The house that Jack built

imageJack’s house, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I never met Jack. In fact I don’t even know if that is real name, but around town he is known as Cadillac Jack. I didn’t get it until I stopped to take some photographs of his place the other day.

Jack’s place isn’t far from town, but it’s on a road I don’t frequent, and so I was surprized, when I drove by recently, by just how derelict it had become; windows broken, weeds grown up all over the place, and no sign of recent work. Clearly something had happened to Jack and that didn’t bode well.

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Around the property there was evidence of Jack’s work in progress, but work in progress halted, almost in mid stride. I-beams, left half in, half out of a window, as if he had been called away in the middle of a project. Slate for the roof left on the barrow, and the barrow dropped on the path.

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It had been some time since Jack had paused to sit down for a moment to look upon his handiwork. Did he reflect on what a large undertaking he had set for himself? To set out out to build a house, a very large house of stone, all by himself.  Everywhere I looked there are projects started, seemingly on a whim, but nothing actually finished. The place had become a folly by all definitions. But there was more….

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Around the side of the house I see where he got his name; Cadillacs in very sorry shape, obviously wrecks that he had claimed, roofs crushed, doors caved in and windows broken. These were cars that would need a lot of attention (and a lot of money) to make whole again. What was he thinking? That he would live forever?*

Here was a man who set himself gigantic tasks, impossible tasks; a modern man of La Mancha, who dared to dream impossible dreams. I would have loved to have known him.

*I do not know if is still living, but I fear he is not. The property has the look of neglect I can only imagine existing if he were no longer around.

Olympus OMD EM5 wit 14-42mm kit zoom, processed on my iPad Air.

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7 comments on “The house that Jack built

  1. Marc Isolda says:

    great shots and great dialog very insightful !

    Like

  2. dmglostne says:

    fantastic shots and great blog love your format. When did you take the photographs I would like to go check it out David lostinnewengland

    Like

  3. nikkorbacher says:

    Aretha Franklin?

    Like

  4. nikkorbacher says:

    Your title reminded me of the Aretha Franklin song of the same title:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_House_That_Jack_Built_(song)

    Like

  5. I’ll have to take your word for it.

    Like

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