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John Palcewski's Journal

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A really nice set of photographs. The light in the first one is very fine. Where is this place, and what a shame it was left to go to ruin.

“Can I help you? Can I help you?”

It was the loud, anxious voice of a plump middle-aged woman in a pink housedress, her hair tousled, as if she’d just rolled out of bed.

“I’m just taking pictures,” I said, smiling, and raising my Nikon D-70 as evidence.

“How am I supposed to know that?” she said loudly, stepping toward me. “I don’t know who you are or what you’re up to. You have no idea of how many thieves and criminals lurk around here looking for antiques and architectural material.”

“Well, I can assure you I’m not a thief.”

“I’m not SAYING you’re a thief,” she shouted. “I’m just saying that I don’t know who you are or what you’e doing.”

“Would you like to see my identification?”

“No, I do NOT want to see your identification. I just think it would have been NICE if you just had knocked on my door and asked permission, before you TRESPASSED ON MY PROPERTY.”

“There aren’t any ‘No Trespassing Signs,’” I replied, “and since I didn’t have any criminal intent, I simply didn’t think of knocking on anyone’s door.”

She stared at me, lower lip quivering. “Why are you being so mean?” she said. “Why are you being so hostile?” She backed away a few steps. “Why are you talking to me this way?”

She kept talking like that as she backed toward her nearby house, then she turned and disappeared into her door.

I continued my hike through the New Jersey woods. I knew I should have been more apologetic because while the poor woman may have been distraught and had over-reacted, she was correct on the most important point: The old wreck of a house was her property and I clearly was trespassing.

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