Ah, where would late elementary/middle school be without girls like Sadie Greeneyes? I’m sure you remember them well, even though you’d probably rather not! And shame on Jane for joining in with her, but then again, Jane has always been more of a follower than Iris. Hopefully Iris will be able to talk some sense into her eventually.
The Alley is based off of a real neighborhood in my home city of Springfield, MA. There’s a rather notorious area in East Springfield known as The Village– it doesn’t have an official name, but that’s what everyone calls it. It’s not a pretty place, to put it mildly. “My” Simon grew up there himself, even though back when I knew him I didn’t really understand about places like The Village. I knew the other kids talked about it a lot, and would make fun of the kids who lived there, but at that age I wasn’t as aware of poverty and what it all meant. I was like Iris, because all I knew was that I liked him, and where he came from didn’t even factor into that at all.
I wish that we could all stay like Iris, no matter how old we get. And I pray that “my” Simon got to escape from that poverty somehow. (And whether you have or whether you haven’t, you should know who you are by now! If by some slim chance you see this, I’d love to hear from you no matter what. You can find my email address on the bottom of the page. Please, Uncle J? <3 You don’t even have to buy me any Christmas presents!)