Canton Writers Guild Dinner & Winner LOL!

My First Award for Writing!

I’m a little pleased with myself this morning. I can’t really help that. Last night was my first event with my local writers guild. It was the annual dinner held at our  Womens Club, and it was lovely.

Back in July I sent in a short non-fiction story to be entered into a contest for the guild. A professor at Kent State University was judging, and last night, I discovered that I had placed in the contest. I received a beautiful framed  award for second place, an award of merit. I’ve never won anything for writing before and I had no idea that non-fiction was my deal. (Not that it is, but I did something right on this particular one anyway). So, I’m feeling a little humbled and thankful today because acknowledgements like these help to keep me moving forward in a business where it can be ..emmm…discouraging some days.  I’m placing the opening page below  and adding the full text into my Novel Excerpts page in case anyone can’t get enough reading about environmental law or the failures of our governing systems in protecting my family. LOL. Enjoy!

Living in a Gas Station

By Julie Lindsey

All across America, small, independent fuel stations have closed their doors. As a result, hundreds of abandoned properties pepper the landscape. Interstates and massive oil conglomerates have radically changed the face of our countryside, particularly in the Midwest.

In the great state of Ohio, on a scenic rural road, one family is feeling the burden of those changes. The Lindsey family is currently living on the site of a former gas station. The long gone Sherman Church Variety Store is now home to Bryan Lindsey, his wife Julie, and their three small children. For years, Bryan had no idea that he owned a contaminated property.

When the variety store closed its doors more than two decades back, four underground gas tanks were left behind. In 1991, the owner operator, Kenneth Walter had the tanks removed. The removal revealed a dangerous truth. An excessive amount of benzene, a component of gasoline, was found in the soil.  One of the older storage tanks had been damaged and was leaking. Mr. Walter did not clean up the property. Instead, he put it on the market a few years later.

The half acre property was sold for an unusually good price. Bryan Lindsey, then only 19 years old, purchased it from Mr. Walter in 1996. Lindsey thought that he had landed an investment, recognizing the utterly unique opportunity to remodel the building.  The Sherman Church Variety Store contained more than 1800 square feet of space. Lindsey began to renovate.

With the help of his father and two brothers, Lindsey turned the crumbling cinder block building into an inviting new home with an intriguing link to the local community. The renovation took more than 5 years and in 2002, Lindsey and his new wife moved in. Their years of sweat equity had really paid off, or so they believed.

Following the birth of the Lindseys’ first son, letters began to arrive addressed to the variety store. The return address was an environmental cleanup company. This was how the Lindseys learned the ugly truth. Their property, along with so many like it, was contaminated and abandoned. Cleanup was estimated in the six figure range, and benzene was a known carcinogen.

***The entire story, about 1300 words, is available in the novel excerpts tab.

Thanks for looking!

3 comments to Canton Writers Guild Dinner & Winner LOL!

  • Wow Julie. Congratulations. But holy cow. :/

  • Erin Edwards

    The award is fantastic!

    But the situation is unthinkable!

    I suppose you have contacted your representative and senator? Reminds me of Erin Brockovich. Maybe you could launch a one woman campaign, write a screen play about yourself, and get a blockbuster movie out of it. You would deserve it!

  • Yeah, this situation is a nightmare. I’m in “redtape hell.” That’s an actual quote from someone at the Clean Ohio offices. No one has any ideas left for me, short of waiting for Mr. Walters to die. How awful is that! OEPA says they would help me is the state fire marshal would turn the case over. Fire Marshall says they can’t. Now, Ohio Atty General won’t even talk to me. I used to cry a lot about it, but lately I’ve given up. Would be nice if someone saw this and knew what to do! I’m still in shock that ex Give. Strickland told me it wasn’t his jurisdiction and I should just sue the guy. Thanks. LOL.

    I love Erin’s idea…me as Erin Brokovich!

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