To be perfectly honest, I have come up with a big fat zero for this post.  I've racked my brain trying to come up with something about the Small Town that starts with Z, or that even has a Z in it, and just came up with nothing.  A whole six-pack of nuttin'.

So, hopefully it will be enough to thank you for visiting and reading about my little corner of the world.  It's been a fun month coming up with different stories about the Small Town.  I've had a wonderful walk down Memory Lane, reliving my childhood as well as the past 9 years since I've moved back.

If you're a new reader, WELCOME!  If you've been with me for a while, I hope you've enjoyed a little more insight into this wonderful place I call "home".  It's not a perfect place by any means, but I can't think of any other place I'd rather live for the long haul!

You Can Go Home Again!

Thomas Wolfe wrote a book "You Can't  Go Home Again", but I disagree.  Until I left for college, I had lived in the Small Town my whole life.  I was sooo ready to leave and see what else was out there.  Saving you the boredom of all of the details, I'll skip to when we moved to the Small Town.

I think you CAN go home again, providing you don't expect everything to be the same as it was when you left.  The Small Town doesn't actually feel like all that much of a small town, thanks to the commerce that we have.  There are a few more subdivisions than there were when I left for college 20 years before, and there are a few more shopping centers.  The Church Parish that I grew up in had built a new church, but it remained in the Small Town.  The Shopping Center that had been a place for cruising on Weekend Nights is just a shell of what it had been when I left.    More restaurants had popped up.  A new middle school had been built adjacent to the high school.  Walking trails were added to the parks.  The "Motor Mile" used to be the home of a mile long stretch of road that housed car dealerships, but now many of those have closed down.

But, some things stayed the same:  people fill the stands on a football Friday night, kids are the first priority in the town, kids still walk or ride their bikes to and from school, and the pool is still the place to go in the summer.  The teachers at the schools take an active interest in their students.

Things will continue to change.  There are plans in the works to build a road to bypass the highway that people use to get to the Big City.  This highway is called "Murder Mile" (instead of "Motor Mile" , or "I'll Kill Ya Highway" due to the amount of accidents and deaths that have occurred on that road.  That may affect more businesses on that road who depend on the traffic for their livelihood.

On one of the properties where one of the plants used to be, there are some plans to build some kind of shopping area.  The Small Town doesn't have a "downtown" area; early residents went to the Twin City for shopping, and the courthouse is also in the Twin City.  My opinion is that we've gone this long without one, so we can continue without it.  We'll see what happens with that.

CH & I are happy with our decision to move our family to the Small Town.  The boys had a bit of a hard time at first, but I think they realize that it was a good move.  Things have changed in the Small Town, as expected.  You would expect that, in the course of 20 years, things have to change to keep up with the times.  I can't say how things will change in the future, but it's my hope that the things that really matter will continue to stay the same.


I might be stretching this a little, but we're nearing the end of the A to Z Challenge, and it's been a challenging month!

I had to check with one of my sisters on this one, because I couldn't remember the year, or the time of year this happened.  I thought my sister might have a good idea of when it happened since she delivered paper to this certain house that was across the street from our back-door neighbors.  She said she thought it was 1971, which makes sense because she was delivering papers at that time.  I told her that I thought it happened in the summer, because I'm pretty sure our windows were opened.

In the middle of the night, we were awaken by a huge boom.  This was followed by a very distinct burning smell.  As it turned out,  the house across the street from our back-door neighbors blew up.  My daddy went over to see if he could do anything, but came back shortly, telling us to go back to sleep.  My sister asked about the woman (who was pregnant at the time), and was told that at that point they couldn't find her.  She was found at the bottom of the basement stairs.  I was told that probably what happened was that she was trying to get out but turned the wrong way and ended in the basement.  To this day I remember seeing the stroller in the back yard, and remember that smell.

Things like that just don't happen in the Small Town.  It's generally a peaceful, quiet little town.  We were told that they think what happened was that a bank robber (which apparently she had identified since she was working when the bank was robbed) found out where she lived.

My sister said that the woman had given her a pink wallet for Christmas.  She also said that she remembers a rose bush beside the porch.  Before the house was torn down, the rose bush was blooming.

That was the first and only time I've heard an explosion.  Every time I hear of one happening, I think about that house.  I just can't imagine having to live with that fear day in and day out.  I'm very thankful to be living in a country where explosions are not the norm.

Walking Trails

In the mid- 1990's, the Twin City & the Small Town were awarded a grant to develop walkways (a "Greenway") between the 2 towns.  The Small Town has a park that already had walking trails, and the Twin City has 2 larger parks.  (Both towns have a few smaller parks in neighborhoods.)  The grant allowed a walkway to connect all 3 parks together.  The result is a 9-mile walking/biking trail.
The green dotted line is the Greenway.  The Small Town's section is the upper part, and consists of a total of 5 miles.  Along the way, the ST has benches where you can rest if you feel the need.
The ST's section goes through the park, around the schools, swimming pool, and duck pond, and along the creek that leads to the Twin City.  Most of the walking trails in the ST are shaded.  There are plenty of hills to offset the little bit of flatland.
Most days (as long as it's not too hot or too cold), you can see quite a few people out using the trails.  It's really neat to ride/walk the trail and run into people I went to high school with.  The dogs like to jump in the creek on a hot day while we're walking on the trails.

The most recent addition is a pedestrian bridge that goes over the highway, connecting both sides.  Sidewalks were added on the right side.  The downside to that area, as well as one other area is that  those areas are prone to flood when we get a substantial amount of rain.  The bridge was paid for with stimulus funds.  The letters on the bridge are aluminum.  (What else would they be?)

The Walking Trails can lead you to numerous stores and restaurants, although I don't recall many (if any) of them having bike racks.  I haven't taken advantage of all of the trails, but what I have ridden I've really enjoyed.  

There are plans to link the greenway with the next county, as well as to the small town that is at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains.  Of course, since the Twin City is between the Small Town & the mountains, it will actually connect with TC.  There are days when I'll see a bicyclist heading toward the Smokies, so this will help with the safety for those cyclists.  And, the town in the mountains already has Walking/Cycling Trails, so it's just a matter of connecting the 2.

The Walking Trails definitely add to the beauty of the Small Town.  When I grew up, there were "sidewalks" through the lower part of the park only leading to the pool.  Then, there was a sidewalk along the road from the elementary school, through the train trestle, and through the "black" neighborhood, to the aluminum plant.  I don't know this for sure, but I would bet that the sidewalks were built so that the workers could walk to/from work safely.  We are definitely an aluminum town!

Valentine's Day Riot

Up until 3rd grade (when the Small Town Schools integrated), the Small Town was very much a racially divided town.  There was a distinct line between the black & white neighborhoods:  the train trestle.  The only thing I knew about black people was what I saw on tv shows.

The late 60's, early 70's were a tumultuous, ugly period in American History.  Racial equality was a  very, very good thing.  I can't imagine how the educators must have felt during that time. I don't remember any of the ones I knew acting prejudicial toward students who weren't the same color as she/he.

The present day elementary school opened when I was in 4th grade.  We had a black librarian.  When we were checking out books for the first time, my hand accidentally grazed hers.  I stopped and looked at my arm, and she said "No honey, it doesn't come off!"

Back to the Valentine's Day Riot (since that's what this post is suppose to be about!):  I went to 3rd grade at the former black high school.  I've heard in recent years that the present elementary school was built where it is because the white people didn't want their kids going to school in the black section of town.  It's funny to look back and see how far we've come in just 40+ years.  If my parents had any concerns, they didn't voice them.  And...I'm getting off track again.  Kind of.

Valentine's Day Party.  3rd Grade.  1971. (I'll make it easy and do the math for you:  I'm 51.)  The day was going great.  We were so excited about our party!  And then, something strange and very scary happened:  we were let out of school.  We stayed inside until our rides got there, then we were escorted out by a teacher.  One of the teachers's son (who was in high school) came to the elementary school so his mom would know he was okay.  We got home, and all of my siblings (except the oldest) were there.
Here is what I thought had happened:  February is Black History Month.  There was an assembly at the high school that was optional, so a lot of the white kids didn't go, which angered the black students and a riot ensued.
According to my oldest sister (and this is to the best of her memory!) this is what really happened:
It was February 1971 – Black History Month.  The rumors were going around for a few days that someone from the Black Panthers was going to speak at a school assembly.  By mid-morning of that day – I don’t remember exactly which day it was – about a third of the students had gone home for doctor’s appts, dentist appts, funerals, etc.  All of a sudden there were knocks on every classroom door and all the black kids left the rooms.  They began circling the hallways upstairs and down –(the school was built in an octagon)-  and they kept going around and around the library upstairs and the cafeteria downstairs singing “We Shall Overcome.”  After a little while, a student's dad came over the intercom and for, literally, 5 minutes kept saying “Attention all black students… Attention all black students …”  I don’t remember a whole lot after that, except that they dismissed school and my boyfriend and I went to A&W and had lunch.  

As it turned out, the choir from Knoxville College – which was (is?) predominantly black – was going to perform.

There were no fights that I recall.  And, as far as this little white kid knew, nothing really changed.  The mean black kids were still mean and the mean white kids were still mean.  I had many black friends and we really never talked about – strange as that may seem now.

I had a friend (who happens to be black) at the house one day when we were in the 3rd grade.  We were out riding bikes, and some little brat called out and told her to "get back on her side of town."  I thought that was kind of funny, because she actually lived out in the country and didn't live "in town". I looked at her and told her not to pay any attention to him.  We did go back to my house and told my mom.

Today, even though there are some blacks in the "white neighborhood" and some whites in the "black neighborhood", they aren't what I would call truly integrated.  even after all these years, I honestly don't know if they ever will be.  Especially for people who have grown up here, and have lived here their whole lives.

Unexpected Wednesday Hodgepodge

If you're looking for my "U" post, click here.
I've been so busy with my A to Z posts, that I completely forgot about the Hodgepodge today!  So, I'm answering these questions completely of the top of my head!

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?
Busy-ness!  It seems this month has been so incredibly busy!  We had my in-laws' 50th Anniversary Party last weekend, so the week of I was making & decorating 150 cookies to put in the thank you bags.

2. What is the nature of compassion?  Is it learned or innate?  Can compassion be learned?  If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?
I think compassion can be learned.  I don't think anyone starts out as being uncompassionate. (That's obviously not a real word because the spell check came up!)  I think I'm a pretty compassionate person, and have tried to instill that in my boys through my actions.

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?
It depends on my mood.  Either one will work for me.   I've been known to sit through quite a few action flicks...being in a house with 4 boys (including CH) should be a big clue!

4.  It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us here in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or Disagree?
I've never had roast beef at the Ritz.  I'll answer after I cross that one off my list!

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?
I can't think of anything off the top of my head.  The Small Town does an excellent job of keeping things nice and orderly.

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.
This song immediately came to my mind:  I Love the Flower Girl by The Cowsills.   If you don't know who The Cowsills are:  they're the family band that The Partridge Family was based on.
7. April 22nd is Earth you believe there's life on other planets?  That wasn't the question you were expecting was it? 
No, it definitely isn't the question I was expecting!  I don't know...I guess it's possible, but not likely.  I can't imagine God would do something like that!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
We are in the middle of TCAPs...state testing.  I'll be so glad when this is over!  It's not so bad when you have to read to the students; at least you're doing something!  But, it gets pretty boring when the students just need to be in a quieter setting to take the test.  All you're allowed to do is sit.  And stare at the student.  It doesn't matter if the student gets finished before the time is up, they have to sit there until the time expires.
It would be nice if teachers could get back to teaching and not testing. 


In the Small Town (as in many towns across the U.S.A.), football is king.  We are known across the state as having an amazing football team.  We do go through periods of not-so-great seasons, but for the most part, we have pretty good teams.

That being said, it is rare for us to have undefeated seasons.  My 3 years in high school (9th grade was still junior high back then), we won the state championship, but didn't have an undefeated season.  The 7 years of consecutive championships-only 2 undefeated seasons.  The team of 2000 also had an undefeated season.

So, if we've won all of those championships, why haven't there been more undefeated seasons?  That would be because of the Twin City, a.k.a. "Rival" School.  They have kept us each time (except for 1 season when another bigger school beat us) from having an undefeated season.  That just makes those seasons even sweeter.  MS was able to experience it his Senior Year.

The first time we went to the state championship, some parents from the other team said they couldn't believe someone had beaten us.  Little did they know that the team that beat us was our rival, who went on to win the 4A championship the next day.

In 2009, the state association changed classifications. We believe their intent was to make it more difficulty for Small Town and Twin City Schools to continue winning championships.   During the regular season, there are 3 classes which divide into 6 during the playoffs. ST is the 2nd smallest school in our classification.

In order to find enough teams to play us so we'll have 10 games on the schedule, we have to play bigger schools.  For a few years, we had to go out of state.  The Rival Game has to continue 1) because of the money it generates, and 2) because of tradition.  Even if it means not going undefeated.

Trains & Planes

It seems that most small towns have train tracks running through them.  Most of those tracks' purposes were to transport supplies ( and people) to and from the towns.  Since the Small Town is a fairly young town (only 94 years old), the tracks all lead through the aluminum plants.

As far as I know, there has never been a train depot in the Small Town, which to me means that the only purpose of the trains was to carry supplies in and out of the plants.  The tracks run from plant to plant.  And, of course, supplies are carried in and out of the plants.

Every now & then, I hear the faint whistle of a distant train.  Since the aluminum plnat has dwindled down to 2 sites and the activity level at both of them is considerable less than it was in 1919 (or even the 1970's), some of the tracks have been paved over.

There is one train trestle in the Small Town. Growing up, this was the "dividing line" between the white part of town and the black part of town.  (For more on this, come back on Thursday.)  I can remember Mama telling us to hold our breath and make a wish when we drove under the trestle when a train was on it.

Crossing any tracks on a bike was a big deal---I just didn't do it.  It was a whole different world on the other side of the tracks.  When I started driving, it was still rare to cross the tracks.  I drove under the trestle many times.  That was how we went to the grocery store & the shopping center.  I may have ridden my bike under it once...just to see what it was like.  But, it was only done once because of the guilt I felt by doing something I knew my daddy wouldn't have been happy with.  (If you look just to the left of the trestle, there is a walk-through.)

We may not have many trains, but we do have quite a few planes.  Our town is home to the big city's airport.  A teacher once made the comment that it's like someone owning the yard, but someone else owning the house.  The airport is very, very close to where I live.  Thankfully, our house isn't in the flight path, so we don't hear the planes very often.  We actually hear Air Force Jets more often than passenger/cargo planes.  The airport are also houses a Air National Guard Refueling Unit and a training and education center for the Air National Guard.

The airport was originally in the west part of the big city, which in the past few years has seen a huge growth.  If they hadn't decided to build the airport in the Small Town, there's no telling how differently it and the west side of the big city would look now.

Swimming Pool

The community swimming pool is the center of summer activities, and had been for decades...over 8 in fact.  It doesn't matter how old I get, this still gives me a bit of excitement:
The swimming pool was built in the 1930's.  Residents who were unemployed had to pay a $5 road tax or owe the town 5 days of labor on the streets.  Some of these workers paid their debt by working on the swimming pool.  The Small Town owned the pool in the beginning, but the Parks & Recreation took over at some point.  This is what the pool looked like upon completion:
(For photo credit, click on picture)
The dimensions of the swimming pool are the same today as they originally were: 275 feet long and 100 feet wide.  There is a rock wall with a fish head on it; water comes out of the fish head.  The fish head is another original feature of the pool.  2 men made it in a basement and donated it to the pool.   The tower in the above picture has changed some through the years.  For safety's sake (and to prevent law suits, I'm sure!), the tower now consists of only 2 boards.
Jolanda Jansma
To this day, a song will come on the radio and I'll be taken back to a hot summer day at the pool.   In my mind, I'll see the towels and blankets spread out in the grassy area that slopes down to the pool area.  I'll smell the suntan lotion and the different smells coming from the concession stand.  I'll hear the radios blaring and the kids laughing and squealing.  My feet will remember the hot pavement and how I used to have to hop onto the grassy areas as I make my way down to the pool.  I'll remember the days of learning how to swim in the shallow end, making my way down the brick steps once I got brave enough to go in on that side of the pool.  I'll remember how cold the water can be when I first got in it and eventually being brave enough to go into the deep end with the "big kids"; then finally jumping off of the 1st, 2nd, and then 3rd diving boards, but never, ever being brave enough to jump off of the tower (which was above all of the boards).  I remember my first job:  working in the basket room during the summers.  I remember the drama of my high school years.
Summers were centered around that swimming pool for almost all of the kids from the Small Town.  Today, that same swimming pool is front and center for many local kids.  My 2 oldest were lifeguards, and spent their time between that pool and the other Parks & Rec pool in the Twin City.  You can drive by on a hot day and see the pool crowded with people.  Some people still slow down as they drive by to look for someone they know.    You can still hear the squeals of kids as they slide down the slide, which has changed a bit through the years:
(For photo credit, click on picture)
The swimming pool is situated between the bridge and the duck pond, and down the hill from the middle & high schools.  It definitely continues to be the center of summer life!

(For photo credit, click on picture)


First, a little bit of history:
If you read my "A" post, you know that The Aluminum Company developed the Small Town.  It was a planned community; before that it was all farm land.  The Small Town at one time was known as North "Twin City" (obviously not it's real name!).  The Aluminum Company had developed the town, which had sidewalks, sewer, roads that were paved, and decent water supplies.  The Twin City saw what we had, and tried to slide in some legislation that would annex North Twin City, thus enjoying the taxes received from a lumber company as well as the aluminum company.  A few of the "founding fathers" got together and applied for the North Twin City to become the Small Town.  The Twin City officials were blindsided, and were appalled that the aluminum company actually gave the Small Town its name instead of keeping North Twin City.  It was about that same time that the Twin City decided its schools were too crowded, and notified the Small Town that the students in one of our neighborhoods would no longer be able to attend Twin City Schools.

And so begins the rivalry.  Twin City High has always been much larger that Small Town High. (From now on, Twin City High will be "TC" and Small Town will be "ST"...I'm getting tired of typing both of those out!)  There is a mere 4 miles between the schools.  Both schools excel in academics and sports.

The football rivalry began in 1923.  The overall record is something like 58-23-3 in TC's favor.  During ST's 7 year state championship run, we only had 2 undefeated seasons.  Which means we only beat TC twice in 7 years.

Flashback to when I was in high school, and even before.  The hatred was heightened during rivalry week.  You have 2 towns that are so close that you can't tell where one begins and one ends.  You have bad feelings, although most of the young people don't know why they don't like the other side, they just know they do.  You have young kids who sneak over to the other side to do things like paint their bridge, and egg-fights ensue.  The punishment if you got caught:  You spent the game at the police station.
You have lookouts at the Thursday night band practice...just in case.  You defend your duck pond with eggs to avoid having to deal with the humiliation of a rebel flag (TC's mascot) proudly waving in the middle of it.  And, you paint the bridge.  At least twice a night, because someone wasn't doing their job and allowed TC students to paint things that aren't nice about ST.
While I was never in an egg fight, I did paint the bridge my Sophomore Year after band practice.  I wasn't suppose to be there, but I had to.  I chose to open a spray can with my car key, and broke my key.  I ended up telling my dad that it just broke, and I thought he bought my explanation.  Because, of course his princess wouldn't do anything she wasn't suppose to be doing!
Throughout the years, the "meanness" of the rivalry has been watered down.  I attribute it to both towns growing, and people who don't understand what it means moving in.  About 13 years ago, though, some ST students went to a pet store, bought some mice, painted the first letter of the school on their backs, and released them in TC's high school.  They got caught, and were required to clean the stadium after the game.  They had plenty of help, and were hailed as heroes in the Small Town.
Part of the reason the game has lost some of its "meanness" is that it's now played very early in the season.  ST's mantra during most seasons is "if we played them later in the year, we would've beat them".  Likewise, I heard one of the TC's football player's mom say the same thing when we beat them.  My response:  Now you know how we feel!
The game has grown into a phenomenon.  While ST's population is around 8,000, the attendance at the game exceeds 10,000.  A few years ago, the game was televised locally, but in 2012, ESPN picked up the game.  ST held tough, but just didn't have the manpower to compete in the last quarter.
People will start lining up at the gate the morning of the game.  2 years ago, the game was held on a Saturday.  The gates opened up at 2:00, and there were people waiting at 11:00.  It's just gotten way out of hand.  As much as I enjoy football, I really hate going to that game.  It's hot, humid, and people are packed in the stands like sardines.  And it smells like it.  Ladies bring their babies to sit out in that hot sun hours before the game even starts.  And then the babies start getting cranky.  And if you need to go to the concession stand?  Forgetaboutit.  The ST has started having drink only stations situated around the stadium, which I think has helped when we host the game.  I have no idea what TC does.  The last time I went over there for the game was when MS was a junior.  And I swore it would be my last.  This year, people were passing out because it was played on an August Sunday afternoon...on turf, which is TC's new surface.  I'm sure the money that the athletic departments got for the game is nice, but come on!
And speaking of money...ST's band boosters are responsible for the concessions at our home games.  So, this game is HUGE.  It's where we get the bulk of our money for the rest of the year.  In the past, whoever hosted the game got all of the ticket money.  A few years ago, our athletic director (who is a TC alum) and their athletic director decided to split the money so that neither school would have an "off" year.  And, this past year was the first kick-off classic that both schools are sharing ownership of.  Last year ST hosted it since the rival game was held at TC.
Once, when I was at the high school for something, the secretary & I started talking about the rivalry.  She's not from here.  She said she couldn't believe how much "dislike" there is between the schools.  I told her that to this day, I don't wear red & black (TC's colors) unless it's a mistake or I have to for some event.  And, I have a feeling that TC's alumni and students don't wear maroon & white/gray unless they're required to!

King & Queen's Chair

In the park, there is a cluster of rocks in the side of the hill.
To an adult's eye, it seems like just a bunch of rocks that weren't cleared.  But, to a child with just a little bit of imagination, it's so much more.  It's a castle that holds the King & Queen's Chair.

It's a magical place.  It was a place where you could be a king, queen, or princess. It was a fortress to be protected by medieval knights from unwanted attackers.  It held a dungeon that you could be banished to (although I never went down there...I was too afraid of snakes!).
Although it's overgrown now, there are some signs that young people continue to use it.

There's a worn path and broken glass indicating that some young people may have been partaking in things they shouldn't be.
I guess in that no matter how some things change, there are always some things that stay the same.


The park plays such an important part in my childhood memories!  There aren't many that don't involve the park.  The house that I grew up in is right across the street from the park, and my present house is right next to it.
In the summer, I remember telling mama "I'm going to the park".  It was a place where you could go as a child without supervision.  When mama wanted us home, we were within yelling distance.  The park is divided by a road, and both sections offer different activities.  The "upper" park consists of a walking trail. (To get a better view of the park, click on the pictures to enlarge.)

 The "lower" park is more recreational:  a couple of playgrounds, a pavilion that was once a school, a gymnasium, tennis courts, baseball field, and more walking trails.

There is a spring, or a brook, running through both sides. We would cut through the park while walking on the way home from school.  There were a few times when we would see daddy driving.  He would yell & wave...and keep going. I walked or road my bike through the park to get to the pool.  There used to be a "brownie house" that the girl scouts used next to this little bridge.

 We would cut through the park while walking on the way home from school. 

We would look under this bridge for water spiders, salamanders, and other wildlife.  It's also the place that I remember "falling in" once or twice!  That was followed by a walk home, dripping wet, acting scared and insisting that it was an accident so mama wouldn't be mad that I was wet.

The hill across the street from our house was our "sledding hill".  Kids don't sled down that hill anymore, but it was perfect when we were young.  And, again, within yelling distance.

(One of my brothers sledding down the hill)

Once, a friend & I were riding bikes, and had the great not so great idea to ride our bikes in the mud of the baseball field.  I ended up getting mine stuck; we couldn't pull it out of the mud.  I remember going home and getting mama; she walked down and got it out of the mud.  She was not happy with me at all!  The park is the place where, as a 7th grader, this same friend & I would go to sneak cigarettes that she had swiped from her dad. 

One time, I was in the park with one of my little brothers.  There was some kid harassing, and I asked him his name.  When he said it, I repeated it and told him it was a sissy name.  Apparently he kept on bothering us, and I ended up throwing dirt in his face and telling my brother to run.

As I got older, the tennis courts were where I spent most of my "park time".  That was where the Small Town Tennis Team held our practices and matches.  I could cut through a neighbor's yard and be home in 2 minutes.  Literally.

The park is still a very busy place.  When I moved back to the area, CH mentioned that he loved seeing the kids riding their bikes or walking through the park to school.  When I was growing up, the walking trails in the upper section weren't there.  People will sit in the field on the hill to watch the 4th of July Fireworks (this hasn't happened in the past few years due to budget cuts).  People still have picnics in the lower section.  I think the park is actually used more today than it was when I was growing up.  One of the nice things about the Small Town is that the park is a priority so that the next generation can say that the park has a special place in their hearts, too.

Other Things

We're just over the halfway mark with the A to Z Challenge!  As I read comments, I realized that there were some "other things" about the small town topics that I forgot to put in, or there were pictures that I didn't have time to take or to look for.  So, here you go:
B for Band
I found this picture of me playing the piccolo in "Stars & Stripes Forever" during our sucky Bahama trip

C for Championships!
 (This is a picture of some of the boys going through the line at the elementary school during the  send-off.)

 D for Duck Pond
This is a different view of the duck pond, with the middle school on the hill.  The high school is just to the right of the middle school.  I took the picture at the entrance of the elementary school.
 And, of course, one of the Duck Crossing Signs!

 F for Forever House
I think this is a better portrayal of the Forever House.  You can get a true sense of how spooky it really is!  I fogot to mention in my post that the Jaycee's had their Haunted House there for a few years.

 J for A Couple of J Things
I wrote my "K" post on the Kiwanis, but I failed to include the Jaycees in the "J" post!  The Jaycees are also a very visible group in the small town.  They host the Christmas Parade and the annual Haunted House.  They do an awful lot of good in the Small Town!
I went by the "Elizabeth Jackson Hill" Memorial Garden yesterday and took a couple of pictures:

 I was hoping to catch Ms. Hill's daughter out working in the garden so I could talk to her, but she wasn't there.  :(
I had time to go through and find a couple of pictures that I didn't have time to look for when I wrote the post.
OS' invitation to his high school girlfriend to the prom:
If you look in the upper right hand corner, you can see that he put a typical Small Town message in there!  (Kaila went to MHS)
The bridge before the last State Championship:
So, there you have it!  I'm sure I've forgotten something else; if I have, maybe I can slip it into another post!

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