Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Product of My Environment?

You be the judge. I hail from a teeny-tiny town in east central Indiana with a population of around 1,400. And this number hasn't much changed since I was little and may have even gone down.

How do I know this? Well, because I remember that in 6th grade for the spring musical, our class did a Hee Haw spoof. Yes. And now that I think about it - it may not have actually supposed to have been a spoof - it was just that bad that it seemed like we were making fun. I know now the joke was on us.

Anyway, we somehow convinced my friend, Brett, to dress up like Dolly Parton for one scene, and during this he held up a sign that read, "Farmland, population 1,500" just like in Hee Haw. And you don't soon forget your 12-year-old friend - who's a boy - standing on stage at the spring musical with big fake boobs and a blonde wig. What kind of twisted music teacher did we have?

So it's tiny. And hasn't changed much. There's still really nothing to do there, only now I appreciate that. When I was a teenager, I thought I would die from the boredom that the town was suffocating us all with.

In hindsight, of course, it was a great place to grow up. My friends and I would get on our bikes and be gone all day and no one worried about it. When I walked to the grocery to pick something up for my mom, if she forgot to tell me to get something, she could just call up there and tell them to make sure I got it; and she'd just run the money up later to pay for it.

Of course, to a kid, the town's stench of oppression was overwhelming and I couldn't wait to flee.

Now my kids think Farmland is the greatest place on Earth. Yes - that's the name of the town. No - I did not live on a farm. It was pretty great - but I only know that now, in retrospect.

Here are a few shots of my hometown:

The church I grew up in

My grandma's backyard, where I spent years playing. We lived just four houses down from here (where she still lives today).

This is where I had my first job, at a soda fountain (it still operates as a soda fountain today).

Don't forget your roots. They're your connection to the past and the foundation for your future.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the pictorial reminder. Though that house is the only one you lived in, and probably the only one Aimee remembers, I spent most of my first five years in a small house on Mulberry Street (remember the Dr. Seuss book "And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street"?), and have fond memories of our neighbors.

    The grocery with the Red Gold Tomatoes mural is where I got my first paying job stocking shelves and bagging groceries for $1.35/hour--nice pocket change to a thirteen-year-old!

    I have stories associated with most of those pictures (some of which are best left untold), like the time I was hit by a car and knocked unconscious in the alley by what is now Main Street Coffee while chasing a bicycle thief. I ran into Tony's front quarter panel on my bike, did a flip and landed "lights out" on his hood. He nearly had a stroke because he thought he killed me!

    We hope to make the pilgrimage from North Carolina next month after the 15 year-old cousin mentioned in the fair entry returns from Europe.

    And yes the number has decreased, because when I delivered newspapers as a young boy and knew practically everyone in town (you were still a toddler), the population was between 1,600-1,700.