"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ho-ome-ward bound.

In addition to my novel, Freezer Burn, being released in August and my launch party for said book in July, I've got other things to do this summer, one of which is to return to my hometown for a familial visit.

I often tease that my husband makes me visit my family every other year, but I'm not teasing by that much. I left Decatur, Illinois (the Soybean Capital of the World) because there were not enough opportunities for a young, smart chick to become anything other than a young wife who lived in a trailer park with her kids and husband, who worked at one of the local factories, third shift because that's what paid the most... I think you get the gist of my opinion.

Although, Decatur does have Millikin University, a really nice, if small, private college with a wonderful school of music and school of art.

And let's leave the discussion of my family for another time, or possibly dimension. I love my brother and sis-in-law; they and their brood make our visits fun. My mom passed away years ago, but we had a rather thorny relationship, and my dad and I aren't much better. Dad is now frail as a newborn spider and I will spend most of this trip sucking it up, biting my tongue and being the Good Daughter. (Insert sound of cat hacking up a hairball here.)

I was reading the online Decatur newspaper recently and found a couple of disturbing news items. One is that lightning struck the North Fork Church and annihilated it. This is the church next to the cemetary where my mom and my uncle are buried. It's the property where we used to have the heritage festival. It wasn't a church that I had any true connection with, but I'm still sad, thinking it's damaged beyond all repair.

The second disagreeable news item is that they've closed the Nelson Park Golf Course.

This course lies beside Route 36, which was the main road to get from my house on Cantrell Street into the main guts of the city. I used to watch the golfers on Sunday morning as we drove to Riverside Baptist Church. They golfed in almost all weather; I remember seeing them out there after the first snowfall, following the track of their ball in the white dust.

I thought they were insane, which colored my view of all golfers for all time.

Rumor has it that some developer wants to build homes on the golf course. Not only do I not understand this (Decatur doesn't seem to be growing in population), but I'm doubly upset because as a kid, once there was enough snow on the ground, the golf course made a bitchin' place to sled.

I guess, sooner or later, you really can't go home again. Progress happens, as well as catastrophe. As long as I see a chicken car, everything will be okay.


Dave Webb said...

Hey, Gayle. I'm still in the Decatur area, so what you said hits home, literally. I was ticked that Nelson was closed as well. My only hole-in-one was on that course. Actually, it was a hole in one windshield of a car traveling beside the course. I'm now following you on Facebook. Give me a shout sometime.


Gayle Carline said...

Hey, Dave! What fun to meet a Decatur-ite! I'll be there July 6-10 (leave the 11th at OMG-thirty). If you're around, maybe we can meet in the Face, without the Book.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Love the chicken car!


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