In recent times it has been stated that to raise a child, It takes a Village. This might be true. I lived in such a place. My village was a small community of less than 200 hundred people. We had a school, service station, a grocery store/cafe which we called the "drug store", post office, three churches, a telephone office, a farmers co-op and a depot for the Katy railroad ran through the middle of town. We were located on a river and in a community where there were a lot of "kids" near my age. The 4 children in my family that lived there for 9 years have fond and funny memories of what goes on in a small town.
Although we lived in a small community, there was never a want for entertainment. There was always something going on at the school while it was in session and in the summer time we created our own excitement. As I recall, there were always more boys than girls or maybe as I was a tomboy, I didn't mind going out with the guys to run up and down the river or go fishing in a nearby pond. It was okay to walk out to our friends who lived in the country, and someone, who we knew would give us a ride before we got there. It was a time when a kid was free to enjoy the freedom of being a kid. We didn't have television in my early growing up years and we were among the first to get one. I can remember our living room being full watching Andy and Barney keeping the law in Mayberry. Our house was also the sight of Saturday night card games until after midnight. My parents liked having the kids there and knew where we were.
Our town had a "haunted house". I am not sure how it came to be haunted but there were a lot of strange things that could be seen around it at night. Lights could often be seen going around the old two story house on a lonely road at the edge of town. As kids, we would not dare go and check out what was going on, but on occasion we would sit on the unloading dock of the depot which was nearby and dare anyone to do so. There was evidence to prove that the house would be slept in as the old mattress would have raggy quilts on it in a pile sometimes and sometimes not.
This house had many treasures. I don't know why or when it was vacated but when the occupants left, they left many things behind. There was a pump organ, beds, dressers, other furniture and lots and lots of letters, pictures, and other things. In the light of day, it wasn't too bad to go explore the contents if a lot of your friends would go with you. You could play some pretty scary sounds on that pump organ. Imagine what it would sound like at night.
One night, when I was about 15 some of the older kids that had cars, decided to drive around by the old house and see just how brave anyone was. I was not a fraidy cat and as the three cars stopped on the road in front of the house, I took the dare. I had been in the house many times during the day so was pretty sure there was nothing to harm me. It was a moonlight night and there were plenty of car light down below. The deal was for me to climb the stairs and wave out the upstairs window. I was broken out.
I entered the house and went up the stairs. Did I mention that for some reason there was a rope hanging there. As I started up the stairs, I slipped and yelled. I jumped up and hurried to the window in time to see all three cars speeding away. What a bunch of friends. Or maybe it was rigged sort of like a snipe hunt. Anyhow, as soon as I made my way out of there and back on the road, I started walking home. They were all sitting at the depot dock, waiting to see if I was alive and going to come by. I still think the joke was on me but none the less, I proved that I wasn't afraid.
Not too long after that incident. The "Haunted House" burned to the ground. No one knew for sure what had happened to cause the fire but it was rumored that kids were in there smoking. Who knows, it may have been some hobo, as I always suspected they often spent the night there on their trek down the highway. It could also have been the "ghost" that we all feared. I can tell you for sure though, to raise a bunch of kids........It took the entire Village. I cherish those days.