As we traveled up to visit my parents for the Independence Day holiday,we cut through a small country town and had to stop at a red light. Looking up at the street sign, I laughed, “oh look, dear, it’s Cedar Street!” In Joy and her sequel, the main characters live on Cedar St. However, this particular street looked as if it had its height in 1961 and never regained it. It was also across from a penitentiary.
“Not exactly how I pictured it,” I mused.
There was a commercial building at the corner. “Is that Maloneys?” my husband teased. “It looks like a bail bond place.”
It was, in fact, a nondescript generic bar offering long necks for 1.99. “I think Dominic could do better than that,” I joked.
Still I wondered whether there was a Cedar Street like I’d imagined, and while out driving one day, I found it. It was in Indiana after all, in a historic district so all the commercial buildings were still preserved in 19th century glory (huzzah! I didn’t see anything that could be Maloneys, but plenty of buildings that could have been the microbrewery). Driving up Cedar, it was as if my imagination had come to life in front of me. All the houses were between the 1880s – 1920s and all well maintained. I could almost picture Peggy Maloney tending a flower garden in front of one house. Were I not leery of stopping to take pictures of homes, I might have done so, but I was also navigating a 12-passenger van in a narrow street with cars parked on either side. Of course, this town wasn’t exactly bordered by corn and soybean fields (perhaps 30 years ago) and it wasn’t at all what I had pictured when I thought of Tudor. But I still drove off with a smile on my face.
Why did this mean so much to me? I guess it was an affirmation that I kept the descriptions real. To an author, it’s immensely satisfying.