There were a lot of tiny neighborhoods in our small town when I was growing up. Mind you, the town itself was never above 2500 people by much at any given time between the years of 1953, when my Daddy got out of the Navy and moved us to Trion, and June of 1969…when I got married, and embarked on my “adult” life.
Sixteen years. In those neighborhoods.
Frog town, Hottown, Happytop, Pennville, Mountain view, Dry valley, and quite a few more. Maybe all not technically within the city limits of Trion, but all within the influence of the two main factors in the north part of Chattooga county….the cotton mill, and the Trion City Schools.
In that sixteen year period, many of the residents in our county depended on Riegel textile for a living, and on the city schools for an education for their children.
The houses in our city were mostly converted mill houses. Originally built and owned by the mill for their workers, they were gradually sold to people as personal residences. People took those old mill houses and turned them into cozy homes. They tidied them up, painted them, renovated them, added on rooms, planted grass and vegetable gardens….and took pride in the ability to own a little piece of land of their own.
They kept the yards up nicely for the most part, and the town even gave out “yard of the month” awards for the best looking and most highly manicured yards. People took pride in their properties.
Kids played in the yards and streets. Nobody thought much about letting their children go and do things on their own. I remember walking three or four blocks from our house on Simmons street when I was eight years old, down to the old movie theatre, for Saturday matinees. Lots of cowboy movies, and a few science fiction thrillers were the object of our little kid desires back in those days. We also played outside….a lot. If I stayed in the house and tried to read comic books for too long, my Mom would shoo me out the back door with a “you need some sun, son”. And…that would be where I’d stay. I think I developed my love for all things outside from being “shooe’d out” so much.
I realize that things have to change, but as I drove through my “old” home town today, I looked around and through the visor of nostalgia felt sadness and just a tiny touch of pain.
I do realize however, to those that I saw today…and to the kids who are living in those neighborhoods today, they are going through their sixteen years just as I went through mine, and they will remember them just as fondly as I do.
For you see, it’s all a matter of perspective.