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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I knew I lived in a small town. I just haven’t realized how small until I went to the high school basketball game this past weekend. My sister was being inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fame so she flew up here and we all battled the snow and cold to watch her ceremony. It took place at halftime and they had a nice reception beforehand. As I sat in the stands I couldn’t help but wonder at all the familiar faces I saw. Not only that many of the kids on the team had the same last name as my former classmates. On the walls were pictures of the various sport teams through the years and I knew people in almost every single photograph.

The fact that many people who grew up here chose to stay on and raise their own families shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ll be the first to admit I love it here. It’s nice going to the local coffee shop and them knowing what I want before I even open my mouth. Everyone knows everyone here. My daughter’s teacher was one of my sister’s best friends growing up. My son has the same civics teacher I did.

Living in a small town does have some drawbacks, however. Number one being everyone knows everyone. I still bump into the gal who was sitting next to me that fateful day in first grade when I peed my pants. She still remembers it too. I know this because she takes particular delight in telling me so every time we talk.

To add to the whole small town atmosphere is the fact we are made up of mainly working class, factory workers or farmers. Hunting season is a big event, most kids starting at a young age. While I was standing in line to vote this year the couple behind me were in matching camouflage coveralls. I kid you not. We have a total of three traffic lights, but at least a half-dozen deer processing centers. I am happy to report that my son and husband are not among the hunters. I have no taste for deer meat and wouldn’t know what to do with a freezer full of the stuff.

Still, I love this town because it’s familiar and that makes me feel safe. I like knowing the local store will always have my favorite deli meat, that my old family friends will always be keeping an eye over my kids and I can still get the best donuts in the world at the corner bakery.

Many times I have wondered if I ever made it big would I move. The answer is no. This is home and that will never change.

-Stephani

3 comments:

Patti Shenberger said...

Stephani, I love living in a small town as well, though I didn't grow up here. But I am Michigan born and bred, and will probably be till the day I die.

Ok, you peed your pants!! Another story for the record books!
Patti

Stephani Hecht said...

Patti, not only did I pee my pants, but I left a puddle on the carpet. I was one humiliated girl. LOL

Lynn said...

Snort...ROTFLMAO...sorry, I do not mean to have any disrespect. I'm laughing because you're describing my life to a T.

I was born in a town which only had 1000 people. I lived in a town that only had 500 people until I was 11. Then my parents whisk me away to a town that had 75K and I thought they were going to die. The momemt I got used to it, they moved again because they hated it. Sigh.

So, we came to the place that I now live. I know almost everyone it seems. I went to high school here, graduated here and have lived here almost 40 years. The town had 3500 when we arrived and only has 15K because of controlled growth.

I know the parents of most of both my kids friends, the girls they go out with and so on. When the boys brought friends home and I hear a familar name, I'll ask if so and so were their parent. I had one kid come in and say, 'My mom knows you' as if it were a badge of honor.

I help my friend out at her shop and I thought I was bad since I'm realated to some of the founding fathers/mothers of this town but she's got me beat. Even with the cousin by marriage who's the mayor. LOL! You get my drift.

There is not one person who comes in the shop who doesn't know her or she knows something about them. It's absolutely freaky.

Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not. The worst right now is all my immediate family, Dad and my brother and his family, all moved to Idaho. It's not the same as having them all here.

Lynn

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