I’ve always been fascinated with small towns and their history. Since I’ve lived in several, I want to write about them as a way of honoring their legacy as a special part of American culture and history.
I was born in Lubbock, Texas, which isn’t necessarily a small town, but I lived in nearby Seagraves and Seminole, where my dad’s family lives. My family then moved to Paragould, Arkansas, where my mother’s family lived. After living there for eleven years, we moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky. I graduated high school there and went back to Arkansas for college in Searcy.
I got married at twenty-one, and after college graduation, we moved to Houston, Texas, which is far from a small town. This small-town girl wasn’t ready for the big city. So after nine months—the exact length of a school year because we were teachers—we moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where my first husband’s family lived. Nashville is also not a small town, but it is a big city with a small-town feel. It is comprised of many small municipalities that each have their own flavor and atmosphere.
After living there for eight years, it was back to Texas, where my parents had moved to Cleburne, Texas. We found teaching jobs in another small town—Mansfield, Texas. Mansfield was in a booming growth stage, and in the seven years I lived there, it went from having one high school to six high schools. I got divorced and remarried in Mansfield, then in 2011, moved to Justin, Texas, where I have been ever since.
When people ask me where I’m from, I’m tempted to get out a map and draw a big circle from Lubbock, Texas, down Hwy. 84 to Sweetwater, along I-20 to Abilene, then on to where it meets I-30 in Fort Worth, around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, along I-30 to Texarkana, up to Little Rock to I-40, take a detour up Hwy. 67 to the Northeast corner of Arkansas right up to the edge of the Missouri bootheel, back down to I-40 in Memphis, across Tennessee to Nashville, then turn north on I-65 to Bowling Green, Kentucky. That’s where I’m from.
There are hundreds of small towns all along this route, and there is no way I could ever explore every one of them. But I look forward to taking my time from here on to enjoy all the little towns I go to and posting about all the little gems that I find.