My neighborhood has been changing the past few months. Due to the economy some families have lost their homes and been evicted. Just recently I was taking one of my walks on a overcast Sunday morning. It had been raining and the air was still misty and damp. In the early morning gloom a spot of bright orange caught my eye. Then I noticed the foreground, littered on the front lawn and driveway were household belongings. Most of us have seen this before, the evicted parties possessions dumped on the street. The orange notice pulled me in, normally I would have just walked on, after all, it’s not any of my business is it? Then I saw the children’s toys, I decided to go back for my camera and photograph the scene.
At first I just shooting, a bit mechanical in a way, going from one item to the next. Ruined clothing, click, ruined baby doll, click, soggy books, click, photographs, click. Then it hit me, the pictures laying there belonged to a kid! You could tell by the child’s drawing on the back of one of the prints. Maybe it was a drawing of a friend, the caption next to it said “American.” There were more pictures, an athletic event, a smiling child with a trophy, an image from Christmas, typical family photos.
So there it was, the American family dream strewn out across a suburban lawn. Mr. Obama’s vision for a better America came too late for this family. I think the most heart breaking thing for me were the child’s belongings. One item in particular, a hand made book, most likely a school project, titled “The geld of trachger.” Normally I don’t touch other folks stuff, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I was compelled to open the book and look inside. It was typical stuff for a child’s book, done in crayon with a child’s scrawled hand writing and stick figure art.Inside the book was a drawing of a rainbow and a pot of gold. The caption read “If I found a pot of gold.” And another drawing next to it said, “I giv him a cuple of gold colns.” It’s interesting that in this ruin of a book there was the innocent urge of a child to share her good fortune with others. I just wonder what this experience will teach her about life, being displaced, losing possessions and not understanding why. Will it teach her the language of lack and loss? Will she learn that the world is a dark and cold place, and you better get yours before someone else does? Who knows? The only thing I know is another person’s greed has marred the life of a family and of a young girl.