Friday, January 24, 2014

The Character of Old

When it comes to photographing inanimate objects, there's nothing I love more than a vintage sign or an old building. Preferably an old building with a vintage sign. The peeling paint, the cracked windows, and the sagging boards are signs of character, not dilapidation.

I took this photograph about a year and a half ago on a beautiful fall day in Warren, Rhode Island. I never shopped at Mercier's Hardware, which looked like a mom and pop shop in the downstairs commercial space of an old house. Maybe that's the problem, because Mercier's Hardware and its sign are no longer there.

Vintage Hardware Store Sign - Flotsam of the Mind

The peeling paint has been replaced by a fresh coat of white paint. The rusted, fading sign has been replaced by a stylish new one. The 1923 hardware store has been replaced by an attractive, upscale children's consignment store.

The renovation is good for the neighborhood. More restaurants and stores are moving onto this street, rejuvenating a waterfront area that had faded in disrepair. I know many people who shop at the new store, and none that frequented Mercier's Hardware.

Progress is good, but I miss the character of the old. On the days when I noticed my own wrinkles and gray hair, I remind myself that I'm not just aging, I'm gaining character.

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