Published: October 21st 2011October 18th 2011
Where I grew up.
It was not purple when I lived there. But my bedroom was purple.
When my folks left Wolf Point in 1990, I had left in 1984, it was not under the best situation. They had put 20 years into this town and done much for it. But we had out grown our building and needed to move. The people were mad at us for moving, but there really was no choice. Our business, Wood's Powr-Grip Co., Inc. had been founded here in 1964 and we had added on to the building so many times that we were losing product in the building. My grandfather had started with a building the size of a convenience store and lived in the basement. Now we had over 60 people working there we were pulling all of those jobs out of a town that was only 4,000 people, this was going to hurt them. But the hurt now went both ways. It took me 10 years to even go back for the first time in 2000. I was still not ready to let go of things. When we left there wasn't a pawn shop in town, now it was all pawn shops. It was not until my 25th class reunion that the wounds were able to heal in
Every year at the beginning of July we have our big rodeo. It is the only time we have a traffic jam in town.
Going back in 2007 was really healing. I can't explain it well. When I went back it was very strange that time. I found out why I am the way I am about many things. The people knew me in a way no one else did. Attitudes were what I had towards others. People talk to each other here. Not just friends talk, but everyone talks, even the first time you meet w/o an introduction. The first night of my reunion there was a street dance. I had not been on the street more than 10 minutes and a young man was asking me for a light. I had never met him, but I could see why I could talk to strangers now. I strike up conversations with all kinds of people I have never been introduced to when in line at the store or just standing around at the gas pump. Most people are afraid to talk to the people around them. this is not an inhibition I have ever suffered from. I understood why.
Growing up here is almost a cloister of type. People do not get out much. I have always traveled as long
Gabby can really dance.
as I can remember, but did not realize how little others in the town traveled until I was in high school. We had to do a project on the highlights of our life. One of the kids stood up and said that he had been able to go to Billings, Montana. To them Billings was the big city and it at that time did not even have 90,000 people in it. As far as we knew, the whole world revolved around us and it was the best place to be.
In many ways growing up there was the best. The freedom it afforded me was not something I could have found in a city. How many kids in a city could be out til all hours of the night playing kick the can and not have to worry? We could go anywhere at any time and feel safe. We would often be gone all day and our folks did not have to worry. The only time Mom really worried was when Bryan would go sledding at -20F for hours and she could not go check on him because she had other babies she could not take out into that weather.
When I became a teenager and was going through all of the hormone garbage, I really don't understand today how city kids get through it, I had the help of the nature around me. The whole town is only 2 miles by 2miles, so when things got all messed up I could be away from everyone within a matter of minutes. I did not need special permission to go out of the area to get out of town, it really wasn't that far. I typically would go sit by the Missouri River which runs just south of town and look at it. Soon the tears would come and the hormones would be back to normal and the whole would would be right again. Water has that affect, especially moving water.
Wolf Point is on a reservation. There are two waring tribes here, the Sioux and the Assiniboine. Poplar, 22 miles to the east, is primarily Sioux and Wolf Point is primarily Assiniboine. This association truly colored my world in wonderful ways.
The climate makes you strong here. Living here is not for sissies. In the summer it hits 110F and in the winter will drop to -40 for weeks and then warm up to 20F. You do not see the ground between November and April, everything is frozen. I remember my senior year it was really cold. We had it drop to -100F with the windchill, for over a week. You had to breath through something or you could frost bite your lungs. Skin could freeze if it was not covered in a matter of minutes. It was the only time we had a snow day, the closed the school for 2 days because no one could get their car to start anymore.
Then there was pow-wow season. You could hear the drums for miles. Ever try puppy dog stew? Actually they are really colorful. The girl here is doing a jingle dance and won an award for her dancing. She belongs to one of my best friends of over 40 years now, Noreen.
Wolf Point might not be for everyone, but it was what I needed growing up and it is a world of it's own.