Friday, January 28, 2005

Sweet Memories of the Past 

From the time I was in 4th grade until I graduated from High School I lived in a small town. My Mom worked at the newspaper on the Town Square, so after school, I would walk down there and pass the time until she got off work.

There was a big, beautiful courthouse in the middle of the square, and sometimes, I would walk in there and climb as high as I could up the stairs and look out the windows at the world around me.

I would often visit the bookstore and look around at all of the books and novelty items that the owner carried. The owner knew both me and my Mom and she didn't have a problem with my sitting on the floor and reading. She knew I was careful with the books and put them right back where I found them. I think I read the entire "Little House on the Prairie" series this way.

I would stop by the Ice Cream and Delicatessen and sit at the counter. I had a crush on the son of the man that owned the shop, so I would sip on my Dr. Pepper very slowly so I had an excuse to sit there and talk to him.

My next stop was usually a clothing store that specialized in Jeans and T-shirts. Those of you who were around in the mid to late 70's will remember that T-shirts with iron-on transfers and your name on the back were all the rage. I must have had at least 10-15 different T-shirts like that!

Sometimes I would quietly creep into the Opera House and sit in the back row to watch rehearsals. I remember dreaming how cool it would be to be one of the actresses on stage. I thought they were so glamorous!

I loved to explore this old and dusty antique store and see what treasures I could find. Sometimes the owner and her son would bribe me with a Dr. Pepper if I would sit and pump the pedals of the player piano while the door was open.

Sometimes I would find some friends of mine on the square and we would congregate at the gazebo on the lawn of the Courthouse. We tested the patience of a lot of the townspeople when we decided to practice our band instruments on several afternoons.

Usually after I had made all of my rounds around the Square, I would end up back at the newspaper. If Mom wasn't ready to go home yet, I would find the forms they used for Wedding announcements and fill them out for my imaginary wedding. Usually the groom was whatever "Boy du Jour" I had a crush on or David Cassidy. After the wedding announcement I would usually make the natural progression and fill out the form for the birth announcement of my baby with "Boy du Jour" or David Cassidy.

Everyone on the Square knew my name and who my Mom was. I could roam the streets and never be afraid that something bad would happen to me. I loved growing up in a small town and I'm so thankful that I had that experience. I wish that all kids could know what it's like to not live in fear of anything other than someone telling your Mom when you were horsin' around too much or actin' a fool.



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