Featured Guest {Sweet Magnolia Photography-NY}

Thursday, November 28, 2013


 I grew up in a tiny Village called Meridian, NY. When I was a kid,
all that was there was a Post Office, a cheap Hotel, and an ice cream stand.
No traffic lights, no gas stations, no stores. The town right next door, is Cato.
That's where we used to go for gas and food. It was much larger. ;)
Boasting one traffic light, a gas station, two micro size grocery stores, a bank,
 a hardware store, a pizza place, a Diner and a movie rental place.

On this trip back, some of the nostalgia was still there, and some things were a little disappointing.
I decided to go into Cato first and work my way toward Meridian.
The first photo I took was of the four corners of Town. 

From this intersection, you can see just about all of Cato. NY Pizzeria on the left with THE BEST pizza around. The full service gas station across the street! Yes, that's right, in all these years that is one of the things that hasn't changed! They actually still come out and pump your gas for you!
Can you imagine how great that would be for us Moms in the dead of winter with babies in carseats?!
Gotta love small town livin'.

I was saddened to see that both the IGA and Mike's Grocery had gone out of business,
but the Hardware store was still there.

Another change was the water tower. They took down the big old fashioned silver one with the name CATO emblazoned in bold black letters and replaced it with a modern looking blue one that you can barely read.
Not a fan.  

Though they've added on to the school quite a bit, it was nice to see the main part of the building
has remained the same, I have always loved the architecture.

So far it had been a pleasant trip, but I knew what came next.
I knew I was going back to a place I had long ago put behind me.
As I entered the Village of Meridian, it was a little surreal.  

Buildings like this one and the Post Office were exactly the same as they had always been.
I grew up on a road called Bonta Bridge, the one right next to the Post Office...
I was almost there.

Everyone in my Village knew everyone. (Or at least they thought they did)
I knew who lived in just about every single house on at least 5 streets next to mine.
That was one thing I actually loved and miss about my childhood.
It was great growing up in the country.
You could see the stars at night. You had enough land to sled in your own backyard in the winter
and play kick ball in the summer with room for all the bases.
 Those are the things that I miss.

Still when I reflect on my life, in this house
I can't help but think that maybe I didn't really know any of my neighbors at all.
The simple reason being, that they didn't really know who we were...
behind closed doors.
(Photo of me: Taken by Summer Jones)

When I pulled up, I immediately saw what the years of neglect and abuse had done to the outside of this place where I had spent the first 20 years of my life.
And the very first thought I had was how the outside
finally seemed to match the way it had always felt on the inside.
 It was broken.
The memories I have from my youth taught me a lot.
Like how you never really know anyone or what they're capable of, unless you live with them.
I remember an interview Patrick Stewart, the actor, gave about his abusive Father. He put it this way:
"He was a very charming, charismatic man, and a great storyteller...The interesting thing is...
There are people we know who would've (seen an interview I gave about my Father)
 and said it was a pack of lies.
They would never believe that he could be responsible for those things."
And that statement is so true. In my case, everyone loved my Mother.
She was funny and outgoing and very smart with words.
She was an artist, she could paint a picture of how she wanted others to see her...and they did.
No one would have, and some still don't,
believe her capable of the things that were our day to day reality.
And that's okay, I'm long past the point of needing validation. I know my truth.
However, child abuse and domestic violence are still not talked about enough.
There is a shame and a silence that goes along with them and I don't understand it.
Why can't I speak about my life? Why should I have to hide what happened?
When I realized the answers  to those questions were "you can" and  "I don't", I truly began to heal.
I am okay talking about where I came from and what happened to me.
And those experiences also taught me a much greater lesson,
that of who I did not want to be...

My child has never known fear, never cried herself to sleep.
She is carefree and secure and knows not only through words,
but demonstrated through actions everyday,
that she is loved beyond measure.

After our visit to the old house, I took her up the road to the playground
where I spent so many of my childhood hours.
I was happy to see that a lot of the original pieces were still there, like the merry-go-round and the teeter totters (seesaws).


This lovely little tree was still there too.
It was a metaphor for my life back then.
I remember staring out at it as a child
 and thinking that it must feel as lonely and out of place as I do. 

I don't feel that way anymore.
Some of you may have thought at the start that I titled this
 My Long Journey Home
because of this trip back to see my roots,
but that house in the background of this photo never was and never will be my home.
No, my journey was my search for the end of the cycle and a beginning to love.
My wonderful husband and beautiful daughter ended that journey,
they are my life
and I have finally made my way home.

"My long journey home has finally ended with you.
I look beyond to see my past is barely in view."
Paige Everson: Sweet Magnolia Photography-NY

My name is Paige Everson.  I am a happy Wife, a proud Mommy, a lover of lighthouses, fleamarkets, poetry and peanut butter with chocolate!  I hate holes in my socks  and when my seatbelt gets twisted inside that plastic clippy thing.  I have always loved being creative.  I think art can manifest itself in a multitude of forms.  I can't remember a time in my life when I did not write.  Whether it be poems or short stories, writing saved me in so many ways. I know it will always be a huge part of my life.  I also took dance for a little over ten years including ballet, tap, jazz and modern.  I have the fondest memories of Saturday morning dance class and end-of-year recitals, where I got to dress up and wear  make-up!  (A HUGE deal to a 6 year old girl!) ;)   I love to be creative in my everyday life as well. I  am a garage sale/flea market junky.  One of my favorite things to do is to take something old and  discarded off the side of the road and repurpose it into something new and functional.

Steven Spielberg once said “I don’t dream at night. I dream all day. I dream for a living.” I think that is how a person feels when work no longer feels like work. When you get to be inspired and creative, make other people happy and still be home with your sweet girl everyday. Well that’s just the best you could ever hope for. True to my artistic nature, I have always loved photographs and their nostalgic, story-telling qualities. I just never dreamed I would become a photographer one day.  The truth is, I didn't even own a camera until I was in my 30's and pregnant with my daughter.  I asked my husband for a camera to document her new life.  I could have no way of knowing then, that that one decision and that tiny camera would change my whole life forever!

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