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.