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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

roots

My family moved there right around the time I was born.  I spent my first 20 years there.

I was a happy kid, growing up in our brick house with my parents and two older brothers.  The town we lived in was a small coal mining town.  Not tiny, it had a population of about 9,000.  My memories of growing up include the usual stuff, I suppose.  My friends, school days, teachers, boyfriends, extracurriculars, favorite music, etc.


brick streets = ratlly cars
The town itself was not without its quirks, as I suppose a lot of small towns are.  There are the trademark brick streets, the many bars and liquor stores offset by a few Catholic churches, the rumors of mafia activity, the brujo stories.

The residents are not typically affluent, but they are generous and friendly.  There were plenty of large families that made for huge weddings.  Some, it seemed nearly the whole town was in attendance, and yet everyone managed to take home a plate of homemade Italian cookies.


Oh, and it also happened to be the sex change capital of the world.

Not the sex change capital of the west, not the sex change capital of America, but the sex change capital of The World.

A certain skilled and pioneering surgeon, who also happened to have a preference for small town life, gave it that distinction.

The story has it that a woman approached the good doctor and asked if there was something he could do about her dislike for her female body.  Surgically.  He couldn't at the time, but that didn't stop him.  He learned.  And that got the balls rolling... so to speak *ahem*.

There have been news segments, a documentary was made, but I think for most of us that lived there, the title didn't affect our day-to-day all that much.   Around the state, however, my hometown seems to be known for that one thing and that one thing only.  It has sort of a carnival side-show connotation.

Whenever I tell someone where I'm from, I brace for the awkward silence, the raised eyebrows, the questions, the furtive glances - searching for an Adam's apple perhaps? Some stray facial hairs?  Big hands and/or feet?

Outside of Colorado, most have never heard of my little hometown, unless they have a passing interest in "gender reassignment surgery"....  or Gunsmithing school.

1980 something something...




To me, it's just where I spent my formative years.  It's just where I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime.  It's home.



And I don't know beans about Gunsmithing either.






19 comments:

  1. What a cute small town! The picture you have up there reminds me of the tiny towns we visited in Alaska - minus the brick roads. I love the small town feel, but cannot rid myself of the desire to be around a lot of activity. I guess that's the Boston in me!

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    1. "A lot of activity" was not my hometown's strong suit :)

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  2. Much of what you describe sounds similar to the town I currently live in. Six bars offset by one Catholic church. Not particularly affluent, but generous just the same. We're just a wee bit smaller... like 8400 people smaller.
    So you lasted 20 years. I'm on 14 years and anxious to get out. Then again, we don't quite have the fame that your hometown has.

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    1. Yeah, it was tough to leave the "spotlight" after 20 years. No it wasn't.

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  3. I've always been a bit jealous of the small town experience. I grew up in a city big enough that smaller communities were established by neighborhoods. So by the time I grew up, I was anxious to live somewhere smaller and quieter.

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    1. I liked being a "small town girl". It's a lot different than how my kids are growing up, but then the world is different too.

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  4. Another defining characteristic of this small town is just how remote it is -- nearly 150 miles away from the nearest mall! No doubt the ol' snip&tuck put it on the map, but boy, not much happens there otherwise.
    I'll remember it for its clean air, delicious climate, and all the things you mention.

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    1. Yeah, but thank goodness for Loaf 'n' Jug!

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  5. Trinidad?

    I've never lived in a small town where I'd see the same faces constantly. The closest thing to that would be where I live now--the suburbs.

    You look cute in your mom jeans... of course they weren't mom jeans in 1980 something someting.

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    1. I was curious and came back to watch the Trinidad movie trailer link. Have you seen the documentary?

      While watching the trailer, one of the titles of the "related" videos to the right was a bit distracting. Did Mr. Biber distract the town back then?

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    2. Nope, never watched the documentary. Distracting related videos? Not surprising! I don't know if Doc Biber was a "distraction". I remember him as just a regular guy - always used to see him at the tennis courts. Public courts, not the country club. In addition to his notable work, he did plenty of tonsillectomies, appendectomies, and the like for the townfolk. As one friend said after his appendectomy, "The first thing I checked when I woke up wasn't my appendix!"

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    3. and... total Mom jeans. I don't miss the 80's!

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  6. I grew up in a small coal mining town to, also about 9000 people, only I am fairly certain not the sex change capital of the world, as that designation was taken :-D

    How you gonna kick it? Gonna kick root down!!

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    1. Hmmm... our sister/brother city??

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  7. I grew up in the suburbs outside of the big city. Early on was in the refinery town of Baytown, later we moved to Chatham Township, New Jersey. About the same size as Trinidad, with a lot of people who would commute to New York for work. Always loved small town life - the pace is a lot slower, more interesting.

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    1. You're a Yankee? Here I thought you were a forever Lone Star Stater.

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    2. Oh, yeah. I have to admit that I was a Yankee for a few years. Not something I am proud of but it is what it is. Lived in Jersey for a few years before my dad got a job back in Texas. We don't talk about those years all to much.

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  8. I grew up in the town that I now live in. It has seen better days and had better Christmas Trees.

    I might take some pics and do a post about my town - thanks for the inspiration!

    As for your town, it sounds like a good solid place to grow up - you could have done far worse, even with the reputation! :-)

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    1. Still living in your childhood hometown? That's kind of sweet (despite the current Christmas tree)

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