Due to my intense procrastination and the fact that I am basically a lazy slob, I am just now joining the McClendon Villa September challenge (Back Where I Come From). Since we are now on day 24 of a 30 day challenge it appears I have a little catching up to do. If you would like to play along, you can find more information on the challenge here.
#1 – Were you raised in the town in which you were born? Where were you raised?
I spent the first 14 years of my life in Wakenda, Missouri. In what I believed was the center of the universe. Before I began high school however, I was ripped from my world and was thrust, naked and alone, into the cold and heartless wasteland known as Norborne, Missouri. I am still thankful for that move because that is where I met my wife.
#2 – Were either of your parents raised in your hometown? If not, how did they end up there?
The Brothertons, other than a rare few like me, have never been great adventurers. My ancestors moved to the Wakenda area in 1852. I think it was probably just an attempt to escape another great adventure known as the Civil War. Most of my family still lives in the nearby towns.
#3 – Were you raised in a town/city or in a rural area? Do you live in the same type of place now?
Wakenda, population 150 including dogs, cats and horses, was more rural than town at best. My own back yard, although officially in town, was an alfalfa field (or wheat field depending which year it was). But hey…there was about 50 houses and a school so I guess you have to call it a village. Do I live in the same type of place now? Only in my mind.
#4 – What were your hobbies as you were growing up?
Mostly fishing, hunting and being an obnoxious little butthead. I can say that I did not live out my life in front of a television. People that know me can tell you my favorite saying…”My only possessions was a stick and a dead frog named Pete.”
#5 – Where did all the kids “hang” in your hometown?
On hot summer days, you would find us swimming in a small pond called Rhiemer’s Hole or somewhere along the banks of Wakenda Creek fishing, hunting or exploring. The thing to remember, is that 1/10th of the entire population and close to 50% of the children of Wakenda were my siblings or a close relative. So on most evenings you would find us all in my yard or the street right in front of our house. Mostly we just walked the streets looking for some kind of distraction. Even a toad frog under the streetlight could cause hours of entertainment.
#6 – Did your town have a river running through or near it? What was its name?
Just across the alfalfa field that was my backyard, was the Wakenda creek. That was the birthplace of my imagination and home to many adventures. Not far away (too far for us kids to walk there so it was more of a grown-up place for romantic interludes) was the Missouri River. There was many places where the only competition for the stars would be the fireflies dancing to the soft melody of cicadas and bull frogs.
#7 – Did you ever participate in creating graffiti or any type of artwork that would have been confrontational?
Maybe an occasional ‘hopscotch’ grid would be written in chalk on the sidewalk or street (remembering that most of the streets were also the sidewalk). Anyway, nobody could afford paint so anything that was drawn would be washed off with the next rain. You didn’t dare deface anything because in Wakenda, if you farted loudly, your mother would know about it before you even got home.
#8 – How old were you when you took your first drink of alcohol, if you ever have? What were the circumstances surrounding that moment?
Who remembers? I had 13 older brothers and sisters and many more cousins. I can say with all honesty…it was before age 10 and the reason does not matter.
#9 – Do you plan to move back to your hometown area in your older years? Why or why not?
If only I could. But alas, my hometown was destroyed in the ‘Great Flood’ of 1992. However, as we approach retirement, my wife and I are constantly scouring America for something similar.
#10 – How do you feel about the place that you came from?
The physical place was just another rundown nothing in the middle of nowhere; just like a thousand places scattered around the world. Oh, but the people of Wakenda…that is the story worth the telling.