Small Town Stories

By Hannah Taryn

Living in a small town where almost everyone is older than you isn’t always easy, especially when you are seven years old and cannot sit still. At the time, the world was new, and all I wanted to do was be the first one to explore it all. That was my life. I spent most of my free time wandering around town by myself and noticing the little things about it. One of my biggest adventures left me with a lesson I could never forget.

It had been raining for a while, so everything smelled fresh. I walked down main street, really the only street in town, and carefully studied the variety of buildings. Down the well-traveled road, there was an old grocery store turned into mechanic shop, a little cafe, and a town hall with a post office attached. All four buildings were a little run down, kind of unkempt, and a little dirty, yet there was something comforting about it.

As my walk continued, it seemed like cars were littering the streets and yards of the town. Some were newer, like my grandma's Expedition. Others were older, like the Firebird my grandpa Danny keeps in his garage. Not many of them were drivable anymore, yet people still kept them. I never understood that logic, but I think I do now.

Towards the end of my walks, I would always ask myself why. Why did people keep these old run down cars? Why weren’t these old buildings torn down? Recently, I came to a pivotal realization. It's not about the way the car runs; it's about the memories that were made in it. Late night cruises, long road trips, rushes to the hospital, and old ex-boyfriends are kept in the cars and the hearts of the people. It applies to the old buildings, too. So many people grew up here, raised families here, grew old here. Tearing it down would be like ripping out all the memories collected in a lifetime. I remember listening to stories of once troublesome farmers getting into trouble at the old school buildings. They didn’t like their teachers, roughhoused a little too much, and had too much fun pranking classrooms. People used to love that school, but before I was born, it was burned down. My mother told me that seeing the school building burn was like losing a part of the town. She had so many good times around the school, despite the fact that it closed down before she was old enough to attend. I never got to see this part of history because someone decided that the school building wasn’t pretty enough.

To people driving by, this little town would be unsightly. Cars are everywhere, buildings are falling apart, and no one is trying to fix it. But if they would take time to sit at the old cafe at six in the morning with the farmers, they would see a different side of this town. The stories told and memories shared would open their eyes the the true beauty in this small dot on the map. This little town that I’ve lived in has always been dirty, rundown, and disheveled. There is a population of about fifty. The majority of the people here are at least ten years older than me. And even though sometimes I might get restless, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Dickey is beautiful. Dickey is my home.