Small Town Trap: Teeswater

"Let me out of here!"
I stopped the other day and tried to remember (and write down) the names of all the people (the important ones) who had been in my primary school with me. I couldn't even remember all their names.

  • Amanda Cook-Peterson
  • Angela Woods
  • Angie Melvin
  • Anne-louise Scholtz (Robinson)
  • Aubin Ross
  • Bonnie ???
  • Chris Brindley
  • Chris Martin
  • Emily Grant
  • Gerry Johnson
  • Holly Finch
  • Jason Wall
  • Jenny Brick
  • Jeremy Ahlborn
  • Jessica ???
  • Jonathan Davis
  • Kristy Ireland
  • Mindy Johnson
  • Richard Smith
  • Rodney Ireland
  • Russel Hurst
  • Sandra Collins
  • Sarah Donkers
  • Sheila Collins

    This list seems rather short. I know I'm forgetting a few. I would have to visit my mother and look at the graduation photos to remember them all.

    On a whim I decided to try looking up a few of them. Anne-louise Scholtz is now married (good for her! She was always cute and very shy.) to someone with the last name Robinson. I hope she's happy. She deserves to be happy.

    I actually spoke to Sandra Collins a couple years back. She was going to Hungary to convert people to Christianity. My response was: Aren't they already Christian? Otherwise she's a great person. So is her twin sister.

    I haven't spoken to Jonathan Davis in years, despite being friends for a long time. He was supposed to get married (on more than one occassion) but I haven't seen or heard from him in a long time. Apparently the wedding never happened. Last time I saw him, I was 18 and his father was getting married again.

    I bumped into Amanda Cook once. She was pregnant and beautiful at the same time.

    I haven't seen or heard from Angela Woods since I was 10 years old roughly. Few people would remember her except myself and Angie Melvin.

    Aubin Ross was a prick. Last I heard he was in a motorcycle accident and busted up his hand. Frankly he deserved to get in an accident and seriously hurt himself. I hope the accident has made him realize life is precious and that he should become a better person.

    I can't even remember Bonnie's last name. I do remember when she and Sandra got lost in Toronto on the grade 8 class trip however. I will stop there. No need to poke fun at an old mistake.

    Emily Grant, Russel Hurst and Jason Wall all went to the University of Guelph to take the agricultural bird course. Its the standard program for "farmers". It seems redundant actually, since they were all raised on farms. I guess they wanted to get a degree in "something".

    According to another person I spoke to Gerry Johnson started drinking and slacked off a bit. What happened? He was one of the best. :(

    Rodney Ireland hasn't changed much (he still has a temper). I believe he also went to Guelph for the bird course. Not sure.

    Holly Finch got married. I bumped into her once and she showed me the ring. She seemed happy.

    I remember having a crush on Jessica, but I can't even remember her last name. How bad is that? I wonder if she is still a model? I have a hunch she stopped doing that.

    When I look down the long list of people, a lot of them got married, got pregnant, both, and never left the area near the small town of Teeswater where they grew up. (With the exception of Jonathan who moved to his mother's place in Alberta.)

    It feels weird to be the only one who actually got a serious university degree and travelled the world. Even as I write this, I am in South Korea. I can't help but wonder WHY these people (the majority of them) stayed where they were and never did anything interesting with their lives.

    When I graduated from grade 8, I remember thinking that this is a great group of people who would go and do serious things in the world?

    And here I am, the only one who has travelled, dabbled in politics, left the country and seriously went to a GOOD university? (It was an expensive university too. :( )

    And so I can only be reminded of the song "Small Town Trap" in which people are suffocating in their hometown and can't get out.

    Staying in Teeswater never even occurred to me. I thought EVERYONE (or at least most of the people) would be going SOMEWHERE. Nope, all I have to do is phone my mother and bring up the topic. I'll name names and she'll say "yeah, I've seen them around."

    What is it with people? Do they not have any GOALS in life? Or did they just skip or forget their goals because they thought it would too difficult to actually do something other than taking an agricultural degree and buy their parents farm instead?

    Maybe their parents asked them to take over the farm? Thats possible. But thats really the same as being FORCED to study law, medicine or business just because thats what their parents did.

    Teeswater is the epitome of small town traps. Population 1200 and not moving. The death rate and birth rate are basically the same. 4 births, 4 deaths. Sometimes the deaths outnumber the births, and vice versa. That town is going NOWHERE.

    Whenever I visit my parents it becomes even more obvious. My memories don't do it justice. The reality is far more depressing.

    I can't even imagine LIVING in that town. It seems so mundane now. So small town.

    And EVERYONE is white and Christian. Almost everyone. That bothers me now. It seems weird to me now not to see different faces and different religions. Its like stepping through twilight zone and into a Stephen King novel... a small town where nothing exciting ever happens... except for Cujo, that dog that kills people, but whatever.

    The Teeswater newspaper is an excellent example of its sheer... boring-ness. The largest sections are the obituaries, births and weddings. A little advertising and a lame story about something vaguely interesting to only the locals. There is nothing about external politics. Nothing about social issues. No murders, no crimes. At best someone's barn burnt down.

    A pyro could have a lot of fun in that town. The police wouldn't have a clue what to do. They never deal with professional arsonists. They deal with spousal abuse and speeding tickets and the occassional crop of mary-jane that some redneck had in his backyard...

    And it would certainly liven the news up. ARSONIST BURNS DOWN TWELVE BARNS IN THE SAME NIGHT! Now that's a headline... it might even get national news.

    And so my message to YOU, the reader is... please do something, ANYTHING, just to make your small town a little more interesting. Start a human rights protest, run around naked and start a nudist colony, build your own helicopter, do something crazy and messed up (and legal) if you can!

    Better yet. Get an education and move somewhere exciting. Learn Hindu and go to India. Have fun while you're at it.

    Charles Alexander Moffat
    In South Korea (thank god!)