For The Love Of Small Towns

I enjoyed the freedom of fishtailing down the dusty dirt roads that led from our farm to the county asphalt roads, where I could open that 289-cubic-inch V8 motor up to 55 or 60 mph.

It all revolved around that small town. It was a destination. It was home.

I am relieved to see that Stratford has continued to thrive. In the midst of all the uncertainty and chaos that surrounds us, it’s good to know that consistency has remained somewhere in this world.

Stratford’s logo really ties its past to its present. It features a silo and barn, a home, and a business/industrial building. Farm, home and business; that’s what has obviously kept this town and others like it alive.

To this day, I still love to take back roads wherever I go just so I can find hidden small towns that would have remained otherwise undiscovered; by me anyway, because they are all somebody’s hometown.

So today, on Friday, June 1, I invite PRB readers to join me in a salute to the small town.

Long may the spirit of the American small town shine through the fog of big-city complications and call back a simpler time, a time when “community” didn’t refer to a cyber-space place with millions of unacquainted cyber residents, but a small town with real people where everybody knows your name.

If you’re from a small town, name it here, tell us about it and join in the salute!

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, who also served until recently in municipal parks and recreation, lives in Peachtree City, Ga., and can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email

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6 comments on “For The Love Of Small Towns

  1. Another WI boy….East Troy, living one block from the Catholic church, foot race with Dad home from church on Sunday morning, walking to school in the winter on the tracks laid out by the snowmobiles, going downtown to the dime store and “the hut”, an ice cream store, and who can forget “the burger family” at the A&W? Still living in a small town, now in CO, but not a simpler world!

  2. Karey Poole on said:

    This story hits home. I live in a small town of Bishop, California. I grew up in a suburban area, 14 miles away and now as an adult have chosen to raise my children here. Everything you said is so true, some of the details you gave, I thought you were talking about Bishop! Thank you for sharing your story and your passion for small towns, like you said, there is a lot to be said about growing up in a small town.

  3. Nope, I’m a true suburbanite. I got some serious culture shock when I spent the Summer in Natchez, MS. We went bar-hopping and found the SAME PEOPLE were in each place we went to. It was like you were at the same party but the scenery kept changing. But what a great place full of historic homes and friendly people!

  4. Judy on said:

    I salute Grand Marsh, Wisconsin – home of the Corn ‘n Tater Festival – started by my dad and a bunch of his buddies in 1963 with vegetables grown on our farm as a way to bring awareness and hopefully growth to our little farming community. Dad is buried in a little cemetery across the road from that farm, which became part of a large corporation, but my memories of those years on that land live on! I have come to realize we were a poor family, in dollars…and yet so very rich in every other way!

  5. George Birmingham on said:

    Grew up in suburbs in shadow of Baltimore MD. The farm is gone now for 35 plus years; loved that place. Trying to go to a small town called Old Town MD to have a home with some acreage to it.

    • Randy on said:

      Thanks George and all you others who commented on this blog. George I hope you achieve your goal of getting to Old Town. It took me a long time to learn how to live with neighbors on either side of me, just yards away. Closest neighbor growing up was more than a mile away. I think I could get used to that again pretty easily. Reason I’m so late responding to these comments is I was away at a grand-neice’s wedding and it was so great being around all that family I stayed an extra day…without my laptop! We all wanted to get some land somewhere and start a family “ranch” – maybe someday…

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