I am Deni Norred, former Thalia resident and currently a Thalia neighbor in nearby Birchwood. Eighteen years ago, I teamed up with a neighbor to write a book about Thalia. Many life events and side projects later, the project is mine alone now and is still alive, and there will be a book one day. My research encompasses a much larger "Thalia" than we acknowledge today, including Town Center and Pembroke. Until the book is completed, I will use this blog to tease you with Thalia’s history.
Beneath the veneer of Thalia’s asphalt streets, manicured lawns, and the hubbub of residents’ everyday lives is an amazing history, rich for its acreage, which needs to be told. Like disjointed squares once a quilt, Thalia’s legends are passed in scraps from speaker to listener, their details sometimes tattered, faded and threadbare, while at other times embroidered richly with far-fetched color. Names, dates, major elements and minutia vary from teller to teller. Among the most-passed tales are those of a camp for World War II prisoners of war, a furniture store that once was a hospital, and a restaurant on the site of an old country club and golf course. Inarguably, most captivating are the tales of a Madam’s brothel and her private landing strip. Thalia has been home to notable artists, judges, TV personalities, and radio pioneers.
Of all Thalia’s story’s gems and riches, it is the memories of current and former “Thalians” that are the most treasured gold. After all, personal anecdotes are far more fascinating than any deed or passage in a book. Reliance on memories, however, may lead the reader to wonder how much of this gathered oral history can be called fact. As memory introduces interpretation into the record, it is impossible to know. Recollections of events long over are imperfect, their details often missing, time-corroded, or chronologically misplaced. But I am emphatic in my assertion that it would be tragic to discard the unproven from Thalia’s story.
I look forward to sharing and expanding my knowledge of Thalia with you.