I grew up in Small Town U.S.A.
My hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, was selected as the focus piece of a booklet, intended as pro-American propaganda during World War II. The booklet, which featured photos of my brother-in-law and his parents and siblings when he was just a kid, was filled with photos of townspeople engaged in shopping, farming, and other family-friendly activities which would show people what a great place America was to be.
Long before I was born, my mother had her picture taken for this booklet, but for whatever editorial reason, her photo didn't make it into the book. That's okay. She knew it was taken, and for the next thirty-five years she made sure other people's photos were treated with more dignity. So did my dad, because the two of them owned and operated Brobst Photo Supplies, originally on Canal Street.
And that was where I started to learn about my hometown and the people in it. I spent most of my young life at the store. My playpen was a Kodak box. I began at an early age to know everyone in town, and it seemed everyone knew me. By the time I was old enough to roam from store to store on my own, we'd moved to Harrison Street and the center of town.
In the 1960s, I wasn't worried about the Cuban Missle Crisis, the hippies in Haight-Ashbury, or the war in Vietnam--well, except when my brother's best friend was drafted. In Small Town U.S.A., I spent my time discovering The Beatles and The Monkees, hanging out at the Alex Theater, or grabbing a sloppy joe at the Alexandria Bakery. I made good friends, and even lost some. I changed crushes as often as I changed my clothes. I went to school, and I lived my life.
I was a teenager not much different in desires or fears than kids of today. I may live halfway across the country from my small town home, and despite the fact times have changed, the kids I see each day at school still want the same things I did back in those days--to know they're loved by friends and family, to feel safe, and to succeed and reach their goals.
In "A Note Worth Taking," the first book in my Small Town, U.S.A. series, I give my readers a glimpse into what life was life during the 1960s in a small town. Although this is a work of fiction, the people you meet may feel all too real. Maybe you know them, maybe you don't, but the fun will be in trying to guess who a character might be, if you too grew up in Small Town, U.S.A.
But that small town didn't have to be Alexandria, Indiana, because these people still exist--everywhere! I've met a few of them multiple times in my years in Utah, and maybe you will know them too, no matter where you live.
Small Towns are all alike, and as O. Henry once said, "Everyone you meet has a story." I hope you enjoy the ones I choose to share as we visit Small Town, U.S.A.