What happened to Mayberry

Photo by jwoodphoto
Photo by jwoodphoto

What happened to Mayberry?

In my opinion little Opie Taylor grew up, left Mayberry and became a famous director. Not only did little Opie leave, but so did many of his school mates. They left to attend college, to get a higher paying job, to get married and have children, and to live in the urban jungle. This left Mayberry with an aging
population and very few younger people, so another small town America slowly fades away. As the older population passes on there are few to none to replace those residents. It's sad really. Mayberry seemed like the ideal place to live.

I'll be honest here. I understand the reasoning. Believe it or not I was once a teenager who longed for the city life. I wanted to live and work in the city. I wanted to be somebody, but things change. I still want to be somebody, and I feel that I am. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an aunt, me. Yes, I am all
of the above. I got pregnant and left my city dreams behind, got married, had two more children, and I moved farther from the city than I had ever been before. Yes, I moved to Mayberry.

Ok, it wasn't The actual Mayberry, but it was close to it. It was a small town in Oklahoma, so small of a town that there were only two gas stations, one small grocery store, two banks, a Pizza Hut, and two home town cafes. I was amazed to learn there were not separate schools for the elementary, junior high and high schools. There are separate buildings, but they are bunched right there together where they share a gym, a cafeteria, a library. I told my husband this is never going to work, I cannot send my children to school with a bunch of older kids who will pick on them because they are smaller than they are. How could they be expected to go to school in a place where they would not feel safe from teenagers wanting to beat them to a pulp. My husband said they will be fine, so I enrolled them in school and hoped that they would survive their first day.

I picked my children up from school on their first day. Yes, I said I picked them up, not only because I was worried about them, but because in Mayberry there is no such thing as a school bus for children who live in town. You may be wondering how people are able to pick their kids up from school everyday while they are supposed to be at work? Well, here's the thing: everyone here knows that children have to be picked up, and everyone goes to pick up their kids. Notes are left on the front of business doors and employees are allowed to leave without time being docked from their paycheck. It's the strangest thing. But wait. It gets stranger.

After I picked my children up from school I asked them how they had liked it. They loved it. My daughter then said that she got adopted by a high schooler. I didn't understand what that meant so she explained it to me. My daughter said that the high school kids made cookies for the elementary kids and brought them to their class, The kids made the cookies in their home economics and adult living classes. Then when the high school kids participated in their various sports, the elementary kids made posters for their lockers. This was a way for the big kids to get to know the little kids and be like a big brother or sister to the smaller kids. My daughter really enjoyed making posters for her adopted high schooler and on occasion—when the big kids played a game or had a sports meet—the little kids took time from class to go watch them participate in their various sports activities. My children never felt
threatened by older children at school, and as a matter of fact they felt protected by them.

When we moved into our first house here in Mayberry, we were surprised to learn that it did not have a refrigerator. This was going to be a problem. All of our money had been tied up with making the move and our house in Colorado had not sold yet, so we were unable to afford a new refrigerator. I didn't know what we were going to do. I asked the real estate lady if she knew of anybody who might have a used refrigerator for sale. She stated that she did not not know of anyone at that time who had one for sale but that she would ask around. The very next day a lady I did not know brought over a small dorm
size refrigerator for my family to use until I was able to afford a new or bigger one. I thanked her for her generosity and she told me I was welcome, that she was not using it at the moment, and I was welcome to use it for as long as I needed. I was amazed at the kindness this lady had shown me and my
family.

Later that month I walked into the local furniture/hardware/appliance store looking for a price on a new refrigerator. The old man who ran the store walked over to the place I was standing looking at the prices and styles of different refrigerators. He asked me if I needed any help. I said no, I was just
looking for prices. He asked me my name and I told him, he said, “Oh, you live in the old Stephens house.” I said that, yes, I did, and I learned later that every house in town is called by the previous owners name, not by the address.
The old man then asked if we had gotten a refrigerator for the house that we were currently living in. I told him about the generous lady who had loaned us her apartment sized fridge until I was able to afford another. He then said, “well my dear, I have the perfect frig for you, It's nothing fancy, but it will do the job.” He then grabbed my arm by my elbow and lead me to a small new refrigerator behind all the big fancy fridge's with ice and water in the doors. “I can set you up on some payments,” he said, “how does $50.00 a month sound to you?”

I stared at him for a moment. In my mind I thought this was a great deal. The old store owner must have seen my stare and then asked if $50.00 was too much, saying he could probably stretch that out for me. I said no, that was a fine payment, but I did not have anything for a down payment right at the
moment, and that maybe in a week or two I could come up with something. “Don't be silly,” he replied, “You aren't going to leave the country anytime soon are you?” I replied no, and he said, “well when can I get this delivered for you? How bout today? Will you be at home?” Again I was amazed at the generosity of that old store owner. But wait. It gets stranger still.

On a cold winter day I bundled up my three children—who were pretty small at the time—and I headed for the grocery store. I needed groceries for the week, so my children and I walked the aisles of the local grocery store, which did not take long, since there are only about seven aisles to walk, but we got the things we needed and approached the checkout counter. As the cashier rang up our necessities, we began piling up the food on the conveyor belt. When the last bit of groceries had been put on the belt, I started digging in my purse for my wallet. I rummaged through all the things that I keep in my purse, lipstick, pens, toys for the kids, a hairbrush, a mirror, but no wallet. In the confusion trying to get my kids and myself bundled up for our trek to the store, I had dropped my wallet. Just at the moment that I realized I did not have my wallet with me, the cashier gave me my total of about $75.00.

I panicked. I asked the cashier to hold on. I thought I might have dropped my wallet in my car, so I grabbed the kids and ran out, searching the seats, the floor, under the seats, the console and, in desperation, the glove box, but no wallet was to be found. I returned to the store. Embarrassed, I told the cashier that I had lost my wallet and to please save my groceries, that I would go home and look for the wallet and pay my bill. The cashier then said, “Don't worry about it honey, just sign this ticket we will load those groceries in your car for you and you can come back and pay your bill as soon as you find your wallet.” I signed the ticket and returned home to find my wallet right where I had left it, on the coffee table. Again I was amazed at such generosity.

After my family had settled in for a month or two my oldest daughter received a call from one of her new school friends, The little girl was calling to see if my daughter could go roller skating. I asked her mother where they were planning to go roller skating and she said at the local VFW. At this point I was really confused. I thought that was a bar. The girl's mother said on Friday nights from 7-10 it was transformed into a skating rink for the kids and that it cost a dollar to skate and .50 for roller skate rental. I was amazed to know that they had done this for many years, and the the old wood plank dance floor made a great skating rink for the kids.

I know that you are probably thinking that things like this don't really happen in real life, that this is an un-aired episode of the Andy Griffith show, or a scene from fifty years ago, but you're wrong. It does happen, and it is happening now in small towns all over America. But Mayberry is dying. The old man who ran the furniture/hardware/appliance store has since retired. The VFW has been boarded up and is currently for sale. The class of 2008 had 24 graduates, and many have left home for college and will only return to see their folks on special occasions. The elderly people will pass and Mayberry will loose a few more residents. Businesses will close because there is no one left to sell to anymore, and Mayberry will fade away. Another sad chapter in history will be added, and the future world will only know of towns like these through old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show.


Mayberry by Rascal Flatts

My thanks to Christoph Reilly for helping me edit this hub. He's a great friend and a master at writing. I couldn't have done this without his help.

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Comments 43 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Beautiful hub. I miss that part of America. Somewhere along the way, we lost that innocence and trust in each other and I hope one day we can get it back.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Great hub, Gwendy. I remember watching The Andy Griffith Show as a VERY young kid... VERY. I think I was still an embryo... yeah, that's it. I think you can still catch reruns on TVLand.

Loved the video, too. Rascal flatts is one of the best country bands around. I once watched them (on TV) do Boston's "Foreplay/Long time" and do it well. I can tell you, that's no small feat.

Check out these Mayberry pics I found: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=...


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 7 years ago from Pyote, TX

This hub made me so Home sick, I am one of those who only visits on Holidays and Funerals, lately the funerals have been outnumbering the Holidays. Thank you. Of course growing up in Oklahoma, my story is the exact opposite of yours. :-)

TMG


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

That's indeed one sad aspect of change. Thanks for sharing :D


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I've always thought of Springfield, OR (my 'hood) as somewhere between Mayberry and a big city. We're all up to date tech and media junkies, but some of the streets here still have no sidewalks. I s#!t you not. Kind of a happy medium.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Beautiful story Gwendy. I can relate. I moved my kids to a Mayberry too. No grocery store, one bank, one pizza place, one gas station, no retail stores, and schools clumped together. Your experience is much more pleasant than mine. There's nothing to do here. No VFW for roller skating, no movies, no nothing. Boredom for teenagers equals mischief and trouble! lol!

Thankfully my son is in college now, and my daughter has friends with parents who don't mind driving a million miles to go bowling or watch a movie! ;)

This was enjoyable to read, and it is a sad thought that the Mayberry's like yours are going away. :(


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

GT, thanks. I hope we can get it back also. Thanks for reading it and taking the time to comment.

CW, yeah me too, that's the ticket. Yes you can watch reuns on TVland. The link is above. I think your right, I love their music, but I am a bit of a country music fan. I like other genres too but I think country and classic rock are my favs. I would like to see them do long time, that one of my fav songs too. Thanks for the pic links and thanks for coming by to read this.

TMG, you should go home and visit more often. I love Oklahoma. When I first moved here I thought I would loose my mind, but I began to see the beauty in it, the great people, the wide open country, the quiet. It's wondeful, and I wouldn't trade it. Sorry I made you home sick. I am curious about how your story is the exact opposite now, if you come back by I would love to here your story.

Cris A, it really is, I fear that one day there will be no such thing as small town America.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

You're welcome, and I'll see if I can't find a video... bet I can.  BRB.

Yep, here it is! I'm gonna go watch it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8iO6RW16JM

PS: I want that drummer's shirt!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, I am glad that you have your happy medium. I have to admit that sometimes I miss the convience of being able to have many things at my fingertips. I have to drive a long way for just about anything. I can buy some groceries here in town, we have a hardware store, a movie rental store, but not much for activities. I just had to drive out of state last night to get major groceries as most people do here, we pick up little things here when we can get them in order to keep our local economy going but most major purchases are done elsewhere.

Pam, Your right about kids having nothing to do. The kids here mostly compete in sports and it is year round. My town is very supportive of sports and the kids enjoy it. We have banquets and when the teams go to play at state the whole town shuts down because we all go there to watch and support them. I think it has been a great experience for my children and they have even told me that they are glad we moved here. My daughter was offered many schloraships for running and my middle child is just getting her schloraship offers for softball, so it was worked in more way than one. It is sad that the little town are fading away, hopefully they don't fade completely.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Have you thought about getting Netflix?  It's pretty much the shit if you like to watch movies (which I do), and their library is GINORMOUS!  And it's not expensive.

PS: I don't what THAT shirt (ew!) but one like it...


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Actually CW, I do have netflix, but I feel a little bad about not supporting a local business. I really should not feel too bad about it because I actually tried to buy the video store a few years back and the books did not show profit because the owner made too much money and didn't want to show any extra income. The guy who bought it actually knew that I was trying to buy it and swwoped in and offered the owner about half of what I was going to pay but he had cash. Kind of a draw back to small town living is that everyone knows everyones business. BTW, that video was great. The shirt was interesting, how many different patterns did it have? LOL


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Well, things like that turn out to be for the best - in the long run.

How many patterns? Way too many... it was awesome! I love that kind of stage wear. That video is from the same show as the Mayberry video. I can tell.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

yea, it's from their live DVD I think. I might have to get it which reminds me, I didn't put any ebay or amazon links. I better change that.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Wonderful story, gwendymom. I yearn for the old days in Yonkers, which was my Mayberry. Even though it was a larger city, we pretty much stayed in our own neighborhoods, which were sort of like separate little villages. "Change"doesn't always mean "better." I watched the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry, but the shows I "listened" to growing up were (besides the Bing Crosby shows) Amos & Andy, Fibber McGee & Molly, Inner Sanctum, The Life of Riley and dozens of others, not to mention the "Fiday Night Fights." A big Thumbs Up.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

I have to run teach the homeschool PE class, but this is my first read when I get back!! Based on the title, it's something I'm very much going to enjoy!!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

You are righ WFT, change doesn't always mean better. I have never heard of those. I wonder if you can listen to them at audible.com or something like that? Thank you for the thumbs up, that means alot to me coming from you.

Proud Mom, I do hope you enjoy it.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

And a thumbs up from me too! (Did you expect anything less?) I also lament the dying of small town America. Mine was also Oklahoma.. I think I miss the drug store the most. They even had the soda fountain.

Congrats on a wonderful piece!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

G'mom , what a great read. We are having the same thing happening here in OZ.

But my grand daughter attends a small country primary school with 2 classes in each room. They are appointed an older "buddy" to look after them, when they start, to help them acclimatise to being at school!

You and chris make a good team! Thumbs up.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

I live in a similar town (two gas stations no traffic signal). Your story reminded me of the time I drove to town to get some groceries (thirty five minutes away). I realized before I went into the grocery store that i forgotten my wallet. No money, no card, no ID no drivers license. I was new in the area and didn't really know anyone, but did at least have an account at the local bank. I went in and explained my dilemma, asking if I could withdraw some cash from my account. (Remember no ID), She asked me my name and Mother's maiden name and I withdrew $100 so I could buy groceries without going home and coming back again. No problem.

There are still a few Mayberrys in this country.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Mayberry is alive and well around these parts. Good read dear. Did you know that Barney, AKA Don Knotts had been a Marine Corp Drill Instructor?


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CR, thank you, thank you, thank you, I don't think I can say it enough. You are my hero!

Ag, I think it's great that they pair a teenager with a small child. I believe it is a benefit in many ways. Before we moved here from Colorado my children were having a problem on the school bus with some older children, I had a talk with the school bus driver and asked her if my children could please be sat right behind her so that the older children would not pick on them. The bus driver informed me that she could not save the seats for my children and that it was not her responsibility to watch my children. I then started driving my children to and from school. Thanks, I think we make a good team too, now if only I could convince him to help me with all my projects.

Rochelle, I am so glad that there are some Mayberry's left in this world. I would like to see more of them. I love my small town and hope it never dies. Thanks for stopping in and reading.

CC, glad to hear it. Really, or are you just pulling my leg?


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America

I believe everything you wrote about Mayberry as I grew up in a similar town. There are no secrets, no opportunities for lying, and no drama. Everyone knew each other's business and was willing to help. Gossip was big but the heart was bigger. Incidentally, there was a real town in North Carolina called Mayberry. I was born in NC and had the opportunity of visiting Mayberry in the early 70's. It's not the Mayberry from the show but you couldn't tell. The sitcom Mayberry was a replica of a town called Mount Airy, referrred to in the sitcom as Mt. Pilot.

I wanted nothing more when I grew up than to get out of that small, go no where town. Now, I want nothing more than to return to it. Unfortunately, it's not, and never will be the same. The old saying "You can never go back home" is so true. You can always return to the location but it will not be the home you onced knew.

Great hub. Thanks for sharing.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

JXB, your right about everybody knowing everything, Yes the gossip is big but the heart is bigger. This community will come together like when they need to and it's a wonderful thing. My kids complain because they can't get away with anything, My oldest daughter skipped school one day and before lunch time rolled around I had found her and she was having her butt chewed by me, her father and the principal. It's a good thing, they learn responsiblity for their actions and that if they misbehave then everyone is going to know about it.

I didn't know there was a real town called Mayberry. I am not sure why I am surprised by that. I did know about the town that the show was based on. I think I might like to visit there one day. My daughter used to feel that way too, she went off to college and wanted to return home asap. She missed her small town, and maybe her family too. I know what you mean about "you can never go back home" Things change and it's just not the same as it used to be. That is the way I felt when returning to Colorado for visits, it just wasn't the same.

Thanks for coming by and for taking the time to comment.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Gwendy, I wouldn't pull your leg like that. Not about our brave men. Also Mr. Rodgers was a valiant WWII hero and killed more men than almost anybody, then he came home and became a minister, the rest is history. Lee Marvin spoke highly of him once on the Tonight Show.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Intersting stuff CC.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

A touching and poignant Hub, to be sure. There are two or three small towns like this that I go to to get away.

I recently was discouraged in my free martial arts class section when a few families stated they expected me to pay them a weekly stipend for enrolling their children and also provide them transporation. Mayberry vs. the subsidized programs.

Thanks for the Hub. Thumbs Up!


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

Your reminds me of John Cougar Mellencamp's song "Small Town" .... I grew up in the town just west of the town where John Mellencamp grew up, so when he sings the song, I know he's talking about "our" neck of the woods.

My Mom's birthday is in a couple of months. Maybe I'll go for a visit.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Great Hub and nice to know the spirit of Mayberry lives on.  "our mayberry" is a little town in Oklahoma of about 600 people, and in my youth I swore I would never live there after I "grew up."  But, I crave it.  Simple, honest, living.  Plus a few scoundrels....  LOL

We can keep the spirit of Mayberry alive everywhere we are....tho' it is much harder in the cities of "do we screw 'em and how..." 

Mayberry Okie style, here we come!!! =)) ( shhh my husband thinks Mayberry show is still on tv, he watches it every night...sigh.)


MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 7 years ago from Earth

Man what a nostolgic feel this hub had... wonderful, -it painted such a quint picture for me... and now I wish I lived there.


MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 7 years ago from Earth

I mean 'quaint'. lol.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks Patty.

Bdazzler, you should go for a visit. I'm sure you mom would love it.

Marisue, It is a little harder in a big city, just too much hustle and bustle to stop and enjoy. My husband still thinks the Waltons are still on, he watches it daily too. I wouldn't mind if I had not watch every episode about a thousand times now. Oh well, that's the price I pay for loving him I guess.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks MellasViews. I really love where I live.

BTW, I wouldn't even have noticed had you not pointed it out, Quint Qauint, all the same to me, lol.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Soon, a few months, and we'll be back at our own Mayberry and glad of it; gardening, getting back to basics...slowing down I hope while still making bucks...gotta live!!! =)) good writing...keep it up!!!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Marisue, I am sure that Oklahoma will welcome you back with open arms. Thanks, that means alot.


Bob Winfrey 7 years ago

Great hub as usual. It is sad I am in NC and I see so many dead and dying mayberries. Walmart comes to towm and 50% pf the local busnisses close up.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Brilliant nostalgic hub. We still have a few "Mayberry's" here in SA. We call them dorps. There is a distinct movement back into these dying dorps. Artists, organic farmers, makers of home crafts and small plot farmers are eschewing the city life for these little oases. I tried it too but endedup with my wife of 34 years taking up with our neighbour. So there is a downside to this lifestyle change too. I am now firmly back in the big city and my dearly beloved has no desire to move to one of these small towns despite being a farm girl herself.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Bob you are right, Walmart has been the death to many mom and pop businesses. I remember when many small business owners protested a Walmart moving in to their community. I think it worked for awhile but eventually the Walmarts moved in and small businesses began to fold. it's sad.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sixtyorso, Thank you! That's a sad story. I think things like that happen alot in small towns. Sometimes I wonder what the hell are people thinking. There is a guy here who has fathered several children, some by sisters, and he doesn't support them and is always in trouble with the law, and yet women still date this guy. I just don't get it. He must be a real charmer because he really isn't good looking. It just amazes me.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 7 years ago from America

Our town use to be a Mayberry long ago but no longer. I remember one time realizing forgetting my money after I had been checked out with a load of groceries. Oh, no problem just take them home and come back with the money.

This same thing happen to me this week at Walmart. Getting ready to check out I realized I didn't have my checks. I ask if I could check out while my husband went home and got the checks. Well, if going to pay for this they said. I finally said I'm going to stand right here and hold onto the cart so you can see me. Then they let me do that. They looked at us with an unkind look and like we were stealing. Mayberry days are gone.

Enjoyed your hub.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Moonlake, Mayberry days are fading fast. I hope we can hold on to them and that my children will be able to raise their children in a Mayberry. Glad you enjoyed, thanks for dropping by.


Leah Kay, The Pup profile image

Leah Kay, The Pup 7 years ago from Anywhere-USA

(Written by Sharon)-Boy, you sure brought back memories for me!!  Since my husband and I grew up together in our "small" town in Northern IL, maybe it's time to sit back and remenice a little...Thanks for the Hub!!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Your welcome Leah Kay.


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Great post ,Thanks for the nice info

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