Growing up in a very small town has both it's advantages and disadvantages. It is the type of place where everyone in town knows your news, even sometimes before you do! For me it even posed a more difficult situation have my dad teach at the high school that I attended. And whats even better still is that not only was he a teacher there, but because of alphabetical order and just pure luck, my locker was located just outside of his classroom door. My sophomore year I was also fortunate enough to have him as a teacher. Most people would think of this as a horrible situation, but my father and I did a pretty good job that year of ignoring each other in class and even if I was exhausted at night and didn't complete my homework in every class, you better believe that my assignments in American History were the first ones done each night.
Just having my dad at the school was a challenge. One night my parents allowed me to attend a concert and I remember the following day I was exhausted at school and decided not to participate in my physical education class that day. I remember thinking this was an ok idea because we all had three days per semester where we could opt out of participation, so since I hadn't used any of those days up so far, I chose this opportunity to use one. Of course as soon as that class ended and I walked to my locker to retrieve my books for the next class, my dad was standing at my locker, arms crossed, with that 'look' that we all know and love. How on earth had he found out about my lack of participation so quickly. That was the last time I opted out of gym class that year, I can assure you of that! I swore to myself that when I grew up that I would move out of this tiny town where I couldn't do a single thing without the whole family knowing.
Now that I am a grown woman and have raised three daughters, I am happy to report that we still live in the small town of Parma. Those giant tractors that take over the roadways and make you drive slowly, that I used to hate as a teenager, I now look at proudly because this is my roots and where not only I was raised by my grandparents, their parents and also my children. This is where we learn the efforts of hard work and the benefits of helping out your fellow neighbors in need. This is the place where you never need to worry about finding someone to help because neighbors are more like friends and family and there is always someone that is just a phone call or shout away with assistance.
On the flip side of that I now live right off of the highway on a main road in town, which is nothing like the 300 acre farm that I grew up on. As a kid I used to be able to ride my bicycle down our road and maybe be lucky if I had one or two passing cars during my ride. I was lucky to be able to live and renovate my grandparents old house, after their passing, but to me, this is now city living.
The funny part is that no matter what I do, someone I know just happens to drive by my house during the process. One afternoon I had a run in with a underground bee hive, to which I did not win. After shooting the hive with spray and then having the whole swarm of bees chase me through the front lawn, while I was screaming, running and flaring my arms through the air, barely making it out with my life, of course one of my friends happened to drive by and enjoyed that display. A few days later while standing in the line at the bank, that afternoon was brought up by someone in line that had watched the whole scenario unfold as they drove by. They all got a good laugh at my expense.
Another favorite thing that they like to bring up is the fact that I now own a male horse and have to clean his 'boy parts'. This is something that I never thought of when I purchased the animal, as we had only had mares in the past. One afternoon I was in the lawn letting my horse eat grass so that he was more relaxed and I could clean him thoroughly, apparently several people drove by my house and wondered what on earth I was doing to that 'poor' animal, when actually I was making him feel better.
Like I said, some things you will only see in Parma and apparently if you want a good laugh, just drive down Michigan Avenue in the summer and see what is unfolding in my front lawn. Since I was a kid my life has been on display so why stop the madness now. I have grown to laugh with them and now enjoy being the center of their jokes. Just can't wait to see what I can provide them with next!!