Word travels fast in a small town
Barbara Jones Manbeck of Carrollton, 1962 RHS graduate, sends some observations about growing up in a small town that ring a bell with those of us who did.
And she adds some personal recollections at the end. Enjoy:
• You can name everyone you graduated with.
• You know what 4-H means.
• You went to parties at a pasture, barn, gravel pit or in the middle of a dirt road. On Monday, you could always tell who was at the party because of the scratches on their legs from running through the woods when the party was busted.
• You used to “drag” the town’s main street.
• You uttered the F-word and your parents knew within the hour.
• You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how old you were (and if you were old enough, they’d tell your parents anyhow). Besides, where would you get the money?
• The whole school went to the same party after graduation.
• You didn’t give directions by street names, but rather by references. Turn by Nelson’s house, go two blocks to Anderson’s, and it’s the fourth house on the left.
• The golf course had only nine holes.
• You couldn’t help but date a friend’s ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
• Your car stayed filthy because of the dirt roads, and you’ll never own a dark vehicle for this reason.
• The town next to you was considered “trashy” or “snooty,” but was actually just like your town.
• People in t he “ big cit y ” dressed funny, and then you picked up the trend two years later.
• Anyone you wanted could be found at the local gas station or the Dairy Queen.
• You saw at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town.
• The coach suggested the boys haul hay for the summer to get stronger.
• Directions were given using the stop light as a reference.
• When you decided to walk somewhere for exercise, five people would ask if you wanted a ride.
• Your teachers called you by your older siblings’ names, and some remembered when they taught your parents.
• You could charge at any local store, or write counter checks without any ID.
• It was normal to see a man going through town on a riding lawn mower.
• Most people went by a nickname.
Here are some of Barbara’s comments about this list:
“My dad (the late Clyde Jones) always found out what we did before we got home. My sister Sharon and I and were careful about what we did so we would not be confronted by my dad, and back then, you could still get a spanking.
“When I decided to get married, my boy friend and I went to Waco with his sister-in-law, Dora Jean Essary, to buy her daughter shoes and look at engagement rings, and we ended up purchasing one. That evening when my dad got home he asked to see my ring. He knew nothing of it prior to that day. I never figured out how he found out.
“We lived in Giddings before returning to Rockdale in 1957. I don’t remember having street names; giving directions was using landmarks or someone’s home. Our landmark in Giddings was living across the street from the sheriff.
“Our teen hang-outs in Rockdale were the Dairy Queen and Ted’s.
“My baby brother, Stephen Jones, was born when I was a senior at RHS and was four months old when I graduated. My mother was ill and I would take Stephen to school with me. One can’t do that today. The night Stephen married, I ran into (RHS typing teacher) Nonnie Blackburn and she recalled those days and putting Stephen, in his carrier, on the window sill during class.”