On the western edge of town, nestled warmly between the town dump on one side, and
a major chemical plant on the other, sat the park.
It was a private, planned community built after the war for returning veterans. Young
married couples eager to start a family quickly snatched up the mobile homes with their
cute gingham curtains and jalousie windows. They planted small trees, flowers, and
vegetable gardens. As time passed the park grew and prospered. More land was cleared,
new streets added and connected, with each one named after a rodent. Officially it
was called Squirrel Hollow but everyone called it The Park. In the late 1950’s the state
built an east-west interstate highway only one hundred fifty yards from The Park.
Families became friends. Friday night was pot-luck dinner at the Friendship Hall.
Everyone brought a favorite dish. It was a chance to meet new neighbors and to let all
the kids play together. They enjoyed the closeness and friendship The Park had to
offer. Life was good.
Nobody seemed to notice the stream of white that eked constantly from the chemical
Sometime during the early 1970’s two brothers inherited The Park from an uncle who
managed to kill his entire family and then himself. Even shot the family dog. No one
knows why since he left no note. But there was plenty of speculation. Some attributed the
killings to time spent in the war, while others claim he had financial problems. Most folks
figured it probably was a combination of the two and that he just snapped. In all
likelihood, that’s what happened.
It was a very different park by the time Joe and Minerva moved there in the fall of