Hazel Brook was a picture on a postcard, the sort of place politicians and preachers were thinking of when they droned on about ‘real American values’. It was a place where smoke still plumed from the factory towers, where the school really was made from red brick, and where you could buy a week’s groceries (at Sam’s Corner Store, mind you, not Wal-Mart) with loose change.
There was nothing particularly supernatural or impossible about it, and there were more places like that scattered across America than the average person would think. They were simply too small, too out of the way, for the sweep of history to notice. The town’s biggest internal cheerleaders would have you focus on all the modern ills this prevented, like runaway inflation, meth labs, and reality TV. Unfortunately, the modern balms were tossed right out with the ills, including any recreational activities that Beaver Cleaver didn’t also enjoy, or the ability to get anywhere worth go