The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 5

As I traveled from Hartford, Connecticut, to Scranton, Pennsylvania, I searched for information, diving deep into the heartland of our great country, talking with folks from all walks of life.  My journey followed Laura’s path as she flees to escape a vicious killer. 

Laura was raised in the lap of luxury, with maids and gardeners, and au pairs to help with the children. Her grandparents live in Palm Beach, Florida and she flies down annually to visit them. She and her husband have a huge summer home in Matoloking, New Jersey, which he inherited from his parents. They belong to a prestigious country club. They attend balls and charity golf events.

For most of her life, Laura did not notice the maids, gardeners, waitresses and drivers who served her and her family. They were largely ignored. They did not have Gucci handbags, Ferragamo shoes, honeymoons in France and vacations in Italy. They had no college degrees, high positions in corporate America or promising careers.  They were unimportant.

Now, slowly and surely, these very people become her friends. They help her find food and clothing and shelter. They hide her and talk her out of her misery. They make her laugh.

Soon, Laura realizes that the homeless, the poor, the working classes are comprised of people who, in many ways, are more real and true than her upper-class acquaintances. It’s easy to write a check to a charity, but who wants to give a homeless person a place to stay? A bed for the night?

Soon Laura is residing in a trailer park. The people around her help each other out. When someone is ill, they cook dinner. They watch each other’s children and they sometimes gather around a small fire at night to laugh and tell stories. She has never been this close to reality, she has never had anyone sacrifice for her or befriend her this way.

My dear friend, Glenn Khoury, set up interviews with folks in a trailer park he owns near Scranton. Gene and I spent a whole day there, talking and getting to know the residents. These were working class people, some of them barely getting by, but they poured out their hearts to me that day. I heard some amazing stories of survival and perseverance and I thank them all.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “The Adventure of Writing a Book”. As the killer finds Laura, she flees west to Bozeman, Montana.

Speak Your Mind