PHOTOS AND WORDS BY SCOTTY PERRY
Oct 25, 2022
Everything on Time is a series of images I created surrounding my upbringing, a life verging on vagrancy. Raised by a single mother who often held down multiple jobs, we moved every one to two years, on average, sometimes living with family. The title of the project is a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem, and that, even though “home” is a fluid term for me after 20-something moves in my life, everything happens on time.
The idea came to me early into the pandemic while we were sheltering in place. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve thought about what home means to me. I have lived in the same house in Beechmont for 10 years now. The first few years here, I started to feel a need to move, as I had in my childhood. A wandering spirit was raised within me, and the feeling of being idle leaves me wanting whatever is next.
For this project, I have traveled to most of the locations from my past with my mom. It has been a way for us to bond over all of our shared history. What I was searching for were memories, hearing forgotten stories, but what I found was closure and pieces of me scattered and ready to be picked up.
I’m still working on getting images, and once complete, I’ll have captured each place with a large-format film camera. I want the images to be physically tangible without having to invert them digitally for viewing. I’ll eventually show the images in a gallery, where the slides will be framed in a light box next to prints of me growing as a child through adulthood.
Home is rarely one permanent impression, but many. I can feel home when I pay the mortgage or in the middle of the woods. Home is where I am most comfortable. Home has always been where everything is on time.
My first home. I used to have a studio at the Mellwood Art Center and probably passed this place a hundred times before knowing where I was — until my mom brought me here on Mother’s Day 2022, when we started the project.
North Hite Avenue and Cleveland Boulevard
We were here only for a brief period.
My grandparents’ home, where they lived my entire life.
I would go on to spend a lot of time with them
Apartments on Chamberlain Lane
Now called Chamberlain Oaks. The first memory I have — rolling around in a snowsuit — was here.
I don’t recall much about this place. The units were new when we moved in but have changed a lot since then.
West Creek Apartments
We stayed here with my grandmother for a short period. I remember her red walls and the smell of bronze vases.
We lived on the second floor, I think. We moved out due to an infestation of roaches. My mom says we left almost everything behind.
The Pond (off Old Lagrange Road)
Of all the places we lived, this feels the most poignant. It was emotional returning to photograph it, even if the cottage we lived in was replaced with homes we were never able to afford at the time. I could see the hot-air balloons in the Great Balloon Race floating overhead. I remember our landlord, Mr. Pohl, taking me for walks around the property and what it felt like when I was five years old and knocked our Chevette into gear while it was parked on a small bridge over a creek that separated the driveway from the house. It almost flipped over.
We first lived in the bottom-left unit with my grandmother and my youngest uncle, Brian.
Eventually, we moved catty-corner from my grandmother into our own apartment. There was a Fourth of July when my Uncle Tony came over with a smoke bomb that he smuggled out of the Army and set it off. The entire complex was under a cloud of smoke.
I really enjoy my memories of this place. The entire neighborhood felt like a cul-de-sac. We would ride bikes and spend entire days in the streets playing.
I have vivid memories of Halloween here. This was the first neighborhood we lived in where walking house to house asking for treats or tricks felt normal. There is a photo of me dressed as a 1920s gangster Freddy Krueger somewhere.
I loved this house. For my 10th birthday, I invited all the kids in my class over for a sleepover, and that night it snowed a foot or more. Two of my uncles and my grandmother lived with us here for a period.
There was a White Castle on the opposite corner where an old man named Abe would come in to play his guitar on random nights. One of those nights, my uncle came home from White Castle and encountered a skunk; my uncle, fresh out of the Army, thought it would be a good idea to try to kill the skunk, so he grabbed a .22 rifle from his vehicle and began to shoot at it. With every shot, the skunk let out its natural defense right into the AC unit. Another time, my uncle’s black rat snake got out of its cage and chased us onto the kitchen table. I can still hear my mom yelling at him through the phone to get home and catch it.
A few years later, the house and the neighboring house were sold and demolished, with a carwash, Walgreens and a strip mall
The neighborhood now east of this house was nothing but an old giant cow field back then. The field was overgrown, and we would spend hours out there playing in an abandoned house from the turn of the century that was far too gone to have been safe. One day, I found a potted plant in the field next to our fence and brought it to my mom, citing how weird it was that someone would grow a random plant in a field next to our fence. It turned out to be a small marijuana plant belonging to my uncle. This is where I had my first crush, a girl named Melissa
South Main Street (Muldraugh, Kentucky)
This was a big move for me, going from the East End of Louisville, where I had always been in the same school, Zachary Taylor Elementary on Westport Road, to a whole new county where I knew no one. Looking back, the hardest thing wasn’t leaving those friends, because we still called each other, but going into sixth grade. In Louisville, sixth grade was the start of middle school, aka the most awkward years, but in Muldraugh sixth grade was the last year of elementary school. But I quickly made friends, and I still talk to a couple of them.
Sunnyview Road(Brandenburg Kentucky)
This was my favorite house, a rental in Doe Valley. We were not close to the golf course, but we were once again close to water. Just down the hill was the edge of Doe Valley Lake. The friends from the purgatory that was elementary school were still classmates at Stuart Pepper Middle School. We explored the woods around the house, swam in the summer (and sometimes when it was far too cold in the winter). When it would snow, we would courageously (read: stupidly) sled down our elevated driveway, across the road and down the hill, somehow dodging trees and stopping before plunging into the frigid water.
Toledo Drive (returning to Louisville)
My mom married a childhood friend, and we moved in with him the summer before I started high school. I was 14 and, up to this point, I had never lived anywhere for more than two years. When I turned 16 and got my first car — a turd-brown Monte Carlo built the same year as me — I was out. Looking back, my desire to be out, to drive, and to treat this house as a place to sleep was a product of our tendency to stay on the move.
After graduation, my mom and stepdad bought this house. Between working two jobs myself, as a restaurant valet and at the mall at American Eagle (thanks, Mom, for the hustle mentality), and my social life, I didn’t spend much time here. Soon, I met my now-wife while working at American Eagle. Still, at this house stood a small entertainment building out back where we would gather for poker nights and darts. I had always found a community of friends around me. The games we played changed, as did many of the faces, but they have all been formidable.
Married. My wife and son moved into our first home, a rental owned by my father-in-law. I started to learn how to be a husband, a father and an adult.
We bought our first house, a place that was all ours: a cozy little shotgun where we raised our oldest son until he was nearly eight, and where we brought home another son in 2010.
Maybe it was my desire to be on the go, but we listed our house on Inverness and sold it within a week, before we had a place to live. We moved into the second floor of my in-laws’ house for five to six months while searching for our next home.
Hobart Drive, 2012
We moved in at the end of 2012 and have spent the last 10 years here. The memories we have made could not be counted.
We have raised our two sons here, four dogs, and hosted our friends passing through or when they need a place to stay.
I've become a better dad in this house, a better husband, a better friend. I grew a photography business here, learned to cook and discovered a lot about myself. We have cried and laughed, and laughed until we cried. Still, I yearn for what’s next. And as of this writing, summer 2022, we're in the middle of moving.