by Maurice Mattei

I was passing through Hayden, Virginia on the way to a business meeting in Wellington. Pulling off the highway halfway through town, I decided to stay the night. It was late and I’d been driving for six hours. I got a room at the first motel I saw with the intention of leaving in the morning after having breakfast. Sometime around midnight a strong wind began to blow which kept me awake most of the night. I got up and checked out at around 7:00 in the morning. When I went to start my car, the engine wouldn’t turn over so I returned to the front desk and explained my situation to the clerk. He told me that he’d call a mechanic and have it looked at. This left me with a little time to kill. I had my camera with me because I enjoy taking pictures every once in a while on these business trips. I took a walk through town to snap a few shots. When I’d walked a block or two from the motel I noticed there wasn’t much going on in Hayden. A lot of the stores were locked up and out of business. It looked like some of the bigger companies had moved out of town. In the middle of the city there was a hotel and an adjacent convention center that were both half burned down. They’d put up a small fence around the area to keep people out but someone had kicked it down so I walked in to get a closer look. I shot a few pictures of the place because it was such a wreck. After this I also shot some of the other things I’d passed along the way. There appeared to be only a handful of people and cars in the town. Some blocks were completely leveled. By the time I got back to my motel the mechanic had come by and fixed my car. Apparently, there was a loose wire in the ignition. I settled up with the clerk and was on my way out of town by about 2:00 in the afternoon.


[A short statement follows the images.]