While conducting research for the book, I scurried through a rat’s nest of historic records that I knew San Diego shared with my hometown, Spokane. Like San Diegans, most Spokanites have been sheltered from the nastier aspects of their cities’ history, such as the anti-speech ordinances both cities adopted in the early 1900s to thwart the labor movement; the mafia presence in both cities that built or destroyed personal fortunes; and the touted humanitarians, who hid behind their public images while profiting handsomely from Prohibition.
My research often uncovers factual gems in unsuspected places. I happened to be talking to my high school journalism teacher, mentor, and friend, Ted Clark, about an initial story line for Jerkwater Town. After hearing my summary, Ted offered a characteristic and always appreciated “I bet you didn’t know.”
The tidbit he shared that day revealed a little known, seedy side of a former Spokane civic leader. I later employed Ted’s tip to enrich an element of storyline that ties my fictional characters to the two, seemingly disparate cities.
Ted, you continue to enrich my life in so many ways. Thank you.