I am sure that most people living in small towns have much of the same experience. One thing is that everyone knows every-body else. At least to some degree they know who people are even though they may not know them very well.
I know growing up in Gig Harbor was that way for me. Most of the kids that I went to elementary school with me graduated from high school as well. There were a few that moved away and some that moved in as well. I once counted in my first grade class picture that twenty-eight of the kids I also graduated from high school.
Though some of them have moved out of Gig Harbor I still think of them quite often. Occasionally I will look through one of my school annuals to remind myself of those kids. When I go grocery shopping or stop in at the coffee shop I wonder who I may run into that I grew up with. I look at those around my age wondering if they were someone I grew up with. Not everyone looks the same as they did back in the old days. Actually I run into those who are older or younger brother or sisters sometimes. Also, neighbors, friends, or cousins. It is always great to catch up and find out how everyone is doing. With social networking I keep in contact with school buddies as well; certainly a lot different today than it used to be.
I am sure most small towns haven’t changed a lot over the years. Of course, it depends how small the town was in the first place, and where they are located. Gig Harbor the population has grown more than double since I was kid. The main difference in Gig Harbor there is more shopping centers now. Also, there are two high schools now instead of one high school. I am sure some students know others at the other school but it is not the same. In my day if they were not in elementary school with me they were in junior school. We had only one junior high school as well as one high school. I knew some kids at the other elementary schools because we played little league baseball or basketball against them.
I am sure the large cities they are somewhat alike as well. I can only guess since I have never lived in a big city. I am sure most kids know those who are in their neighborhood and school only unless they are a cousin or someone who used to live in the neighborhood.
I travel around seeing the different neighbor hoods of Gig Harbor. Though the population is a little more than double the look of the neighborhoods do not look a lot different. In my old neighborhood most of the houses are newer on the waterfront except my house and a few others that have not changed at all on the outside. A few years back when my brother Jack was visiting and a classmate of his John we went and stopped by the old house. The owner who bought the place from our parents invited us in. He did some remodeling but the house mainly looked the same. If you go a little away from the waterfront places have not changed much at all. I figure in fifty years those places will still be the same. It is another thing most small towns have in common not much has changed over the years.
What I like living in Gig Harbor is that it is not far from the larger city of Tacoma. So I can take advantage of the big city and still be able to go home and live in a small town where I know a lot of people, and I can relax as well. I believe to in a small town I can make more of a difference in people’s lives than in a larger city. Of course, whether we live a big city or small one it is important to use our talents, and help out our neighbors and friends.