My Little Town

I just read an excellent blog post from a wonderful writer. Joy spoke of the neighbor- hood she grew up in.

In her neighborhood everything was the same, but the people were different. In the neighborhood I grew up in, the houses were different, but the people were the same. We all had absolutely no ethnic heritage. The places our ancestors came from wasn’t even worth a mention. Everyone just identified as Americans, not German-Americans, Irish-American, Italian-Americans, just Americans. The thought that we were anything else would have been disloyal in some way.

My own adoptive Mother and every other Mother I knew cooked the same food, mainly meat and potatoes. Spaghetti sauce made from ketchup and ground beef was considered exotic fare and was only to be served infrequently, and God forbid that garlic be added, nice people simply did not use garlic. The saving grace of the dish was that it was served on limp overcooked American Beauty spaghetti, that made it alright, once in a while.

We had no “old country” traditions, we celebrated every holiday just like everyone else did. It was all Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Jack-o-lanterns, with no mention of where these traditions might have came from. When in the fouth grade a new teacher made the mistake of telling us about her Jewish traditions, she was fired. We couldn’t have nice red blooded non-ethnic children singing the Dreidel Song. It just wasn’t done.

In addition to there being a complete lack of Jewish people, there were no Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, or Presbyterians, only Methodists, Baptists, and those that attended the Chuch Of Christ. Other religions than the three, or professing a lack of faith was completely unheard of. I’m not sure that I knew Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans or Unitarians even existed until I read about them in my Childcraft Encyclopedia.

The biggest celebration was the county fair. One year there was a black man who ran the Tilt-a-Whirl at the carnival, more people came to look at him than watch the demolition derby.

I think I believed that the cowboys had killed all the Native Americans, other than that last one crying in the commercial on TV.

I had no way of knowing what a strange world that I was being raised in. I had no reference point. I thought everywhere was like my town.

I’m glad that it isn’t.

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5 thoughts on “My Little Town

  1. Wow, addie…it is amazing how we think our little worlds are the whole wide world…I’m so glad you have your health and well-being after decades of eating ketchup on limp spaghetti!

  2. I love this post, but please tell me something, was is really castup?

    Not tomato paste?

    I need to know, I have been to your state, it is different, they had little tracts all over the place, like in a restaurant that would say things like, “Worried about AIDS?” and then you would open them up and they would say, “Well what you should really worry about is not being saved by Jesus Christ. ” They may not have these in your town, I was in a tourist area.

    I was fascintated and kept picking them up much to the chagrin of my amom and aaunt.

  3. I think you were probably down south, Joy. Jesus is only taken seriously on Sunday where I’m from, and in a much more reserved way. Think the pastor on The Simpson’s “Verily verily, I say unto thee…”..

    Now we did have a tent revival that went on for about a month in the city park. when I was about ten or so, but the preacher took everybody’s money to build a church and disappeared in the night.

    I have seen the tracts you are talking about. Every once in a while a man, who seems to be on the road all the time will try to sneak some of those into my store. He looks like John Goodman in “O Brother, Where Art Thou”. He has both eyes, so I’m pretty sure he’s not a cyclops though.

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