A childhood in a Burgenland village is like winning in the Lotto of life.
Yes, a big city has its merits but you cannot beat growing up in the country. Foundations are made that are unshakeable. Even when the children do go on as adults to live in the big cities, they are a breed apart. Growing up with a rural background does that for you.
Bob and I were invited to a 50th Birthday party last night. We are still rather new in the area but it was a treat for me to see how connected most of the people there were. No, not connected with Internet or Mafia! They have those invisible yet rock solid strings of friendship and a life shared together.
They had stories to tell of being young together. Stories of sneaking out to go to a party together. Stories of spending holidays together. What was common to all those stories was that feeling of being there for each other and being there for the major ( or minor ) stages of each other's lives. That alone in today's obsession with working everywhere but home, is priceless.
I realized yesterday that there is a reason for keeping old photographs. Proper ones not the digital type. They might be a bit grainy compared to their digital cousins, but they are jolly good fun to take a peak at. When you are 50, photos depicting your roaring 20's are great reminders of the fun had. Last night, most walls had a sprinkling of those permanent reminders of youth.
What struck me straight away, is that the friends on these grainy photos were mostly the same friends there last night. Thirty years on and they are still there. The pinnacle of friendships. Oh, some looked nothing like they do now. Some hair has waved goodbye, some waistlines have expanded and of course hairstyles that were trendy then are no longer so. Oh, I am pretty sure that through the years they have had tiffs like the rest of us, but that is part of a great friendship.
Their are new generations of youngsters growing up in our village. A lot of the friends there last night, did go to Vienna or other big cities to experience a life outside of a village. Mostly to study and get better jobs. But when they started their families most moved back to our village to raise their kids.
I'm sure they want their kids to experience that same easygoing childhood they had. Granted, the number of small children here is not what it used to be but the community is working on that.......yes, that way too but also in another way.
Most villages give you a settling bonus. If you move into our village permanently, the village gives you a lump of money to sweeten the deal.
As if that would be necessary!