My drive from Nederland to Austin


Late December 2011

I had no idea what this building was from the outside. Set just off the highway, built of faded red brick, and complete with a chimney, it looked, to me, like an old factory. 

Upon closer inspection, I found crumbing bleachers, a once smooth, now rotting wood floor, and the memory of basketball hoops on either wall. Beneath the bleachers there was a cement staircase that led underground into blackness. I tread not.

On the side of a rural Texas highway, a few hundred feet from the road and safely on the other side of a rusted barbed wire fence, a small old farmhouse sat quietly, shrouded by small trees, at least twice its age.

The house called to me as I passed it so I slowed, did a u-turn on the empty highway, and doubled back. I parked my car, lay on the ground before the fence, an rolled on the barely-there asphalt and dust, beneath the sharp metal, just catching the lace of my slip and the wool of my sweater, becoming very still to carefully release my caught self. 

The house was telling me that there was a dress waiting inside for me. I didn't find it. There were bones though. Out back. The skull and jowls of a small calf. Perfect and slender ribs too, and one very large smooth and irregular unidentifiable animal-part--a sculpture unto itself.

I gathered what I was meant to, and scurried back towards the fence, the bones clutched to my breast against the cold wind of the coming dusk that whipped across the prairie. I pushed the bones beneath the threshold of barbed wire, and my own bones followed, more carefully this time.


Unsure what the building pictured below was--a laundromat? 

Bullets w. telephone

A scared the fox who lived there, he and I both scurried, surprised, towards the exit so as not to offend one another.

Old school. I crawled in through the window. 

There were dried pinto beans scattered over the floor of the auditorium. Curious.

The Next Day:

"You want dresses?" said God, "I'll give you dresses..."

As I mentioned, I felt like yesterday's house was telling me that there was a dress inside for me. In the past I have found a a few odd items of clothing in abandoned places--even made a dress which became a favorite from an old T-shirt covered in horse silhouettes that I found in a decaying trailer behind a gas station in New Mexico. Anyhow, it's always been a fantasy of mine to find beautiful old clothes in places not touched in many years.

The house pictured above was on a country road just off the highway. I could just barely see it but felt compelled to explore and turned down the lane at the last possible second. I was a little scared to go inside...

I entered through the backdoor--it was open. There were issues of The Progressive Farmer in piles on the floor, old jars everywhere, curtains hanging tattered and blowing in the wind, and in the bedroom and bathroom, there were piles and piles of 1940's dresses and shoes. My heart pounded as I sifted through them. I brought armfuls of beautiful printed silk and cotton out to my car, stuffed it into the already full backseat.


I drove fast the rest of the way, confused and excited--eager to lay out my treasures on my mother's front lawn to inspect them more closely.

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