Do you remember the play Our Town? It was about George and Emily who lived in the small town of Grovers Corners, New Hampshire.
I grew up in a small Vermont town called Springfield where I played in the woods, rode a bike (unsteadily and dangerously), picked fresh tomatoes from the garden, walked with my sister to the general store for a soda and Devil Dog, and went trick or treating on streets where the elderly couple at one house left goodies in a basket by the door expecting kids to be on the merit system. Then I moved to Connecticut and lived in a small town called Fairfield. My kids grew up in the small town of Newtown, CT. I now live in a small rural town in North Carolina called Angier.
I say this because for thirty years I lived in California in San Diego County in a “city” called El Cajon. You see, California (at least Southern California) has no towns, only cities. If where you live isn’t a designated city, it’s considered an “unincorporated area.” What a warm and fuzzy term! Can you imagine Thornton Wilder writing a play called, “Our Unincorporated Area?” I can’t either.
When you have no towns, you have no town halls, no town meetings, no hometown to be from. The whole cozy idea of a town, the place where you grew up and knew your neighbors, vanishes.
In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey grew up in Bedford Falls and made an impact on the townspeople. Note he didn’t make an impact on the citiespeople!
There’s something familiar, comforting, and even magical about a town. Just the word “town” elicits images of friends, trees, brooks, general stores, fireworks, and picnics. Hokey maybe, but real nevertheless. Though times may have changed, we still long for a place where life was simple and easy and we were a part of it—a part of Our Town.
Tell me about YOUR town.
Quotes of the Day:
There are things about growing up in a small town that you can't necessarily quantify. Brandon Routh
God made the country, and man made the town. William Cowper
A small town is a place where there's no place to go where you shouldn't. Burt Bacharach