I grew up in a small town.
Gravel roads, spittin’ out dust trails behind that big pick up truck.
It is a small town about forty five minutes from a city, population only about four hundred people. The four churches outnumbered the one bar. The elementary school shut down after several years of my living there, due to the roof caving in during class. But I was homeschooled, and wasn’t affected by that.
Sometimes though, before it closed, I would ride my bike around town, up to the school after hours, and feel sneaky as I and my siblings would creep into the train across from the school. It was dark and dusty inside. Eventually it was locked down, so nobody could enter.
Outside of riding my bike all day, every day, I’d go down to the park. It was like, “the hangout”. I was an outcast growing up though, so even if I got down there before the school kids did, they’d come down and harass me. My brother and I, we didn’t put up with that shit. I may be a girl, but I was a tomboy. And I didn’t take too kindly to being pushed around and yelled at.
Then there was the “big bridge.” I honestly do not remember how it got named. It went over a creek, and that was my favorite place to go. My brother and I we’d go down there and wade around in it. We’d even catch frogs. I think we quit getting in the water after a leech attached itself between my brother’s toes. That was disgusting. He freaked out, yelling “get it off me!” over and over while I laughed my ass off.
My sister and I ended up making it our wading spot too, after a few years. Until a big storm came and washed away our perfect little spot. We tried returning but it just wasn’t the same.
It was your typical small town. Horses and cows out in the country. A main street. A small convenience store. A couple diners. And the biggest clichés you could imagine. Your preppy girls who thought you had to be a slut to mean anything. Boys who thought they were God’s gift to women because they had blue eyes and blonde hair.
You had your ranches. You had the people who drove to the city for work- like my dad. Nobody was rich, but we weren’t dirt poor either.
But the years passed. It’s not the same small town anymore. The clichés still exists. But the school’s closed, the park nor the bridge are the places to be anymore. The diner on main street has been shut down for too long to remember. The post office still has the American flag flying proudly outside the brick building.
The butcher shop where the hunters went with their game was painted blue. Ruined the rustic look main street had going on. It too has shut down.
My small town I always hated and wanted to get out of is no longer the same town in some aspects. I got out of there, and I only return to see my family. Because while I like the country, and small towns, I always hated that one.