The sub-title of this blog is The Hockley Photographer, and I seem to not have a lot of content to back that up. So I set out to remedy that a bit this morning. I had intended to get some shots of the lunar eclipse at sunrise this morning, but the clouds had other ideas. Instead I loaded up some film and Donna and I headed into Waller for breakfast at Ranchito. Still grey and dreary when we were done, a quick spin around downtown Waller to look for potential new studio locations (more on that at some other time) killed some time until there was enough light to work with the 4×5. Funny, it didn’t warm up any.

We charged down the road into the thriving metropolis of downtown Hockley. Okay, not so thriving anymore. But there, in all it’s boarded up glory, was Garrett’s Grocery. It’s where I had my first job that didn’t involve being on the farm. I kept that job for several years too until I left for college. It took up most of my days after school, weekends, and summers. Those were the heady days before the bypass took all the traffic away and I thought $0.50 over minimum wage was a fantastic amount of money. I guess in 1991 for a fifteen year old kid it was.

These days, Roy has long since closed the store. It lasted for several years after the traffic left but it was never the same. It was nostalgic looking back and remembering how it was. Not just a store, but the un-official community center, town hall, gossip center, and at the time-parking lot beer joint. All that is gone though; and nothing has really took it’s place as the all ages daily gathering place. I can’t say how or why that happened either. Moving a road shouldn’t move the heart of a community. But Hockley is a ghost town now. Maybe that’s why I’ve avoided the five minutes to drive over there for a simple photograph, my youth is a ghost now. And, not really by choice.


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