A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere #atozchallenge

Neil Young  "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (1969)

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

         When my family first visited Maryville, Tennessee in the summer of 1966 I fell in love with the place.  We had been living in Northern Indiana near Chicago at the time and the experience of East Tennessee was something completely different for me.  Now my father was being offered a work transfer and we were scouting the area to see how we liked it.   A decision was quickly made and by end of summer we were in our new home.

           Considered the "Gateway to the Smoky Mountains", Maryville was a stopover for many vacationers and there was much to do in the area.  The town itself was small--almost like a throwback to the previous decade--but it had a charm for those new to the area.  I had made some friends quickly and looked forward to going to a new school.  I would be entering high school that fall.

            Once the novelty of the area had worn off and school had started it was pretty much back to business as usual for my life.  Old me in new environs.   School wasn't horrible, but it was still kind of a drag for me.  My friends from summer lived across town from where I now lived.  They went to the same school as I did but that's usually the only time I saw any of them.

             Don't get me wrong, I still liked where I lived.  But I was in high school--restless and in a state of ambiguity about where I was going in life.   I was never totally bored but sometimes life in the small town seemed boring.  There wasn't that much to do.  It was like Nowheresville.

            After high school I attended the university in nearby Knoxville while still living at my parents' house.  In evenings and on the weekends my friends and I would hang out, often going to the mountains.   We were somewhere, but it often seemed like nowhere.  The restlessness for something more ate at our young souls.  I looked toward the world away from Maryville.  Someplace, anyplace far from nowhere.

             Then I left.  My parents were still there so I visited frequently.  I gained a greater appreciation for Maryville and though I'd only started living there when I was in high school this was the place that I thought of as my home town.  I became kind of proud of that place and still am.

             Now Maryville, Tennessee is a much bigger town with a lot more to do.  More shopping, more restaurants and night spots--more of everything that the town didn't have when I was living there.  I no longer think of Maryville as Nowhere.  Now I think of it as the home that for now I am away from.

           Did you feel like you lived in Nowhere when you were younger?   Has the passing of years changed your attitude about the places you lived when you were younger?   Does it sadden you to see modernization come to a small town?

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  1. Arlee, great spin on life...for many of us....that grew up in Small Town America in the Sixties. Although the Small Towns I lived in were far from 'Vacation Spots' back then, most of them have made some progress into the 21st Century...I, too still call my West Texas High School Hometown Home. In October my High School Graduating Class will hold it's 50th Reunion back in our hometown...first time some have been back in 50 years. Life was a 'Drag Around the Dingo' in Nowhere Texas...(Dingo DriveIn with Carhops and best chili fries in Texas). Great post...again thanks for the memories.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  2. Hi Lee ... lovely visages you've created and feelings of life in Maryville ...

    Villages and towns change so much don't they ... I'm sure I was bored, but we always seemed to have so much to do ... and I guess were lucky. We also went away most holidays ...

    But growing up fairly near Heathrow Airport, that wasn't even the main London airport in those days - and in the hinterland of very west London - you can imagine the change that's gone on.

    I think I preferred my quieter existence .. but it's such fun to read your experiences ...

    Cheers Hilary

  3. I grew up in Mexico, New York. Never heard of it? Don't worry. Not many people have. When I was a child, we had one main road through the town. It had one grocery store, two gas stations, one sit-down restaurant, two gas stations, a high school, a junior high school, an elementary school, and a library. That was it. The population has consistently been less than 2.000 people at any given time.

    When younger, I hated it. There was never anything to do. It was always so boring. But now, as an adult, I love it! (Yes, I still live in the area.) It's a great place to raise kids, and it's nice to go to the store and see someone you know.

    Great theme for the challenge! I look forward to the rest of your posts :)

  4. Trust me, I lived in the middle of nowhere growing up.

    We tend to appreciate what we have and where we come from after the fact.

  5. Yes to all 3 of your questions. I used to long to live on the west coast when I was a little kid. Sandwich was so boring esp in winter and California seemed so exciting. I moved to San Francisco when I was 24 and spent 2 great decades on the west coast. But once Facebook started and old friends tracked me down, I started to long for that connection to my past. So I moved back and I see the area through adult eyes now although I am homesick for Washington State. My old hometown across the bridge from where I live now has been overdeveloped, as has all of Western Washington. I don't like it one bit.

  6. My father had a transferable job so we were always on the move. every 2 years he was transferred to a new town. So, for me nowhere is everywhere including my home as I never lived in one place for a long time.
    Now if I am live in one place for long, i get this urge to move.


  7. I grew up in Nowhere. Couldn't wait to get away. But everybody has to be from Somewhere; it makes you who you are. I'm glad I left, but I still think of it fondly from time to time.

    flip at HILL BLOCKS VIEW

  8. I don't know that I felt like I lived "nowhere," though I've come to appreciate my town more and more as I age. I've always felt that if you think your town in boring, you should organize whatever it is you think it's missing. Book some cool bands, start a theater company, play midnight kickball—whatever.

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog. I definitely did not live in "nowhere", I grew up in Chicago. I have been away from Chicago for almost 3 years. I do plan to go back to visit family, maybe next year, and I am sure I will see if differently. I travel the backroads of the US in my RV and it is sad to see the sad shape of some small towns. I want to move in and fix them up.

  10. Sue -- I've been in a lot of West Texas towns and always wonder what life would be like to live in one.

    Hilary -- I was never totally bored because I would escape into books. I'm sure the burbs around London have grown like those in most big American cities.

    Kara-- I seem to remember seeing the signs for Mexico when I was staying in some lake town north of Syracuse. It was the only place I could find with motel vacancies when our daughter was graduating from the university there. When most of us get older we don't need to be out doing things. A homebody can feel comfortable in any size town most of the time.

    Teresa --"After the fact" is the key phrase. Tell us when we are young and small town is not happening.

    JoJo --If the area is desirable it's bound to grow.

    Indigo -- We moved several times when I was young. I'm not anxious to move, but I'd like to be traveling a lot.

    Flip -- If we don't have a few fond memories about where we're from then there must be something seriously wrong.

    Kelly -- We used to do a lot of things to make life interesting. Still I wanted to see more beyond the county lines. And I did.

    Teri -- I know what you're talking about with those small towns. I've fantasized about being wealthy and revitalizing those places, but they probably die for a reason.


  11. I grew up in small towns, but lucky for me they were all university towns, so there were lots of libraries. Phew! :D

    Even so, I figured that when I headed off to college, I'd meet all these sophisticated folks over in Seattle. Much to my surprise I found that big city kids had a harder time amusing themselves and were often bored - unless they were engaging in a paid activity like seeing a movie, or going to a concert.

    All that small town boredom, meanwhile, had made me and my friends there very creative, especially when it came to amusing ourselves.

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!


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Arlee Bird