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…Forget Where They Came From…

I grew up in small town USA. Smaller than that. I grew up on a farm outside Smalltown USA. Party telephone lines. Help when you needed it, and sometimes even when you didn’t. Nobody’s business was private business. Not quite Peyton Place, but I seem to recall watching that on TV…

Grade school friends became high school friends by default, of course, and while we pledged ourselves to be ‘friends forever’ at commencement, most of us instead commenced with the ‘rest of our lives,’ which for many of us did not include sticking around. Keeping up with old friends took a backseat to making new ones. Life, as they say, went on. But if my high school friends turned out to be anything at all like me, they snooped about for the latest scoops on each other at the time-honored homecomings – you know, Thanksgivings, Christmases, summer trips to visit Grandma and Grandpa. At any rate, that’s how I kept up. And that’s how I learned of a high school acquaintance and her layout in a ‘gentleman’s magazine.’ Mind you, I use the term loosely. Layout = porn, right? But I digress…

Here’s the funny thing about that ‘layout.’ Sure, those mags are sold because of the pictures. I, on the other hand, read the story. And I have to say, the details were all wrong. We were a community of farmers, machinists, small business owners, school teachers and those folks’ kids. Everyone attended Friday night football games, band concerts and school plays; we road tripped the ‘away games,’ turned out in force for the Memorial Day parade, the summer carnivals and yearly ‘Fall Festival.’ We attended church on Sundays (some of the Catholics went on Saturday nights). The town sported four bars, and ‘driving around’ Main Street was the teen activity. Cultural hot spot we were not.

But the magazine’s  portrayal of our growing up life indicated otherwise. To read about us, we had arrived. We were the elite, I tell you, with a veritable treasure trove of performance opportunities – musicals, symphonies, dance. Allow me to set the record straight. The closest thing we had to ‘ballet,’ was the high school drill team, aka pom-pom girls. I myself was a member of that squad for a couple of years, I am happy to report. Nary a ballerina amongst us – and not once did we attempt a fouetté en tourant, though we did achieve mastery in presenting our derrières, more commonly known as ‘shaking our booties,’ courtesy of KC and his band. It was the ‘70s and we were doing ‘the Hustle.’ We never dreamed that one of us would show up in “Hustler,” reshaping our shared experiences to ‘make a better story.’

And that, my friends, is why friends don’t let friends forget where they came from. Because there will always be someone who ‘remembers you when.’ And if you grew up in Smalltown USA, then someone is sure to tell the rest of your story, especially if you don’t get all the facts straight, and even if they weren’t there to get all the facts straight themselves. And they will share it on the ‘party line.’ It’s called Facebook, Twitter, or linkedin these days. And trust me, they’ll share it. Just ask Anthony Weiner. That two-bit hustler…


About beckyfields

Learner. Teacher. Reader. Writer. Contemplating 'life changes' -- one common chapter at a time.

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