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I Miss Norman Rockwell's America (standard:other, 1598 words)
Author: whistlerAdded: Mar 22 2002Views/Reads: 2525/1422Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
I'm an expatriate. I didn't leave my country, it left me.

America isn't the same. No, I don't mean it's not the same since 9/11.
It's not the same since . . . well, since I was younger. Yeah, I know. 
My dad said that, and his dad said that, and . . . 

I know what you're thinking. I ask myself the same at times, “Why can't
he just change with the times?” Well, I try. I really do. I mean, I fly 
on jetliners, I buy online. I bought my first PC in the eighties. Those 
are giant steps for a kid who was born in a tent house and grew up 
without electricity, telephone, or indoor plumbing. 

So I can adapt. And I appreciate some of the changes. I poke at them and
peek at them, and I credit the improvement, I think. 

I walked to a country school, with the dime in my pocket that would pay
for lunch in the cafeteria. When we moved, we kids moseyed along behind 
the caravan of horse-drawn wagons laden with our ‘stuff'. 

I don't miss the wagons. I miss the caravan. I mean, it wasn't just our
wagon alone. It was the Thornton's and the Everly's and the Mixon's. 

Mr. Thornton grew cotton. When it was ready for picking, his field was
filled with Everlys and Mixons and Halls. 

Mr. Everly grew potatoes. When they were ready his field was filled with
Thorntons and Mixons and Halls. Sometimes the Smiths, too. 

When Mr. Mixon butchered a hog, he was helped by . . . you get the

I went with mama into town with a supply of fresh corn and watched her
turn it into hominy in a room filled with others doing the same. I 
guess TV provides lots of magic, but I thought that was pretty magical 
too. We took corn, and we brought home hominy. 

There was a General Store in town; often unattended. You walked in and
picked out what you needed. If it was priced, you left that amount in 
the cigar box. If it wasn't priced, you wrote down on their notepad 
what you got. You left the door open and the screen closed, just like 
you found it. 

Dad had an old car radio with a built-in speaker. On Wednesday nights he
drove the car up close to a window and ran wires out to the battery, 
and we sat in the house and listened to the Lone Ranger. Sponsored by 

There were lots of Lone Rangers in real life then. Don't get me wrong,
there still are some. Just not as many. 

Dr. Kengle drove out to the Mixon's one night during a snowstorm to help
Mrs. Mixon deliver. His fee? He didn't charge them. He gave the newborn 
a silver dollar to commemorate the occasion. 

At our country school we often had ‘fair' nights. Most everyone came.
Folks even drove out from town. We bobbed for apples and played games. 
We sang. We brought box lunches and cakes, and we bid on each other's 
and then shared it all and used the money to keep the cafeteria cost to 
ten cents and to help the needy. If a guy had a crush on a girl he 
would guess which box was hers and bid on it, hoping to share lunch 
with her. Sometimes he was fooled and ended up sharing with someone 
else. Oops! 

We had impromptu beauty pageants. We told stories and put on skits. The
teachers were there too, of course. Talk about good parent-teacher 

In class we learned math and English and history. And if we didn't
learn, we did it over. We called the teacher Mr. or Miss, or Mrs., and 
answered “Yessir”, or “Yes Ma-am.” 

If we screwed up, it was our fault. It wasn't the ‘system', or the need
for prescription drugs, or an abused childhood, or because we were too 
tall or too light or too dark, or . . . 

We later moved into a town. What town? We'll just call it America. It's
not there anymore. Well, it's still there; it's just not Mayberry any 

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