Growing up in a small town

My hundredth post!  How the times flies since… January.

My blog partner and I grew up in a small town in rural Southern California.  Rural Southern California?  Is there such a thing?  I can assure you there is.  As crowded as the coastline is (and really, having lived in Japan, it doesn’t feel that crowded) there is a whole lot of empty space just to the other side of the coastal ranges.  We lived in one of those.  In a town of approximately 5,000 people, in a county of less than 100,000 people.

This was in the 80’s and there really wasn’t much in our town.  There was a park right in the middle, with the town hall, mayor’s office, and a playground.  Across the street on all sides were rows of commercial buildings, with a pharmacy, a 7/11, the local paper’s office, a dentist, a small general store*, a bank, and some other stores that came and went.  One of them used to be a small movie theater, but that had long been closed down when I lived there.

Down the street to the north was another park that was home to the city pool, a baseball field and some racquetball courts.  To the east was the largest of the two or three grocery stores.  Someone opened a Pizza Hut, but it closed after six months or so, the red roofed building remained vacant for as long as I lived there.  There were a dozen or so churches; elementary, middle and high schools; and some large warehouses that the farming businesses used.  A handful of very shady motels and not terrible Mexican restaurants.  A truck stop.  And there were tree lined streets with small houses.  That’s a pretty solid inventory of the town.  Our town was too small to even merit a stoplight.  I’d be surprised if it has one now.

Winters were relatively mild.  Summers were brutally hot.  Almost everyone living there was involved in farming in one way or another.

I lived there off and on through high school, after which I left, never to return.  My parents moved out shortly after, so I rarely go back there.  It’s been at least four years since I’ve been back there, an probably five years before that.


*that makes it sound like we lived in the old west, but I can’t think of another word for a small retail shop that carries everything from stationary, clothing, household goods.


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