6 Things You Loved About Growing Up in the South
Growing up is sweeter in the South.
We all have happy memories of growing up in our hometowns. No matter the season, growing up in the South brought sights and sounds that we carry with us always: never-ending summer days spent in the warm Southern sun, Friday nights in fall cheering for the home team at the football stadium, Christmas dinners at tables full-to-overflowing with homemade dishes, and springs spent planting flowers and vegetables and tending the garden out back. Growing up in the South provides an education for life. We learned how to tell stories, how to tell the truth, and how to cherish our families. We grew up with the changing seasons. To this day, when the seasons shift—whether it’s the spring thaw or the air turning crisp in the fall—we remember these childhood moments, these Southern memories that remind us exactly why we loved growing up in the South. And why we want our kids to grow up in the South too.
No one does a holiday quite like a Southern family. Whether it’s Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, or Thanksgiving, growing up in the South includes days and weeks spent looking forward to the arrival of a holiday. We plan menus, parties, dinners, and invitations so that we’re ready when a holiday finally rolls around. On those days, the house fills up with family and friends, all gathered around the table to eat a plateful of home cooking and enjoy each other’s company. For Southerners, those childhood holiday memories are some of the most vivid. When everyone gathers together, it’s certainly a time to cherish.
Fall Football Season
Fall in the South is punctuated by Friday night football games. Bedecked in your team’s colors, cheering until the final buzzer, there’s nothing that can compare to those hours spent bundled up in the bleachers, watching the game unfold on the field below. Football is a fixture in the South, whether it’s in the form of SEC games or high school rivalries, and we know that, when growing up in the South, you can certainly count on the whole town to show up with their pom-poms and megaphones.
Families pass heirlooms from generation to generation, but while growing up in the South, we learned that sometimes the most treasured inheritance is a recipe. Whether it is the family cornbread recipe or a good hummingbird cake, in the South, food is filled with memories and a sense of tradition. We watched our mothers and grandmothers flip through cookbooks and peruse recipe boxes, every now and again taking out a creased and stained card. Once they’d settled on a recipe, we helped them gather ingredients from around the kitchen for an afternoon of baking. Then we tried to wait patiently so that we could enjoy the fruits of our labor at dinnertime. Food in the South is an experience, one that teaches the importance of family time and of cherishing and keeping alive what’s passed down to you.
The Great Southern Outdoors
Spare time in the South is spent outdoors. That is especially true when you’re a kid growing up under the pine trees, in the mountains, or on the Southern coast. Far from sitting in front of the TV, growing up in the South has always required hours of running around outside, making discoveries, using your imagination, and playing pretend. Growing up, we made our own fun, whether in the backyard or the woods, and that sense of imagination, inventiveness, and creativity promises to serve us all our lives. Thanks to this childhood time spent outdoors in the South, we learned about agriculture, we know our planting seasons, and we do our best to be good stewards of the earth.
Growing up, we learned almost all of our lessons from our family. They have always been the quirky cast of characters in the stories of our childhoods. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—they all played a part in the journey of growing up in the South. They helped us with our homework, taught us games, and told us stories. But much of what they taught us can’t be pointed out or written down. What they taught us reveals itself in the ways we carry ourselves through our lives. It is a way of living—with dignity, honesty, and compassion—that is imprinted indelibly in our memories of family.
There is strength in numbers. When hard times hit, Southern communities rally around each other, coming together to support each other and help each other through the storms and into the sunshine. Growing up, our communities taught us to lean on our neighbors, to offer our help and accept it in turn. Southern communities certainly aren’t afraid to celebrate each other, which makes growing up in a Southern town so much fun. With each season, Southern communities fill their streets with festivals and events to showcase the best of the town and the best of the community—both of which we know so well.