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On the Streets of Bedford Falls

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bedford falls by Public domain




There is not much happening this year on the streets of Bedford Falls.
The Christmas decorations went up on Main Street, same as always, but
it's just not the same. Old man Gower's drug store moved out to the
by-pass years ago and was bought out by Rite-Aid. The Building and Loan
is a tanning salon now, and across the street is the Thrift Store.

The Building and Loan was bought out by Countrywide Mortgage. George,
being George, fought the good fight, but with all the refis done around
town and the sweet offer made to Uncle Billy, plus the shares Mr. Potter
gladly sold, George didn't stand a chance. Mr. Potter had other plans
after merging his bank with Bank of America; he leveled his properties
in Potter's Field and developed the new Potter's Field Mall. That's
where all the Christmas activities can be found now.

But it's been a tough year. The plastics plant built by Sam Wainwright
relocated to China, throwing half the town out of work. Bert the cop was
killed in a gang fight over turf, not far from the old the Bedford
Falls High School. The troubles have driven the more affluent families
to place their children in the Potter's Christian Academy. The old
school had been in trouble since the jobs began to leave town. They
don't use the pool under the gym floor anymore, too much maintenance and
too expensive. It became just one of many extracurricular activities
done away with when the tax base collapsed.

Uncle Billy sold his house while the market was still strong, and with
his proceeds from the sale of the Building and Loan bought a condo in a
retirement community outside of Orlando. Ma Bailey had to let the
boarding house go, too many rough customers and her age caught up with
her. The boarding house didn't sell for much, being in an old
neighborhood and too close to town.

Ma moved in with George and Mary; she didn't want to because of the many
stairs and limited bathrooms. But she had little in the way of savings
and only a small Social Security pension. It barely covered her
supplemental coverage and George couldn't afford to keep up both homes.
They gave her the downstairs bedroom and now she spends most of her days
watching cable TV and Fox News.

Harry and Ruth Bailey split up. Harry's repeated deployments overseas
put a strain on their marriage. Ruth complained after Harry's third
deployment that he had changed and wasn't the same man she married.

With the Building and Loan gone, George drifted from job to job, first
as a foreman with a construction company, then as a mortgage broker for
Countrywide. They had to let him go; he just didn't have the imagination
that they where looking for. He kept pushing thirty-year conventional
fixed rate mortgages, and he failed to understand that in the new
low-wage economy few could qualify under those terms. It finally came to
a head when George questioned the veracity of the figures in a
no-documentation loan.

Mary got a job as a cashier at the Dollar General, working for Mr.
Othello, to try and help out. Even though Mary had a college degree,
there were few jobs of any type in Bedford Falls. With no money for
college, Pete joined the Marine Corps and has been deployed overseas,
and Tommy works as a mechanic at a shop out on the by-pass. Janey moved
to California and calls only occasionally on holidays.

Zuzu works as a cocktail waitress at Martini's, goes to college
part-time at Potter State, and still lives at home. The family hopes to
sing Christmas carols after midnight, just like they used to do in the
old days, after George gets home from his current job as assistant
manager at the Wal-Mart Super Center down the road from the mall. Life
is still wonderful, but not as wonderful as it used to be.

There just aren't any more angels around, and the splashes coming from
the old bridge are common now. After all, they're strangers to the
Baileys, and the Baileys are strangers to them.

 

I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 
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