I miss Mayberry--ok, I've never been to Mayberry; don't know if there really is one. I guess I miss the "essence" of what Mayberry represented.
You see, Opie & I are the same age. And my childhood was much like his--small town, values, respect, honesty--all those traits that made life in Mayberry seem so unreal. And yet they were. And, lately, I miss those simple, understated traits so very much.
I miss knowing my neighbors. Granted this is my own fault--who has time to get to know the neighbors, or even visit with the ones you do know, when the race of getting through life has become so fast paced! The last time I saw my NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR was at the funeral of a mutual friend. My neighbor was my employer for more than a decade, and now I don't see him at all. And when we do see the neighbors in the yard, we scurry past, maybe wave, cause we don't want to impose on their time.
I miss shopping here in town. Oh, I still try, but like everyone else in the world, I'm looking for the store with the most variety and the best prices. At the expense of forcing my home town merchants to carry less than premium stock, and reduce the selections. And then I gripe about what I can't get here! I like walking into the local grocery store and having the manager greet me with "hey how are you today? how's the husband and kids?" Yes, he actually knows that about me. He watched me grow up--his sister even babysat for my kids for a time. I miss the local clothing store. The one where you went in and the owner's wife would strike up a conversation and talk your leg off---maybe even offer you some of her homemade cooking that she had in the back. I think everyone female in my family (except me!) worked for them during the holiday season! My sister tells how she & her girlfriend would drive the owner nuts using way too much ribbon on presents only to have him rant at them about waste. They would respond "oh, we'll be more careful"; as soon as he was out of earshot they giggled like little girls and went on about their business of driving him nuts--yes, they used the extra ribbon just to push his buttons! And then, if you had a family tragedy of any sort, there were the owner & his wife bringing you large plates of food and sympathy. That hasn't happened too much with me & J C Penny!
I miss the respect of the kids in the town. When I was a kid, we had a respectful fear for all adults, regardless of what they wore, what they drove, where they worked. We knew if an adult spoke, we should listen. And if that adult represented authority (teacher, policeman, etc.) word had better not get back to mom & dad that we "dissed" them! They'd have us by the ear, skipping at break neck speed to apologize and offer to clean their windows--or whatever other form of retribution we could offer. We certainly didn't talk back. And we didn't tear up their possessions, lawns, streets, storefronts, etc. If we got in trouble at school, katy-bar-the-door when mom & dad found out. They actually TRUSTED that teachers & principals were adult enough to lead & discipline! And they actually UNDERSTOOD that children would color stories to their benefit!
I miss one car families, moms who stayed home, homemade clothes, one TV per household, no cell phones, porches made for use, church socials, mowing one's own lawn, new shoes at Easter and the start of school, chores that had to be finished by day's end, the county fair, HS football games, homeroom moms, homemade Valentine cards, --- I guess the list could go on and on. And I am just as guilty of anyone in my greed for the American Dream. Only, I think the jokes on all of us because it's the American Fantasy! We have conditioned ourselved to want more, more, more and we don't even enjoy what we have. You know, in those buildings we put in the back yard full of our "things" that sit unused and rotting. But we HAD to have them.
I miss only having what we needed at the moment, and saving for what we thought we might want later. Sometimes we found we didn't even really want them enough to spend what we had saved.
Ok, so I'm a bit nostalgic for the old days--won't even say they were good--they were just more stable. I miss stability. I miss Mayberry.