Corey Trench's Blog: My Growing Life

A Fortunate Son — A Film By Father & Son

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“You better run, Corey.” Those were the words my father said as I began to run for my life, absolutely terrified of what may be behind me. It was wrong of us to come back to this place. Fun Farm wasn’t exactly what the name implied.

Sometimes the transition from childhood to adulthood can be blurry and ambiguous. But my father could name the time and place where it happened to him. He told me the story as if it was ancient history, but in his eyes, I could see he was reliving it as if it were yesterday.

Fun Farm, Goochland, Virginia, July 20th, 1969. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” My father was 15 years old, huddled with his family around their maroon colored, box-looking TV set, witnessing the United States’ historic moon landing. My grandfather commented on how amazing the whole thing was before he went to the barn to check a lighting fixture that had gone out, as angry clouds rapidly assembled overhead. Moments later, my father and his mother were lying on the barn’s floor, trying to resuscitate my grandfather. My uncle Ed sped up Fun Farm’s long dirt road, on his bike, looking for help. Despite the valiant efforts of rescue personnel, my grandfather died instantly and a young family’s future remained uncertain. My father was now the man of the house.

My parent’s house, Williamsburg, Virginia, December 2010. While visiting my family over the holidays, I had decided that we should revisit my father’s old home. “Why don’t we go back to Goochland and make a documentary film out of it? See what happens?” We had talked about making a film together for a long time. My father, semi-retired and looking for direction in his life, saw the opportunity to live out his fantasy of being a filmmaker. I saw the opportunity to explore some of our family history, including the circumstances of grandfather’s death, and give my father some closure. My father, Goochland’s lost son, was returning home. He told me he had not visited in over 40 years.

We were very excited on the car ride to Goochland, bonding as father and son. However, things began to get difficult once we started to search for Fun Farm. Goochland was a small town, but it turned out to be difficult to navigate with its thick forests. Fortunately, my father remembered the name of the real estate agent who was involved in renting the place to the family. She was 90 years old, Goochland County’s first real estate agent. She was very kind and was able to point us in the right direction. She also gave us a warning that getting on the property would not be easy because the new owner was very reclusive and very mysterious. It was an ominous beginning to our journey.

As we approached Fun Farm, I began to feel tense. The car bounced up and down as we drove down the dirt road. We finally stopped at an old, rusty gate that lay in front of a long, winding path. My father pointed out that the Fun Farm sign that he fondly remembered from his childhood wasn’t there anymore. He peered down the path. I could see in his squinting eyes that he wasn’t comfortable. He was staring down the same path that would lead to nothing but pain and misery. It became obvious that it was up to me to head down the path myself, deep into the woods of confusion and loss. He turned the car around in the other direction just in case I had to run from whatever lay beyond the gate. We decided to stay in contact using our cell phones.

I walked down the long path, alone, clutching my camera against my side. I thought about how ironic it was that I was going down the same path my father walked many times before, the same path that would transport me into his past. My steps were swift, but cautious. I began to get an eerie feeling, like I was being watched.

What happened next would prove to be the most terrifying experience of my life. I heard dogs barking in the background, the wind picking up behind me, and loud shouts from the forest. My father could hear the fear in my voice and told me to run. I did not look back.

Here is the proposal. We request $1,500 to revisit “Fun Farm,” the barn in Goochland, and tell the story of a father and son revisiting the past. The requested funds will help pay for my flight from LA to Richmond, VA; our stay in Goochland; entry fees for 10 – 15 film festivals; and the distribution of DVDs to the contributors.

We thank you for your contribution and putting your faith in this father-son collaboration.


Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few
January 6, 2010, 3:59 am
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of the many reasons I hesitated to create a blog was the fear of making mistakes. Spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and even factual mistakes.  It’s a risk that many bloggers take when they start to write their blogs.  After all, most of them aren’t professional writers by trade (No offense blogger community.  Please, don’t hurt me).

So, if I have such trepidation of writing a blog, why does one exist before your very eyes?

Back to the Future Poster

"Whoa, Doc!"

Let’s go back in time, shall we?  Come on. You all love a good time travel story.  That’s why Back to the Future is so awesome! However, I don’t intend to travel far enough to play matchmaker with my parents and ensure my own existence in the present.  No, let’s go back to 1998.

Ah.  ’98.  That’s when Clinton was President wasn’t it?  The days where the Spice Girls were topping the charts, everyone was using AOL, and you couldn’t point out where Afghanistan was on a world map.  Those where the days. Oh, where was I?  Oh yes, middle school.

Middle school was the type of place where most kids were in the in between stages of puberty and emotional development.  We weren’t necessarily all that close to adulthood, but we didn’t want to treated like children anymore. We were 12 year olds after all!

I always think of the times in science class when it was a great relief to all of us when the teacher would turn off the overhead projector and pop in a video (VHS of course) and we’d get to watch an episode of The Magic School Bus.

MAGIC SCHOOL BUS?!!  Yes, I had a feeling you would react that way.  Everyone knows what I’m talking about when I say those three magical words. You can picture it now, that anthropomorphic magical school bus that could seemingly morph into anything.  And all the kids would climb into this wonderous bus with Miss Frizzle, our favorite ginger science teacher, leading the way to amazing educational adventures (I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a Facebook group dedicated to her)!  In every episode, she’d utter her famous catchphrase, “Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!”

The Magic School Bus

Too much, the magic bus!

Miss Frizzle

Where does she get those clothes? Salvo?

Whoa.  Make mistakes?  I thought making mistakes was a bad thing.  All those red marks on my English papers told me so!  So why is The Friz telling me otherwise?  She must be talking about the scientific method, where in order to test a hypothesis, you build upon pervious mistakes that you have made in your past experiments.

So, it makes sense that mistakes can sometimes be good.  But how can you tell the difference between bad mistakes and good mistakes?!  Why go out into the world if you don’t know the difference?  You’re just going to make mistakes anyway!  As the nebbish Arnold from The Magic School Bus used to say, “I knew I should of stayed home today.”  Well, Arnold, I suppose you could live in your parent’s basement for the rest of your existence, but I’m afraid it’s either that or The Friz going through your colon. That’s life buddy!

We all have a little Arnold in us that keeps us cautious from making mistakes in the first place. He keeps us on the path that’s far, far away from self-destruction.  However, there’s always a little Friz that’s telling us to take a little detour from this path and do some off-roading in order to do some self-discovery.  Mistakes keep life from being too predictable and keep us from being too familiar with ourselves.  You have to take a chance in order to move forward.

So, as I’m writing this blog, I know that there will be some mistakes (believe me, there are a lot you’ve probably noticed already).  However, if I continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, it’ll be because I DON’T write in this blog.  This is a way to put my writing out to the world.  It’s an open forum for others to critique my points, style, and mostly grammar (thankfully, spellcheck has my back in the spelling department).  This is an adventure for me.

And much like The Friz, when it comes to adventures, I’m not afraid to get a little messy.