I grew up in a small mid-western town. It wasn’t one of those towns with only one stop light, grain elevators and railroad tracks. It was, rather, a small university town, nestled in hills, close enough to a city, yet far enough away where it had it’s own little flavor. It had a lovely tree lined main street where the Fourth of July and Memorial Day parades would travel.
Everyone left their keys in their cars and their front doors unlocked. And everybody knew everybody else. They knew whose kids you were, too. So, you’d need to mind your P’s and Q’s. Eventually, whatever you did would get back to your parents.
I remember going into one of the three local grocery stores—Sargent’s, Fuller’s or Welsh’s–to get a push-up from the freezer or some hamburger for my Mom. All I’d need to do was to say “Charge it to my Mom’s account, please.” (Dad made the money, but Mom paid the bills, so it was my Mom’s account.) Same thing when I’d visit the local Stationary and Bookstore, The Times. The books were in the basement, all crammed into cubbies and shelves. I’d spend hours finding my treasures to then bring up have charged to my Mom’s account. It was great!
We paid extra for a private phone line. You didn’t tell people that your number began as 5-8-2. No, you said it was “Juno-2-8761.”
And the people were nice.
Our bus driver, Mrs. Jobe, would always wait as we ran down our driveway in the mornings. (It was a quarter mile long and we lived on a hill—great for sledding in the winter.) She would always wait because we’d always be late. Our Mom insisted we have a full breakfast before we could get out of the house. I think most of my skinned knees came from running down to catch that bus. But, as a kid, you’d get over the sting of gravel in your knees and go to school anyway, knowing that you’d have cool scabs to pick in a few days or so.
Okay, I’ve Andy Rooney-ed enough. I think because today, way out here on the west coast, is such a beautiful Autumn day, it made me think of where I grew up; in the land of the Fall Colors, apple cider and quaint little towns with tidy houses where basements, attics and shutters on the windows were the norm.