It was a long drive from our rural home in Oklahoma to a bustling town in California. We unloaded the trailer that we had pulled behind our 1949 Ford sedan. Our little red wagon was still tied on top of the trailer.
How strange it was to suddenly live on an asphalt street with concrete sidewalks and houses close together with no more than a hundred feet from one side of each lot to the other. The neighbors were so close that when I looked out my bedroom window, there was a teenage boy looking at me from his window. He was cute and soon became my sister's boyfriend.
A nice thing about living on the street was that when a car drove by, there was not a cloud of dust following it and blowing my way. Rural roads in Oklahoma were clouded in red dust every time a car drove by; thus, I had to wash my hair less often on our new town.
In Oklahoma, my family of six always had a large garden, at least a half acre. There was no chance of that on the small lot in Modesto. We still planted a garden, but had to buy most vegetables at the little store within walking distance. My little brother and his new friend grew their own garden in the alley behind our back fence; they went around the neighborhood with the little red wagon filled and sold their produce with smiles of pride on their faces.
The house we rented in our new town was extremely different than the unpainted, square house with bedrooms so small the bed had to be against the wall to allow room for my sister and I to walk around. We had lots of room for a bedroom set and walk-a-round space in our California house.
The best thing about our new house with waxed hardwood floors, in comparison to the small rural house we lived in Oklahoma, was that the electric switches were on the walls along with plug-ins for lamps and a radio. That little house had electricity but no plug-ins on the light bulbs that hung on cords from the ceiling in every room.
The smell of exhausts from gas guzzlers made before 1951 was in our home, on our street, downtown, everywhere. I missed the fragrance of fresh green grass, flowers, and clean air that we had breathed in rural Oklahoma.
Moving out west had its advantages, but I still missed our rural life in Oklahoma.
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