From about kindergarten to second grade I lived in a rambling two story house that was called the 'parsonage'. Now a thing of the past, a parsonage was a house owned by the church for the pastor or 'parson' to live in. We had a big garden, with sweet corn, tomatoes and rhubarb. The church people, almost all farmers in rural Nebraska, would bring fresh cream to our front porch every morning.
I never heard of a shooting, a robbery, or any other crime in our little town. There was a community freezer that they called the 'meat locker' and everyone kept their meat there, which was usually local beef. I can remember the feeling of walking into it with my father on a warm summer day, nostrils constricting. We walked there, and walked home, as I recall.
We didn't own a TV although I had seen one at our neighbor's house. I spent long, lazy summer days playing in an empty lot we called 'the cliff', a section of raised earth that could have been no higher than six feet. All the kids in the neighborhood met there. We made roads in the dirt, and came home when we heard our mothers calling. It must have been close to home, but it seemed a world away.
My next door neighbor was a boy named Bobby, and he went to Catechism every week. Since we were Protestants, I wasn't sure what that was, but he brought home an individually wrapped pack of pretzels and usually shared them with me. Something about Catachism was good, I thought.
When I was in first grade, our garage burned down.
Fortunately, it was a detached garage, and the fire was caught before it spread to the house. But I remember coming home and blistered paint on the side of the house and feeling very relieved. For a long time after, when I heard a siren pass by at school, I was a bit scared.