Monday, November 30, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
I've been working on a set of pictures made on, or from, Baldwin Street. It's an old right of way that twists and winds over hilly terrain for several miles, running north/south about half a mile east of the Naugatuck River. It's mixed residential/commercial in use. There are many large old houses, but most of them now show multiple electric meters, and TV dishes, indicating they've been divided into apartments. The businesses are small, no malls or full size supermarkets. If you look up a side street to the east you'll see a steep hill with smaller houses, many of which are still single family. If you look to the west, the land drops away and you get a view across the valley to the densely built steep western bank of the river valley. The signs for this little business fascinated me. Used cars and mechanical work. The advertising line, "good used cars, fair prices" struck me as remarkably modest. The simplicity of the pitch makes me think of advertising I saw as a kid in the 1950s, without the hyperbole that seems to drench all contemporary advertising. Then there's the memorial. Children's toys and dolls and vaguely religious votive objects. What could have happened here? There are at least half a dozen of these shrines scattered around Waterbury.
Three days later I was back just after dawn, looking for more pictures on Baldwin St. When I walked north past Hill Top Auto Sales, I thought to turn around and see if there might be a picture to be made from the other side of the marquee. A car pulled over and a guy got out and politely asked what I was taking pictures of. I told him I was doing a series of pictures up and down Baldwin Street, then asked about the memorial. He said it was for his daughter.
He began to tell me some details of what he understood had happened. The six year old girl was with her mother and her mother's then boyfriend, standing behind their parked car, watching the 2018 city fireworks display from this spot on the east hillside of the Naugatuck River Valley, when a young driver crashed into the line of parked cars.
(A bit of research showed something more sinister and complex. According to police reports quoted by the local Patch media, a 39 year old intoxicated man lost control of his car, smashed into a car behind the group and pinned them to their car. He tried to walk off, but bystanders chased him and convinced him to come back. The child died. The "adult woman" (only the perpetrator was identified in the report) was badly injured, according to the Patch article. The police threw the book at the driver with half a dozen charges including leaving the scene of a fatal accident, on top of the DUI.
I asked if I could make a picture of him with the shrine. He seemed pleased to do so. He positioned himself better than I could have asked for. I gave him a card I carry that has only my online contact info, and asked him to use it to send me an email so I could send him back the picture. He hasn't sent the email.
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Dawn at the park. In the second shot you see the reflections of a flock of Canada geese coming in for a landing in the pond. (As always, you can click on any picture on the blog to get a larger and clearer presentation.)