Despite the record heat we’re experiencing here in the South, there are parts of my little town that appear to be frozen in time.
I grew up a “northerner,” but this little time-capsule of a southern town has not only a sweet sadness to it, but it oddly ties back to my childhood when I lived in Long Island and then New Jersey. My dad worked in the textile industry all of his adult life. For a long time when we lived in Long Island, my dad would travel back and forth to the office in New Jersey- a grueling two-hour, one-way trip, until we finally moved to New Jersey when I was in the 9th grade. After my mom passed away, dad traveled more for work – mostly to well … here, the South.
He would often tell me about Fort Mill and Rock Hill, towns right near where I live now, but I don’t remember him mentioning my little town. Still I do seem to recall him mentioning a company called Southern Industries. There’s a huge abandoned building in my town called Southern Industries. From some short research, I found out that this was a yarn factory. I do remember when I was younger that he would bring home samples of strings of yarn that I would either use as decorative ties for my ponytail (hey it was the 70s) or if I had a handful, I’d braid them and then sew them into little mini rugs for my mother. I was crafty, even as a kid. I called them rugs, she used them as trivets or coasters, not that I made that many. I’m sure she was grateful for that.
I’m reasonably sure that this was one of my father’s stops on his trips to the South. Even though I live in South Carolina, where a lot of mills used to employ thousands of people, I’m also a few hops and skips from the Charlotte, North Carolina border. Charlotte is also pretty famous for it’s old textile factories, most of which are now turning quickly into breweries. Hey, that’s not a bad idea, Clover.
You look at this building and you could easily be sad for a time gone by, but I can’t help but smile. It’s kind of like seeing into my dad’s world, the part I never really knew much about. When I was there yesterday, there was a man on a tractor mowing the lawn, and as is obvious from the bushes on the right-hand side of the photo, someone is trimming the bushes. But the building itself is riddled with broken windows and it looks, well … abandoned.
I must have a thing for old buildings, even the abandoned ones – they have character, they hold history, they’ve got stories to tell. I couldn’t get as close to Southern Industries as I got to the snuff factory in New Jersey, or as close as one gentleman did to this building – see his pics on Flickr. He’s got some amazing pictures of the inside.
Right across the street from the yarn factory is another time-lost treasure: the building-sized, hand-painted advertisement. If you look at the bottom left, it’s even signed by the artist. It’s really not that old, but I still like it. I’ve always wanted to a take shot of this wall. Had I done it earlier, perhaps it would have been a little cleaner, but oh well, it adds to the charm I guess.
I just can’t figure out if the Coke came in two sizes or if Clayton’s Shoes only carried two sizes of shoes.
Next time I get to the center of town, I’ll have other timeless treasures to share – like Movie Mania, the local tape rental store – and for those of you younger than 40, by tape I mean a VCR tape. Back in the day, before we recorded stuff, we taped it. Obviously Movie Mania has figured out what Blockbuster couldn’t. The last time I passed there on my way to a friend’s house, we were “fixin'” to get a big storm and the parking lot to Movie Mania was packed. I don’t have my VCR anymore, but apparently, the good people of my little town were not swayed by the advancements of modern technology. Good for them.
I’m all for the modern conveniences of life, but places like this, and like the places I travel to in Upstate New York with my cousin, all have parts that seem to take you back to a much simpler time – a time I remember, and it feels somehow comforting. If you ever feel like your immediate world is getting a little too big for it’s britches, come on down to my little town to get a taste of days gone by.