I've been away. Up in the Gold Country. Unless you live near Northern California I'm not sure what Gold Country would mean to you. To me it's a series of small towns along Route 49 and part of the grand history of this state. Wonderful little towns that right now are having a tough time. They could definitely use an infusion of gold about now.
I stayed on the outskirts of Angel's Camp, home of the frog jumping contest made famous in Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." It was there that I found this, and a few other photos, in an antique store. I have no idea where this was taken. All of the other photos I purchased had photographer inscriptions, but this...nada.
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My first reaction to the photo was that she looked like an actress from a silent movie. The poor woman about to be thrown out of her home by a "Snidely Whiplash" character. If you don't know who Snidely is think dastardly melodrama villain who would gladly throw a poor woman out in the cold in order to collect his rent money. Sort of like banks doing foreclosures today, except the banker would be wearing a top hat and black cape while twirling his handlebar mustache.
My second, and more lasting reaction, is how haunted she looks. That's what has passed down through time for me. I have been reading the beautifully written "The Outlander" by Gil Adamson and this woman reminds me of the main character in the book, a widow haunted by her past. For now I can't look at this photo without tying it to the book.
Then again, for some unknown reason, I'm fascinated by the screen door and that step with the nearly identical one in the background. I'd like to know where this was taken and to get a glimpse of what is behind the screen door. I'm fascinated with this moment and can almost hear the photographer telling her to stand perfectly still. In the next moment did she flash a smile before returning to the rooms behind the door? Her stare haunts me.