Monday, March 1, 2010

Gathering Places

Gathering places were incredibly important to rural areas when I was a child growing up. Whether it was in the smaller country towns or in the larger towns, places to congregate was a part of the Ruralhood. Gathering places meant different things to me at different ages.

When I was a small child my favorite gathering place was my maternal grandmother's farm because there were many cousins to play with every Sunday after church. I don't remember one Sunday when there wasn't family gathered at my grandma's home.

The country stores in my small town were also places to gather. (The photo is one of the stores as it stands today.) Since I lived across the gravel road and a state highway from both stores, I could watch the people of the community come and go. People would gather in those stores or outside to talk about prices, who got married, who died, and who ran off with the milkman. It was an exciting place to visit. It was an exciting place to watch. It was an exciting place to live.

The river was also a gathering place for adults as well as children. It was a great way to cool down in the summer and probably a good way to tire out the energetic children. It was also a great way to gather with family and neighbors to swim or wade. An occasional farm dog also helped himself to the swimming holes. Swimming holes, however, were dangerous. On occasion people were killed by the undertow of the river's current.

Churches were a normal gathering place not only for the typical church service, but also for revivals, church socials and singing Sundays. I have often said that I have been inside nearly every church in our county because of my grandma. Every time a church door opened she seemed to be there in attendance- and not only at her own church. And she couldn't drive. She was a faithful example to me.
In my small country town was a community building. People gathered there for town meetings, family reunions, pie suppers and clubs. The public restroom was an outhouse- out back.

The school in my rural community was also a place where the community could gather to watch their children play sports, attend carnivals (photo is of me and my co-candidate in the carnival- first grade) or see each other at parent/teacher conferences. Children (mostly) liked going to school to learn, make friends and to have social activities apart from their family.

Significance

The significance of gathering places to this rural child was the sense of familiarity. All children need and want familiar places where faces mean security and where love abounds. My rural culture fed me my pride with knowing the people of my community where everyone did know your name or at least to what family you belonged.

10 comments:

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I always have tried to give my children a sense of belonging and "roots". It is more about love and loyalty than about wealth and property.

Mason Canyon said...

Love the new blog. Very down to earth and wholesome. Brings back memories.

lakeviewer said...

I just love Memoirs/stories from the neighborhood. Did you know I have a blog dedicated to my life story too? It's something we have to do!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. love the pictures and stories .. great memories, while telling us somethings of past times .. wonderful .. jogs my memory ..

Arti said...

i love to travel to rural places..great pics..absolutely loved them..keep them coming

www.myyatradiary.blogspot.com

Mattenylou said...

Teresa, I love your new blog! I have a love for the old neighborhood I grew up in, the friendships, the stories, the community are all part of who I am.

Can't wait for more stories...

Mary Aalgaard said...

I am a farm girl (from MN) and I'm proud of it. You have a strong sense of family and community. I am drawn to your descriptions.

Cop Mama said...

Love the new blog! I was a little scared, didn't know what you were being all mysterious about...but it's wonderful!

Love the pic of you and your co-candidate! So precious!

Indie said...

Love your new blog!

Indie

Carol Kilgore said...

Lots of memories for you here. I grew up in the city.