Struggle of Small Towns SOL 7/31

Today my mom posted this video on Facebook about the small town in Kansas that she and my father both grew up in. Both my brothers were born there. I came later after they’d moved to Arizona.
My grandparents on my mother’s side farmed there their entire lives, and my uncle still lives on the same farm today. My grandpa on my dad’s side was both barber and sheriff there.
My summer vacations were spent there between my grandparent’s farm and the grandparents in town.  One of the best parts was getting to go “to town” to buy groceries and have a “soda” at the drug store my grandma worked in.
I have been to the Labor Day celebrations, and tasted the spring water that supplies the town with 99.96% spring water just like the water tower reads.     
What strikes a chord with me is not only the connection from my childhood, but the fact that it’s the loss of the school that was the virtual straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the loss of the school that left them feeling hopeless. It was the loss of the school that seemed to be the defining factor of Florence “giving up.”
I loved that town as a child. It was and has always been “home” to me even though I was the only one in my family not born into its population.
I still love it today. It is where I took my kids when they were very young, and where they still like to visit today.
Florence is where my very best childhood memories live. It’s the place I see when I think of Sunday suppers and summers on the porch.
Florence is family reunions and the Labor Day Parade. It is a friendly wave from passerby’s, and the coldest bottle of Pepsi at the Co-op.
It’s my grandma’s grocery list and the newspaper lady calling to get the latest “scoop,” especially when the “news” was family visiting from Arizona.
It’s my grandma’s fried chicken and firecrackers on the sidewalk. It’s a grey cat called crybaby, and fish being cleaned on the close line.
Florence means a dairy to buy fresh milk and the co-op to drop a load of wheat.
It’s a gathering place for cousins and a picnic beside the “crick” (creek for those of you not from Kansas). It is summers spent on horseback, and splashing in the cool creek water.
It is my mom, my dad, my brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all trundled up in precious memories.
Florence is fading away and it makes me sad. It was never my home, but it will never be anything but home to me.

Here is the video if you'd like a glimpse of Florence 


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  2. Hi Tammy! I'm also from a small town and there's something very special about growing up in a place like Florence...or Geneva. I saw a lot of my childhood memories in your piece. I loved how you described Florence. One of my favorite phrases was "all trundled up in precious memories."

  3. What precious memories! My family also lives in a small town. My children have grown up with neighbors who are probably more like family than not. A while back, we were throwing around the idea of moving. ALL of our children were adamant that they would be heartbroken to move.It's amazing how attached our hearts get to our homes, towns, etc.
    I enjoyed reading your post! I, too, love the line, "...all trundled up in precious memories" and,
    "It’s my grandma’s fried chicken and firecrackers on the sidewalk." Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tammy,
    I really enjoyed the story of Florence. I'm from a small town and could completely understand so many parts of your post. I was raised in the town where I still live. You have so beautifully captured this place, Florence. When I was growing up in our small town, we could ride our bikes to the drugstore for flavored soda from the soda fountain. It was always a treat. When you said, "Florence is the place where my childhood memories live," and then went on to share many of them, I felt like I was right there in Florence with you. I found your closing line to be powerful, "It was never my home, but it will never be anything but home to me."

    I enjoyed the video of Florence too. We just lost our grocery store in our small town a few years ago. It just hasn't been the same since then. Thankfully, our schools are still fully functioning.

    Thanks for taking me to Florence.

  5. Hey! I grew up in Hillsboro! Lived in Marion for several years and lived in McPherson until I started teaching in OK! It's a small world after all! I found you on the Blog by State Linky!