Abandoned Prosperity

America, for all its supposed wealth and prosperity, has many abandoned places. From natural disasters, to foreclosures, to budget cuts, to rebuilding; I've seen quite a few in my short life-time. All across this vast country people are homeless, when there are many buildings and places that could be "repurposed" to house them. This blog is all about the places I've lived and explored, over the past 50 years. It also involves other things of interest to me, which will become apparent as I continue along. Most places and events I can only remember and have no photographs of them. Currently, I'm active in exploring the current state I live in, Tennessee, when time permits me to do so. Follow along in my foot-steps as I clambour over and sometimes into the abandoned debris of our society...from junkyards to cellars to my own mind.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

For Mom

It's hard to lose a parent. I know. I lost my Dad in 2001, just before the War started. I was 33 at the time. And yes, I cried my eyes out. I don't care how tough or "macho" anyone thinks they might be but, if there is no emotion shown for the loss of a loved one (or even a family member that wasn't well liked), then, that person isn't human. I eventually got over my Dad's untimely passing (at the age of 56) from a massive heart-attack (to put it all in laymen's terms). Apparently, no-one saw it coming. We never were close but, that's a story for another time...maybe.

Last picture of Mom, August, 2016

It's really hard to lose a parent. I know. This past August 19th, 2016, I lost probably, if not, the, best friend I ever had...for the last time...my Mom. I Say, "for the last time", because Mom was given a second chance at life on February 26, 2009. That's when she started on dialysis for her failing kidneys. But my taking care of her goes back to the beginning of 2006, when I moved her in with me after she was forced to "retire" from work, due to her becoming "legally blind". Oh, Mom could still see, just not nearly well enough to do the job that was expected of her. The above picture is the last one I ever took of her. This was probably a couple weeks before she passed on. If I knew how to format the damn SD card, it'd have the correct date. And no, the hat in this pic went with her. God forbid I don't leave her with at least one of her hats. Kinda silly now that I look back on it but, also kinda humorous. I mean, everywhere she went, you could recognize her by her hats. The orange one here and, an identical blue one that I still retain. But she had many others. When wearing the orange one she was always mistaken for a "Vols" fan (what they call the local university's sports team and alumni and short for "Volunteers", down here in Knoxville). But no, she just liked the colour of orange. The other humorous thing about that particular hat was that, I found it in one of those dollar stores years ago. I should've bought 'em all! And never, ever touch her hats; not even in jest! She'd let you have an earful!

Hunter 1991-2006

Mom didn't pass on alone and she isn't alone now. She has her best friend along for the eternal ride, so to speak. That's her dog, Hunter, above. Or, more precisely, his cremated remains. Hunter was one heck of a dog. Half Irish Setter and half Golden Retriever and all lovable! Born 4 July, 1991 and passed on, on 14 April, 2006. I'll never forget the day, either. It still haunts me. Hunter didn't really require any training. He learned by instinct. So strong was his instinct that he knew when Mom would get really sick. He saved her life a number of times, usually by getting me to come downstairs (mind you, I lived with Mom for a bit while looking for another place and, got to witness this first-hand.) Hunter would actually hurl himself at my bedroom door in a loud "knock", to get my attention. I knew just by the sound of the knock that Mom was having a "low sugar" episode. Call it being mentally tuned in. It's the weirdest thing. But then, I been having episodes like this since I was at least 8 years old. I can't and won't explain it. At least...not fully.

Little Red Caboose 

Little Red Caboose. Anyone besides me old enough to remember that silly, grade-school song? The morning of Mom's funeral, I was getting ready and doing a final check of things to take. I placed Hunter with Mom before anyone else showed up. The funeral home already had the stuffed toys she wanted (well, the ones that would fit in with her...ahem...) and I had viewed Mom on Sunday. I think they did pretty good. Anyway, I was standing in my dining room and something compelled me to go over to where Mom's purse was, atop the dining table. Something compelled me to look at the purse. Then, something compelled me to take the little red caboose off the purse and put it in my pocket. Mom now has it. I bought that for her on our road trip to Clovis, New Mexico, back in April-May of 2009. It was the last time she visited there. We both lived there back in the '70's and though I had returned a couple of times solo, Mom never had. The last time I had gone to Clovis before this, was in 2001 when Dad died. I should go out there again, someday.

Finally at rest 

It always amazed me how they could dig so precise a hole and then, make it look like the ground had hardly been disturbed. Mom is now resting, eternally, in Lyndhurst Cemetery off Adair Rd., in North Knoxville. As soon as I can gather up the rest of the money to pay off the plots we have, I can install the marker. I'm hoping proceeds from the sale of some of her jewelry and the balance from her life insurance policies, will help me in this. Don't worry, Mom...I'm doing the best that I can.


At one time, I ran a 140 unit mobile home park when I lived up North in Massachusetts. When someone passed on, whatever family was left would be notified. But, more than likely, whatever was left in the homes usually ended up in the local landfill. I cringe when I think of all the stuff the surviving relatives didn't want or even give a damn about. And there was limited space to store usable items, most of which went to the Salvation Army. So, when Mom passed on, I was determined not to let this happen. When I returned to the dialysis centre where Mom had gone for treatments, I noticed that they were taking donations for flood victims down in Louisiana. It was either great timing or a blessing in disguise. Damn! Mom sure had a lot of clothes! So, I spent a full day going through all her things and deciding what to donate (the list being stored in my mind). It took me two car-loads but, I got everything over there. I still have lots to go through and either try to sell or donate. Her CD/DVD collection is mostly gone, already, with the meagre proceeds going into a fund for final expenses. Don't worry, Mom. Things will get done!

 To my Mom: one of the most caring, kindest warm-hearted and sometimes stubbornest persons I ever knew. Now I know where I get it from. I know now that you are finally at peace. But you have lots of company. And knowing you as I did, you're probably letting your brother get an earful. I now I'll see you again, someday. Exactly when, is a decision that even I can't make. I miss you, Mom. More than you'll ever know. But...this isn't "good-bye", just another delay in the cycle of life.

 And Georgi is doing okay. Just thought I'd let you know. But then, you probably already do, right? Right.

My deepest prayers and love for you, always.

Your loving, doting son, Todd