Oniontown

Oniontown is like an onion, a reality in layers, a town with many facets. We only understand its heart thoroughly through perseverance. Oniontown is not thought of as a nice place to go. Locals keep away for fear of being shot. The stigma of Oniontown evokes it’s past, a place first inhabited by a family rumored to be inbred. But in the 1950’s Ethel Smith moved up to New York and bought the land from this family to start a family of her own. Located at the end of a dead end street, in Duchess County, not far from New York City’s lights of modernity, this little community of 7 trailer homes, all inhabited by the same extended family sits as a microcosm. Although some of the families subsist on welfare and disability checks, they live autonomously from the surrounding community and survive off of their own land, hunting deer in the neighboring woods and breeding animals such as pigeons and swine. Many of the children live in broken homes, some with incarcerated parents, others who were abused, arriving in Oniontown with no other place to go. The children capture love where they can find it. Despite this, there is a sensibility to Oniontown, of familial love, a sense of responsibility to protect and look after one another. It’s a community built on fragile walls, and remains of discarded dolls, televisions, and motorcycles, all of which hold the pains and joys of the past. The layers of Oniontown reveal a complex society under imaginary notes of a carillon out of tune, the memory of an amusement park already old and forgotten.