I Grew Up In A Small Town

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Being from the suburbia that is Hollywood, CA (really, the Hills are are suburb-y as it gets!), I have a real affinity for small-town America, I definately want to live in one someday. Are you from a small town? What's it really like?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), October 05, 2000


My husband and I relocated to a small town (about 12,000 people) earlier this year and LOVE it. The air is clear, the stores aren't crowded, there's almost no traffic, the people are friendly and even the children are polite. For a few weeks, we felt as if we were on a different planet. I loved being young in a large city but didn't want to be middle-aged (over 30) in one. And with internet access, I never feel "out of touch", like I would have ten years ago.

-- Jessica (macno@1stconnect.com), October 05, 2000.


This is what it's really like for teenagers and kids: everybody knows everybody else's parents. You can't get away with anything without the whole town finding out. No privacy to fuck up when you're a teenager and get over it.

Friend arrangements were made in 2nd grade. I, like most people, wasn't cool in 2nd grade. Therefore I wasn't cool, ever. People spit on my car and put gum on my car because I was loud, outspoken, and had "different" ideas.

If you do one "bad" thing (like get busted for having alcohol in your system on at a football game while in the band in tenth grade), you'll never be looked at by any teacher as anything more than a hoodlum, no matter how smart you are.

I can understand how grownups would enjoy a small town, and with the harrassment shit I'm going through in Pittsburgh, I can relate. I wouldn't mind living in a small town when I get a job and have a family.. but I'm definately not raising my kids in one small town.

The worst part is, no matter how bad it is, it's hard as hell to leave. Neither of my parents live there anymore, so it's really hard for me to go back, and I hate it. I want to go back - to know exactly where I am going at all times, and know the perfect driving route to meander home. I miss it.

-- Emily (mildew@dork.com), October 05, 2000.

From the time I started 4th grade until I finished junior high, my mom was the minister in a town of 350 people. The town was four blocks long and five or six blocks wide. It had a school (now closed), a tiny general store, a tavern, a post office, a gas station, and a laundromat (now a restaurant). And, of course, the church, a tiny white box with a blue neon cross. I loved it. A kid can do anything and go anywhere in a town like that.

It was nice to move someplace bigger during high school, though. More culture, more opportunities. It's easy to lose site of the outside world in a town that small.

Now I'm back in small town America. Windsor's population is just under 10,000. I adore it. We're close enough to a city to be able to go to plays and concerts and such, but we still live in a place where there's an annual Harvest Festival and an honest-to-goodness Main Street.

-- Jenn (elphaba@diaryland.com), October 05, 2000.

Oh so small. I will never forget my boyfriend in high school coming to my house. He explained the whole interminable half an hour it had taken, and took a dramatic pause and seid"...and then I saw...corn." I lived by horse farms and yes, corn, in Kentucky, in a town with a country store attached to a post office and a small white muppet church. Then after that ten minutes to my house.it was a charmed life. I just got a sinking feeling it isn't like that anymore.

-- tango (tango@stratos.net), October 05, 2000.

I came from a city of ~80,000 that had the -mind- of a small town. Everyone knew -- or knew of -- everyone else. God knows I got tired of all the approbation from grown-ups for being such a good boy, the admonition from my parents to be a good boy, and the snickering, teasing contempt from the other kids for taking what the grown-ups said so seriously. If you made a mistake at school -- like, say, getting good grades -- everyone knew about it and whispered about being the teacher's pet. There was only nominal respect for culture and education; what really mattered was athletic prowess and fondness for KISS. I absolutely hated it and I love urban life now.

But I remember bicycling through the older parts of town, the huge old trees and beautiful old houses, and getting the best hot fudge sundae in the world at Borden's, which had the most heavily made-up staff of old ladies in hairnets ever seen. And our church, which remains the center of my parents' lives, which was a strong community for them if not for me.


-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), October 05, 2000.

My home town has a population of 5000 on a good day, slightly higher in summer. I was glad to leave, largely because of things that other people have already mentioned. The biggest problem was that my parents were considerably more liberal than most of our neighbors and got criticized for things like having a nude painting in their bedroom (artistic nude, mind you, not at all obscene) and allowing us to read pretty much anything we wanted to. The saving grace was being able to escape to the city an hour away.

-- Miriam Nadel (mhnadel@cinenet.net), October 05, 2000.

I was surprised to read on the web this morning that my small hometown has a population of about 10,000. I thought it would be less. I know that 10,000 people don't leave in the town proper. There are a lot of outlying farms.

As a teenager, I hated the small town thing, since I couldn't do anything bad that wouldn't get back to Mom and Dad somehow. I think I would have been much more rebellious had I had the freedom to be a little more anonymous.

That being said, I miss my small hometown, and I would move back there in a minute if I could be sure of a secure economic situation. Maybe it's the time that I grew up, but back in my hometown, neighbors were really neighors. They were there to help if you needed it. I just don't see the same spirit here in suburbia.

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), October 06, 2000.

My hometown had 2,500 people when I lived there. I agree with everything Emily said about her home town -- it was just like that. My parents still live there so I go back sometimes. It's a lot different now, but it doesn't really tug at my heart strings or anything. I have some fond memories, but I wouldn't live there again on a bet, and I'd never do that to a child of mine.

-- Beth (beth@xeney.com), October 10, 2000.

I live in the same small city (40,000) that I grew up in.

It's a university town, and only a couple of hours from D.C., so there's plenty to do in the way of art openings, concerts, movies, plays and restaurants, but there's also the small town mentality that means plenty of local festivals. Even though I don't know everybody, I have at least one person in common with everyone I mee

-- Catherine (catcoicrit@earthlink.net), October 15, 2000.

I live in Broken Bow Nebraska. It has a pop of 4,000 give or take and it's the largest city in the entire county, really it's one of the largest towns north of I-80 in Nebraska.
I lived in a suburb most of my life, one not minutes away from all the wonderful things large cities offer, but I don't think I could go back now. Even though I miss the theatres, stores, music scenes.
I don't think I will ever go back to living in a city, my plans for when I graduate are to move to a small town on the coast of Maine or an even smaller town than the one I live in on the Oregon coast. It's a different kind of life in a small town and it's beautiful.

-- Nicole Carlton (n@niccimae.com), November 01, 2000.

Hi, I'm from Sydney Australia, so I dont know all that much about small towns at all, but I was wondering if ne1 could help me out. I'm doind some research on gay teens in small towns. Does anyone have any stories regarding this topic? Anything at all would be helpful! Thank you very muchly! Luv Sah xoxo!

-- Sahara Montgomery (mysteriouswoman24@hotmail.com), July 15, 2001.

When I was 12 years old my mom moved to a small town and from the day we got there I hated it. There was only 38,000 people there, everyone seemed to know everyone else and that disgusted me. Also, people are too nosey in small towns, tehy seem to think that everything is their business and they have nothing better to do than talk about each other. Small towns lack culture, diversity, and they're too conservative and closed minded. If you speak your mind there, and if you have ideas that are different from their ideas, they criticize you and look down on you. They expect you to think like them, act like them,dress like them, talk like them, and if you don't,they think there's something wrong with you. Also, they think they know everything and try to either talk bad about major cities, or else claim that small towns are the same as major cities. The hicks there say that people in major cities are exactly the same as people in small towns, they don't know how different they are. And these stupid hicks have never been out of their small town in their entire life yet they claim to know how cities are. And then there's the one's who have visited cities and then go back to their small town and talk about how horrible cities are, they say people in cities are rude, they call DC "the nations gutter." Well, I now live in DC, and I couldn't be happier. I still have nightmares about living in that place called Findlay, Ohio. I couldn't stand it. 6 long years, and the day I turned 18, I moved to DC and love the people here, love the diversity, culture, and how liberal people are. There's stuff to do here, things to see, people to see. Unlike in small towns in ohio where all there is to see is farms, we have buildings and skyscrapers to see here in DC. I don't know why anyone would want to live in a small town, cities are 200 million times better.

-- Serena Meyer (nycdc18@hotmail.com), January 02, 2004.

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