My Fascination with Small Towns
When I was growing up in Los Angeles, though it was a big city even then, my neighborhood was like a small town in many ways. We knew all of our close neighbors. We felt safe to wander here and there--and the rule was only that we had to be back in time for supper--5 p.m. for me and my sister. There were no close grocery stores--Ralph's was the first and it was too far to walk and bring home groceries. We had no park, but behind our house up a flight of over 100 stairs was a wilderness of sorts. No houses, lots of wild growth, a wooden and cement structure that was a reservoir. Now all that is gone, taken over by the Glendale Freeway. We could go anywhere we wanted on public transportation--downtown to all the big stores, the public library, and all the way to the beach.
My first experience with a small town was in 1951 when I traveled to Cambridge MD to be married. Besides being on the East Coast with much different weather, flora and fauna, houses and buildings, no public transportation--believe me I experience culture shock too. I definitely knew I was living somewhere different.
Not too many years later, hubby and I and our two kids (at the time) settled in Oxnard, CA. And though it's now a booming city, it was a small town back then. With three nearby military bases (Port Hueneme, Oxnard Air Force Base, and Pt. Mugu) many of the inhabitants were in the service or worked on the military basis in a civilian capacity. We bought a home near the Port Hueneme Seabee base (hubby was a Seabee) and we were about a mile from both Hueneme and Oxnard beaches and it wasn't long before we had 5 kids.
Oxnard grew and grew, hubby retired from the Navy, worked for Sears and retired from there and he wanted to move to someplace smaller. We decided on Springville CA, a small town in the foothills of the Southern Sierra where I had some ancestral roots. Another bit of cultural shock. To shop for food or clothes, seek medical aid, it was necessary to drive 17 miles down the hill to the larger town of Porterville.
We've now been here since 1981, retired from yet another job, that of being the owners and operators of a licensee care home for developmentally disabled women, and have become grandparents to 18, great grandparents to 13 with 2 more on the way.
Springville has made some changes, not all for the good, and it is still a small town.
I've had a great time incorporating what makes a small town unique into both of my series.
|Driving toward Springville.|
|Jackass Mail Run in Springville|
|Snailhead, behind our house.|