There is something to be said for small town life. Many will argue that the city offers too much to pass up, but I would argue small town living offers too much to just dismiss it. I tried in vain to interest Roger in looking at homes in small towns rather than Wichita. But he grew up here, and could not imagine living anywhere different. Approximately 49th in the nation for population size, at just over 380,000, Wichita may not be the largest city in our country, but it does have something to offer.
I, on the other hand, had the privilege to grow up in a small town; Mulvane, Kansas. I would say Mulvane is and was pretty typical of small towns. At a population of almost 6,000 currently, and another 3,000 in the rural areas surrounding it, it had a lot to offer. This is up from about 4500 in town when I lived there. I probably didn’t appreciate it then, but I most certainly do now.
As I drove through many small towns during my travels this summer, I couldn’t help but remember all of the positives of growing up “small town”. There is a camaraderie that accompanies living in a small town that cannot be explained to a city dweller. Everyone knows almost everyone. There is a different vibe to living in a small town, it tends to be a little more laid back and relaxed. There isn’t as much hustle and bustle. No matter where you live, you can walk to the pool in the summer.
I absolutely love going to the “You might be from Mulvane, Kansas if…” group page on Facebook. There are generations of adults who have grown up or lived in Mulvane since the 1940’s. Everyone shares the same stories; recently they have revolved around school with the beginning of the new school year. One day when I was reading on the site was especially fun. A discussion had been started about one of the local eateries. And someone posted about my mom working there and how she had taught the women how to make milk shakes. My mom is famous! It’s great to read all of the things we have in common even if we are decades apart in age. We all have a fondness for the color green and wildcats. Everyone knows where the Witches path is. And we all miss eating Charlies at the Dairy King.
And where else but a small town does the entire school system shut down for a day, only days after school has begun, for a city wide celebration? I’m jealous of my school yard friends that still live in “my” small town. They are walking downtown this weekend to celebrate all things Old Settlers. Many of them will be stopping by the Lion’s Club Booth to enjoy some old fashioned Charlies! Someone eat one for me!