Clare County Review & Marion Press

Mike’s Musings: Remember When? Growing up in a Small Town

Life is so much better in small town America. The pace is somewhat slower and friendships much more real. I grew up in a small town and ever since have always lived the rural community life. I know nothing of the hustle and bustle of the big city, and I’m a better person, I believe, because I grew up where everyone knew everyone.
New Year’s Eve is my dad’s birthday. Even though he died eleven years ago, he still has a treasured place
in my heart. He too is a product of a small town. Thirteen years ago he emailed me this piece. I would
like to share it now.
Those who didn’t grow up in small towns will be in disbelief and won’t understand how true these are:

  1. In a small town school you can name everyone in your graduating class.
  2. You know what 4-H means.
  3. You went to parties at a pasture, barn, gravel pit, or in the middle of a dirt road. On Monday you
    could always tell who was at the party because of the scratches on their legs from running
    through the woods when the party was busted.
  4. You whispered the ‘F’ word and your parents knew within the hour.
  5. You scheduled parties around the schedules of different police officers, because you knew
    which ones would bust you and which ones wouldn’t.
  6. You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how old you were.
  7. If you were lucky enough to find someone to buy cigarettes for you, you still had to go out into
    the country and drive on dirt roads to smoke them.
  8. You knew which section of the ditch you would find the beer your buyer dropped off.
  9. It was cool to date someone from the neighboring town.
  10. The whole school went to the same party after graduation.
  11. The golf course had only nine holes.
  12. You couldn’t help but date a friend’s ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
  13. Your car stayed filthy because of the dirt roads, and you will never own a dark vehicle for this
  14. The town next to you was considered ‘trashy’ or ‘snooty’ but in reality was actually just like your
  15. You referred to anyone with a house newer than 30 years old, as the ‘rich’ people.
  16. The people in the ’big city’ dressed funny, and then you picked up the trend two years later.
  17. Anyone you wanted could be found at the local gas station.
  18. You saw at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town or to school occasionally.
  19. The gym teacher or football coach suggested you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.
  20. When you decided to walk somewhere, at least five people would pull over asking if you wanted
    a ride.
  21. Your teachers called you by your older siblings’ names.
  22. Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.
  23. You could charge at any local store or write checks without an ID.
  24. There as no McDonalds.
  25. The closest mall was over an hour away.
  26. Most people went by a nickname.
  27. You laughed your butt off reading this because you remember it to be the absolute truth.

Thanks dad, for the memories. May you be laughing in heaven.

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