Rio Dell, CA
I followed the Eel River up a narrow, twisting canyon. I passed through several dying towns, learning of the decline of the Pacific Lumber company and the effect it had had on regional employment and attitude. The mill in Scotia hadn’t shut, but production had been severely reduced and the town seemed eerily quiet for the week before Christmas. It seemed as if the strident, wild west conservatism of mid century had been nearly completely replaced with depression, meth addicts – ”tweakers” – and the other hallmarks of economic decline.
Outside, the town was dying, but inside this thrift store, this boy’s early life had been marked with more Disney and super heroes than most of us could imagine.