Monday, July 7, 2008

Outside Streator

I took these photos from the car ride home from the downstate book signing. Taking the road past the railroad crossing gets you to what passes for Main Street in Streator. The Bookshelf. A Sunoco. The Majestic Theater. A tavern named Teet's and a Jupiter discount store. My Auntie Irene and Uncle Bill Pond lived to the south end of town, just this side of a sign that proclaimed the town the "biggest glass bottle cap producer in the world." Bill had operated a body shop in his garage and there were always pieces of chrome around the yard. I had a dream while staying overnight there that there was a werewolf in a willow tree above a picnic table in the yard and only I could see it. I can visualize the images to this day. When I was older, I'd walk to Main Street, maybe a mile up Otter Creek Road and a hard left when I reached a Grundy's grocery store. Main Street itself consisted of many closed stores, though not as many vacant buildings as I saw in Pekin last month. But, of course, I'm speaking of southern Illinois a decade ago. Outside of Streator, still staying on that desolate (in my photo) RR photo, you'd leave town past the grocery store and pass the Dwight Correctional Center for Women. I always found it strange that there was a Dairy Queen directly across from the prison.