Galen's Stuff | Jess Dewes
Streetside Pick Up | Elie Gardner
Photo Elie Gardner
The Gift and Burden of Possession | Ari Holtz
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The Book | Luby Kelley
Illustration Matt Kindt
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Liberation | Julie Newberry
Bless This Mess | Claire Nowak-Boyd
Photos Michael R. Allen
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Andrea Avery, Diana Benanti, Thomas Crone, M. Davis, Heidi Dean, Amanda E. Doyle, Joe Esser, Chris King, François Luong, L.A. Ramsey, Stefene Russell, Steven Schreiner, and Erik Smetana.
Andrea Avery, Thomas Crone, Bill Cable, Jess Dewes, Katy Fischer, Jane Godfrey, Dave Gray.
Streetside Pick Up | by Elie Gardner
I was looking for him in all the wrong places, and then one morning he showed up on Cleveland Avenue.
I see him sitting with his family – a headboard, two shelves and a canopy contraption. I notice that he's for sale. I glance at him, but it's not love at first site. I feel bad. I want him, a la carte.
Hours later, I drive by. He's still there. This time, he sits on the curb. Odds and ends rest near him in bags – cups, bowls and a French coffee press. A sign attached to one of the bags reads, "Free stuff."
Call me conditional, but now that he's free, he looks mighty fine. The least I can do is give him a home. The headboard, two shoddy bookshelves and canopy have to stay. I don't have room for them, but I believe that it's my civic duty to give this abandoned chap a home. I take him from his family, hoping they don't end up in some smelly landfill.
I throw him in the backseat of my car and drive away. Still getting used to my new friend, I peek back at him at the stop signs and lights and like him a little more after each glance. At my home, I leave him alone in the car, but not for long. I skip up the stairs and grab a dust rag and some cleaning supplies. I beam as I run a rag up and down his short legs. He sparkles after his dusting. The only sign of neglect he shows is an unattached handle.
Already clean, I dust him again then carry him up my stairs. I set him down in my room to see how he fits. He needs his handle back.
The first screw I try is too short, and the second, too long. But after a few minutes, I find the proper size and reattach the handle. He functions now, without the rest of his family by his side. I fill his drawer with bookmarks, batteries and other junk. I place my alarm clock and light on top of him. I pull him close to my bed so that he, my nightstand, can sleep near me.
Elie Gardner is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate and works as the online photo editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A photographer by nature, she tries to debunk ancient myths by liking words too, and even numbers.