I went to high school in a small town in mid-missouri 8 miles east of Rolla Missouri. When I graduated our class was 98 souls that all knew each other in some way or another. I belonged to 3 cliques, the Heads, The Jocks and The Band,, let me break it down for you..wait let’s back up and let me explain how I got here. I was a Navy brat, my dad rose through the ranks and retired as a Lt. we moved every 3 years from as early as I could remember to 1972. My dad’s last base was in Patuxent River Maryland and that would be where he would retire from the Military, we trekked across the country to Missouri where my father attended University of Missouri/Rolla and then St. Louis while us kids struggled to survive a small town mentality, schools and lifestyle. It was extremely different for me, I mean I never had trouble making friends as I had to do so every 3 years whether I liked it or not and now that this was our final “home” that meant I would be here for awhile and I could make LOTS of friends, hence the trio of cliques that all small towns have.
Now where was I, oh yes the groups of people that influenced my life. Lets start with the Heads, these are still my closest of close friends, the very first person I befriended was a pistol of a woman, short, skinny, a smile as big as anything you can imagine and an outlook on life, like no other. I asked her if I could borrow a pen in our Psych class… I did this everyday for our Junior year, we became fast friends, and she introduced me to the rest of the “gang”. Now when you think of Heads, you might not get it right away, and then again you might, guess it depends on how old you are. We frequented rock concerts, smoked weed, drank excessively, partied to all hours of the night on weekends and generally raised all kinds of hell. The Jocks, self explanatory, I played baseball and football.. great bunch of people, both men and women. The Band.. again pretty self explanatory, I was in Jazz Band, Concert Band, Pep Band and Marching Band after the football season, not that it mattered much really after that, parades and such were the extent of the Marching experience. Why does all this matter, and what can you take away from it?
Without this small town life and atmosphere I would have never met the people I have, met my wife, developed a career in entertainment. I would have never ever done the things I did when I left that small town, trying to make it on my own in a very scary world. My whole adult life has roots in this small little town, (although not so small now, hey they put a traffic light up at the 4 way stop), I will never forget the good times, the lean times, the high times and the lessons it taught me.
Those that never left after graduation and raised their families in this small town life have my envy in a way. I miss them, I think of them almost every day, and I thank God that they are who they are. Without them, I wouldn’t be me