Joe’s Junk Yard – One Family’s Version Of The American Dream

American flag in garage, 2002

 

Photographer Lisa Kereszi is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  These images are from her project ‘Joe’s Junk Yard‘. To see Lisa’s body of work click on any image.

 

Loy and Joe Jr. smoking, 1998

Loy and Joe Jr. smoking, 1998

 

Office with tv, where Mark died, 2001

Office with tv, where Mark died, 2001

 

Piled cars, ready for final sale 2003

Piled cars, ready for final sale 2003

 

        What was the junkyard like yesterday, Nannie?

            Same as always—lousy. Not too many customers.

                        — From a conversation with my grandmother,

 

Easter, 1998

Easter, 1998

 

Toolbox with graffiti, 1998

Toolbox with graffiti, 1998

 

Bob and son Bobby removing a part for sale, 1998

Bob and son Bobby removing a part for sale, 1998

 

 When I was growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, my father ran an automotive junkyard founded by his father after World war II, and my mother ran a series of small antique shops. I was surrounded by junk.  My mom routinely dragged us out of bed at sunrise to go to the flea markets and yard sales, in search of treasure–a painting by a famous artist, a valuable piece of pottery, or an important document or silver certificates stowed in the backing of a frame. My dad ran the family business, and started a motorcycle department to satisfy his second, more pressing interest: Harley Davidsons. He built one of his motorcycles from the ground up, using parts he acquired in the business. I was shaped by the idea that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This story is about one family’s version of the American Dream – earned, and then lost, through a series of personal tragic events coupled with a larger, fast-changing post-industrial and cultural landscape. In business for over fifty years, the gates were closed, and JOE’S sign changed to read “LOU’S,” in 2003.

 

Patty and Evans with pickup, 1998

Patty and Evans with pickup, 1998

 

Flyer with fan belts, 2002

Flyer with fan belts, 2002

 

Engine on ground, 2003

Engine on ground, 2003

 

Dad in Pink Caddy, 2002

Dad in Pink Caddy, 2002

 

Gotham City on my dad's Caddy, 2002

Gotham City on my dad’s Caddy, 2002

Joe's sign with tires, 2003

Joe’s sign with tires, 2003

 

Flyer designed by my grandmother in the 90's, featuring Joe Sr., who founded the business after retiring from a short welterweight boxing career. All photos were taken in Trainer, Pennsylvania.

Flyer designed by my grandmother in the 90’s, featuring Joe Sr., who founded the business after retiring from a short welterweight boxing career. All photos were taken in Trainer, Pennsylvania.

 

Father's belly, 1998

Father’s belly, 1998

 

Dad in the office, now empty, 2003

Dad in the office, now empty, 2003

 

See also:

To Grandmother’s House

By Lisa Kereszi

 


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