“That desolate place, not even a town but a corner — the intersection of two roads on their way somewhere better — that was home. The street names are Jackson and Bradshaw but that doesn’t really matter. On my last trip into the area, I discovered every landmark gone. The city that used to cast a shadow across the lonely outpost had finally swallowed it whole. A ramshackle row of buildings had been replaced with a uniform handful of franchises. Its striking resemblance to anywhere else in America made its old character unrecognizable.” — In So Many Words
It wasn’t my home. I grew up in the hills to the east. Rather, a character from my first novel, In So Many Words, hailed from the area. I also chose the location as the subject of a series of paintings in 1994. That’s when I shot the photographs on which I based my visual and literary fictions.
It’s near the Sacramento Raceway. I have memories of stopping by the market as a child with my dad. Later, I went to the store with my older sister and her boyfriend whom, as a car guy, I admired. Once I had a ’69 Charger of my own (even at amateur events, it wasn’t allowed on the dragstrip because of leaking fluids), I wound up back there again.
When I returned to the corner decades later, the market, a little saloon called the “Office” and a garage had been replaced by two modern gas stations with their attendant mini-marts and a “Subway” sandwich shop. It felt as if a little progress had sanitized the past. If only we could tear down our personal issues and rebuild ourselves in a prettier way . . .