Winter is challenging for a lot of states, but this winter has been especially challenging for my home state of Oklahoma — and even more challenging, I think — for my home town of El Reno, Oklahoma. In just the last month, El Reno has seen two destructive ice storms that have taken down power for several days to many in this small town.
For those who aren’t aware, my novel — The Edge of Nowhere — is set in rural El Reno. As I’ve said before, this is no accident. The story is set in El Reno because the people have a special place in my heart. Through the most difficult of tragedies, the people of El Reno always come together to support one another. They’re more like one great big family than a town of about 18,000 residents.
Throughout this difficult time El Reno’s Mayor, Matt White (a classmate of mine, though a year or two behind me in school) has taken to Facebook to update the town and give the residents some level of assurance that the authorities are aware and that they’re doing their best to take care of them. My favorite thing about every one of these videos is when Mayor Matt advises residents to check on their neighbors, the sick and the elderly. Because that’s what El Reno does, and Matt reminds them in every single video. Take a look:
As I was trolling around Facebook, I came across some gorgeous photos that I thought I’d share with all y’all. These photos show both the beauty and the destruction in the weather that’s currently hitting Oklahoma.
All of the following photos were taken in El Reno, or nearby Banner, which are the two primary locations where the characters in The Edge of Nowhere reside while they ride out the ten years of destruction thrown at them by the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and The Great Depression. Enjoy!
This first image comes to you courtesy of one of my oldest friends in the world, Aaron Vasicek. Aaron and I went to kindergarten together and eventually graduated together from El Reno High School. His family home is directly south of my childhood home, and very near the location of the farm that my main character, Victoria, lived with her husband and children.
A quick funny story about Aaron and his family. Though none of the characters are specifically based upon him or his family, his family name kept creeping into my writing. Early versions of my manuscript included two brothers with the last name of Vasicek (pronounced Vah-see-check). Realizing I couldn’t exactly use someone’s last name without permission, I later changed the brothers’ last name to Janicek, being careful to hold true to the Czechoslovakian heritage of the last name. But the truth is that, in my head, I still think think of them as the Vasicek brothers.
Photo Credit, Aaron Vasicek
These next several photos are from a new friend I’ve made in El Reno. Huge thank you to LaDonna Vestal Owens for these gorgeous photos from the City of El Reno.
Photo Credit, LaDonan Vestal Owens
This final grouping of photos are so spectacular that my jaw literally dropped. This young lady has some incredible photography skills and I sincerely hope that she pursues this special talent she has. Huge thank you to Amanda Stapleton, my newest friend on Facebook, for these amazing images.
Photo Credit, Amanda Stapleton
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