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Industrial Abode

From the “Unusual Places I’ve Lived” department: The original photograph wasn’t very clear and therefore neither is the scan, but do you see the warehouse on the southside of the image? With my father and his cats—including one with three legs named Skippy—during the summers of 1991–1992, I lived there.

The building was home to a business Dad owned, which with his partner was a brains/brawn operation: his partner was an engineer, and Dad could build whatever part he designed. Though they’d had employees in the past and though they tried to secure long-term contracts for their work, in retrospect the end of the George H. W. Bush presidency was probably a bad time to be a parts manufacturer. The company contracted to the two partners, of whom Dad was the only one who relied upon it for his sole income. Probably to save money, he moved into one of the building’s three offices, eating from the shelves of the convenience store at the top of the hill, showering either at the preacher’s house or the YMCA.

When he put two beds in the office, it was cramped. At night he would shove a window air conditioner in the door and cover it with cardboard to keep the cool air from escaping. Because no daylight reached the office and because I was a teenager, I slept an ungodly number of hours a day. I would wake up to grab lunch at the convenience store, then while Dad worked, I would read science fiction or rummage through Dad’s stuff for girly magazines. (He caught me once. I never found his stash again.) Some days I would ride the bicycle he loaned me to the library or the post office. Some days he would take off early and we would go to an action-movie matinee, or we would go up into the mountains to hike spurs off the Appalachian Trail, or we would bike down Skyline Drive.



i think colin powell used this picture of your dad’s place when he testified in front of the u.n. security council.

which could only mean one thing: saddam hussein was manufacturing wmd’s inside the u.s.

In truth, however, Colin Powell was wrong the entire time. Most of the WMDs are 20 miles away, stashed away in a secret booby-trapped bunker.