Fish out of water

Are you a born-and-raised country person dealing with big city life? Or are you a city slicker dealing with local yokels? What surprises you the most about the differences in attitude/atmosphere/culture? I grew up in a rural community, and currently live in a suburb and work in a city, plus I married a city dweller, and sometimes the differences in the way we were brought up and view the world surprise me.

Reading in the “Peanuts on the Premises” thread that Flora McFlimsey remembers only one child from her school days dying reminded me that I can only think of 2 from my school days dying. I went the same school from K-12, and we probably never had more than 65 or so kids in my class. In the 4th grade a boy drowned while inner-tubing down a river, and in the 10th grade a girl was in a drunk-driving accident. And I remember their names and the ways the teachers broke the news to us. My husband, on the other hand, went to elementary school in Sacramento, and middle and high schools in Salem, and his senior year book alone commemorates the deaths of about 4 or 5 students. In one year! Yow, to me that was a shocking number of kids! Especially since Salem itself is a relatively small town, pop. 200,000 or so, and those were from just one high school out of about 4 or 5 (or more?). Even more surprising to me, he didn’t know them before they died, didn’t know when or how they died, just didn’t remember or care. But then again, his graduating class was bigger than the entire enrollment of my high school, which seems bizarre to me, too. How do you get to know anyone? At least half my graduating class I’d known since Kindergarten.

I guess another thing I haven’t gotten used to is the way a lot of people don’t really know their neighbors. My little community was situated between two towns (each had their own elementary school, and the middle and high schools were in the bigger of the two towns–if this helps illustrate anything in the above paragraph), and we considered the people in both towns as well as our specific area “neighbors.” And everyone knew each other, we knew entire family histories, and just about everyone was related to just about everyone else. In the city, it seems like people only consider the families that live on their same street or block to be “neighbors,” and even then they aren’t always very involved with or close to those people. When my dad would come home from work and say, “I heard such and such happened to one of our neighbors,” he could have meant literally anyone in a 20 mile radius. But when I called someone who lived a half a dozen blocks from my husband’s house (when we were dating) a neighbor, he said, They aren’t my neighbor, they live too far away, they’re just a friend. Bizarre.

Those are just my observations and opinions. Does anyone else have anything in this vein they’d like to share? Anyone else a fish out of water?

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

A fish still in the water but…
WOW someone else who went to a school where K-12 was in the same building, I’m not alone in this world. My graduating class was 35, my sister’s ( who is 5 yrs. younger) was 28. When I went to college and I told people about my class size they just couldn’t seem to grasp the smallness of it. My HS Chemistry class had four of us then senior yr. Physics there was only 3 of us left. The teacher (who started teaching there the year my father grad. and retired the year I grad.) would teach us maybe 1 or 2 days a week and then leave us there unsupervised to do lab work the other days. One of the down sides to small towns though is everybody knows everything about everybody else, and any new news only takes a couple hours to get around.

Oh dear, my bad, I phrased that wrong. K-12 weren’t in the same building; K-8 were in one location, and 9-12 were in another. I was in the same school district my whole life, and the town did just have one high school, but it did not share a building with the elementary and middle schools.

(BTW, does anyone else think “middle school” sounds stupid? What’s wrong with junior high? And in my school, K-5 were elementary, 6-8 middle, and 9-12 high. But I’ve seen other schools where K-6 were elementary, 7-9 were middle, and 10-12 were high. 9th grade is middle school? How can you be a freshman and still be in middle school? Is this more city thinking?)

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

10-12 were high… sounds like any given day in Chem Lab! I’ve lived in both a small town (Moab, Utah) and big cities (Denver, CO, Los Angeles, CA) and currently live in SLC, Utah.

My graduating class had 69 students (boy, did the guys just LOVE that number!).

I have to say I prefer the small town life where you know everyone in town but I’ve adapted to the big city. I can operate well in both. But even in the big city I know my neighbors. It was me who initiated contact though… bringing in my little town ways!

The moon looks on many flowers, the flowers on but one moon.

I got you all beat. I went to a small Christian school in Roggen, Colorado until seventh grade. The number of kids in the entire school? Somewhere around 40.
– Sylence

“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” – Anon

I went to a small independant school in a small town. K - 12 all in the same building (different wings, tho…). About 200 total students – 12 in my graduating class.

One of the funniest things about my school was that about 10 years ago they realized they could recruit athletes. They won the state basketball championship in '91 and will have one or two alumni playing in the NBA in the next few years.

Also, the drummer of the Black Crowes was in my graduating class.

“Owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting!” W. Smithers

To respond to the actual original post:

I grew up in small towns of 20,000 to 30,000. As an adult I lived in cities (St Louis, ~2,000,000 and Louisville ~1,000,000). 18 months ago, we moved to the country. It’s at least a quarter-mile to my nearest neighbor. The nearest town is two miles away and has a population of less than a thousand.

We love it. The people are wonderful and kind, the schools are among the best in the state and our home and grounds are beautiful. We’re also close enough to make it into the city for dinner if we want (my wife still works in Louisville every day).

“Owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting!” W. Smithers

man…I am gonna regret this, but…
The city here I live in/grew up in has about 50 000 people or so, there are a few towns on the outskirts to lend some size to the city, but on any given day, I can walk down the main streets, and see people I know.

I grew up in a trailer park…shut up!..not like the trailer parks you see on 'Cops", but a nice park, with big green yards, and wide paved, landscaped streets, it has a beautiful layout, and a view of the river, the owner was very involved in the park, always driving around to make sure the yards were tidy and maintained. there are at least 6 play areas, each with swings, or a slide or ‘monkey bars’.It was a great place to grow up, everyone knew everyone else, almost all were youg couples with small children just starting out, proud of the home they could afford. We had a large deck, as did most of our neighbors, and a yard with swings, slide, sandbox, and a dog. We could drive our bikes all day long (the drivers had to watch out for US, not the other way around!)and I always went to sleep at night knowing that if we needed help, the neighbors were right there…
well, I recently moved back, with my two boys…I’m gonna cry!..My 4 year old can play in the yard, and I dont worry , my 8 year old takes his bike, (when we lived in the center of the city, he wasnt even allowed to have one) and can explore the park, and the marsh to the river.I have been there less than a month, and I am so happy…I see old friends all the time, people whose newspapers I delivered when I was a teen, people who I babysat for…I have met most of the folks on my street, and I go to sleep at night feeling safe.
my first week, I left my car on the street, with my wallet on the front seat, doors unlocked, windows down. and in the morning, it was still there, and I was NOT surprised at all.
I will never live anywhere else, I am home.

From birth until the 7th grade, I alternated between living on Army and Air Force bases, and with my mother, sister and grandparents in the town of Perry, Ohio. The situation was dependent on whether my father was in Vietnam at the time or not; when he was, we were back in Perry.

Perry was, at the time, a very small town, almost completely dependent on the nursery and farming industries (it is located about 40 miles east of Cleveland). It has grown since then, to a population of about 11,000, ever since CEI opened up the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. When I graduated from high school in 1987, my class had about 120 people.

My wife and I now live in Lakewood, Ohio, the nearest western suburb of Cleveland. It’s a great city, with a population of about 59,000. I love it here–great shopping, an interesting community, a lot of green space, an active arts community–I can see us being here a long time.

Incidentally, some of the miltary establishments we were stationed at:

Gila Bend AFB, Gila Bend, AZ
Ft. Leonard Wood, Waynesville, MO
Ft. Lee, VA
Ernst Ludwig Kaserne, Darmstadt, Germany