SCREEN DOORS AND WINDMILLS by: Ed Dray April 10, 2008
Growing up in a small town in the 1950’s was a wonderful experience. The town where I grew up had a population of approximately 2000 people. Some high schools in the cities today have larger classes than that. Our senior class had 64 of us if I remember correctly.
In the fifties, the small towns had a flavor all their own. Everyone knew everyone else. If you were outdoors, you were constantly greeted by people passing by, either calling you by name or waving hello.
You could walk anywhere in town, day or night, in complete safety, and the door of your house was never locked. Usually the door was wide open and you had a screen door to keep the flies out, or to keep the mosquitoes at bay during the long hot summer evenings.
We didn’t have air conditioning in those days and I can remember getting out of bed and going downstairs to lie on the floor in front of the screen door, in an effort to get cool enough to sleep. In those days it was not uncommon to have the front door and all of the windows wide open all night long.
We didn’t have TV in our home back then and we used to play outdoors all the time, staying until the familiar call came from home, “You kids come on home now, it is time for dinner.”
Kids back then were mostly respectful and polite. If you got into trouble at school, you were guaranteed to be in even more trouble when you got home.
As we grew into our teenage years and began driving, there were accidents and tragedies. There was no such thing as seat belts or air bags in cars at those times.
When a person was killed or hurt in an accident, the whole town grieved. Food, flowers and company showed up at your door as if by magic. People cared and they showed their concern in any way they could.
We were raised to care for each other, to watch out for one another and to be there when we were needed. We felt a sense of responsibility to our family, our friends, our community and our nation.
Our country still had the military draft back then and most of the young men went off to join the military branch of their choice, lest they be drafted into the army. In the military you learned to be independent, resourceful, to have a pride in your nation and in yourself.
I am proud to have served my country, but I do believe that today’s all volunteer armed services are superior as a fighting force, to the military I served in, and anyone serving our country today certainly has my respect.
Today, many of the city people, tired of the stress associated with the rat race, move to smaller, more peaceful communities and as they migrate to the rural areas, it is unfortunate that the problems of the large cities follow them. Crime and drugs are as real in small towns as in the cities today, and people don’t dare go to sleep at night without locking their doors.
Even in small towns today, people may not know their neighbor. There is, to some degree, a lack of respect for one another, a lack of caring, a more grim reality to life, a hard edge, a lack of compassion if you will. The streets are not as friendly and people are distrustful of any stranger. A certain sense of paranoia exists. People who have moved from the big city to escape that type of life, have only spread that mindset, perhaps because they bring that unfriendliness and distrust with them.
As a person who has lived long enough to see both sides of life, growing up in small town America, yet later living in large cities, I can tell you that I much prefer the old ways of small town life in the fifties.
I suppose that, just like screen doors and windmills, that type of life is rarely found today.
Is it even possible to find anything close to that kind of life in the world of today? Is it possible to live in a community where people are friendly, kind and considerate?
The answer, in my humble opinion, is a definite YES!
Marilyn & I have discovered a lifestyle filled with caring, compassionate people; people who go out of their way to be friendly, to help with any problem, and to be good neighbors. It is this full-time RV life.
As brand new full-time RVers, Marilyn and I arrived at the Llano Grande RV Resort in Mercedes, Texas, in January of 2007. We knew no one in that place and had only been there for a few days when we received a phone call informing us that my cousin, Sharon, had passed away. We immediately packed a suitcase each, walked next door to a neighbor we had barely met, asked them to watch our RV, handed over the keys to our home and began the 1300 mile drive back to Missouri.
Those good people, Gilbert & Louise, have become lifelong friends for us.
We now spend four months during the winter in Texas with these friends, as well as other wonderful friends we have met in this lifestyle.
We seem to meet new friends wherever we go and they are all good people.
In our RV community of good friends, we seldom ever lock a door, our doors and windows are usually open, people walk or drive by with waves of hello, or stop by to visit for awhile, usually offering invitations to drop by and see them at their rig.
Cocktail parties are common in the evenings with gatherings of good friends. We go to church together, we share meals together, we make trips together, and we sit quietly together sharing good conversation frequently punctuated with laughter.
People respect one another, care for one another, and enjoy spending time together.
Peace and tranquility spiced with laughter, hugs and good times together. That is what we have found since beginning this lifestyle.
Screen doors, windmills and a joyful life of serenity might be rare in today’s world, but they aren’t extinct. The joy in life may be found every day in the life of a full-time RVer.
That is what we have found and, yes, we do love this full-time RV lifestyle!