The City of Buchanan: Population 4,800. Settled in 1833 and named for the fifteenth president of the United States. Cradled amongst the gentle hills of rural, Southwestern Michigan.
Anthology: A random miscellany of stories. Names only half-heartedly changed to protect the innocent. Eight stories plucked from a thousand memories of an idyllic childhood in a story-book home-town. I’m sure I’ve gotten some of it wrong. But this is how I remember it.
A childhood so amazing that we still go back and drive the old roads from time to time just to reassure ourselves that it actually existed. Not just a romantic figment of the imagination.
Peek in the windows of Colvin school. Deserted. Desks stacked up in the corner. Nothing changed inside in fifty years. Spooky. Wait—is that an old black snow boot with metal clasps up the front that I see in there?
Doors to our homes were never locked. Everybody’s kids were all over the neighborhood at all times. No one worried about them. Everybody’s dogs ran loose. Telephone party-lines—listen in on your neighbors’ conversations. No fast food—Mom cooked for the whole family, and anyone else we might bring home, every night. Milk delivered to your door in glass bottles with cardboard caps. Fresh baked goods-delivered to your door by the bread man. Rolling hills blanketed with tall corn and golden wheat swaying in the late summer breezes. Getting in trouble at the Oronoko Church. Watermelon eating contests with the Boy Scouts. Building the new church with all the neighbors. Water skiing on the brown water of the St. Joe River. Baling hay in the summer. Spending the whole day playing in the woods. Picking cherries on 20-foot ladders-eat as much as you pick. Have spitting contests. Fresh-picked, crisp apples right off the wagon when the brisk days of autumn set in. One-room school houses–with outhouses. “Olli olli oxen free.” Dirt roads. Ice in the winter. Mud in the Springtime. Friday night dates to Silver Beach. The 31 drive-in theater in Niles. The Sweet Shop. White Christmases.
I’m sure I’ve gotten some of it wrong. But this is how I remember it.
I would like to point out that this was my very first endeavor at writing. Neverthless, I was delighted to have the stories published in the Berrien County Record, the Buchanan weekly newspaper, during the 2007 holiday season.