Thursday, September 27

Small Towns

This is a picture of "The Guilty Party". AKA Leo. This is a picture of the crime! Leo has been knitting! Grrrr.
I wonder if I can salvage some of it. I only wanted it for a teddy jumper.
This was last night's full moon. A little hazy, but full none the less.
I dont think I got out & bayed. Or howled. I have been having very vivid dreams.

This is a fun fabric, that I am wanting to use to make a child's quilt.

The picture is almost true to life, as far as the colours go, so it will need to be a little girl's quilt. I am trying to decide what colours to use with it. I can see the colour of that mangled yarn would be perfect, but I dont have any fabric in that
colour. Hmmmm perhaps a trip to Spotlight...
In yesterday's post, I was reminded of my life growing up in a small rural town.
How many 'characters' there were, for such a small place!
There were many Churches too, for such a small district. There were the main contenders for Souls, such as Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, & Presbytarian. Then there were the 'weird fringe' churches, who catered to very select, small groups, regarded with some suspicion by the bulk of the population of the town.
There were also smatterings of families who had very different faiths. I dont know if they had actual centres for gathering, or whether they just pactised their particular brand of faith in their homes.
There was a family of Sihks, the tall thin boys with their turbans, & beautiful silver bracelets on their slender smooth brown wrists. I dont recall them having a centre for gathering, though they may have had one. I seem to only recall the one family, & dont remember any girls. It was rumoured in the town, that one of the Sihk boys in Standard 6 which was composed of mainly 12 & 13 year olds, was actually 28. I suspect that may have been a lie!
But the one religious place I most vividly recall, had a church of modern style, situated almost in the heart of town. I can't remember which religion they claimed to follow- Baptist or Bretheren I suspect. I did have some dealings with some of the members, because they did their level best to 'convert' my girlfriend. We had both been raised in the Anglican Church, but by the time I was a teenager, I had decided that the Church & I did not agree. It seemed the more I saw of hyporites "Christians" the more I mistrusted them.
My girlfriend was an easygoing girl, & she was happy to "go with the flow" .
Boy! did they work on her! A woman called Hazel decided to make my friend J her special project. Hazel had small children, & J & I were available for babysitting duties. We babysat for J's older sister, & various other people we knew, who had small children, & needed a sitter for an occasional night out.
J & I would babysit Hazel's children while she no doubt went off to do churchly activities. Hazel then began to invite both of us to 'slide evenings'. These were terribly boring affairs, which I loathed, but J begged me to go with her, for company & moral support.
We were warned by Hazel to avoid the old chap who gave these slide showings. He had fat white maggot sausage fingers, & they strayed, always 'accidentally' to places on young girls'- & Hazel's- anatomy, they should never have touched. In short, he was a lecherous old turd, toad, who should have been exposed for what he was.
I suspected that Hazel secretly enjoyed those furtive encounters, & she would blush & giggle. The lights would be dimmed for the slide showing, & then the fumbler would strike. I can't recall where her husband was, while these little brushes were happening. Maybe he couldn't stand the slides either, & worked overtime or something. It appeared to me, there were a lot of men in that Church who had wandering hand syndrome. I never went to the church, but a man who ran the St John Ambulance Cadet classes was a member, & a notorious 'fumbler'.
Enough to put anyone off religion I felt. I am almost certain they were racist also, as there were no Maori members in their congregation, yet all the other churches had mixed congregations.
My friend J attened now & then, was not overly swayed one way or the other, & seemed not to notice, or care about, the hypocrisy connected to the church.
I did not intend this to be about religion, but more about the social stratas in small towns. Well, the small town I grew up in.
There was a dear little old "Miss", the head of the infant school. I swear she never forgot a child's name, & would greet you by name even when you were an adult! She was quite scary really, & did her level best to convert me to right handedness, every time she saw me.
There was a seemingly ancient Maori woman, known as a Kuia, who sat on the steps of the Post Office, & her chin had a tattoo known as a moko, in the style once popular for Maori women. I always felt quite intimidated by this woman, & her eyes would follow you, in her wrinkled old face. She always wore a scarf around her face, covering her hair, and she always dressed in black.
There are many stories I could write about that small town.
Another day.
Scott Joplin's The Entertainer.


Mike said...

About a year ago I was sitting in this bar in the small town I live in. An older gentleman who is known as the "town historian" was in there. I spent the afternoon talking to him about the history of this small town and found it fascinating.

I love small towns and I love hearing about all the characters that live in them. I hope someday that I am remembered as one of them....and not in a bad way either.

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

Leo is a little devil. Great story, love reading it. I have always lived in the big city and hope some day to retire to a small city.

meggie said...

Mike, My brother has long harboured a wish to be an eccentric old man. I think he has achieved it in some measure. His son's friends love to visit, as there is always something odd or funny happening. He is either reciting a dirty ditty -his memory is outstanding- or he is wearing the cut off sleeves of our mother's cardigan- don't ask.

Debbi, I have lived in both, City life is certainly impersonal. Small town folk, with mind your business, but they also mind your back if you need them. Of course when you are young, you don't want people minding your business!!

Ali Honey said...

Please be fair - give Leo some needles.

I think that was ANY small town in NZ you were talking about. I reckon that all the adults that knew about fumblers and similar, thought if they ignored it, it didn't happen or would go away. Certainly some of my old rellies behaved that way.

I think we are much more sensible, honest and open now.

Henri said...

Not sure what the Kuia's real name was ,Meggie, but all the irreverent ones called her Lord Nelson , I believe she had one eye and I know walked with a stick in one hand , with the other arm tucked up behind her .
You are right about Miss P. too , I doubt she ever forgot one former pupil , their name or anything about them . She was a damned good teacher .
I think ali honey is correct -- the " Ostrich Syndrome " was in place in most small ( and probably large )towns in those times and if you pretended hard enough it never happened -- even though we all knew it did .
Everyone really did know everyone elses business , and if not you could always find someone who did -- or pretended to !
Mad might be closer to the truth than 'eccentric' really HaHa

bluemountainsmary said...

Eeeeewwwww - that maggoty fingered old fumbler sounds hideous.

But the small town stories are fantastic - more please

sheoflittlebrain said...

I'm glad to see Leo is feeling himself again, the naughty boy!

I'm a small town girl through and through..more tales please!

Tanya Brown said...

Ah, Meggie! I always enjoy your stories and your, um, edits!

I'm sorry to hear about the Baptist infestation in your home town. They can indeed be extremely aggressive. On the whole, I think I prefer termites.