On our way home from the farmers market, my husband suggested we stop at this small diner-type restaurant for breakfast. I had been curious about it for a long time so thought it was a great idea. Just from the outside I got the feeling of nostalgia, it was a small town diner from yester-year.
You see, the town I live in is the town I grew up in. I’m nearing the big 4-0 but when I was a child, this town was “out in the stix”. It was country. I lived in one of the ‘new subdivisions’ that started popping up here in the mid 70’s. Our main highway was a winding 2 lane country road. We had to drive ‘into town’ a whole 5 to 8 miles to get to the store, unless the “Hucks” gas station just down the road had what we needed.
Yes, a subdivision surrounded by corn fields & country roads is pretty much where I grew up.
Only, as I was growing up, so was the area around me.
One by one the corn fields became subdivisions. The fields for grazing cattle became bigger highways or shopping malls or strip malls. More land was dozed to create schools to handle all of the people moving to the burbs. I guess since it happens so slowly, yet in retrospect, so quickly, you dont notice as much the little things that you miss about ‘small town’.
The abscence of traffic.
The abscense of stop lights & stop signs at every intersection.
The hustle & bustle replaces the slow & steady.
Rooftops now fill my views where once you felt like you had elbow room.
Gone are the lines made by the rows of corn that now seem almost theraputic to the eyes.
Maybe its just the simplicity of it all that I miss so much. Maybe its the quiet.
This is what going into that diner this weekend reminded me of. It was so ‘retro’ in that small town, country way. License plates, old & new hung on the walls along with signs from the old diner days. The seats were the old formica type of booths, room for 4. It amazed me that places like this still existed in the middle of a thriving, overpopulated suburbia. The waitresses called people by their names and as some of the customers left, they said “Bye, see you next Saturday!” Yep. it was a cozy, familiar, time warp that made me long again for the country way of life.
I’m a country girl at heart, surrounded by a suburbia that came in and took over like a rash. Oh there are positive sides, like the fact that before the economic downturn, more jobs were created closer to home. It used to be you’d have to drive into the city of St. Louis (about 30 miles) to get a decent job. Now there are more out here, in fact , I work only 8 miles & 21 stop lights away from home. (I’m not kidding about the stop lights, I’ve counted).
The people here, even though there are literally tens of thousands more than when I was young, they are mostly good. Its still a freindly, clean, safe place to live.
There are still places within driving distance that have not been taken over by suburbia, but now, since acrage is more scarce its also much more expensive. Usually the only homes built with any acrage now are beyond my price range by far.
Even my old High School is no longer recognizable. It used to sit on an old army base. Where the old army barracks used to house the offices for the school, now have long been torn down and a huge new state of the art gymnasium now stands. The school used to be an interesting mix of farm kids and the first suburbia subdivision kids (like me) to inhabit the area. Now the kids are all suburbia kids with possibly a few farm kids but I doubt there are more than a handful of those.
A big new super highway is under construction that replaces the four lane highway that replaced the 2 lane highway. I shake my head everytime I pass the construction because it is most definately a monumental task. Earth movers, pavers, buildings being moved, the landscape has definately changed, its almost unrecognizable.
Life is change, I get that. I accept that even.
I love my town, in fact, I’ve never lived anywhere else.
Sometimes though I can’t help but miss the way it used to be.