ROSE NOLEN: A small-town, big-city girl wrapped up in one person

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:25 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 10, 2014

COLUMBIA — I grew up in two worlds. For the first seven years I lived in the small town where I was born. After that I moved to the city.

One of the things that I missed most when I left the small town were the summers. I loved the long summer walks, gathering mushrooms and fruit and picking hickory nuts off the ground. And on the weekends, I missed the basket dinners.

Each of the towns near my hometown had a summer Sunday to hold a basket dinner. Most of the men had their own cars and a couple of them had trucks. The adults would share rides in the cars, and we children would ride in the back of the trucks. The extra food rode with us.

We would leave early Sunday morning to get to the towns in time to worship. By afternoon we would have changed our clothes to be ready to stand in lines to receive our food. For us kids, the highlight of the meal would be the homemade ice cream waiting for us in the freezers.

Usually, after dinner, we would have time to visit the town. We would walk around and visit all the neat places and spend an hour in the local park trying out various games. By the time we loaded up for the return trip home, we were exhausted.

When I moved to the city, I found new amusements. I would take bus rides through the city, riding to the end of the line. My two favorite city places were the public library and Union Station.

Because of my childhood as both a small-town and a big-city person I have always thought I had a pretty special experience. I learned to appreciate the best of both worlds.

As an adult I’ve lived in both places. I think it is probably why Manhattan is my favorite city. I like the fact that it combines all the elements I like most in one place. I like the convenience of having it all gathered around me.

The important thing is to find the good life wherever you are. That's what makes wherever you are a special place to be.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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