Sunday, April 25, 2010

Small Town Living

A friend sent me the link to this delightful blog called Small Town Living.

They had a wonderful article on growing up in a small town.

I grew up in a small town, too. Although my small town wasn't as small as the author's, sometimes I reminisce about playing for hours in the shady woods behind our house or cross-country skiing through the same woods in the winter.

We moved to our small town almost 20 years ago. It was more of a rural farming community with some homes in small sub-divisions. Our older children would often play in the fields. We used to shoot off rockets, fly kites, and go for walks in those same fields. Our daughters loved playing down in 'the gully'. The river would run through the gully in the spring and there was splashing and playing for hours! In the heat of the summer there were trees to climb and shady places to sit and play.

Once they found a kitten and kept it as a pet for a while. We didn't know about it because it was down in the gully. They kept the secret for many years!

Our daughter used to ride her horse through the paths in the field and then up into the mountains.

They would walk down the road to the gas station and get penny candy--really! The store still had penny candy in 1992! When the children got to the four-way-stop, the cars always let the kids walk across the street, making sure they made it to the other side safely. They lived here, too, and let their children do the same. The gas station was the only business in town.

That's why we moved here. Space, safety, room to roam for the children, and people looking out for each other.

Like most small towns, ours has exploded. There are no more fields. They are now filled with big, fancy homes and sub-divisions with restrictive covenants. There are no spaces for the kids to roam, and there is no opportunity for them to walk to the gas station for penny candy.

It's a big town now, with big ideas. Big grocery stores, banks, fast food stores, and a new five-lane highway being built at the end of our block. The four-way stop has a traffic light with a left turn arrow. In fact, there are now four lights in our town. There are doctors offices, dentist offices, a tanning salon, a hair salon. Domino's Pizza and Papa Murphy's Pizza both have store fronts here! And they are expanding the mall on the north side of the road. Our small town has come far in the last 15 years. From one small gas station, to over 50 businesses and store fronts.

We have a beautiful barn, which according to the new city ordinances, would never be allowed to be built. It is too tall and has too many square feet for our little, old house. We now have to apply for permits to put in or replace fencing, to put a shed on the property, or to do any number of other small improvements, too. Often it feels as if it is the 'new' people versus the 'old' people when it comes to city expansion. Most of the people who live in older homes moved here for the same reasons we did. Most of the new people have moved here to 'live in the country' and to have a reasonable commute to the two large cities nearby.

When we moved here there was one elementary school. Now there are two junior high schools, a high school, and four elementary schools.

Some days I think it is time to move because I feel so claustrophobic. Most days I have to wait about 7 minutes before I can turn left out of our street because of the traffic.

But, most days I am still grateful that we live here because we have such good friends and neighbors. Our kids are still relatively safe, and we love the church we attend. Maybe one day it will be time to move, but for now I will enjoy the good people around me and the little farm hidden in our back-yard.


Grandma Elsie said...

Hello .been a good while since I was on bloggers. Just visitng some close blogs I always enjoyed . Enjoyed your blog same as I always did.glad you were still here
Elsie <><

TJ said...

I'm so glad you stopped by! I noticed you haven't been on much. Blogger doesn't let me post to your blog--so I've been praying that things are going okay for you and that the winter wasn't too hard on you.

Sarah said...

TJ. Your feelings about the changes your town has experienced just about made me cry. Both with happiness for what you had and sadness for what is gone. I enjoy your blog partly because old fashioned values shine through. I live on a "country road" in New England where developments and what I'll call development values moved in long ago. My sons can't ever ride bikes on this road! People just rush around and don't care. But in my heart there is a place where people look out for kids and there is room to roam and goats and chicks and secret kittens matter more than people getting their nails polished.

TJ said...

I grew up in New England. A much different 'country' than here in the west. We try to keep those old fashioned "New England Values" alive and well within the walls (and fencing) of our home. I'm so glad they shine through!