Speaking of fake places, I was outside of Forsyth and headed to Gray, by a road that wouldn’t get me there quickest by any means but was possibly interesting. I had heard of Juliette and I didn’t know why but the map had a square that said “textile mill” and that sounded interesting indeed. Unlike most hamlets, it’s hard to miss, a cluster of buildings welcome you right before the train tracks, and as you turn down the street to your right you think just how cute this is and great that people live here still, or at least, it seems that way. And then you start to notice the gimmicky stores, a “general store” with touristy knick-knacks and then 5 more shops just like it, no, maybe 10, 15… and that’s it, gimmicky or “antique” shops (all essentially the same) and the Whistle Stop Cafe. I was flabbergasted.
I still couldn’t remember why Juliette sounded familiar after I’d driven through “town,” up the hill beyond (the textile mill across the tracks and river looked pretty cool and used) to a big empty house for sale and back. So I parked and decided to have a quick look around. I knew, of course, the instant I stepped into one of those shops (pick a shop any shop), Fried Green Tomatoes was playing on the 13″ tv and souvenirs touted the same. I bought a souvenir and wandered out, still curious.
On up the road I ran into the proprietor of the Depot (an actual wooden train depot turned into another knick-knack “antique” shop, i managed to avoid his invitation to go in), and we chatted in the road a while. I had just noticed that the facade of the one brick building in town was fake, movie-fake, ACTUAL-MOVIE-fake. He had no problem admitting that, it was their business after all, but when I inquired what Juliette looked like BEFORE the movie I got a flurry of answers. He pointed out a couple buildings that had been there, the addition on the fake brick building and the fake-bricking of it, the Depot was just out in the woods there (1/2 a mile away? 20 miles?), this was moved in and this was built… “all your looking at is original, the real stuff.”
I do wish I’d saved my lunch for eating at the Whistle Stop Cafe with the other tourists (even a foreign couple!!) who drifted through Whistle Stop, i mean Juliette, on this gray Wednesday. Next time.