By Lynn Rogers
Excerpt from a recent novel by Lynn Rogers, copyright 2009, 2008 (Inkling Press)
Between the freeway flash of Silicon Valley and its dry hills studded with executive mansions to the end of the Delta in rural Stockton with farm houses where Oakies once stayed, lay postwar tracts of resettled whites and ship worker blacks, lay the stopping place of America’s flotsam and jetsam. It was where the most independent of all the American mavericks, the rejects, the outcasts, the estranged, once came.
And moving out of there toward Sacramento, lay cheerless towns of two stories—cost more than half a million now. Lay everything else threaded between, lives threaded between farms and freeways and warehouses spilling around them both—between the farms’ dust bowl legacy and all the freeways over dry hills, between this simple land the Oakies and Arkies settled in the thirties, to Silicon Valley—now a ghetto of overpriced houses and office waste coming back around the flat hills and sunsets.
But it wasn’t always so. Once the valley was a paradisio of sacred oaks, fish rich sloughs and berry laden plains wet with artesian wells. For thousands of years coastal natives lived simply around the seasons. After missionaries and Californios laid claim, Milpitas farmers fed the Gold Rush from hillside soil and a burst of electricity lit San Jose.
When the Valley of Heart’s Delight’s endless orchards gave way to electronics and silicon chips, a high-priced housing boom buried the land. After dot coms crashed, 9/11 terrorists unsettled whatever was left.
Workers in the old farm motor warehouse turned nuclear on the Monterey; heard their building would be torn away. Like when the high light tower fell a century ago, the valley once of fruitful land, made way for its next metamorphosis. Only thing was, those living poorest and closest too it, had lost their homes—and heart.
Paddy bent down over the green…
Editor’s Note: Above is the Prologue for “A Valley of Ashes ” published by Inkling Press in 2008. To read the first chapter, find the Novels section under the Pages list on the right and select Lynn Rogers: A Valley of Ashes.