Hollyhill Book of the Strangely Ordinary – 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting that it’s been another ordinary day here in Hollyhill. More of the same. That’s how it is in Hollyhill. People get up with the sun, go to work, come home to supper and sit on their couches until bedtime watching whatever channel might be coming in best on their television sets.
Wes tells me all the time that we should write the Hollyhill Book of the Strange. I say if we did, it would be a mighty short book. But he just smiles his Jupiter smile and says maybe it’s time I opened my eyes wider and looked around. That strange is bubbling up all around me. There is Zella, I suppose. She’s been working for my dad at the newspaper office since forever and strange could definitely be her middle name! Wes thought I was making a good start when I told him that. Zella and Wes don’t exactly see eye to eye. She’s been wishing Wes would leave town for years, and it’s no secret she thinks the first day of school is the best day of the year since it means I won’t be underfoot at the newspaper every hour of the day.
But then Wes tells me not to forget about him when it comes to strange. He is a little different. So different that for years I almost believed him when he said he fell out of a Jupiter spaceship and that’s how he got stuck here in Hollyhill. He claimed to just be killing time until another spaceship showed up to rescue him. But now that I’m thirteen, I know when Wes is pulling my leg. At least I think I do.
Still, his Jupiter stories can be pretty convincing. Like how Jupiterians don’t dare comb their hair down flat because if they do it grows back into their scalp and tickles their brains and nobody likes their brains tickled. Wes says that can cause all sorts of complications like making you want to run for mayor or eating sugar on your cereal instead of salt.
“You don’t eat salt on your cereal,” I told him the first time he came out with that story.
“I don’t? Uh-oh.” Wes pushed his hand through his gray hair to jerk it up away from his head. “Next thing you know I’ll be handing out combs that say Wesley Green for Mayor. Green combs.”
“Not a bad idea.” I laughed.
“Mayor Green.” Wes kept a straight face. “Does have a catchy sound to it.”
“So what will be your first official act after you get in office, Mayor Green?” I pulled out my little notebook to jot down notes. I keep it handy for any good stories I stumble across. Wes being mayor would be a story and half.
“Suspend all city council meetings indefinitely. Eliminate library fines on overdue books and give every kid in town a bicycle.”
I scribbled a few words before I said, “You’ve got my vote.” Wes knew I’d been wanting a new bicycle forever, but that’s what politicians do. Figure out what to promise to get votes. Doesn’t matter all that much if the promises are kept. Folks like to hope.
Wes finally grinned. “Now if that ever happens, you’ve got a fine entry into that book of the strange you’re thinking about writing. Mayor Green.”
“But it hasn’t happened.”
“Yet,” Wes said. “And I got to admit it ain’t likely to no matter how tickled my Jupiter brain gets, but you open your eyes up a little and you’re liable to find strange on every corner of Hollyhill.”
So here I am. Jocie Brooke with eyes wide open and looking but all I’m seeing is everyday ordinary. But maybe with a little help from you, I can start seeing things in Hollyhill that if they aren’t strange, at least they might almost be interesting. Let me look around a while and I’ll get back to you next week. Maybe it takes time to spot strange in a little town like Hollyhill.
Oh, and if strange things are going on in your little towns, be sure to share them here. Maybe something the same might just happen in Hollyhill.