Friday, September 30, 2016
That's The Life For Me
I have said many times that I lived in very small towns when I was a child. They were idyllic places to be. Children had a lot of freedom to come and go without fear.
Everybody knew everybody else in town. Adults looked out for children. If there was a problem parents could be called. We were as safe as possible.
The best thing about small town living was the community. Everyone attended community events. I already told you about watermelon day. There is more.
There were pancake breakfasts. I remember one especially. It was at the library. For a nominal fee you had all the pancakes with syrup that you could eat. Sausages were the meat that day. It was great fun eating with other citizens of town and the surrounding farms.
I of course did not realize it at the time but those breakfasts were fund raisers. The library (which my family used all the time), the fire department, the VFW... all the organizations that served the town needed a little boost in funding. Pancakes were inexpensive to make.
The library had other festivals. Some were fund raisers. Others were simply fun activities to remind us how much fun the library is. Sometimes we would have cleaning parties to dust the books and shelves. It was fun.
School sports programs were community activities. The whole town attended football and basketball games for the boys and volleyball for the girls. We cheered out team. We bought snacks from the concession stands that helped with funding. And we had a great time besides.
Speaking of school all the grades went to the same school. Kindergarten through 12th grade. Every grading period there was a parents' night when parents could discuss the children's progress.
The teachers were members of the community so they knew the parents and the children. So these were another social event.
What I liked most was that each classroom was expected to perform at each of these events. The lower grades had three grades to a room so there were not as many performances as you might think.
What was fun for me was that there were far more boys than girls in the school. If a room was doing a dance they had to borrow girls from other rooms. I got to show off again! I am a terrible ham you must know.
My teachers also recognized the ham. And they knew that I had a good memory. I was given long poems to memorize and recite as the stage was being redesigned for a new act. I still remember pieces of all those poems.
Halloween is second only to Christmas for me. The reason is the little town life. We decorated all over town. We dressed up in our costumes and made sure we had a good supply of large paper grocery bags.
When we were finally allowed we went out for trick-or-treat. Every house had a treat for us. Some of the treats were candy bars (full sized of course), cupcake cups full of smaller candies (including the dreaded candy corn), coins (a lot of pennies and some nickels with an occasional dime), homemade cookies, cupcakes (and sometimes a slice of a real cake), and candied apples.
When our large paper grocery bags would fill we took them home and grabbed another one. We then went back out for more goodies. We did not stop until we hit every house in town.
By the time we were finished we were so tired that bed was where we wanted to be. That was when the older kids went out to pull their pranks. My favorite was the outhouse placed at the main intersection of town.
If a child had a birthday party every child in that grade was invited. Events were all-inclusive. My mother was a master at unique parties. Each of us had one party in our lives. Each party was memorable.
On Valentine's Day we all made valentines to give to the other children in our room. No one was left out. We also took a treat to share with everyone so there was a party. Fun.
May Day was another day we celebrated. My first was when I was 5 years old. Using huge paper cupcake cups we filled them with goodies and anything to make them pretty. A pipe cleaner was used as a handle to make a May basket. We made them for each child in our grade.
My mother explained to me that I was to take the basket to the door of the child that lived in that house, knock on the door, then run. If the child caught me they got to give me a kiss.
I followed her directions to the letter. As I jumped into the car my mother was laughing hysterically. She did not make it clear that I was supposed to leave the basket on the doorstep! I still had it in my hand. Of course Susan Otradostey gave me a big kiss on the cheek when I dejectedly got out of the car to give her the basket.
I love small town life.