Jenna calmed as they drove into the heart of the city and she looked out over familiar buildings. Her eyes caught the Civic Center and as always, she studied the modern building. She couldn’t say she much liked the style, but Trevor did, and she had nice memories of it. Back in Eighty-two it opened with a Kenny Rogers concert, a big deal for her small city, or at least she thought it was. She was still married to Daniel then and she’d begged him to go with her. He had no interest, but Alan gave in. He also took Cheryl and Carrie so it wouldn’t only be the two of them. Three years later when Kenny returned, he was accompanied by Don Williams and Sawyer Brown. Jenna was in Chicago by then, living with Trevor, barely. Trevor agreed to go although she knew he didn’t enjoy it a lot, but he didn’t laugh at how excited she’d been not only to see her Star Search band live, but to see them in her hometown. He reminded her Peoria wasn’t her hometown. She grew up fifteen miles away in a little no-stoplight town, but she claimed the city, anyway, since that had been her home with Daniel, her choice to live with him there.
Jenna wasn’t sure why the town your parents put you in should be more your hometown than the one you first chose on your own. To her, it wasn’t. Well, she supposed it was. After all, it was where she’d met Alan, where she grew up with him, where she’d spent so much time walking around town, grabbing an ice cream cone, ambling around the park, or playing very bad tennis games with friends who were equally as bad, usually her cousin Karla. And they didn’t care how bad they were. It was for fun. (from Final Strokes, unedited excerpt – do not copy)
I well remember when the Civic Center went up, and yes, I was at that Kenny Rogers concert, although I didn’t remember that it was the first! I was also at the Kenny, Don Williams and Sawyer Brown show she mentions. (I think that’s the one where my thumbnail caught on fire!) Those concerts are strong memories and yes, I still listen to all three artists. We didn’t go to a lot of concerts, so when we did, it was a big deal. That still applies, also. It has to be someone special enough to be worth the expense and hassle. I live too far from the Civic Center to drop in as Jenna did, but each concert arena I’ve attended still has that special place in my heart, the one that holds the music!
(The charcoal drawing above is one I did during that same era, mid-Eighties.)
Jenna mentions not caring much for the style of the Peoria Civic Center because her personal style is more traditional, softer, earthy, and she loves upbeat country-rock. Trevor, however, is modern, spunky, and abstract. He loves punk music and hard rock. She grew up in a little town no one has heard of. He grew up in Chicago. Like opposite colors on a color wheel, though, they work together in the same way the Peoria Civic Center one day has a rock concert, the next a sporting event, and then a ballet or opera.
If you’d like to check out Jenna’s story in Finishing Touches and delve further into her home area, jump over to my website where you can get it in Epub, Mobi, or PDF for only $1.10 through mid June.
[My thoughts are with those in Illinois and Missouri battling major flooding right now. Jenna’s beloved Illinois River has well overflowed its banks.]