A story by Cass Pursell (fiction, ’96) appears in Bull:


The Orchard


Years ago, when I was small and they were still alive, my maternal grandmother and grandfather lived in a small, white, two-story house on a city street in Adrian, Michigan abutting a Wonder Bread factory. When we visited, the smell of baking bread always hung comfortingly in the air. Stepping out their back door and onto a small brick patio led to a grassy yard enclosed at the back edge by a tall English-style hedgerow with an arced trellis in the middle that, when we passed through, led to a second yard, mostly hidden from view from the house. The second yard contained a small orchard of apple trees we loved to climb, atop one I once became stuck out of fear of falling and needed to be rescued by my balding grandfather with a creaky wooden ladder.

We called the orchard the “back-back yard.” We it made our own and it was where our private games were played. Demarcated by the hedgerow and by a rusting wire fence hidden from view by a thick stand of thin trees along the back of the property line, the back-back yard abutted the Wonder Bread factory and was dark with long shadows and featured a small circular pond of deeply murky water on its back edge.

A short wall made of round stones, coming only about shin high, surrounded the black and immobile pond water. Though the pond was small enough I could today hop from one side to the other from a standing start, at six years old I was frightened to get too close to the edge, as if I was staring into an open and bottomless well in which I would surely drown if I somehow slipped and fell in. […continue reading here]

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