Saturday, August 17, 2013

the last book I ever read (Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us, excerpt two)

from Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking:

When she entered Marshfield High School in 1965, Kerkow was going through an awkward phase. The shy and gangly girl threw herself into the sorts of extracurriculars that proper young Coos Bay ladies were supposed to enjoy: chorus, the Latin club, and a Christian group that provided meals to elderly shut-ins. She made straight B’s and became close friends with one of her fellow sopranos, Beth Newhouse, the daughter of the town’s leading attorney.

As Kerkow progressed through Marshfield, though, she shed her gawkiness and blossomed into a talented athlete. She took up running, which had long been the biggest sport in Coos Bay—the town’s temperate climate allowed for year-round training, and the surrounding hills were ideal for strengthening young legs. The Marshfield track team was a powerhouse in the late 1960s, led by the best schoolboy miler in the United States, a scrappy carpenter’s son named Steve Prefontaine. Kerkow made the varsity squad as a junior and set a school record in the eighty-yard hurdles, an achievement that earned her special mention in Marshfield’s yearbook alongside her friend and classmate Prefontaine.

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