Small Town, USA

There’s a new group in Facebook about growing up in our particular hometown. It’s gone from just a few members to 750 over night. The memories that we are sharing are so specific and wonderful!

Childhood memories are so vivid. As a kid, everything is an adventure. The movie “Stand by Me” shares that magical time when friends were so much more, so much closer. It makes me think about childhood as a battleground of experiences and the bonds,like those of soldiers, are therefore tighter and full of trust and love.

I had a storybook childhood. Sometimes while others are detailing multitudes of disappointments from their childhoods, I keep my mouth shut. (Hard to believe, isn’t it?)

I spent many summers at my grandparents’ farm. They bought me a pony. My family went on summer vacations to the ocean. We had a summer camp on a lake when I got older. The winters were “snowier”, the outdoor games grander, and our freedom to be kids easier, when I was a kid. Doesn’t every kid feel that way? Isn’t childhood an experience rather than an event?

I have an older blog about that very subject. When I was a kid, I used to get sick of hearing about the “good old days” that I had missed. I try to refrain from that temptation with my kids. Childhood is the protection of one’s innocence for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it is very much harder to protect the innocence of kids today. I believe it still can happen and the small town community is where it works best.

As a small “Towner” I realized that everyone knew my family. There were “parents” everywhere and misbehaving would be reported to my own house. Those extra eyes and ears made me aware of my behavior as a reflection on my family rather than on just myself. The anonymous life, customary in big cities, must loosen that connection with family from the “get go”. Being bussed to neighborhoods outside of your own must put a kid “on their own”. We knew that any parent of any friend, in our small town, would be of assistance if we just asked. Fear can make a kid grow up quickly and we had hardly anything to fear in our town.

If I could have one wish for kids today, it would be to have them all grow up in “small town” USA.  In my opinion, that is the greatest place to be a kid.

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6 thoughts on “Small Town, USA

  1. My immediate response to this is, “Oh, I remember my childhood in a very similar way.” No surprise coming from your sister. lol
    But when I think of my childhood, a song by Pat Benetar comes to mind: Hell is for Children.
    The nagging fear and panic that consumed me.
    Not fun.

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