It is a tiny village six miles east of what many others would consider a tiny village known as Albia. I lived in Avery for about eight years of my childhood, but it is truly where I grew up.
The simple boyhood privileges of whiling away the daylight traversing the sparsely-graveled roads on my bike created memories for me that have already seemed to have lasted a lifetime. There was literally only one paved road that ran through Avery, and all the further it went was to Albia. Pavement ended at a set of railroad tracks on the eastern outskirts of our town.
I had the pleasure of growing up there from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. In those days, everyone at least knew who their neighbors were, even if they did not socialize together. You were able to use the names of every home’s occupant as a point on the map.
“Don’t ride past Gene’s house” would be an occasional request on particularly hot days. “You know where June lives? Those people live just a few houses down” was another to help someone who may be unfamiliar with the area.
There was always the fear of strangers coming to town with bad intentions, but it just didn’t happen. Even if it did, the people of Avery were so close-knit that if anyone looked out their front window and spotted some shenanigans, they were not afraid to come out and try to put a stop to it themselves. Or, at the very least, gather enough information to pass on to authorities.
When we were kids, we never really wanted to spend much time outside. Home video game systems were slowly starting to develop a few years before we moved out, which reduced some of the time we spent outside. But for the most part, if we weren’t riding bikes, we’d be looking for other chums in town to meet to put a baseball or football game together.
Summers were meant for being outside, enjoying your freedom from school and homework. We had all school year to waste our days inside a stuffy classroom No one wanted to go in until we were told, and even then, we fought the requests as long and as hard as we could.
Avery still exists, though the number of people who continue to be there – who were when I was a kid – continues to dwindle. It still has the charm, though my last few visits haven’t seen kids riding their bikes. I can only pray that they continue to do so, and they haven’t all been sucked in to video games and other indoor entertainment.
Even if no kids continue to live in Avery, that does not change the fact that simple, small town life can be inspirational. It can help one develop a sense of, and an appreciation for community. I know it did with me.
I believe that, in today’s world, we need a greater sense of community to try to bring us back to some common ground and maintain us as the UNITED States of America. My goal with this blog will be to try to look at different things that go on in our world, and bring them back to how it will affect our small towns and families – both of which are basic building blocks of community.
I hope you will join me on this journey and find what I share to be worthwhile. Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.
An old friend who helped inspire me to blog: http://rachelcorpus.com/