I GREW UP in the little town of Hidden Bay.
You have never heard of Hidden Bay. There's a reason why you have never heard of Hidden Bay. Hidden Bay is almost impossible to find. There's a little town on the main highway in the area. The little town is called Anson’s Corners. Anson’s Corners is just a town that mainly supports the farms on the other side of the highway. Anson’s Corners has the life support that you have to have for a town. There are a couple of supermarkets, a couple of hardware stores, a lumber yard, clothing stores, doctor’s offices, a movie theater, even a drug store. There are also several really disorderly bars, mainly patronized by the local farmers on Friday night and Saturday night.
If you lived in Hidden Bay, you stayed out of Anson’s Corners Friday night and Saturday night. Those nights, Anson’s Corners was filled with drunken farmers, mainly looking for a fight.
If you drove through Anson’s Corners, there was no sign and no hint of Hidden Bay. To get from Anson’s Corners to Hidden Bay, you drove West, down a nondescript little street that obviously dead ended. Well, when you got to the end, there was a little street that led off to nowhere. Nowhere that is except the road that wound down the canyon to Hidden Bay. The road wound down a canyon and dead ended. Oh, there was a little side road, cleverly labeled 'No Outlet' that obviously led nowhere. That is, nowhere except to Hidden Bay.
When you did manage to find Hidden Bay, you found a little paradise. Mind you, you couldn’t stop in Hidden Bay, since there was no place to park. Well, there was no place to park unless you lived in Hidden Bay and could park in your own drive or garage.
There was no need for a car, within the town of Hidden Bay. The town was small enough that you could walk anywhere.
There were a few small businesses in Hidden bay, but if you really needed something, you mostly drove out to Anson’s Corners.
Well, there was one place, or maybe two places, in Hidden Bay, depending on how you counted. There was the Malt Shop, where the kids went and there was the Beach Bar, where the adults could get a drink. The two places had separate entrances, but one kitchen. You could get a hamburger in the Malt Shop. You could get a toasted cheese sandwich in the Beach Bar. If you ordered a ‘kid’s hamburger’ in the Beach Bar, you had screwed up big time. Similarly, if you ordered a toasted cheese sandwich in the Malt Shop, you were an ‘old fogey.’
If you wanted to walk a bit, there was 10 Mile Beach. The beach was actually about nine and a half miles of golden sand that nobody could use except the residents of Hidden Bay. Again, it was because there was no place to park and no way to get down the cliffs if you tried to walk in from the highway. It was a couple of mile hike down the narrow road into Hidden Bay and you would get arrested if you tried to walk along the road because it just wasn’t safe. It was theoretically possible to walk in overland, but the terrain was cut with lots of gullies and it wasn't really practical to find your way to the beach unless you lived in Anson’s Corners or Hidden Bay. If you did live in Anson’s Corners and tried to walk in to 10 Mile Beach, the reception was chilly at best. We in Hidden Bay didn’t need, ‘their kind.’
I grew up in Hidden Bay. Jed was just another kid in the little town. I would catch the bus in the morning and go to school, out on the highway. There was a grammar school, a middle school and a high school. The schools served all of the children in the area and, at that, there were just about enough kids from the towns and the farms to justify having the three schools. The schools weren't exactly shining examples. Most of the kids who graduated could read and write, more or less.
I was an exception to the trend. I was a star student and I was allowed to study on my own and to actually learn things. One other exception was Linda. Linda was going to be an artist and she also 'studied' on her own. (I later found out that her studies were mostly reading poetry and doing painting.) Linda was one hot looking babe. Linda and I dated through high school.
My father traded stocks and he was apparently pretty good at it. However, he would never let me get involved. Instead, I did odd jobs during the school year and then was part of the county financed beach cleanup crew, in the summer. The county provided a truck and a tractor. The tractor would plow the beach for trash and seaweed. The clean-up crew boys would then shovel the garbage into the truck. (It was something like working on a southern chain gang, except maybe harder work.)