March 2nd, 2018
A LITTLE HELP FROM SOME 4 LEGGED FRIENDS!
As I was making my way back down the hill, a pickup truck passed. My 1st thought was “OH CRAP!” Did that maintenance worker rat me out? Was security doing a random sweep of the grounds? OR maybe the Backwoods-Panhandle Mafia was coming to murder me?? I pulled up to the church, making sure that the truck would have plenty of room to pass & should they begin to attack, I’d have more than enough space to jump into my car & get the “F” out of there without ANY chance of being blocked in!
I grabbed my spray bottle of hand sanitizer (aka my ghetto fab bug spray/mace since I had neither!) & got out. NO sooner than my feet hit the ground, the truck was coming back…AWE SH$T! As he pulled up & rolled down his window, I did my best to stay calm. Then he spoke…What the Hell did he say?? I saw his lips moving BUT couldn’t hear a damn word because his truck was so flipping LOUD…It didn’t help that I was standing so far away! In order to look at least a little normal (and to avoid pissing him off!) I moved a bit closer, making sure to keep my car between us. That’s when I finally got a good look at him. He was young NOT exactly Mafia material BUT downgraded to potential local serial killer/rapist! He repeated himself: “Excuse Me Miss, Ya Know If The Dog Shelter’s Still Open?”
WTF? I tried to play nice: “I’m sorry, I don’t…Is there a phone number?” He had NO clue, so I sent his ass back up the hill to check while I Googled the place to see what info I could find. Lucky me, they had a FB page! The guy finally came back & I gave him the info, adding that the rescue reopened the next day at 8am. He told me he had several dogs that needed to be surrendered. I was gonna ask if they were puppies BUT stopped myself…The last thing I needed was to get home & have to explain why I had car full of puppies & where they came from! He thanked me & drove away…Thank God! I definitely owe those 4 legged darlings, BIG TIME!!
THE CHURCH WITH NO NAME…
Funny, this church had been one of the main focal points of the grounds & yet I was just now giving it my full attention! I still don’t know what had kept us from approaching it, even though it’s one of the most accessible buildings on the property. I always thought that the structure itself was awesome & I must say that it’s NEVER looked more stunning than it did during this visit, with the late day light hitting it. It’s a total shame that a place so beautiful is forever tied to the disgraceful acts committed on the grounds of Dozier. Equally shameful is the fact that the church was abandoned, long ago, with the rest of the property.
ACCESS DENIED…FOR NOW!
Now I knew getting inside wouldn’t be as simple as just walking up to the door & opening it BUT I checked anyway…Yep, LOCKED! I shrugged & started walking around the building looking at the stain glass windows. Time had been more kind to the Church than it had to a lot of the other buildings but unfortunately, vandals had NOT! There were a number of window panels broken out, probably from rocks being tossed through BUT the structure itself was mostly untouched. I guess even vandals know there are BIGGER consequences when you desecrate a church.
It really only took me a few minutes to get around the building to the back. I had been hoping that I would find the 2nd graveyard that has been reported as being a part of the property…If there’s actually another cemetery used by the school, it was NOT behind the Church. What WAS there were a couple of Florida Power & Light breaker boxes (badly rusted BUT still firmly attached to the wall!) & a nice sized window with most of the panes broken out, sitting lower to the ground! There was also a small chair sitting directly in front of it. I stood on the chair & looked inside & was quite shocked at what I saw! The room that I was looking directly into was in shambles, piled floor to ceiling with kids chairs, white boards, etc…Several weeks later, while looking through my photos, I would notice a chilling message scratched into one of those white boards. Looking over the mess gave me a partial view into the chapel area. It was well lit, the stain glass cast the room in a yellowish hue & it appeared that the wooden benches (at least the ones I could see!) were intact. I would have absolutely loved to have seen them close up & could have probably gotten in through the window fairly easily BUT decided that it would be best to wait until I had someone with me. At least I got some decent pics though…
STEP AWAY FROM THE CHURCH!
It was now after 4:30pm, giving me about an hour to see what was happening on the other side of the campus. Standing at the church, I couldn’t tell what was over that hill…For all I knew it could be anything OR nothing at all. The ONLY thing I was certain of was that I wasn’t leaving until I knew for sure & I was quickly running out of time! If there was nothing over that hill, I would be slightly disappointed BUT at least I’d have accomplished so much in this one trip! Fortunately for me, disappointment would NOT be in the cards as there was WAY more than nothing on the other side…
TO BE CONTINUED…
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