I’ve just gotten the green light to launch the Kickstarter campaign for my Lost Laurel book, and it is officially live!
The campaign has 30 days (29 and counting, as we speak…) to meet its funding goal, so please reserve your copy today and help make the book a reality!
The link includes a complete overview of the project, including a cool little video that was produced for this purpose by my friends Eric Espejo and Aaron Goodmiller of 19th + Wilson.
The book itself is at the $40 level, but you’ll also find plenty of contributor reward levels available, and there will be more to come (including some original artifacts from the Lost Laurel collection, and some that are actually featured in the book)!
The Kickstarter campaign is an all-or-nothing venture, meaning that unless the project goal of $3,000 is met or exceeded, it won’t be funded; and it only lasts for 30 days. So please contribute what you can now, and spread the word! No pledges will be collected (you won’t be charged anything at all) until the campaign ends, and then only if the project is successfully funded.
So, please consider this your chance to reserve a copy of the Lost Laurel book by pledging the $40 level minimum today!
Wow, this is exciting! A book about my hometown! And it looks like you’re well on your way to getting this project funded… only one day in and you’re already almost halfway there! I think I should be able to make a contribution myself sometime soon. Best of luck.
Thanks so much, Gary! Every little bit helps, so please spread the word!
I just randomly came across your project via Kickstarter featured projects, and thought to myself at first is that the Tastee Freez in Laurel, MD??? My grandfather developed, built, and managed the Laurel Shopping Center, and he would have loved to know your about your project. I cant wait to see the final product!
Thanks so much, Mike! Please let me know if you have any photos from your grandfather’s days at the Shopping Center that you can share—it would be wonderful to include them in the book!
Wow! I moved to Laurel in 1965. I remember Wallace getting shot in the Laurel, MD Shopping Center parking lot. I was just five at the time. I also remember racism and sexism. Laurel was full of it. Blacks were on the other side of the tracks, per se. I used to play with all kids. Kids don’t know racism, unless they are taught it. Sexism was large too. The neighbor was a single parent white female who was dating a man. People stared at her and talked about her behind her back. It was all very mean. The lady cried a lot. She was the mother of a little girlfriend of mine. I didn’t understand it at all. At five, I felt their pain, because I wasn’t raised like that.
When I was 19, I joined the military and stayed there for 20 years. My mother was the local Wallpaper Hanger and Painter (Ragna Rennick) for Laurel. She was posted in the Laurel Leader later on. The teenage me used to work with her on jobs, before I joined the service. My father worked for the NSA.
Today, I could drive through Laurel and not even know it. In fact, I did just that, when I came to visit during my first four year hitch/enlistment in the military. I didn’t recognize anything at all. I hadn’t been gone that long, either. It was wild how quickly everything was changing.
Two years ago I tried buying a standard pair of Wrangler jeans at the old Laurel Shopping Center. There weren’t any to be found. What I found was a bunch of cheaply sewed together over-embroidered pants and gangster-like and slut-like tacky clothing. The quality of Laurel, where I used to hang downtown, felt like a cheap trick, run down, over populated, and broken. Sad. Thank goodness I lived in West Laurel off of Brooklyn Bridge Rd growing up. That appeared to be somewhat still nice, as one came down the hill from the Old Christmas tree that used to be lit up for the community every holiday. I understand it is gone too now, for whatever reason (burned down was the rumor).
Laurel appears eaten up between Baltimore and Washington DC; much like a decaying tooth. That part I could always see growing up. It is caught between heaven and hell with its cookie-cutter homes and run down shacks where the rich can be seen living behind gated monolithic walls and in monolithic homes. I am glad I’m outta there. Nevertheless, having said that, I remember the old folks who used to ramble on about, “Back in the day – trollies, farms, and two-lane roads.” I worked at Bob’s Big Boy right in the middle of Route 1, before I joined the U.S. Navy/Service. I heard a lot coming out of the mouths of the aging population, even then. The way they colored it, you almost wished you could Twilight Zone it back into existence.
Still, like it or not, I have my own memories of Laurel, now. Seeing pictures of the good-ole-days reflected in each photo rips at my heart-strings a little, as it plays a metallic off-key melody, that too now, in of its self , is symbolic of the days gone by. I wasn’t aware I had much feeling left in me. Thanks to the book and depictions, I realize, I was wrong. I do miss the calmer, simpler side of Laurel; the older Laurel, when life was relatively swell and people had time to say, “Hello” and smile – at least at my end of the street!
U.S. Navy (Ret)
Thanks, Michelle! Believe it or not, I just stumbled across a photo of your mom in a 1984 Laurel Advertiser. Enjoy! 🙂
Well, this comment is a bit dated and I doubt that the poster still will be notified of any replies, but I think it’s worth a shot.
Michelle, only by coincidence I came across this website with your name in it. (Actually I googled for your mother’s name). Admittedly, for years (or rather decades) I only thought of you in terms of “some relative who is living way over in America” and that was it. Now let me tell you that I am deeply moved by your brief account of your life in Laurel, MD.
Your cousin Bjoern
I also moved to Laurel in 1965–actually Maryland City where we raised four children. We went to the Stanley Library, did our shopping, and movie going, etc. in Laurel way before the woods were taken away and several mini-shopping centers were built at Maryland City. Because they took away the woods, we now have many “pets” in our back yard: squirrels, chip monks, rabbits and a multitude of birds. So now we have our own little piece of country.
Originally we moved to Maryland City from SE Washington, DC to get away from the city and after a few years we found two major cities (Baltimore & Washington) were closing in on us and as the owners of the many small farms in the area passed away, their descendants sold the land to developers, and car dealerships, etc. and there went our “out in the country” atmosphere. Some call it progress–I think it is a shame.
As far as who I allowed my children to play with, here is a poem I learned in my 5th grade English class (back in 1948) which is from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” I believe. Most of the verses we learned came from there. Anyhow, I taught this to my children and they are teaching their children the same idea:
“Never judge a man by his relatives, but rather by his friends. His relatives are forced upon him while his friends are of his own choosing.” I also taught my children not to judge a person by their color, but rather by their actions. They had friends from many races and backgrounds and they came to our house for birthday parties, etc.
One of our neighbors was a DC policeman and he disliked black people because they committed so many crimes on his beat. When he decided to sell his house, he announced that he was going to sell to the blackest family he could find–just to spite his neighbors. Well, he did sell to a black family and we all like them better than we liked him and we have had these black neighbors longer than we had him for a neighbor. He actually did us a favor in finding such a nice family to sell to. :o)