When you hear people talking about growing up in a small town, you hear all the cliches, like, “People know what you’ve done, even before you do it.” It’s true. I remember being out later than I should have been on a school night, and when I got to school the next morning, a teacher confronted me. It was a long day. I felt everyone’s eyes on me. They were just waiting for me to doze off in class.
When I was a freshman in high school, I went to the prom with a guy who was a sophomore and had just started driving. He was allowed to drive the family car for the occasion, but a problem developed. We were both inexperienced daters and he didn’t have the courage to tell me he was supposed to be home with the car at a certain time. I wasn’t smart enough to know when I should ask him to take me home.
When I finally walked into my house at 3:00 a.m., my dad, who never worried much about my activities, was fit to be tied. I was highly offended that he might think I had gone someplace I shouldn’t have. After all, in a small town, there are very few places you shouldn’t be.
Dad finally went to bed when I told him my date said we put fifty miles on his dad’s car. To make matters worse, his dad was my typing teacher. I still can’t type very well. He never helped me learn how to find the numbers without looking and I was afraid to ask.
You’re probably thinking I wasn’t brave. Well, I wasn’t, but I was adventuresome. I made it all the way to Texas didn’t I?
Living in a small town, is like being part of a big family. Everyone knows you, and you know them. The people who move into town are usually preachers or teachers, so they don’t really add any mystery to the fabric of the town.
Everyone knew everybody else’s dog, too. None of the dogs had to eat real dog food, and in Murdo, they didn’t have to stay in their own yards. When my dog, Penny, had puppies, my cousin told me the father was another cousin’s dog who had been visiting from Pennsylvania. I’m pretty sure I have this right. I know my cousin, Valerie, will correct me if I have the details wrong. Her dog’s name was Midnight. He was smart and Uncle Al taught him all kinds of tricks. Midnight deflowered Penny, left town and never looked back.
My cousins, the Millers, had Scamp. He was afraid of fireworks. One time he somehow got inside one of our motel rooms without anyone seeing him. In the middle of the night, after the firecrackers stopped and he felt safe, he came out from under the bed and scared the devil out of the poor tourists.
How did I get off onto dog stories? Mom told us about her friends, Dan and Harriet, telling her about their little puppy. Harriet adored him, but sadly, one of them backed over him in the driveway. Harriet said, “At least it didn’t hurt him.” (Meaning he died instantly, therefore, he felt no pain.) Dan said, “What do you mean it didn’t hurt him? It killed him!”
I’m a huge dog lover. Maybe it’s only funny if you hear Mom tell it, and it’s years later.
There is so much to tell about growing up in a small town. Even years later, you feel a sense of belonging somewhere, whether you’ve moved on or not. When I first left Murdo, I actually wondered what certain people were doing every day. It seemed strange that their lives went on just like before even though I wasn’t there to be a part of it all.
I have made some good friends, through this blog, who are from small towns and they get it. We all have fun looking back.
Yes, looking back to a time when there were no tiny homes. At least not on purpose.