Love it or hate it, you have experienced these 19 signs if you grew up in a small town.

04-21-16,Flieg,SmallTownPhoto by Holly Flieg


If you’re from a small town, it more than likely shows in your appearance. It could be the way you talk, dress, or even your good manners.

The charming town I grew up in, Ste. Genevieve, is the oldest in Missouri and one of America’s oldest European settlements west of the Mississippi River.

It is known for its French architecture, historic houses, award-winning restaurants and wineries.

All of these characteristics make the town fascinating to tourists, but if you’re like me you probably can’t make sense of why anyone would want to vacation there.

Your habits and way of living are some aspects city people will never understand.

You know you’re from a small town when …

1. You have only two choices of fast food restaurants.

When you go out of town you always want to try someplace different because you’ve been eating at the same places your whole life. In Ste. Gen, McDonald’s and Subway are right across the street from each other.

2. The nearest movie theater is at least 30 minutes away.

You can’t make last minute plans because it takes time to get where you’re going and decide who’s driving.

3. Your teachers call you by your siblings’ name by mistake … or your parents’ name.

Your teachers have not only taught your older siblings, but also either taught your parents or went to school with them. Once they knew my last name, they knew exactly who I was related to and there was no denying it.

4. You are somehow related to nearly everyone in town. If they aren’t your cousin, they’re your second cousin.

This makes dating in high school almost impossible. You have to complete a background check before agreeing to go to dinner and a movie.

5. The entire town attends the high school football games.

From parents and grandparents watching their kids to alumni who wish they were still able to play, the stands are full at every game.

6. When you tell people where you’re from, you automatically explain where it is by referring to the nearest city.

No one ever knows where your hometown is located. It’s easier to tell them where it is before they even ask. “I grew up in Ste. Genevieve. … It’s about an hour south of St. Louis.” Everyone know where STL is.

7. Everyone knows who you are.

If someone in town is meeting you for the first time, they probably ask for your name and immediately after ask who your parents are. They always know your parents.

8. You know everyone from your graduating class.

Not only do you know the name of everyone in your class, you know who they’ve dated, where they live, their siblings, what kind of car they have and where they bought it.

9. You’ve taken a prom or senior picture in a field.

Why go someplace fancy in the city for a photoshoot when you can just go to your back yard? In good ole Ste. Gen the train tracks and family farm are the places to go for pictures.

10. You know almost everyone you see at the grocery store.

It’s like a high school reunion when you go anyplace in town, especially the grocery store.

11. “Y’all” is a part of your vocabulary.

You probably get asked about your accent every time you go to the city. Growing up in the southern half of Missouri, a Midwest state, I never really considered myself to be “southern.” It wasn’t until I moved only about 70 miles north that I was told I speak differently.

12. You’ve had to wait for the train to pass to get to your destination.

You know the ways around town to avoid the tracks, but sometimes you don’t see it coming and it’s too late.

13. Your county fair consists of a demo derby, tractor pull and cow bingo.

People prepare for this event all year round. It’s the weekend that everyone puts on their boots and returns home to visit with old friends.

14. You have an appreciation for agriculture.

You don’t complain when you get stuck behind a tractor on your way to school. In fact, you probably know the farmer.

15. You wear boots.

Not only does a majority of the town own a pair of boots, they are the perfect shoe for every occasion, including homecoming and prom.

16. A trip to the mall is an all-day event since it takes almost an hour to get there.

You don’t go shopping to just get one thing. You have to wait until it’s worth the gas money to visit the city. Until then you’ll have to make due with your hand-me-downs.

17. Everyone comes together during a crisis.

One of the benefits about the town being made up of families is that everyone is willing to help out.

18. Other people are fascinated by where you’re from.

Sure the town may have a unique history, but you’ll never understand why people travel there just to stay in an old house when there are so many other options to vacation.

19. You are proud of where you came from.

You have realized that you love your little town and all its quirks because the memories you have made with people who care are what made you the person you have become.

By Holly Flieg

Holly Flieg is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. She is a public relations major from Ste. Genevieve, Mo. After graduation, Flieg plans to pursue a career as an event coordinator.