This whole documentation of what was left of my childhood began with this building and a call I received from my dear friend Rachael while standing on another dear friend in Columbus’ porch. She told me that she was sorry to ring with bad news, but this structure was the next to come down. I stood there on that porch and cried.
These two images were taken this summer right when teardown began. Since then little progress has been made, but each time I go home the stacks stand just a little less high.
These were taken the same day as the stacks, in the laundromat, approximately three buildings down. There is one particular story I could tell from two years back about how one of the worst weeks of my life ended with my cellphone in the toilet and a trip inside of this building, however I’ll spare you those embarrassing details. Believe it or not, that awful day was the first time I had ever been inside. I remember vividly some of the more rebellious fifth graders talking about hanging out there and writing their names on the dust of the ceiling fan. Cigarettes may have been involved too, I’m not sure.
I had managed to stay away all of those years. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I first stepped foot inside. I fell in love with it (I am aware that that is a bizarre declaration to make). Everything about the Sycamore laundromat is perfect: the corner piled with magazines no more recent than 2005, the dryers with countless initials and male genitalia carved into the side, the hot pink ashtray overflowing with over a decades worth of cigarette butts, the dusty fake floral arrangements, the crusty yellow wall paint, the huge portrait of a native american wearing a full headdress. It’s a dream, and although, besides dust accumulation, nothing has changed about it in my lifetime, I often find myself wondering in there to rephotograph it.