I have a big heart for our little town. I grew up in a bigger town right next door to this place. At the time I never even gave it a second thought. I kind of knew it was there, but, I just drove through it to get somewhere else. All I knew about it is there was a place called an arboretum there, and it full of trees and plants and stuff, that was it.When we were first looking at homes, it wasn’t even on our radar. We looked everywhere else, and when we couldn’t find anything, this was kind of a last look. I talk more about our home here.
When we finally bought our house in our little town, I was appalled to learn that the previous graduating class only had about 100 kids in it. APPALLED. My graduating class had over 1,200. It seemed so Mayberry to me. I felt like I was waiting for Barney Fife around every corner. My husband wasn’t as shocked. He came from a smaller high school, and couldn’t believe I knew less than 1/4 of the other students in my school. Not only did he know everyone in his class, but everyone in the other classes, and, all of the siblings as well. To him, it was no biggie, but to me it was mind-boggling. I went to my 10 year reunion, and knew about 30 people out of 500.
When we first moved here,our house wasn’t known as ours. In fact, the only way people knew where we lived was if we said “Oh, it used to be the Smith’s house.” Until about 8 years ago, we were in the habit of telling people where our house was in just that way. Every time. Because if we gave them our street address, they had no clue where it was.
“Where do you live?”
“At 789 Blah blah blah street.”
“In the Smith’s old house.”
“Oh yeah! They moved down the street, right?”
After 20 years, it might finally be known as the Rizzo’s house now, but we aren’t so sure(Luckily, the “Smith’s” still live a few blocks away,and are good friends.).
And then there was all the “talking” to get used to in our small town. So.Many.Words. Everyone knew everyone else, and all their business. If they didn’t know someone directly, they knew someone who did. To me,it was shocking. We had really only known our immediate neighbors where I grew up, not everyone who lived in 6 square miles. So everywhere you went, there was sure to be conversation because you all knew each other. At the time,it dug into my personal space in an awful,uncomfortable way. Now, I can be as chatty as they come at the Walgreen’s or taco bar.To the point where the kids know every trip has 10 minutes on it, because I am going to stop and talk to someone. It’s a special kind of treat when things are going a bit rough, and someone takes 5 minutes to ask about your day while you’re in line at the grocery store, or someone gives you a quick hug in the toilet paper aisle.
This is the kind of town that when you go to a football game, and the marching band comes out, half of the kids are in football uniforms and cheerleader outfits. It’s the kind of town where our Fourth of July parade may only be three blocks long, but you know almost everyone walking in it. It’s the kind of town where our downtown may be not as big or flashy as the city next door, but it’s not like any where else, and that’s a good thing. It’s slowly turning around, and I am so excited to be in the middle of it.
I think there aren’t many places left like our little town. After growing up in a big and sprawling city, I realize my childhood may be there, but I’m a small town girl, and my heart is here.