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Jason Wilson and the Flying Pig

Officer Jason Wilson is one of the four officers in charge of the Reidville area, but only one officer is on duty at a time. Originally from Louisiana, he has been working in this area for 6 years. His favorite place to stop for food and drinks is the Flying Pig.

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He likes the area because of the country and town mix but he chose not to live in Reidville because he likes to have his work and life separate. Which is probably good because he describes himself as a treehugger, a conservationist and a pagan, traits that are not common around these parts….needless to say Sandra Gowan, Reidville’s town clerk, calls him a heathen. But Jason says, “It is nothing personal. I am here to do my job, I am not here to be liked.”

Lately the biggest issue around here has been stealing copper, especially from air conditioning units, but otherwise it is a real good area, Jason says. The job security is nice too, “The only thing you can count on in life are death and taxes and that we will always need cops.”

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.

Burning Love….

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The Reidville Fire Department has been the meeting place of love for many in this small town.

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Jason and Meredith, both firefighters and EMT first responders, held their reception in the station Saturday Sept 8th, 2007.

Go Rebels…..

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Byrnes High School’s Nixon Nuts.

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Byrnes High School Nixon Chicks.

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Byrnes High School Nixon Stadium with Byrnes High School Rebel Fans.

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And don’t forget the Byrnes High School Rebel cheerleaders….

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Combine all these ingredients with a Rebel victory and the Jones Family is going home happy. Sam’s kicks helped the Rebels beat Dr Phillip’s Panthers, from Florida, Sept 6, 2oo7. The game was televised on national TV.

Where did Byrnes High School get its name? From James F. Byrnes who was elected governor of SC in 1950. He is remembered for his attempt to improve the impoverished African American schools in order to convince the Supreme Court that the separate but equal laws were working.

The Byrnes High School mascot is the Rebel, however due to the controversy over the significance of the Rebel, they are no longer allowed to have an actual mascot at their games. Sam tells me, to him a Rebel is a football player and it has nothing to do with history.

Town Hall in Reidville, SC

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This is Sandra Gowan, the town clerk, and Mayor Gene Snow. And in Reidville, the fight is on and they are begrudgingly leading the fight because the fight involves the “Z” word…..zoning.

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Reidville as it has been known for over 200 years is on the brink of being swallowed by subdivisions. Countryside lost. People are upset. No one wants change but no one wants zoning laws. In this county people want to be left alone. Do not try and tell someone what to do with their land…..but don’t put a subdivision next to my house either…..we want to keep the cows……but we want the right to claim the money that we can get for selling our land. The nation is in a housing crisis, but not in Spartanburg County. Developments are popping up on every corner. The old people are dying and the kids are selling.

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It is a common story but in Reidville, the fight is on.

my weekend

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five hours at a high school football game….and not much to show for it…..other than this shot of the Byrnes’ visitor seating an hour before the game. I am going to another one tonight to try and do better.

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BMW Z3 and Z4 Homecoming weekend. 500-600 cars return to their birth place with their owners.

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This is one of the owners, Peter from Pennsylvania. He has been coming down for seven years for the BMW Homecoming weekend and is known as the guy with the hat. “It is a family event.”

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This is Reall from Anderson, SC which is 1 hour and 17 minutes away from the BMW plant in Spartanburg. The Anderson Housing Authority thought the BMW Homecoming would be a fun outing for the community to go and look at people with cars that cost over $30,000.

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From the BMW Homecoming I went to a local hunting club’s opening day of dove season.

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A group of 15 men return each year for food, stories and hunting. “It’s like Christmas,” I was told.

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And Sunday morning, back to Walker’s Chapel church for Sunday school and service. I was amazed by the condition of the well loved Bibles.

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Then Monday with the Jones family. He works at BMW, she works at Reidville Elementary, Sam Jones is the Byrnes High School field goal kicker and Nick Jones is an aspiring minister and football star. They are the all star Reidville Family.

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And this is the new Reidville family. They are moving from North Carolina to live here, in a subdivision that was once a peach orchard. The family includes five home-schooled children who are named after people in the Bible.

As you can see, I am having a tough time with focus but I am hoping all these encounters and adventures will come together in the end.

The Town Clerk at home

“Family is everything.”

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This is Sandra Gowan’s family. Sandra is the town clerk. Her husband is the town magistrate. Her mom worked a textile mill, the old industry, and her son works at the BMW plant, the new industry.

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The Brady Family Off Work

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Tim Brady is the Assistant Chief of the Reidville Fire Department. His wife Dolly makes missiles for the military. The lab Buddy retrieves doves when Tim takes him hunting and the chihuahua Hunter barks, at everything.

Sam Jones

“Football is like religion here.” And it is combined with religion here. Sam tells me that every Sunday the team goes to church together and every Wednesday the Coach has a prayer breakfast. Football is so big that the revival at a local church was reduced from 5 days to 3 days because no one comes on football nights.

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This is Sam Jones, he is a senior at Byrnes High School. He is the field goal kicker on the varsity football team that is made up of 98 young men. This is his car he inherited from his grandmother and just finished remodeling after two years. He wants to be a PE coach.

Daughters of Destiny 2007

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On the 25th of August at 5 pm, The Walker’s Chapel Presbyterian Church held the 1st Anniversary for the Daughter’s of Destiny.

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The Daughters of Destiny is a dance ministry made up of young women who have come together as a team and have made great efforts to become one in Christ, so that people would see them as a pathway to Jesus. Arann and I went to photograph the celebration. It was my very first time in a black church.

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To be honest I was nervous about how we would be received. I knew one person at the church and I proved that I did not know him very well, as I referred to him as Belton Wayne instead of his proper name Belton Lane.

The history of black and white relations, especially in this area of SC, is scarred from the years of injustice towards the black population. Physically we were reminded of the separation by the fact that this church is the ‘black’ presbyterian church and it sits 100 ft behind the ‘white’ presbyterian church. In conversation we were reminded of the tension by a lovely older woman who said, “If it weren’t for the Lord, my people would have been wiped out by the way we were treated.”

But despite all of our nervous, it was an incredible experience: the music, the praising, the energy, the stories, and the people who welcomed us without hesitation. I met some wonderful people, who I hope to talk with again, to hear their stories of picking cotton and peaches and growing up black in rural South Carolina.

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