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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Country Kids, City Kids

In response to a question.

My dad grew up in the city and my mom on the farm, but both went full-time to work for their living at age 15 after graduating grade school.

Since most of my relatives were on my mother's side we went visited farm country often. Mom called it "Up Home." The rest of us just called it "Wisconsin." In Up Home Wisconsin we experienced a mild form of farm-toward-city prejudice. Uncles and Aunts and Cousins spoke of "these city slickers" from the damn "Cities" who couldn't do anything right. ("The Cities" was short for "The Twin Cities" of St. Paul and Minneapolis.)

I never felt it personally, but the references always puzzled me. After all, weren't we city slickers from The Cities? This vocabulary was so much a part of my relatives conversation and story telling that they didn't seem to know how to speak without it. They seemed oblivious to the fact that they were talking to city slickers up from The Cities.

One might expect the prejudice to be the other way.  However, that I recall, country folk were not where our jokes and prejudices came from nor went.

Many, perhaps most, kids had parents or grandparents who were immigrants from somewhere farther away than Minnesota and Wisconsin farmland. I didn't think about it much, but I remember feeling that such differences and prejudices were more significant to my parents' generation than to mine.

(c) from date of posting, by Bob Komives, Fort Collins 

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