Thursday, October 13, 2016

Small Town Memories I

The more I think about growing up in a small town the more I appreciate it.  Our claim to fame was being "The Biggest Little Town On The Map."  which was on our town sign. Actually, we weren't a town, we were a borough.  Kindergarten was held in a small brown house close to the school where grade school,  junior high and high school were in the same complex ( two buildings) until I was in 6th grade. Then a new grade school was built. We had our own volunteer fire department. The fire alarm was tested each day at noon and again at 7 p.m.  Everybody knew that sound! When it sounded off men from all over town would drop what they were doing and rush to the fire hall. Our police "force" consisted of two cops switching shifts. They were  big likable men who knew their community and all who dwelt in it.
As a child, I thought my town was large. I only knew my neighborhood but when it was Halloween I got to go "all over town" to trick or treat which was a really big deal. Going Christmas shopping meant going to the ABC Store. This was our variety store where I could find a present for everyone in my family. There were toys for my little brothers, kitchen gadgets for my mom and grandma, socks, hankies and tools for my dad and grandpa, and model cars for my older brother.
 I know it sounds a bit like the "Waltons" but my grandpa and grandma lived in an apartment above us. My father and grandfather made the house into a duplex. The house was a large two-story and the closed off the stairway making it into a closet. This closet scared me because the stairs were still there they just stopped half way up. It was a closet to nowhere.  My dad and grandpa built steps off the back porch which led to my grandparent's house.
 I thought this whole arrangement was a wonderful thing. My grandma was my best friend. She taught me so much; we'd go daffodil, dandelion greens and wild strawberry hunting in the spring.  We would sit on the steps to her "house" and she would rub my back and talk about marvelous things. As I grew I appreciated this arrangement more and more. I, being a skinny girl that could out eat all three of my brothers, would eat supper at our table then go upstairs and eat supper with my grandpa and grandma.
On summer evenings the family would sit around a fire pit and roast marshmallows. Sometimes we would just enjoy watching the fire and the lightning  bugs.  As darkness came, it became cooler and my younger brothers would be put to bed. That's when I really enjoyed those nights the most, not that I didn't like my brothers there but they were silly noisy boys. With them, in bed, it became quiet with only the sound of the hissing fire, the crickets and my parents, grandparents'  and older brother's voices.  I would sit and watch the stars and the lightning bugs until it was my time for bed. Once in bed, I could still hear the grown-ups by the fire as I fell asleep.
When autumn rolled around we would rake leaves into big piles and my brothers and I would jump in them before they were burned. My mom and grandma would rake the piles to the edge of the street and burn them. They smelled so good. One could smell the leaves burning all over town. With winter came the snow and we would bundle up and go out and play fox and geese. This game was played by making an elaborate maze of tracks in the snow. The geese had a series small circles along the track for safe houses and the fox would chase the geese trying to catch one before they reached one of these safe houses. Whoever the fox caught then became the fox and the old fox became a goose. We would also go sledding on a hill across the street from our house.
To be continued..........