Driftwood Lane

Washaway Beach is in close proximity to the Shoalwater Indian Reservation. This means that the Fourth of July must be avoided, as every red-blooded eight-year-old and drunken yahoo has easy access to professional grade explosives. While I have never been in actual wartime, there is something to be said for the effectiveness of the terrorism of sound. (See also: The Blue Angels). So, instead, here is a retrospective of one of my fallen favorites.

Driftwood Lane, 1/1/09

For a while it had a hand-carved sign with a blue heron on it that said “Driftwood Lane” but it disappeared in a winter storm. The house remained, picturesquely on the edge, hopeful in the eye of the hurricane, for almost two years.


It had one of the old-school “Owner Will Maintain” signs, which are from an era when, I’m told, your lawn would be mowed for you and you’d get charged for it, unless you proclaimed your own landscape maintenance independence.


I loved this house so much that when I would pull into town I would go there first, to check, before even checking on my own place. Its perseverance, lit up on a blue night, the coziness and hopefulness it imparted, despite the closeness and certainty of the ocean, would reassure me.


I was sad when they took down the big tree in what was left of their front yard, for erosion control.





Driftwood Lane’s little shed had a sign that read, “The Born Loser.”

Undercut, 12/22/10

I never saw it fall. This is how I prefer to remember it, flying, defiant, enchanted.


Photography, while a tool of reality, is also a fine instrument of superstition. So, while I believe in some of my pictures, I have to selectively ignore others, in order keep on visiting places that aren’t there.


About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at www.erikalangley.com.
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2 Responses to Driftwood Lane

  1. There is an enchanted spot behind my childhood home called, “Shrew Hill” where the deer would bed down for the night. Oval indentations left in the tall grass showed where each had slept. I used to populate the hill with fairy houses; domes of woven grass carpeted with green moss and furnished with silken milkweed pod beds and acorn ottomans. The area, formerly owned by James J. Hill, railroad fortune heir, has been sold off by the grandkids. The hill is now apparently crowned by a McMansion. I have never visited the spot since the sacrilege. In my mind, it has remained the same. This way, I can continue to visit and build and dream.

  2. Jill Henkelman-Duewiger says:


    Thanks for posting this; it made me cry but that’s just because I miss it so. This was my parents place and we have years of good memories. I used to see you walk by with your camera and sometimes you would stop to chat. I still stop and check the territory when we are in the area; I wish well for all the other “washaway willies”.


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