This has been a surprising week for me with two stories coming out as well as a review of Pomegranate Stories over at The Short Review.
“Running the Fence” is up at Monkeybicycle today. I write fiction instead of memoir because my memories are somewhat hazy, but the channel and sump mentioned in “Running the Fence” really did exist and a boy in my class at Calle Mayor School did drown in the sump. His name was Ronnie Middlecoff and along with an assortment of kids on our block, we’d ride bikes, roller skate, play kick ball, girls taunting boys and boys teasing girls. Then the boys ripped wheels off of their skates and nailed them to pieces of cast off wood to make skateboards and life kept moving on.
I seldom actually played with Ronnie. I ate my cheese sandwiches on Debbie Stinson’s porch, and there were plenty of girls around our age. Our street was a half-moon called Theo Drive on one end and Mayor Drive on the other, both emptying out on Calle Mayor. I lived on the island created between the smaller street with two names and the busy main boulevard behind us. On the other side of our arc behind that row of houses, was the fenced water channel and the sump. Later when they built South High School, they removed the sump.
Almost every house had kids, so occasionally we would play together, but not often. Still I have carried the memory of Ronnie’s death not because we were best friends, but because he was the first young person I ever knew who died. I didn’t really think we could die (kids I mean) before that. It shocked me, unbelievable.
I’m glad I’ve finally written a story about this. I’ve tried to do it for a long time, but I just couldn’t figure out how to do it. As I said, my memory isn’t great, he and I weren’t really friends, but ye,t he been there, in the middle of our street, playing tag, or maybe it was hide and seek and then he was gone. He was only 10.
As for Pomegranate Stories, I am thrilled with the generous review Annie Clarkson has given it at The Short Review. You can read her write-up here:
And you can read the interview here: