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Growing Up in Centreville

This post is written in response to tigana's question in my Lisa's Meme post.

The question was:

What was it like growing up in your area? I ask because you've often described it as isolated, and I had something of an isolated childhood, myself. How did you handle it? :)

For the last 29 years I've lived in the sleepy town of Centreville, MD which has had, until the last 5 years, a population of about 800 or less. My father's house is about 7 miles from the town of Centreville. It is actually located in the no longer existant town of Hope, MD, which still exists on the maps but no where else. All that is left of the "town" of Hope is a house which resides dangerously close to two corners of the crossroads and the church. The church just got the modern conveniences of plumbing and septic two years ago; until then, they were using an outhouse. My father's house is about 1.5 miles from the original remnants of the town.

My parents are transplants on the Eastern Shore, having moved over here from the Western Shore of Maryland. The shores are separated by the Chesapeake Bay, and there's a huge rivalry between the two shores. They were not exactly welcomed into the community. They were outsiders. Strangers. People who did not belong, obviously, because they had not lived there for generations and generations like their own families. They were refused service a few times, even, in some of the local stores, or if they needed service, were ignored.

They moved into the Boardly Farm and own 4 1/4 acres of land in the middle of a 200 acre corn/wheat/soy field, depending on the season and what was being farmed at that time of the year. The townspeople snubbed their noses at my family and our closest neighbors were approximately 1 mile away from us, two farms - both owned by families that have been there for generations, and whose family members are in fact related to one another; father owns one farm and son owns the other. The neighbors had a rivalry with our family because we were the transplants. That, and their dog ate our chickens, so that's always been a sticking point. There were only five houses along our stretch of road until a 6th house was built in this area when I was 17. It's still that way, though there are deveopers developing the land behind the woods of the farm where our house is located, so growth is soon to come.

Being a member of "the transplants" has affected any possible relationship I could or would have made with the neighbors or their kids. My family was not good enough to interact with them, so we had no friendly neighboring relations. I had no neighborhood friends who had homes nearby and I could invade regularly - not until I was 13 and people from in town moved into the rancher across the road from us and mistook me for one of the neighbor's children they'd gone to pre-school with. Only then did I have such a friendship, when those kids became curious about me and their family didn't know anything about the rivalry going on with those who live in the area.

In school, during my younger years, I had a many friends to start with, but only because I could see them every day and kids know little of rivalrys. Rarely, if ever, was I invited t o stay the night with someone else. There are about 2 or 3 people who come to mind that I visited regularly. However, as the years waned, so did the relationships I had with the people who I thought were my friends. Over time, they stopped talking to me and I became the girl who watched everything from the outside, looking in, but very desperately wanting to be a part of something.

The only relief and local entertainment I had as a child was joining the local 4-H Group, The Pony Express - a horse group as might be expected. Many of the people who rivaled my family, and often teased me because my family had not been there for generations, were also part of this group. Sure, there were other groups, but horses were what interested me. I drifted through the meetings, only marginally taking part in the activities offered. It wasn't until I got a horse of my own that I felt any part of being a member of the group. Once that happened, distant friendships were formed through our mutal love of horses and horsemanship.

Other than the 4-H Group and the few times I was on a softball team, there really was very little to do in our area. Queen Anne's County has Parks & Rec, which offers other activities, but has no other normal recreational facilities; skating rinks, movie theatres, or malls. It's very farm centric. If anyone wants to do these sorts of things, they have to travel 30-60 miles, at the very least, in order to find such facilities which hosts them.

All of this is also coupled with the fact that I have a very odd family arrangement. I am the baby of 5 girls. My oldest sister is 16 years older than me, and my youngest sister is 9 years older than me. I was an Aunt at age 4 and essentially an only child by age 8 - all of my sisters had moved away or gotten married by that time. I really did not have idea conditions which to socialize or be socialized, so I've lived a very sheltered and isolated life. My whole world revolved around my family, and most especially my mother - who meant everything to me. My sisters produced offspring early. They became my best friends and on occassion my worst enemies, having grown up with my nieces and nephews as though they were, at times, younger siblings.

Growing up, I was more or less left to my own devices. I had a pony, who became my best friend and was told all my troubles, since people at school couldn't be bothered with me. I often went riding or read boks or found other things a single child could do. Mostly, it was reading or riding.

I've never done anything that might be considered wild or crazy, or gone any sort of "adventure" save for my trip to Scotland with my parents in the summer of 1995. My life, essentially, has been rather dull and uneventful, so I often see myself that way.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2004 04:52 am (UTC)
Wow.. thanks for sharing that! It gives me a better understanding of your character, and I admire you for the person you now are. I have every faith in your future. :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Nynrose - Lisa Christie
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