Installment #2 of McClendon Villa September challenge (Back Where I Come From). If you would like to play along, you can find more information on the challenge here.
#11 – Were there a lot of churches in your town? How about where you live now?
Wakenda – Population 150…4 churches. Enough said.
Helena, Montana – Population 30,000…30 churches. Also, enough said.
#12 – On the Opposite Side of the fence, did you know of anyone engaged in an illegal activity?
You mean other than underage drinking, out of season hunting, hunting without a license, fishing without a license, driving without a license, car races, pulling people down the road on a sled made from a car hood in the winter, minors having sex, stealing apples or watermelons, syphoning gas from farm vehicles or the occasional marijuana usage… then no.
#13 – What color were the eyes of your first date?
Brown. If I may steal some words from Bob Segar, “A beauty with big dark eyes and points all her own sitting way up high…way up firm and high.”
#14 – Do you tan easily or do you burn instead?
Growing up in a farming community, shirts were optional and usually left at home or in the car. Cut off blue jeans shorts was the preferred attire. So I usually remained tan throughout the year. But as I grew older, society and my sagging belly dictated that I keep my body under the cover of several layers of garments. These days my achromatic skin begins to turn pink at the mere mention of sun.
#15 – When did your family get their first color television set? Do you remember the first show that you watched on it?
I don’t remember when my family got color, but I do remember the first show I ever saw in color. It was ‘The Flintstones’. I was 13 and it was my next door neighbor’s TV.
#16 – Was your hometown a “backwards” place or do you feel it was progressive?
Backwards, backwoods, sideways, reverse, behind, retrograde, regressive, inverse…
#17 – Was your hometown an economically advantaged or disadvantaged area?
Other than farming, there were two grain elevators, a store and a gas station that hired exactly 13 people. There were 5 school bus driver routes, a post office that had one employee and the road maintenance that also consisted of a crew of one. As a child, I walked beans, hauled hay, searched the ditches for discarded bottles to turn in for the deposit and shucked corn.
#18 – Did you like your childhood home? What did you like or not like about it.
With a family the size of mine, there was never any place you could call yours. The house was always filled with so many voices screaming to be heard. It was easy to get lost among the crowd.
#19 – Did you have any pets in your childhood home?
Besides my dead frog named Pete, one of my teachers gave me a black lab named George F Bungle dog. Turns out it should have been called Georgette F Bungle Dog. That dog was so dumb it could barely walk in a straight line without tripping over her own legs. But we were great friends. But as far as having pets in the house, my parents believed that animals belonged outside. With all of us already inside, who could blame them.
#20 – Did you have a neighborhood park/playground? Did you play there?
We had the playground at the school with the standard playground equipment including a baseball field. But we had an entire county to call our playground. There were many days that we would walk for ten miles or more just to go fishing or swimming. We climbed trees, build tree houses and forts. We had the entire town to play war games with each other. We would choose up sides and use rotten tomatoes for hand grenades.
#21 – Were there any flowers growing in your yard?
My mother had indoor plants everywhere; Ferns, Ivy, Philodendron, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Begonias and Chinese evergreen. But outside was where her green thumb glowed. She grew all the standard vegetables that she canned for winter. But she loved flowers of all kinds. Marigolds, Caladiums, Elephant ear, Hostas, Rhododendrons and morning glories. But my favorite was the peony bushes by the back fence. When I was really tiny, they were big enough that I could hide between them and the fence to pretend I was invisible.
#22 – Did you have chores?
No set chores. That’s one of the advantages of being the next to the youngest. There is always someone to do it. Or to at least share it with. The chore I hated most was doing dishes. Of course, I had no idea what a dishwasher was. We did it all by hand. Flatware was the absolute worst. So many pieces that it took forever and killed your back. I must admit though, I would rather dry than wash.(or as we say in Missouri…warsh.)
#23 – Are you ever homesick for your hometown?
While it was there for me to return to, I would have said no. Now that it is gone, I miss it every day.
#24 – Does your hometown have a website?
Since the town does not exist, there is no official website. However, there is a Facebook group at Wakenda Alumni. It’s just a place for a bunch of us ‘shitkickers’ to gather and lie to each other about those good ole days.