RETURN To DOZIER Pt. 2: With Experience Comes Reality…

JANUARY 1ST, 2018…

Welcome 2018!

 After a nasty, rainy end to 2017, our last morning in Jackson County brought the bright shining sun…And the bitter, freezing, high of 27 cold! I got up before everyone else, threw on layers of clothes & literally packed up everything as quickly as possible. This was it! If I wasn’t able to sneak away to Dozier for at least a couple of hours today, the opportunity would be gone. I was determined no matter what I had to do to get there! I tip toed down the stairs & was instantly greeted by my 4 year old nephew who wasted NO time telling me that his mom was in the shower. Well DAMN! How had the toddler managed to beat my wake up time?? I’ll spare everyone the rest of this part of the story as it’s pretty obvious that I did manage to accomplish my mission OR I wouldn’t be writing this Post! I will add that in spite of being a REALLY early riser, that 4-year old monkey was a pretty cute sight 1st thing in the morning…

Fast forward about 2 hours & I was finally on my way, my Ride OR Die by my side! We pulled into the usual spot as it was the easiest way to enter the property & it also gave our vehicle & more importantly US plenty of cover! We hopped out of the car & after a brief moment of adding even more layers of clothing & some hand warmers began to make our way to the front door of the 1st cabin. This is where we encountered our 1st little hiccup…2 years time had brought tons of overgrowth to the property. This meant having to get through lots of vegetation including grass that was  taller than us! Oh well, at least it wasn’t snake season…It wasn’t snake season, RIGHT?

 

 

  It really only took us a couple of minutes before we were standing on the cabin’s front porch. We started to enter when we noticed that there were icicles hanging from the roof!! Holy Hell, I hadn’t seen icicles since I was a kid!! We took a couple of pics & went inside. 

 

 

 

  Inside of the cabin was much the same as it was 2 years before. It still appeared as if time had stood still from the very moment that the property had been abandoned. The biggest change we saw was the addition of a bit more garbage littering the floor that the area homeless had left behind. We took a minute OR 2 to take a look around before exiting out the back door. On the way through, something caught my eye…It was the little Webster’s Dictionary that had been on the shelf next to the child’s art that I had taken home with me on the previous trip. It had sat there on that shelf for 2 years & had managed to survive intact, only collecting a bit more debris on & around it.

 

 

 

  Stepping outside of the backdoor, gave us the view that we remembered…Well almost. It was immediately apparent that the overgrown bushes, trees, weeds & grass weren’t just going to be a problem out front. We made our way through onto the hill that gave us a view of most of the buildings & stood there in the freezing cold & wind just taking it all in. Much was the same during this exploration. The buildings still stood empty, guarded with the tall barbed wire (and potentially electrified…though neither one of us felt brave enough to test it!) fence to keep the curious out OR maybe to keep the 100+ years of dark secrets inside. We spent about an hour OR so just wandering around comparing what had been 2 years ago to what was now. In my mind the only thing that had changed since our last visit was how apparent it was that Jackson County, specifically Marianna just didn’t give a shit. NOT in  the 1900’s, NOT in the 1950’s & 60’s, NOT in 2011 when Dozier was finally shut down AND certainly NOT in the present day…And I’m sure they probably NEVER would. This was my realization & it felt like a slap in the face! Knowing our time was running out, we decided to pull in across the street from the main campus to see if we could get up on the overpass to get a better view…

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

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