Monday, April 29, 2013

In Memoriam

Gentle Reader,

It's funny sometimes, the things that we remember.

I would have been about four years old.  I was riding in the back of my parents' old Duster, as I often did, wishing I could see out the window.  Sometimes my folks would stack lawn furniture cushions for me on the seat so that I didn't miss anything as we drove by, but maybe they didn't think to do so on this particular day.  On this day, though, I was especially wishing that I could see better.  It was a bright spring day that felt like summer, and we were going to the place where the young people had died.

I didn't understand the entire story, but I had picked up enough from overheard bits of conversation.  Two kids from the neighborhood had gone out partying one night and somehow driven themselves into the reservoir, where they died.  At the time, I didn't see how that could happen.  If the car went into the water, why couldn't they just open the doors and get out?  It was a long time before I understood that sometimes things aren't that simple.

I remember my dad driving around for a bit.  Maybe he wasn't sure how to get there, initially.  Soon though we were parked at the top of the dam, looking down into the artificial lake.  I've been back there since and the dam isn't very high at all, but it looked a lot higher at the time.  My mom was telling my dad not to get so close to the edge, and he was ignoring her.  But I can understand why she felt uneasy, considering what had happened there.

I always remembered this event, even though I didn't know the names of the victims or the precise date or any of the other major details.  I never heard about the story from anyone else.  A few times I asked other people my age if they remembered hearing about a young couple who died at the lake, but no one did.  They were probably just too young to remember.  Besides, they had probably never gone to the actual site and listened to their parents argue over it, the way I had.

Just recently there was a story in our local news about prom season and the Post-Prom Party tradition that all of our local schools are a part of.  The reporter explained how the tradition originated in 1984, when two young people died at Papio Dam Site 20 after leaving the Millard South High prom.  There was a lot of construction around the dam site at that time.  Engineers were building what would eventually become Wehrspann Lake and the Chalco Hills Recreation Area.  There was a gravel road with no street lights, and a "Road Closed, Bridge Out" sign that was apparently missed.  The young people plummeted off of a cliff and found themseles upside down in the water.  They didn't have a chance.

The submerged vehicle wasn't discovered for nearly a month.  Over the intervening weeks the community engaged in a massive search effort which ultimately spanned several states.  Flyers and buttons were produced and passed around the region.  Theories about the couple running off together were dismissed.  Rather, the two were thought most likely kidnapped.

Local schools started hosting Post-Prom events the year following.  It was eventually proven that the young people were not intoxicated at the time of the accident, but if there had been a safe afterparty for them to go to, perhaps the tragedy would have been avoided.

It sounds like an urban legend, a ghost story, but it's not.  I don't recall anyone making a campfire tale out of this one.  What's sad to me is that more people don't remember.  I know a lot of people around my age who graduated from the Millard area schools and none of them recalled the story when asked.  This seems wrong to me.

Beth Ann Brooks would be around 46 years old today.  Brian McEwen would be almost 50.  I understand that their families still live in the area.  I was only a little kid back then but I remember.  I remember looking out the window of our old Duster and squinting against the sun as my parents argued without quite meaning it.  I remember looking down at the clear blue water and wondering what it was like to drown.  This is what I remember, but I wish that everyone around here remembered something about this story.  The least we can do for those who die is to remember them.

Beth Ann Brooks, age 17 in 1984 | Brian McEwen, age 20 in 1984

Archived news story about the disappearance
Archived news story about the discovery
About the Millard Schools Post-Prom

Ever Yours,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shout Out

Gentle Reader,

This is a shout out to Chuckro at The World of Insufficient Light blog who not only downloaded and played my Golbez hack, but also took the time to post a thorough review.  Thanks, Chuck--I really appreciate it!

I'm hoping that my visitors will give Chuck's blog a look.  Please be advised, though, that spoilers for the hack are included in the review.

Thanks again, Chuck!

The World of Insufficient Light

Ever Yours,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Story Extract: The Novel Color

He’d been fascinated by colors for as long as he could remember, a trait which had both served him well in his life as a commercial artist but also stymied his efforts to be known by others.  No one had ever understood his childhood obsession with laying out a new box of crayons such that each crayon was side by side with its nearest relative on the spectrum.  Red gave way to oranges and then yellows and then greens and so forth, creating a brilliant rainbow of colored wax on the bedroom carpet.  Still, some of the colors caused difficulty when it came time to place them.  Where did pink fit into the spectrum, for example, or peach or gray?  The metallic crayons presented an especially tricky problem, but so did basic white and black, as well as the vaguer, more tertiary shades.  He’d asked his parents about it more than once, at times when his fixation was so persistent that he could not finish his dinner or study or engage in any other form of conversation.  In such moments his father hid himself behind the evening paper while his mother, with her kind and worried eyes, stroked his hair and tried to change the subject.

Eventually he decided that his straight line configuration was not sufficient to accommodate the crayon spectrum’s complexity.  Over time he refashioned the layout into a sort of cross shape, but with multiple horizontal bars, in order to allow for branching paths.  Even the modified cross failed to fulfill his purpose, however, and it eventually gave way to a many-pointed star, and finally a multi-strand Mobius loop where colors branched away from one another but then came together again.  Red could lead to orange but also to pink and brown.  Orange could bleed into yellow but also peach, which in turn connected back to brown.  Teal could fall between green and blue but also touch violet by way of intermediates like periwinkle.  This delighted him to no end, and he altered the layout often.  He was convinced that there was a singular right way, an ideal way of arranging the colors to make them whole, and he was determined to find it.

By high school he had taken to calling his project the Wheel, though the name was only voiced within his private thoughts.  He saw it as the ultimate expression of what fascinated him.  It was like a god over lesser color wheels, which were imperfect forms developed by those who were free of his eccentric yet wonderful compulsion.  He loved the Wheel, and meditating on it was akin to a religious experience for him.  The concept never left him, though he outgrew the need to lay out crayons, instead using graphics software to create virtual Wheels.  And, as he grew older, he also became more adept at keeping his thoughts on the subject to himself.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Gentle Reader,

This is a very small box of very small mogwai, the world's most loveable creature.

Don't even try to pretend that you don't want one.

ARRRGH!!!  It's sooo cute, I can't take it!!!

Ever Yours,