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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Small towns, I mean, Villages (part 1)

I say part one because I'm sure there will be more.  Towns under 3000 people make up 89% of Nebraska.  That's a lot.  I am from one.  But, apparently, based on that percentage, so are most other people in Nebraska.  The total population of Nebraska is under two million people.  That isn't a lot.  I currently live in a city with more people than my home state.  That is bizarre, and kind of hard to wrap my head around. 

This week is the letter D in the ABCs of your home state blogfest.  (Why do I hear the announcer-lady on Sesame Street?)

I'm going to focus on two villages in this post.  Davenport and Deshler. 

I remember being taught in elementary school about cities, towns, and villages.  Apparently, most places in Nebraska are actually villages.  A village is smaller than a town, smaller than a small town, yet bigger than a hamlet.  I have always been word girl, and though I do not remember the grade, I do remember the lesson, the feeling of gaining some secret knowledge.  I do not know what made that lesson so special to me, but it has stuck.

I do not know a lot of specifics about these towns villages.  But I have family in both.  I have memories in these places. 

My mom's sister and brother and their families live in Deshler.  When I was growing up, my Aunt had a playground in her backyard.  No lie.  The town village had two playgrounds, and one was literally in her backyard.  There were swings, a slide, and (I think) some monkey bars.  My cousins and I would swing super duper high and then they would yell jump!, and being the tomboy I was, I would jump.  We would swing so high that the swingset would start to jump a little.  It was awesome. 

My uncle had the biggest house I had ever seen.  It seemed that way at the time.  Having been there as an adult, I realize that it reality, it just has a basement that is finished where all us kids could go and play games and watch television while the adults were upstairs.  Most holidays were at his house, probably for this very keep the kids out of everyone's hair.

Another thing about Deshler: it is where the Thayer County fair is every year. SUPER FUN!  We went all the time, and my uncle's house was only a couple blocks from it!  The park where it was held (the other park in town) is where the pool is, and the twisty slide!  Talk about the best thing ever for a kid!   If I could get side-tracked...that slide was amazing.  We would slide down it on sheets of wax paper to make us go faster.  Big time.

Davenport is where dad's sister and her family live.  It is also in Thayer County.  I am trying to remember if I have ever even been in the village, you know, mainstreet, of Davenport, and I honestly don't think I have.  My aunt and uncle live pretty much on the outer corner of town.  They have goats, chickens, dogs, cats, and other animals.  They have a piano in their basement, and when I was a kid I would go down there and pretend I could play.  They also have a pool table with a topper that is a ping-pong table.  Awesome.

A memory that never fails me is the road sign.  Both destinations are on Route 136, which always facinated me.  Our post office box in the town village I lived in was 136.  As a kid sitting in the backseat, I found this to be an amazing thing.  I don't know why.  But in my world, it meant something. 

Deshler and Davenport hold many memories from my childhood.  Holidays, birthdays, family.  They also represent playtime and parks, fairs and festivals. I was struggling to find a D for this week's blogfest, thinking this was lame.  However, I am glad I gave in and gave it a shot.  It has been a nice trip back down the twisty slide.