I grew up on 68/80. My parents lived in Bowling
Green, Ky., and my grandparents lived in Hopkinsville, only 60
miles away. I would spend that hour car ride pretending I was
a great horseback rider, riding as fast as the car was carrying
my parents. Or I would just daydream as the farmland would zip
by, or as we weaved our way through each of the familiar little
towns that made up the path to grandma's house.
When I heard the road would be widened from two
lanes to four, I decided to document life along the road I grew
up on and the road my mother and father grew up on before me.
68/80 is part of my past and I wanted to remember it. I started
taking pictures in 1991. When I moved to Chicago in 1992, I would
occasionally go home and drive the road looking for photos of
memories before they disappeared -- the widening of the road truly
changed its landscape.
I found my family was quite interested in me pursuing
this project. I would occasionally show my dad or grandma a shot
from the road that would send them off into a story about a house
or a store they remembered.
For Christmas 1998, I gave my father a spiral-bound
book of my photos from 68/80. We were both quite emotional as
we turned the pages. Many of the places and people I have photographed
are no longer there. It is not unusual for childhood places to
change as you get older. I'm just glad I have a visual reminder
of those car rides to grandma's.
-- Jeanie Adams-Smith