspects of being an adult is taking care of yourself and your surroundings so that you and it does not fall into disrepair...I think that is probably the biggest reason why places and people are abandoned... to start it's important to self-heal and any relationship that needs mending that you want to take with you on the journey.
 
On a side note... since New Year's Day Marlon Brando has been on my mind for some reason... there was a point in time I would have tangoed in Paris or almost anything, anytime anywhere with him... My early infatuation of him grew into a deep respect that I have had for no other celebrity  (although it took me a couple of days to get there) after he refused to accept his award from The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences in 1973... If you don't know the story look it up. It was really my first real experience of understanding the difference between vain and shallow pursuits and doing the right thing... 
 
 
He was nominated for Last Tango In Paris in 1972  and should have won because it was the best performance of his life... if not of all time in Hollywood... but  he made  choices that he knew would have ramifications in the future... and he held tight to his principles. I'm not saying there were no elements of neglect or abuse and abandonment... but it appears at least on the surface... he quite simply walked away on his own terms and took the responsibility to live with the consequences...but like almost everything I'm sure there is so much more to his story than what we can see between the shadow and the act and what others have shared.
 
 
One of my all time favorite photos... my homage to Mr Brando is that my mantra this year is going to be... " Don't bring me down with your bourgeois hangups!"
 
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I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and I wish you all the best and want thank you in advance for joining me in my journey!

 

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