09 January 2010

The (ahem...) good old days...

Sandstone, W.Va.

No, it isn't Charleston. It's a wee polaroid emulsion of a picture I took years ago in the mountains above Sandstone, West Virginia. I was in a similar cabin not far down the road.

Back when I was young, scrawny, happily naive and pretty freshly off the boat from growing up in India, I eloped with my happy hippie who claimed to have been building his dream cottage in wild and wonderful West Virginia. The cabin turned out to be a one room shell on the side of a mountain with no insulation or plumbing. One side of the cabin was to be a window that would drop for a tree house effect.

Vision, people. You had to have vision.

A shovel and a roll of toilet paper was the outhouse and I was to carry water from a creek in the valley.

We moved in in the fall before one of the worst winters in recent history. There was an insulation shortage that year and none was available. One night I looked down from my sleeping bag in the loft to see the wood stove glowing red hot. While it was as hot as we could get it, the water pan for cinders in front of the stove was frozen solid. My water for tea was frozen. My toothpaste was frozen. The creek was frozen, the ground was frozen.

The young man living in the cabin in the photo only had his dog to keep him warm. He would go to Hinton, bring back cardboard boxes and tear them apart to staple on the wall to insulate the place.

Crazy times. No one can say I haven't been a good sport.