Volume I, No. 1, Fall 1973
Dry and Dusty
Our photographers' senses are alert as they visit the deserted schoolhouse dotting the land, but they find nothing to hear, feel, smell, see. No children, no books, no furniture, no noise. Only rectangular frame buildings with no pulse. Lifeless, lonely, empty, silent.
Like spirits from the graveyards frequently near the schools, they draw nearer, awed by the sense of approaching the past. No pulse? They were mistaken. The creak of the dusty pump makes them aware of the sparkling water spilling over the broken concrete well platform. Surely that was the clang of the bell they heard over the splashing of cool, unchlorinated water being pumped into their cupped hands. No senses? Hardly. No amount of time can efface the lingering odors of the ever-present outhouses.
Well through the doors they smell the chalk dust, warm wood smoker books, lunches and the many small vibrant bodies packed in the single room. The last chime of the bell changes to the tinny, out-of-tune piano accompanying light gleeful childish voices. The heat from the stove pushes them closer to the windows through which they can see parents driving up the lane forsome special school doings. Caught up in the stir, smells, sounds, and sights, they take another step forward, and run headlong into a black wall of musty hay. The only smell now is the dusty hay, the only sounds the cattle moving just outside, the only sights filtered streaks of light escaping through boarded windows.
Silence. Emptiness. Loneliness. Lifelessness.
Photography by Robert McKenzie, Steve Hough, Terry Tyre and David Massey
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.