When I grew up, one thing I thought was common everywhere was that everyone was enthusiastic about where they grew up. Not so true as I have discussed that with a lot of young people in the beautiful city where I now live in the mountain City of Cranbrook BC Canada. Most actually wanted out to a bigger center. No matter, I have a visceral loyalty and love for where I grew up. It was a little town of 3,500 and in the middle of a vast, cold empty prairie. It was the one of the best things to ever happen to me.
My hometown was founded in the late 1800’s. When I grew up there though, somebody found oil in the early 1950’s and there was a huge influx of young adults after WWII and the resultant huge number of young children of whom I was one of the horde.
Literally, I had similar-age friends everywhere. And with the innocence of the 1950’s and 196o’s, we had the run of the town. My mother kept some track of us, but I was free-roaming well before I started school (age 3) and I have been a sort of free Libertarian ever since. Some of my earliest friends were the Higginbothams and Carruther’s…..less than a block away. Then there were the Forster’s, also less than a block away who formed “The Sombrero’s” (what does that mean?) gang of whom I was a “member” and we were more like superheroes than bad guys. I do remember running smack into a telephone pole as part of that gang. We raided a few crabapple trees to establish our gang cred but it was all in fun. The idea of damage and destruction never entered our minds. We just wanted to do stuff.
This sort of “community” isn’t so common today but this isn’t a complaint. Kids are safer today than ever because of parental precautions. I was vulnerable except for mumblings from my peers. This info didn’t come from my beautiful parents, it came from the “street”. Regardless, I survived, and in large part due to a small, isolated Manitoba town where citizens looked after their own. Still, I cannot believe my good fortune today to be brought up in Virden, Manitoba…..Canadian cold Prairies.
Such a tiny town yet we boasted of the founder of Reader’s Digest, the inventor of the JukeBox, and Jim Treliving, the Dragon founder of Boston Pizza we all know and love. His dad used to cut my hair at Ted’s Barber Shop when his 2IC Lyle was too busy. Oh, and hey my old friend Neil Campbell is CEO of Landmark Theatres today…a guy who has forgotten more about movies than I will ever know!
A huge number of great people came out of this beautiful little “nowhere” town. I will always be greatful for it. Why? We had the love.