Growing up in southern Kentucky in the 80′s, was a contradiction of terms. In many ways, the ways in which people lived had not changed for decades, but new schools and new industries meant new people…so things were bound to change bit by bit, day by day.
I grew up in a little town called Woodburn. We were smack dab in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Bowling Green and the not so large town of Franklin. OK, so Bowling was not so much a metropolis in the true definition of the word, but to a kid who lived in a sleepy little town of less than 200 people, a town with over 40,000 people seemed bigger than life. In Woodburn, I couldn’t turn a corner without running into some relative. My grandparents lived down the road, my aunt and uncle lived beside them, another aunt and uncle were a few hundred feet away living at the crossroads…why my dad and mom were pretty much the rebels living in a small house well over a mile away!
My parents worked hard, but never made much. My dad, a self-taught mechanic, and my mom, a factory line worker, woke up early to leave for work, and came home late. They never made a lot of money, but my sister and I thought we had everything a kid could want.
My sister was the girly, girl. She and mom would love to go to the big city 14 miles down the road to window shop or try on the new styles at the Woolco and Castner-Knott in the Bowling Green Mall. Her idea of a fun weekend was going to the movies with school friends or flipping through Teen Beat magazine.
I, on the other hand, was a tom boy to the core and a daddy’s girl. My favorite afternoon consisted of playing ball in the park with friends or bending over the hood of the car, “getting my hands dirty” with my dad. I knew how to change the oil in a Chrysler Cordoba and fix a flat before I could recite my multiplication tables. Books were my escape to the exciting, and I had them tucked in every corner of my room.
Life was eating piping hot Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls on Sundays at the table with my family and cruising for yard sales with my Pa Nathan on Saturdays. Life was about being a child, and never looking back because we were all going to live forever. Life was just…well…simple then.