Thursday, August 14, 2014

Love of Small Community

I woke to a bright moon early this morning that beckoned me to sit outside at four thirty. I could read by the moonlight. Amazed at the sky, I still wish I knew it better. I read last night constellations  are showing in Summer Triangle this week in constellation news. The one named Arrow seems to be a sign.
I launch Main Street in two days at the town where it was imagined. West Middlesex celebrates her sesquicentennial. A wholeness and completion meld together with all of this. A faint dream, not too long ago, wakes to reality.
I finished reading October Sky, originally Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam two nights ago. Set in Coalwood, West Virginia, in the late fifties, it is more than a memoir of his journey to NASA. He found his voice of a seventeen boy to write the book with the struggle of leaving a community, a company town doomed to end. He graduated in 1960. His inner anguish of fighting for a father's approval, never really finding that closeness drives inner conflict. This book tells more than teen boys building rockets. The rockets only light the path out of a coal mining community.
Sonny, as he is called and not for the obvious reasons, often refers to the fence, the gossip trail. Anyone growing up in a small community knows about that. Parents knew what we did before we  came home. Yet, that same community that wanted to snitch on everything, also supported those boys and Sonny. They symbolized hope.
From the last of the book:
Even now, Coalwood endures, and no one, not careless industry or overzealous government, can ever completely destroy it-not while we who once lived there may recall our life among its places, or especially remember rockets that once leapt into the air, propelled not by physics but by the vibrant love of an honorable people, and the instruction of a dear teacher, and the dreams of boys.
My husband's hometown is also a small community, maybe more like Coalwood than West Middlesex. Their industry was Sylvania, and for being small, that company brought in many engineers and the hope their children would accomplish greatness. At David's class reunion I palpated the hope continued in these kids and they fulfilled it. Some even stayed in town.
As I return for the 150th, I feel the love of the community. People ask about my book. I feel only best wishes. I feel I can launch a rocket. A rocket believed in by a loved teacher, David Yarian, to whom I dedicated Main Street and all other teachers who taught more than their subject.
Post a Comment