There are multiple predictions about the future of the Earth after the humans are no longer populating it; scientists, writers, movie directors are guessing how long it will be before the Planet erases all the traces of our existence. These predictions are not very hard to make: there are multiple examples of abandoned and lost cities from the ancient times and not so ancient like Chernobyl.
And then there is former Benchmark Express Furniture store in Olathe, KS – a slowly deteriorating reminder of a failed business I drive by several times a day. The store closed around 4 years ago, when the economy was still doing fine and people still were spending the money they didn’t yet know they didn’t have. Recently one of the large signs fell down and I thought it was a good time to stop by and take a few photos.
Apparently the letter X is the first to go:
This sign crashed a month or two ago:
No one backed up to the loading dock for a long time:
Concrete is slowly converting back to its original ingredients:
Customers are long gone…
…and trespassers are not welcome:
Grass is growing on the parking lot:
This sign may last a year or two before it falls:
Formerly grand facade is sprouting cracks:
Even the parking lot signs are tired of standing idle:
Wind is blowing through the banner:
Soon after the final sale was over with and the store was closed for good, the developers promptly constructed more retail space across the street.
As my friend The DLC pointed out, I have now blogged just about everything and now pathetically spend my time posting links to my own blog, where I previously opined on whatever subject is being discussed. I constantly catch myself thinking about writing something just to discover that I wrote about it at length last year or the year before. That’s why when we came back from the apple orchard on Sunday all I had to do is search and find my last year’s post about apples and another one about the apple recipes. Even my photos looked the same – the same place, the same apples. Luckily we made a little detour or I would’ve had nothing at all.
The Main Street in the city of Ottawa, KS hasn’t changed much since the old days. As a matter of fact it looks very similar to the old photos of Neosho, MO I recently posted, they must have used some standard project for the smaller rural towns.
This is what the Main St. in Ottawa, KS looked like in 1942:
This is what it looks like now:
We got off the highway in Ottawa to wait for the apple orchard to open and promptly found ourselves in the middle of the antique car show known as Ol’Marais River Run. I don’t consider myself a giant car fan and all the talk about cubic inches, shaved hoods and custom paint jobs does nothing for me, but it’s hard not to stand in awe admiring the time when a car was a work of art. These cars may not have been the safest or the most technologically advanced but they represent the era when the car was still a wonder, an object of pride, an engineering dream trimmed with chrome.
Due to some peculiar historic and political circumstances the cars of my childhood looked almost identical to these, so strangely these shows are just as nostalgic for me as they are for someone who grew up here.
The car show had a feel of a State Fair complete with signage:
…Elvis and Marylin:
In the olden days, before the Ad Wizards took over our lives, the states had simple nicknames. Nebraska was known as a “Beef State”:
Iowa had to settle for the “Pork State”, Alabama went with the “Heart of Dixie”
Arizona called itself “The Grand Canyon State”
and Missouri was known as it is known now as “The State That Thinks It’s Better Than Other States But Is Sadly Mistaken” but is was hard to fit on the license plate.
After the show we finally made it to the orchard:
This year seems to be one of the best years for apples, trees were heavy with fruit.
I spent a few minutes on the pond:
enjoying the wildlife:
Here is what the pond sounds like:
We picked 25 lbs of apples:
…paid a visit to the country store:
Took another look at the giant apple in the sky where all the worms go after they die:
…and were home in no time.
I did take an excessive amount of photos, here are the rest of them
…as expressed in this scene from one of the best movies I’ve ever seen
Brought to you by a half-a-day off I wasted hunting down free DVD-ripping software that didn’t crash.
Over the years this blog covered the Victory Day (or VE Day as it’s known here) more than once. This year I will just publish a compilation of links to my previous posts.
This might cheer up some KU fans who are feeling down these days.
In January of 1957 Life Magazine published a report on Wilt Chamberlain who was recruited by KU in 1955.
The University of Kansas has had the finger of suspicion pointed at it ever since it enrolled 7-foot-tall Wilt Chamberlain, who was sought by a hundred campuses and is now the most spectacular of all college basketball players. Every time Kansas wins with “Wilt the Stilt” (it has lost only once this season) gossipy stories of how he was recruited grow stronger – of under-the-table deals, of a trust fund of $10,000 (or $25,000) which waits for the big fellow when he graduates.
It sometimes takes money in one form or another for a college to get a greats star today. Because one college can usually offer as much as the next, it often takes something else. In this case it took the man talking to Wilt, aggressive, crafty Dr. Forrest C. (“Phog”) Allen, who for 39 stormy years had survived as coach in Kansas. How he mapped the strategy that brought Wilt to Kansas and led the small army that carried out is told on the following pages. The triumph turned to ashes for Allen last year when, kicking like a steer, he was forced to quit as coach at the compulsory retirement age of 70. When he is asked what he used to recruit Wilt, Phog has a blunt answer: “Of course I used everything we had to get him. What do you think I am, a Sunday school teacher?”
But first, presenting the original and still the best photo of a screaming KU fan.