Saturday, July 6, 2013

Small townitis....

In her comment on my post 11/21/2012 about an elderly (cough, cough--I'm 70, when do I reach elderly?) gentleman thinking my car was his, Anna of the Stitch Bitch blog said, of course lock your car.  I have spent my life in small towns.  I rarely lock my car.  When I go to the bank on Monday mornings, I lock my car because I always have the business checkbook in it from the weekend. That's it for the car locking.

North East, Maryland, is just about as small as you can get, in more ways than one.  I was quite happy to leave to go to college.  Where I chose Boone, North Carolina, probably smaller except for the college (Appalachian) which in 1960 was about 2300 students.  We knew everyone, that's the good and bad news.  You couldn't escape the horrible professors or those among the students who were obnoxious.  Believe me, I tried.  

I was a senior high school librarian in Newark, Delaware.  It had the University of Delaware, but was mainly a suburb for DuPont employees.  I walked to school because I had no car, but the town was small enough I could do that without qualifying for a marathon.  Some of my students offered to steal a car piece by piece because they felt bad that I didn't have one.  May I say that I insisted they drop that plan of action.  My principal hated me already, I didn't need to contribute to grand theft auto!
Next I moved to a senior high school in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in the NC foothills.  I had to hitch a ride with an English teacher who lived 2 blocks away.  Sometimes I overslept and dressed in the passenger seat of her car on the way to school, riding behind the school buses with the kids trying to see what we were doing in the car behind them.  Those were the days of panty hose in all their glory.  Awkward to get in and out of in the front seat of a car (perhaps it's TMI to mention getting out of!  I was young and foolish.)
Back to Boone for a master's degree in library science, but more importantly the purchase of my first car and learning how to drive between Boone and Blowing Rock and Boone and Linville.  The agony of a summer afternoon with the windows rolled down  (before power windows), with the sun going down in the mountains and smoking a cigarette and worrying about can I take a hand off the wheel to roll up the window while still holding on to my cigarette? But it was a v-8, I think 389, and boy, when you stepped on the gas, it motored!
And young men always thought I was a pigeon at stop lights--silly boys!

I stayed in Boone for 4 years that time, working as a cataloger in the University Library after I completed my MA.  I left there for the largest community where I have ever lived--Madison, WI, and the University of Wisconsin Library School.  In the 1970s Madison was about 120,000 but it was a small town none-the-less.
What a marvelous community, though I still have nightmares about the library school.  

After 3 years in Madison I thankfully was offered a teaching job back at Appalachian.  Though my joy was short-lived since I had been exposed to many revolutionary teaching ideas that didn't translate.  Still, I was back in my small town where I knew so many people.  We won't mention the horror of the produce guy at Winn-Dixie who recoiled when I inquired if the grapes were picked by La Raza.  Say what?  They're good grapes, Mary.

When I started working at Needle Nicely in Blowing Rock, I parked my classic 67 mustang behind the building.  I didn't leave the keys in it, but many people in town did in their cars.  My mechanic picked it up one day to work on it and at lunch someone asked me who was driving my car?  Best insurance you can have is a small town with lots of interested friends.  My New Yorker husband thinks they are nosy, I think they are interested. 

I've transitioned from Blowing Rock to Vero Beach, Fl.  Trust me, in the summer it is a very small town.  Even in the winter "season", the same people come back.  And I am waiting on the children and grandchildren of my original customers here (starting in 1981).

I like familiarity.  For years Trubey and I vacationed on the same small island in the Bahamas--Great Exuma.
We went twice a year and bone fished.  It was marvelous to get off the plane in Georgetown and hear George, our taxi driver, calling hello from the side of the airfield.  The Carolina Girls were back.

When I go to Europe I do the same.  I go to the same hotels in Paris and Florence and London.  When I went to New York and rented an apartment for 10 days, I loved riding the buses and subways watching people.  The same in San Francisco--the cable cars were an addiction.  I had to laugh when I took a San Francisco bus to the Legion of Honor (I think) with an art museum.  On the way back I asked the bus driver to tell me when to get off for the Aquarium.  He laughed--get off at that number street.  Sorry, I'm a small town girl and I know you may lie to me about street numbers--you're a city slicker!  I guess I'd lock my car in those cities.  But still not in Vero Beach. 

1 comment:

  1. I would die. I'd rather lock my car! But that's why they make all the flavors! :)