I grew up in a town of 220 people. When I was seven, my family and our neighbors went on vacation to California. The goal was Disneyland which had only recently opened. That took away eight people from my home town.
At the same time, my best friend’s family went on vacation to Colorado. They had five in the family. The biggest family in town, who had the only girl in our class, left for a trip to Kansas City. That was six people. Our small, public school was out for summer break. That meant three teachers were back in their hometowns.
In all, a total of 22 people were not part of my community for those two weeks. That’s 10% of our small town’s population. The economy must have really suffered.
My point is to show what happens in Maryville on May 1. There are at least 5,000 fewer residents in Maryville during May, June, July and most of August. That’s almost 30% of the populous.
A pizza store manager in town told me they run two delivery vehicles on summer weekends. That increases to as many as 10 delivery vehicles during some weekends when the college students are back.
I’m sure that most businesses are overjoyed the University is about to begin the fall semester. I can’t wait either. However, after going through this ritual for 10 years now, I want to pass along a few pointers and fall traditions.
I have a tip for the incoming freshmen. You have a huge advantage on your parents that lasts exactly one day. You need to jump on this chance.
You are leaving the nest to make your parents proud. They have visions of you becoming a doctor, politician, businessman or even a famous coach.
As you move on campus, your parents will make sure you have everything you need and then some. Take advantage of the situation to stock up on food, money and furniture. They won’t turn you down when you move on campus Thursday.
If you are a resident of Maryville, you don’t need this tip for next week, but it may come in handy for any newcomers to our community. The freshmen move in Thursday. There is this really large chain store on the southern end of town. It’s a great place for incoming students to take advantage of their vulnerable parents.
You MUST find an alternate route from South Main Street. It’s one of the few times you’ll ever see a traffic jam in Maryville. If you really want adventure, drive on South Main at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Kawasaki plant has a shift change about that time. Welcome to big city driving in the Ville.
Finally, here is the most important tip of all. It’s a safety tip for anyone walking on the Northwest Missouri State University campus next week. Don’t assume crosswalks work. Most of the school year, drivers know about college students, professors and staff wandering aimlessly onto crosswalks.
However, venerable, crazy parents that have just been ripped off by their freshmen children and those freshmen with their first-time freedom think their automobile has the right-away anywhere on campus. Men, women, children, pets and college students are not safe until everyone has been educated about crosswalk rules.
I could go on about the many campus secrets. They are well known by upper classmen, but they’re for freshmen to learn on their own. Thank goodness I can announce to all the starving businesses of Maryville, “They’re back!”