Conor Hayes has lived in Southern California with his family for all his life. His mom is from Alabama, and his dad, while born and raised in the US, claims some Irish Heritage from his grandfather (COnor’s Great Grandfather). Conor is currently a student at the University of Southern California.
“Okay, so, I switched schools in fifth grade, and came to this new school called Carden Hall which looks exactly as it sounds: I foirst showed up and I thought I showed up to, like, a Victorian Jail. So I show up there, and to integrate a little better I go to summer school there. And Summer school was, like, well there was this sports camp involved and sports camp was mainly based on this huge grass field that was the centerpiece of the, like, free space of the school. SO you know whenever you’d have recess you’d just, like, roll around on the grass or whatever. Uhh, and the school was at the edge of this huge tract of empty land, and to this day I don’t really know why that land was empty it was like a prime parsel of land in Newport Beach and it extended al the way down to like the beach, but I dunno it was like heavily overgrown and very strange, in retrospect. So that, like, bordered the western edge of this enormous grassy area, and there was a fence, and lots of trees growing, like, along and through that fence. SO you were, like, not really supposed to be over by the fence. Like they’d kind of… the two coaches that were looking after you whenever there was recess or whenever there was PE, they kind of like, pushed you away from the fence whenever you went over there, but um, there was this one spot in the corner that nobody really went to, because everyone was sort of creeped out by it. There was like three trees all clustered arund each other, and the fence was all gnarly and rusted. And the kids would talk about ‘oh there’s a coyote that lives there’ or some kind of like, bad animal, but generally there was just kind of bad stories about it. Um, and, I don’t know who came up with the name, but the name for it was deepest darkest. And so there was like this wild patch in the corner of our school playground that nobody really went to. And it got to the point where it was incorporated so much into the school that, you know, the coaches would tell you ‘to warm up for PE, kids, you got to… run to the corner of deepest darkest and back.’ And like you’d run, and touch the wall like 20 feet away from it because nobody really wanted to go too near it. One of the stories was coyotes, one of the stories was, like, people were creeped out that there was, like, a person that could sneak in there and get you, that there was like a bad guy. And it was just kind of like this, this schoolwide thing, and people just knew not to go into deepest darkest.”
Informant’s Background Knowledge and Relationship with this Piece:
Deepest Darkest, as Conor calls it, is a place or a thing from his childhood and represents what was clearly a mystery and a concern to the students of his school. He said that many students made plans to venture into Deepest Darkest and explore it before they graduate, though apparently few go through with it.
Thoughts About the Piece:
Conor was in fifth grade when he learned about Deepest Darkest, and it seems to me like all the fuss and concern was just spread from student to student, without any of them really knowing what they were scared about.