Robert Frost lived in my hometown
Recently, I became a member of a Facebook page that was dedicated to my hometown. Although it doesn't really matter where my hometown was, I do believe it matters when I grew up in it.
The world has changed so drastically in the past 50 years that it is incredibly sad to envision growing up at any other time than I did. When I return to the "space" in my memory dedicated to the little town of Derry, New Hampshire, I return to it in my memory as a place in the 1960's to the 1970's. Graduating from high school in 1973, I lived through the hippie culture, the space program, the duck and cover drills of the 60's, having to eat fish on Friday;s as the Catholics only could eat fish then...and the list goes on and on.
As I have found in looking at my fathers old home movies and taping some of the distinct footage of the times, life was simpler then. We spent a lot of time in or watching parades. We celebrated graduations and birthday celebrations. Everyone was either in Girl or Boy Scouts, or Band, cheer leading, sports or baton twirling teams. The big event was to go to the drive-in movies, get Archie comics at the local Rexall, and new 45 records at the music store.
Each year the junior prom brought all the upperclassmen investing in gowns and tuxedos, bouquets and corsages, we had football fever and homecoming dances, Freshmen receptions and local bands play at the park. In the fall we had a Labor Day festival with cotton candy, rides, air shows and local celebs. Life was busy at the local swimming hole: Beaver Lake.
We welcomed a celebrity in the astronaut Alan Shepherd who hailed from our town, and we had several signers of the Declaration of Independence from there too. DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and Kiwanis Club, Knight of Pythias, Grange, Masons and Eastern Star meetings and Rainbow and Demolay. Churches all had church suppers, May breakfasts and holiday craft fairs. There was a certain rhythm to the town's seasonal offerings. Without violence and anger we lived in peace, even when the entire world was involved in other things.
I will always be happy I was a child of these times. I think about children growing up today and it makes me sad. With so many things that are dangerous and no ties to some of the things of which I speak, I wonder how they will grow and find commonality with others who are older than them.Spending time learning about the community in which I grew up does not make me wish to return there. I am happy with the memories of farmlands and cows crossing the main streets, ice skating on the little ponds scattered about the town, hearing the downtown church chimes, whistles and other noises of the town and remember the restaurants and the places I used to go with my friends when I lived there. I am better for having lived in this environment and yet I have changed so much since leaving it one may not even recognize me anymore as a Derry girl. My accent is mostly gone, I am more liberal than conservative now, I became a more directed student and a huge traveler and changed my whole philosophy on life. But I do not forget my roots, homegrown in a time of "Love Story" and Bell bottoms.
Life's sweet memories of a time gone by give me peace as I continue my journey in this life on another coast, in another time, with memories that last a lifetime.
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