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Published December 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Lind: Town kids vs. farm kids, back in 1930

His name is Lawrence “Larry” Aasen, he used to be a farm kid in Hillsboro, N.D. Now he lives in Westport, Conn., he’s 86 and he has written in about “The Way We Were” in 1930 when he was in third grade.

By: Bob Lind, INFORUM

His name is Lawrence “Larry” Aasen, he used to be a farm kid in Hillsboro, N.D. Now he lives in Westport, Conn., he’s 86 and he has written in about “The Way We Were” in 1930 when he was in third grade.

“We didn’t look forward to school letting out” back then, he writes.

“We knew that as soon as we got outside the building, the town kids would be after us. We were the country kids. They all lived in town, and they liked to beat up on us. They knew we were not like them – and we were not.

“We smelled of the barn we worked in. Our shoes showed that we had walked through mud and farm lots. Our clothing was different than theirs. We wore bib overalls. They wore trousers.

“They called us ‘country hicks,’ and we probably were. When we would come to school and take off our coats, straw would often come off our coats. The town kids would giggle watching us. As we had to milk cows and put down hay for the horses before going to school, we often had straw in our clothing. The town kids lived in houses with running water, bath tubs, electricity, indoor toilets. We did not.

“In the summer, we would only see them when we would go into town to buy parts for our farm machinery. We would see our classmates playing tennis in their clean white shorts. We would see other classmates heading for the golf course. Life didn’t seem fair.

“They would have a nice coat of tan. We would only be tanned around the neck. Maybe that is where the term ‘red neck’ comes from. We went to the same school in the same town, but we lived in different worlds.

“They went to the local movies. We seldom did. They would give each other the names of people in the movies like Tom Mix. We didn’t even know what they were talking about.

“We country boys took our licks, but the country girls had a rougher time. With clever skill, the town girls made fun of their dresses, shoes. As I look back, I think the country girls suffered a lot more than we country boys did.

“The town kids and the country kids were two separate groups until they got to the high school football field. They realized they had to work together on the team and they needed each other. And they wanted to win. They almost had to win because in those days high school football was a very serious thing for the school and also for the town. If you didn’t play football you were considered a ‘sissy.’

“I also think that as both groups matured in high school, they suddenly realized that country boys and girls could be as cute as town boys and girls. As the country boys and town boys developed friendship on the football and basketball teams, the girls also realized they had a lot in common. The prejudice between the two groups was reduced but perhaps never entirely removed.”

Interesting but kind of sad memories, Larry. Makes you wonder if that kind of feeling still exists out there. Sure hope not.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

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