Who here is from Small Town, USA? I am. 🙋 My technical hometown is a rural city in northern Ohio. However, most of my formative years (that's the fancy term for "teeny bopper time of life," right?) were spent in a small town outside of Cincinnati (that's in southern Ohio if your Midwestern geography knowledge is lacking). This little city o' mine was full of G-L-A-M-O-U-R, as I'm sure everyone else who grew up in a teensy town probably agrees. Even if you aren't from Small Town, Ohio I bet there are some real similarities. And today's post is dedicated to those surefire signs that you grew up in a small town.
1. The best five days of the entire school year were SPIRIT WEEK (and not because you were an avid football fan - although, if you're from Small Town, Midwest it is actually very likely you were a sports nut, as well). You got to get ca-razy and wear pajama pants to school or maybe spray paint your hair. Like seriously, how rebellious can one high schooler get? (If you were me, the answer is "So rebellious that the worst thing you ever did was get caught by a cop having a Panic! At The Disco church parking lot dance party with your friend. And said police officer could immediately tell you were unpopular sober and didn't even call your parents.")
2. There was no better way to spend a fall night than by a bonfire. (I still stand by this, despite the fact that I have not lived in a climate that has a real autumn season for almost a decade now.)
3. You and your friends had a "hangout spot" at a completely obscure place. Over the years, quite a few people have told me that their "spot" was the local Wal-Mart. For me, it was Skyline (it's a Cinci thing), Burger King, or Taco Bell. All of these restaurants happened to be right in a row, one next to the other, which made it easy when friends couldn't agree where to eat for under $5. (Thankfully though, all of these gourmet restaurant options revolved around health and wellness.)
4. The "cool kids" were popular for two reasons. #1: They drank the most amount of cheap vodka at the most house parties and/or #2: Their parents (and quite possibly great-great-great grandparents) also grew up in the same town... and for multiple generations no one in their family tree had ever attempted to go try out anywhere else; thus, they were automatically born into Small Town, USA Royalty.
5. You played cornhole (AKA "bean bag toss" if you grew up in a shitty non-corn-loving city) in gym class. #PhysicalFitness
6. There were so many sports clubs you were expected to try out and see which you excelled at (or if you were me, to see how many athletics you were terrible at - but, hey! At least I gave it the ol' college middle school try! Right?)
7. Parades were always fun no matter how old you got to be. (For real, I remember being in high school and still attending our town's 4th of July parade and festival, because they were just so much fun.) (Yes. We've already deduced that I was not considered "cool" in my adolescence. At all. But that doesn't take away from the fact that our city could throw a mean community gathering!)
8. Every school had their "Class Babe" that pretty much every student had a crush on at some point (or for all of their grade school careers if said person was "SUPER HAWT"). This person is now probably a gym teacher at your high school.
9. There was always some urban legend floating around that classmates claimed to "know someone, who knew someone that totally did/saw/experienced ______ (fill in the urban legend blank)." In Suburbia-Ville, Southwestern Ohio, that legend was a "4 feet tall humanoid frog spotted on the side of the road by multiple people." ....... Ya.
10. Growing up almost everyone in school would say "I can't wait until I turn 18 and can the hell out of this place" at least once a week. (And if Facebook has taught us anything it's that not many people actually do leave our hometowns. Hey though, I get it. It is EXPENSIVE to live in big cities!)
11. People from your small town are some of the kindest, most gentle souls you've ever had the pleasure to encounter, and you are always grateful for a trip back home. (That is, a quick trip back home, as in no more than four days exactly. Trust me. You will become stifled with boredom and/or fight with your family after Day 4.)
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Do any (or all) of these sound familiar to your childhood experience? If not, you probably grew up in a much more cultured metropolitan area that all of us small towners dreamt of growing up in instead. (I'm looking at you, New Yorkers and Laguna Beach kids.)