I recently returned to Oakley, Idaho (population 600-ish) for a little family reunion. I LOVE Oakley, Idaho. I spent many-a-summer here as a child visiting Grandma. Now, my kids love to visit their grandparents here. But Grandma's not the only attraction (though the most important). How many towns have a grocery store that still sells penny candy?--a huge draw for my kiddos! And in July you have the Poineer Day celebration complete with parade, rodeo, fireworks, and food. Did I mention my kids love this place?
But I love Oakley for another reason. Whenever I visit, not only do I see relatives, but I also see characters from my books--at least in my mind (I know, a little scary). And as I revisit certain landmarks, scenes I wrote years ago play out in my mind. You see, my first novel Molly Mormon? was set in Oakley as well as scenes in both Molly Married? and Molly Mommy? And my children's novel, Make Me a Memory is set in ficticious Edna, Idaho, which was based on...Oakley, of course.
The other morning I was jogging around the high school track, and my first thought was, Oh my gosh--that's where Molly and Brandon had their first kiss! Later,I took my daughter to swing at the elementary school and I even said out loud, "Brandon and Molly came out to these very swings on prom night, kicked off their shoes, and swang" (swung, swinged?...you know what I mean).
On another occasion when I took my kids for a walk down to Clark's for penny candy, we strolled past the little post office with its combination boxes, and I thought, this is where Allie comes to pick up the mail, hoping there's a letter from Iraq, written in her dad's familiar handwriting.
Am I crazy?
No--I'm a writer!