On This Date
I first met Bobby Cramer on Sunday, May 25, 1980, a little over two months before my eighteenth birthday. He was a year older than me. I had heard of him and his family, but it wasn’t until the Memorial Day Tea Dance at the country club that I actually met him in person.I don't remember why I chose that particular date, and I certainly didn't have any idea that the calendars of 1980 and 2014 would align so that May 25 would fall on a Sunday in each year. After all, I wrote that passage in 1995. All I remember was that's where and when I knew that Richard, the narrator, and Bobby first met.
I'm not sure why dates are important to me, but when I began writing the novel, it needed a starting point because I knew where I wanted it to end. So far, throughout all the years, I've kept that perspective. I've also had to remind myself that certain things we take for granted thirty-four years later -- the internet, cell phones, social media -- and changes in life views -- the AIDS crisis, political winds and the acceptance of marriage equality -- were not there or were just being thought of. I was also looking back on recent history in 1995 at the callow age of 42. Now it seems like antiquity... at least to some.
I've tried to be faithful to the time and to events that were going on in the story's time frame, but they are not big players. The hostage crisis in Iran is mentioned in passing, as is the eruption of Mount St. Helen's and the presidential election of 1980. But in the day-to-day lives of the people in Bobby Cramer, they get little more than passing mention because in our own lives, do they really touch us deeply? Some do, but mostly they are outside of the frame of the daily lives you and I think about, and so it is with my characters. They are ripples.