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If you ever happen to be in or near Gardiner, Maine, make plans to enjoy a meal at the A1 Diner. It is located at 3 Bridge St. My husband and I were lucky enough to be spending some time with good friends who have a cottage in the area and they suggested having breakfast at the diner. I was reticent because I am not a huge fan of diner style food. Well, I am glad I went along with the crowd. The whole experience was wonderful.
The place was bustling. The two men I saw working were very pleasant, even through the obvious intensity of the pace they were keeping. I think one of them was the cook/ owner. The diner itself was like stepping back in time. I did not mind the fact that we were not served right away because I just wanted time to take it all in.
The shape of the building was similar to that of an old train car. There was a combination of dark wood, stainless steal, and tile. The buzz of the conversation was steady and so were the clinks of the dishes and silverware.
Everyone seemed to know each other. The meals that I saw coming out of the square hole in the wall behind the counter, looked wonderful and smelled even better.
The food did not disappoint . My blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, were delicious. My husband and our friends loved their food, especially the hash and the good coffee.
When I asked the owner if he had any history on the diner, he gladly presented me with a copy of a newspaper article and a book written about the diner; A1 Diner: Real Food, Recipes, and Recollections by Sarah Rolph. (//www.sarahrolph.com/a1diner.html) It was very interesting to learn that the Diner car was manufactured in Worcester, MA by the Worcester Lunch Car Company. This is very close to where I live in Massachusetts. The company manufactured over 600 diners from 1906 to 1957. Many are still in use today. This one has been at this location since 1946.
Speaking of location, the diner car was placed in front of another building on steal stilts along side a bridge. The kitchen is now in the building behind the diner car. Outside in the parking lot below, there was a pole that marked the height the water had reached in floods in the past. It was pretty impressive to see how high the water has gotten. It's a good thing the diner is on stilts well above above the highest reached water level.
A beautiful family of six girls and their mom, enjoying their breakfast.
I forgot to sign my credit card receipt, so I stopped back in. I'm glad I did, I was able to get this picture- the calm after the storm. A1 Diner, I'll be back!
Walmart has held a certain fascination with me since I read the book Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts. I liked the book so much that I read it to my family on a car trip. I have always loved to read to people. It was my favorite part of the day when I was teaching. ( That was just a month ago.) Anyway, in the book, seventeen year old Novalee is pregnant and is traveling from Tennessee to California with her boyfriend. They stop at a Walmart and when she comes out of the store, she discovers her boyfriend has left her there with nothing. As the story ensues, she ends up living in the Walmart and almost having her baby there. I have never looked at Walmart the same since reading this book. There is always some interesting, often sad story, to be found there.
The other day I was there in the parking lot and I noticed an old car with the hood up, the windows rolled down and a women sitting in it, in the heat of the summer day. There was a wire coming out of the trunk that was taped all the way up the side over the doors leading to the front of the car. The place where I assume the battery goes, had two wires sticking up. Okay, so I think, the battery died and someone who was driving the car went in to buy a new one. The women stayed in the car to watch their stuff. I'll just snap a picture because to me, the picture tells a story.
Later that day, I am driving to Boston to go to my class at The New England School of Photography, and I see the car broken down on the side of the road. Don't think I wasn't dying to take a picture, I was, but it just wasn't a safe thing to do on the highway. I guess it wasn't the battery.
I decided to visit the Walmart parking lot again this week in search of more interesting things to photograph. I'm not sure how interesting these things are, but I found them curious. First, this shopping cart way down on the far end of the parking lot. Not interesting you might say, but in it there was a package of fried chicken, uneaten. Why would someone abandon their chicken and why hadn't the squirrels or birds had a go at it? I'm not sure?
And then there was this car, again parked at the far end of the parking lot, away from the store. It had a sunshield in the windshield, so I am assuming that it was going to be parked for an extended time and the owner didn't want the car to heat up. The interesting thing, okay maybe not that interesting, was that it had a lawnmower sticking out of the trunk and the trunk was covered by a quilt. Not too sure what was going on here. Did they feel bad about leaving their lawn mower at home when they went to Walmart? Did they work here and it was "Bring Your Lawnmower to Work", day? Did the quilt serve any purpose? Security blanket? Did they not see the parking lines and park across them just to be rebellious? Such big questions for me to ponder.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.