Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Reminiscent Sunday


This past weekend I only had one shooting excursion scheduled. Kacie Auffret, an undergrad from the class I am assisting in, set me up with her mother, Celeste Pare. This is the first “blind date” that I have been set up on, so I felt a tad anxious. Celeste was so sweet though, my anxiety was gone within minutes of meeting her.

One of the first places she took me to was just down the street from where I live on Sandwich Street. On our way there, I was initially feeling a bit disappointed because I have ridden my bike up and down this street so many times. But then we pulled up to a building that she said used to be a Hi Ho Drive-In fast food restaurant.

“These restaurants were original fast food drive-in restaurants in Ontario. The Fortin family asked for and received permission from Walt Disney Company via a simple letter, to use the trade marked Seven Dwarfs and the Hi Ho name for their restaurants. No lawyers were involved. The Fortin’s received permission within a few weeks in early 1934.”1

Celeste was born and raised in Windsor, and worked at this particular Hi Ho as a teenager; so it was really great to listen to her reminisce about Windsor when it was in its prime. It was a beautiful day outside, but unfortunately the building was engulfed in shadow. Now that I know what this building represents, I have full intensions to bike here on my own one day to photograph it in better light.

From here, we drove to another place that I have ridden my bike past, but which I have had no reason to connect it to the auto industry. This is an area just past Sandwich Town called Brighton Beach, and it is where Celeste grew up.

“Over the last decade the area has been slowly decimated by the City of Windsor, who have been busy buying/expropriating all the homes in the area. Initially the plan was to turn the land into an industrial park, but smart money is on this area being the home of the next Windsor-Detroit Bridge.”2

We first had to ask the security guards if we could drive into the old area, which is now mostly made up of empty lots where houses once stood. He told us that it was now crown land, and they didn’t want people dumping, but Celeste explained our situation and we were cleared to shoot some photographs. I took a panoramic of the lot where her parents house once stood, and in one corner of the photograph, the Ford Nemak Essek Aluminum Plant can be made out. From here we continued on to LaSalle, where I reshoot the Canadiana & Auto Museum of Essek County, one of the locations that Mike Marcon had taken me to a few weeks earlier. I am confident that this will make a much better panoramic then on the previous date.


On our way to LaSalle, Celeste began describing here two first loves to me. First, was her horse, and second, her Mustang. After describing my own love of horses, and how I had taken lessons for a few years, she continually pointed out areas where she used to ride when she was a kid. She even invited me to go and check out a holding pen with her, a spot where she is considering keeping a horse that she is hoping to purchase in the near future. I agreed, so after taking a portrait of her car at Ojibwa Park, we went to have a look at the stable. The smell always brings me back to when I was a kid…


From here we headed back to Lebel so she could drop me off, but before she did, she gave me a few photographs of herself with a replica of the Mustang that she had once owned that she had taken at a car show in Detroit. All in all it was a fantastic two hours. This trip really made me realize that I must solicit more people who were born and raised in the Windsor/Detroit area to take me out.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

The Fortin's opened a place in Emeryville (not too far from where I took you - Russell Woods), where they still use the old Disney names for their food. It's called 'Place Fortin'. Maybe we can venture out that way on another excursion?!