Before the World Stops Turning
[imgbelt img=atwtpenny_hughes300.jpg]Julianne Couch, a part-time resident of fictional Oakdale, Illinois,
says an early farewell to the cornfield town that’s now 30 seconds from
Chicago and “The Islands.”
When I first moved to Oakdale for one hour a day, Chicago was rarely mentioned. It might come up if someone sought an abortion or needed an organ transplant. But over the years, Chicago has become central to the lives of Oakdalians. Either Chicago’s suburbs are sprawling or Oakdale is snurching north. Oakdalians are Cubs fans but seem to have little interest in the Bulls or the Bears. They go to the Windy City for rock concerts or occasional shopping trips. They can get there and back in no time, unless they slide off the road and hit a tree or are kidnapped along the way. Hey, it happens.
Oakdale has some transient residents but was established by a few fine families. Chris and Nancy Hughes moved to town in 1956. He was a lawyer and she supported their growing family working as a school teacher. The Hugheses and their contemporaries, the Stewart family, have had a love-hate relationship since those early days, for the usual sordid reasons.
The Snyder family came on the scene not long after I did. They live on a farm in Luther’s Corners, which used to be quite a drive from Oakdale but now can be reached in approximately 30 seconds. They farm and seem to breed horses. Recently, the farm was to be sold and the land developed, but in a moment of crisis the family changed its mind and stayed put.