25 Signs You Grew Up In A Small Town via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

25 Signs You Grew Up In A Small Town

Update: This is one of the first blog posts I ever wrote. It caught me completely off guard when it went somewhat viral, being shared thousands of times and even republished on the Huffington Post. It was incredible to read all of the comments. I have evolved so much as a bloggers since then then and while this post no longer fits nicely with the rest of the content on this blog, I keep it in my “Life Stories” collection. I have such a warm heart for small towns, and clearly so many people relate. This post has way more comments than any post I’ve written since! Enjoy!


Growing up in a small town is something the city kids (like my husband) will just never understand. I say I live in a small place now, but it is huge compared to my hometown. Actually, I didn’t even grow up in a small town, but rather on a dairy farm in between two small towns in northeast Iowa: one with 600 people (at least that’s what the welcome sign claimed), and the other with 2,000 people. If you also grew up in a small town, then you will be able to relate to this list.

  1. The grocery store was also the place to rent movies, drop off dry cleaning and leave your rolls of film to be developed.

  2. You could name every person in your graduating class.

  3. When you called the wrong number, the person who answered politely gave you the correct number.

  4. You used the alley entrances to businesses more than the front door.

  5. You never carried a key for your house because it was always unlocked. And, just in case, the only key was “hidden” in your mailbox or a flower pot so your neighbors, relatives and mailman would know where to find it if needed.

  6. You could charge things at businesses without a credit card (and the clerk knew who to charge it to without asking for your name).

  7. Teachers always referred to you by your oldest sibling’s name. They probably taught all of your siblings plus your parents.

  8. People could always find you. Flower deliveries made it to you no matter where you were at the time because the delivery person knew where to look and who to ask.

  9. You were somehow related to nearly everyone in town.

  10. Store owners left their doors unlocked with a sign that said “gone to the bank, be right back”.

  11. An exciting day was driving the 30 miles to the nearest WalMart or McDonalds.

  12. Your parallel parking test in drivers ed. was pointless because there were rarely cars to practice parking in between, so you just drove right into the spot and the teacher gave you an ‘A’.

  13. Everything shut down for high school football. When the team made the playoffs, the musical was rescheduled because the lead actor was also the quarterback.

  14. Driving a tractor to school was an acceptable thing to do, and there was likely a day designated to doing so each year.

  15. When high school sweethearts move back to your town and get married, the weekly newspaper dedicates two entire pages to the details of their wedding.

  16. A high school girl was crowned the town queen during your annual festival.

  17. You were encouraged to bring a prom date from a different school just so there was a crowd at prom. Oh, and prom likely included a sit-down meal for everyone before the dance, which probably took place in the high school gym.

  18. The only traffic jam your town ever experienced was during the annual tractor parade.

  19. The school secretary assembled a list with the details of all the graduation parties so everyone knew when to be where.

  20. People gave directions by referring to the only stoplight in town.

  21. You went to school with kids from eight other tiny towns.

  22. It was cool to hang out with or date someone from a neighboring school, except during football season when they were considered enemies.

  23. If you weren’t at church, concerned churchgoers would go out of their way to find out if you were okay.

  24. When you are back in town to visit, no one has to ask you where you live now or what you do because they keep up on every detail of your life thanks to all your relatives who still live there.

  25. When people ask you where you are from, you sort of mumble your tiny town’s name and then automatically tell them what larger town it is near. If they look confused, you just give up and tell them the nearest metro (even if it is an hour or more away).

There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town. While this list is an overview of my personal experiences and observations in my hometown, I’m sure you can relate to many of them if you grew up in a small town.

What’s missing from the list? Comment below with things that came to mind as you were reading. This list is endless, so comment away!

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