Recently I drove through my hometown. I live just outside of it now, but on that trip, memories of my childhood and young adult life filled my mind. I shared some of them in What I Learned Growing Up In A Small Town. Each week I’m taking a part of that post and elaborating with a few more details. Last week I appreciated the community there (Small Town Community), and today I’m sharing the simplicity of life growing up in “Hooterville” (as my high school English teacher affectionately calls it.)
A barber shop, a grocery store, a gas station, a post office, my dad’s mechanic garage, plus a few more businesses, most sitting on Railroad Street. Really, everything we needed was found in our town’s limits, except for maybe a dentist or doctor. Trips to a neighboring town were for something special… an ice cream treat at Tastee Freeze, or dinner together at Bishop’s Restaurant on a Sunday, were some of my favorites. And oh, the dreaded the trips with Mom to the fabric store and the flower shop. I just knew my life was going to come to an end at either place, as extreme boredom would overtake this child each time! What I wouldn’t give to go with Mom to either one of them now.
Most often we entertained ourselves by “playing” outside. We rode our bicycles, we roller skated, we took walks, we played hide-and-seek in the dark, and kick-the-can a block away at the grassy field we called, “The Lot.” A game of softball, or baseball was typical if we had enough players. And I loved shooting baskets at the hoops outside of the old high school. As I got older, I would practice my softball pitching standing in the street and throwing at the wooden door of our garage, aiming to hit the center of the strike zone outlined in black electrical tape.
Inside, it was playing Barbies (often with my friends Julie and Jeanie), Hot Wheel cars, and Legos. Saturday mornings we were found in front of the t.v., watching cartoons, and after school each day we would race home to watch Batman.
We walked to and from school, and on rainy or snowy days, Dad would close his mechanic garage for a few minutes to give us a ride. Those days were heavenly.
The thing that stands out to me probably the most, is that we were NEVER in a hurry. Mom and Dad weren’t found running from one place to another, and because they weren’t, neither were my brothers and I. Life was at a different pace back then. I don’t know if that was due to living in a small town, or if it was just the environment of our home. Either way, looking back now, I cherish that.
It does my heart good to look back and reflect on these simpler early years. Not for reasons to go back, but to be reminded how good a simple life can be. I think oftentimes we make life too complicated. It’s hard to swim against the current of complicated living. But the peace that comes from living a simple life is priceless. If we’ve gotten away from that, small steps can take us back there.
Today I’m thankful for the simplicity of growing up in “Hooterville.” I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. (If you grew up in simpler days, I’d love to hear what you appreciated most. Feel free to comment below!)
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