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The Grand Reidville Finale

My last Friday in Reidville, my favorite fireman Tim Brady took me out to lunch at Joe’s Lake. And I am so glad he did because besides being a local favorite hang out, it was another good lesson.

I was feeling pretty confident after having a 99% success rate of gaining permission to photograph everyone who I wanted to photograph. So I thought I had this one in the bag, especially because I was coming in with a local, but as I was setting up to take a photo of a woman talking with Tim, she said, “no,” and then her husband, the owner, who I wanted to photograph next said, “no,” and the man at the counter said, “no”…….and all of a sudden I was back at square one…..

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So I realized that all those hours I spent talking with people before photographing, was essential. For each person I photographed this summer, I spent between 1-2 hours asking questions and listening, so when I eventually asked to take a photograph, they said, “yes”…….and now I was sauntering in assuming these people would love me like everyone else, but they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them…..so I rightfully got denied….except by this guy who is very proud to be from Sugar Tit…..the very small community next to Reidville (but Tim told me it was partly because he was in a car accident and still wasn’t quite all there.)

Then after Joe’s Lake, I was back to the nursing home one last time to re-shoot the Reidville sister-in-laws who were neighbors in Reidville and now share a room in the nursing home.

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Re-shoot because the first shoot was horrible: one of them was tired and I was too cautious to request them to move around. So instead, I saved the awkwardness for when I had to call and ask to come and try again. But this time was much better. They both had just had their hair done, and a niece was there to help. The niece was very complimentary as well, she said she was impressed with how hard I worked this summer because she had seen me all over town, and that if I needed a testimony in order to get a good grade, she would be happy to volunteer.

My lesson this time: do better to make it work the first time, but if it doesn’t work out….do it again.

Dorothy but everyone calls me Dot

“I was a fighter when I was a little girl. I fought everyone and won too, even though I was smaller than most of them.” Dot Blackwell moved to Reidville when she was 6 years old. Reidville was lonely, she tells me, there were no kids in town. She moved away after she married the first time and two husbands and a new boyfriend later, she has no desire to move back. It was a good place to grow up and she likes to visit her family but she has moved on.

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She is standing in front of her father Doc Lowe’s old service station. It was ‘the’ place to go for many years. Men used to like to come in and stand around her dad’s wood oven and catch up on gossip and wait for her mom and dad to fight. She got her temper from her mom.

Her children don’t have to worry about her she tells me. “I have my Berretta and I will use it too.” Her children make sure to call before stopping by.

When she was pregnant with her first child Chuck, she used to like to come down and take apples from her dad’s store and smell the gas fumes in these garages. But today the gas fumes are gone and the old store has been converted to a restaurant called the Family Dog.

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Nancy Bishop opened her restaurant a year and a half ago. Cleaning up years of oil and grease was a lot of work but apparently she did a good job of converting it because the locals who come to see the new spot say it looks nothing like it did when Doc owned it. Although it is the only restaurant in Reidville, business is slow, but Nancy isn’t giving up yet.

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