Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Inspiration For Edenvale Academy: Things You Might Not Know About Darwin's Children

Superheroes Run Wild At Oldest College in Tennessee

Did You know that Edenvale Academy is based on Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN?

Founded in 1794, Tusculum College is the oldest college in Tennessee, the twenty-eighth oldest college in the nation, and the oldest coeducational institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The wooded 140-acre Tusculum College campus has eight buildings and the Tusculum Arch that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

My favorite spot to be at Tusculum, as an obvious History nerd, was here:

The museum uses its collections and resources to promote the study and research of history, education, religion, and cultural heritage of the people of Northeast Tennessee and the state. 10,000 children and adults participate in the educational programs available at the Doak House Museum.

Interestingly enough, the young woman that interviewed Jaycie Lerner for the Fade Into Fantasy is a director at this very same location.

Find That Interview Here:  Fade Into Fantasy Interview

 Edenvale:  (This is the student union center Jaycie mentions in regard to her first day at this private school. 

And now, an excerpt from Darwin's Children

Edenvale Academy

“Can you please stop sighing?” Allison Young asked sweetly. She shot Jaycie an annoyed look as she drove past the winding green hills forming the scenic backdrop of Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Jaycie looked out the passenger window at the small town she’d called home for as long as she could remember. Located in the rapidly expanding region of East Tennessee, the town housed a population of only nine hundred twenty people. “I’m sorry,” she said, glowering at her live-in trainer, “but if you were heading into the mouth of Hell again, you would be a little annoyed too.”
Allison laughed. “You’re so melodramatic, Jay. It’s your senior year, you know. You could try to have fun, maybe make some friends while you’re at it.”
“I don’t see how I’m supposed to relate to them.”
Allison rolled her eyes. “The same way I relate to my students.”
“Whatever,” Jaycie grumbled. “Happy birthday, by the way,” she added, looking forward to celebrating with her mother figure.
Allison shot her a quick smile. “Thanks.”
Allison Young had been in Jaycie’s life since she was eight years old, at the request of John Gramm, her father’s best friend. Allison had moved into the Lerner household to train Jaycie in everything from meditation to martial arts.
Allison looked like a gorgeous alien – or how Jaycie imagined a gorgeous alien might look. Her eyes were silky blue and so big that she always appeared surprised. She had an ethereal baby face with a perpetual pink blush just below her cheeks. Her layered light blond hair looked almost white in the sun. At five-foot-seven, she stood three inches taller than Jaycie. Jaycie always referred to Allison as her alien baby doll. “I can’t wait to give you your gift.” Jaycie beamed.
Allison grinned as she pulled her black Mercedes into the main parking lot at Edenvale Academy.
Jaycie glanced at her watch and saw she had half an hour before the morning assembly. She sighed again as she stared out the tinted side window past the parking lot. The only upside of attending a private school was that the landscaping was beautiful. It looked more like a college campus than a high school, with eighteen buildings, five of which served as housing units for students and parents who resided at the school. Most students that attended Edenvale were from out of state. Jaycie was one of two students who were actual residents of Tennessee, and she was the only one from Jonesborough. Previously home-schooled students were unheard of at Edenvale. Jaycie was the only one ... ever. This fact was well known and made her a topic of gossip, hostile stares, and constant whispering. Jaycie was perhaps the most despised student at Edenvale.
Allison had told her last year she wouldn’t have any problem being one of the popular girls at school because she was painfully beautiful. Jaycie had rolled her eyes at that. With her toffee-toned African American complexion and jet-black eyes surrounded by long curly lashes, just like her father’s, admittedly she thought of herself as cute, but not beautiful. She hated her big pouty lips because she thought they made her look like a trout. However, she was proud of her physique that reflected years of training with Allison. She was toned and soft at the same time. Allison once told her she was made of pure estrogen – a fact that didn’t do her any good on her first day at school.
Sitting in the car with Allison, Jaycie thought back to her first day at Edenvale. Hundreds of thoughts had sliced into her mind as soon as she’d entered the student union building. The entire student body had fallen silent when she’d screamed, “Oh, God! Stop! Get out of my head!” The pain in her head and spine was so intense, she literally saw red. A bloodcurdling scream escaped her lips, and a flood of vomit heaved itself up from the bottom of her stomach. She wasn’t able to see past the blinding red to face the startled teacher who tried to console her. “Get away from me!” she’d shrieked. When she finally regained some degree of control, she found herself covered in her own vomit and prepared a strategic retreat, darting out the door with as much speed as her legs could rally. Once her thoughts were the only ones in her head, she had frantically called Allison and demanded to be picked up right away.
Afraid he’d been wrong about her ability to block the thoughts of others, Jaycie’s father almost withdrew her from school that year. He discussed the matter with Allison and John, both of whom decided that the ‘episode’ had been psychological. Her father agreed and told Jaycie she would return to school. She remembered slamming the door in his face after pleading with him for at least an hour to reconsider.
Two days later, she returned to school unwillingly. The voices were just as strong, but at least this time she expected them and didn’t react. Instead she forced a blank expression onto her face and kept her eyes on her feet while putting all her energy into blocking everyone’s thoughts and dampening her telekinetic power to avoid destroying anything in her immediate vicinity. She ignored the laughing, pointing, and mocking that followed her all over the campus.
When she wasn’t in class, she had her ear buds in with music blaring from her iPod as loudly as the mp3 player was capable of delivering. The first two weeks were the hardest. By the third week, the voices became an incoherent buzz, and nothing tangible filled her head. After a month and a half, the voices were a dull murmur, and soon they stopped altogether. Unfortunately, by then she was already a social outcast. She was unhappy about this at first, but then decided it was inevitable anyway.
“Babe?” Allison’s soft voice interrupted Jaycie’s reverie. Startled, Jaycie shifted her gaze to her mentor’s smiling face. “I would love to sit and watch you daydream all morning, but I have an early kickboxing class to teach.”
“Oh, right,” Jaycie said absentmindedly, leaning forward to grab her heavy backpack. “See you later,” she mumbled as she climbed out of the car and into the slightly chilly outside air. Allison gave her one last smile, then sped off.
Jaycie walked with deliberate slowness toward the student union building, unaware of the students around her. She opened the glass doors of the Chamberlain Building and headed right to her favorite spot in front of the large gas fireplace. The fireplace looked like it belonged in the middle of a cottage living room rather than a high school. She glanced at her watch briefly, then stuck her nose inside a book, purposely ignoring a group of girls that scooted away from her.



Penumbra Publishing said...

Great pictures and article!

Natasha Larry said...

Thank you! It really is a beautiful campus. I miss that place.