The Summer of Our Foreclosure

      Sean Boling
The Summer of Our Foreclosure

When the American Dream is defined as something you can’t afford, you can extend your finances, extend your commute, extend your family, extend your reasoning, and when the dream snaps back into reality, extend the party one more summer and try to finally enjoy what you have before it’s gone.Of all the indicators of a housing bubble, the biggest may be how many people are willing to buy into a housing development as remote as Rancho Hacienda, a walled community built next to a rickety village of laborers stuck in the most arid section of a vast farming valley. The initial delight of the parents and frustration of their children at buying a home so far away from civilization is soon turned upside down, with the children reveling in the freedom created by parents gone missing thanks to lengthy commutes and exhaustion. As home values plummet, higher rates kick in, and foreclosures mount, a number of parents decide to spend their last days in the neighborhood creating the kind of atmosphere they had imagined when they first moved in: making time through a variety of means to barbeque, have block parties, and infringe on the independence that their children had grown used to. Nick’s parents are the instigators of the long good-bye, and it is from his perspective that we look back on that summer when the bubble burst.

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    A Charter to That Other Place

      Sean Boling
A Charter to That Other Place

Live Oak Charter Academy is the latest elixir to arrive in the valley. Drought cycles, crop yields, and market forces have left a trail of previous solutions: an army base, a state mental hospital, a shipping warehouse for an online retailer, a prison. And though the school is smaller in scale than previous efforts, it inspires bigger dreams, with a more fragile margin of error.Live Oak Charter Academy is the latest elixir to arrive in the valley. Drought cycles, crop yields, and market forces have left a trail of previous solutions: an army base, a state mental hospital, a shipping warehouse for an online retailer, and a prison. But the charter is about the future, and not just that of the children. The wealthiest board member sees a chance to leave a legacy that his children’s private school won’t allow him to forge, the principal a chance to set up his grown autistic son with a more independent life, the dedicated volunteer a chance to provide her daughters with an education she imagines is usually reserved for the affluent. And while the students may see it as just another school, their actions (and how their parents respond) pull them all in directions that threaten the charter and every dream attached to it.

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