Suburbia

So, of course rather than working on Bury Me in Shadows, yesterday I spent some time writing the opening scene of a short story inspired by watching I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. This is why nothing ever gets done around here, seriously. It’s called “After the Party,” and I’m not really sure where to go with it from where I got to with it–about nine hundred words in, actually, which isn’t bad, really. But I always have to write these snippets down; they nag at my brain the way your tongue will worry a loose tooth, and nothing will get it out of my head other than to write it down.

I don’t know if it’s the show that haunts me so much as it is seeing those suburban middle class cookie cutter houses where so many of the victims of the East Area Rapist–later upgraded to the Golden State Killer–lived; having lived in a similar style house in Clovis, a suburb of Fresno, and of course, our suburb of Chicago was essentially housing developments all in the same area; Bolingbrook was never a town but was rather incorporated as a “village”; the “village of Bolingbrook”–which always struck me as a little too cutesy for words. The developments all had model houses that were “modern”–split levels, ranch houses, etc–and they had folksy names; the original one was Westbury , and I honestly don’t recall what ours was called; there was another that was townhouses and I don’t recall its name either. But the newer ones had names like Winston Woods (more expensive) and Indian Oaks (same area, less expensive) and then the newest, which start going up down the street from us a few years after we moved there: Ivanhoe, which was fancier and the most expensive of them all; the 1970’s version of McMansions, I suppose. The village of Bolingbrook grew up so fast with all those working class and middle class white people fleeing the city to get away from “crime” (read: desegregated school systems) that parents were willing to commute an hour or so up the Dan Ryan Expressway to get to work. We were bussed ten miles or so over to Romeoville for junior and senior high school; the “village” grew so quickly that Romeoville High School couldn’t accommodate everyone, and even my junior high school went to a split schedule: kids from Romeoville started junior high at 7 and classes ran till 12; the Bolingbrook kids had class from 12-5–no lunch period, homeroom, or study hall. My freshman year we got our own high school but it wasn’t finished in time for school to open; so the high school went to the same schedule: RHS from 7-12 in the morning; BHS from 12-5. It was rough for sports teams and after-school activities for both schools; pretty much everything but sports was suspended until BHS was ready for us–the gym wasn’t finished, and neither was the cafeteria and an entire wing of the school, so some classes had to make do.

It was very strange, and made even stranger because we were on a “track” system of schooling as it was, so the school could handle the student load; the village was divided into four sections, and where you lived determined which track you were on; either A, B, C, or D. Three tracks were in at all times, one track was out. You went to school for nine weeks, then rotated out for three, then back in for another nine. We were in B Track, which was kind of the best–the school system shut down for two weeks at Christmas and two weeks in the summer, and those two weeks always began right as we cycled out–so B track got five weeks in the summer and five weeks in the winter.

It was different, and for the most part, I didn’t thrive in that educational environment.

But it would also be interesting to write about.

I spent some time with Cottonmouths yesterday and am really, as I have said all along, enjoying it. But that story was nagging at my brain, and I finally had to put the book aside to write it. But I think I am willing to put aside at least an hour or so a day for reading going forward, and I look forward to not only finishing the book but giving you all the glowing book report it so richly deserves.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark continues to enthrall–we watched another two episodes last night–and I’m already, with two episodes to go, wondering about what we will watch next. Hopefully, there’s insanely fabulous Spanish-language show just waiting for us on Netflix; perhaps something else German or French; there’s bound to be something on there somewhere.

And on that note, it’s back to the spice mines with me. Have an awesome Tuesday, everyone.

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