"My lifetime experience living in this town." Joplin by readme

Joplin Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 46 photos

Chapter 1 "the early years"

I was born in California in a town you wouldn't know and transplanted to Joplin in the year of our lord 1973.
Since that time I have come to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this town is the utmost epitome of dull, unexciting, boring, lackluster and just plain dead! When I was a kid the only thing there was to do in this town was go to the skating rink or to the movies or go to the mall and "cruise for chicks"....every weekend!

You could go to a freinds house to sleep over and eat their food and watch thier tv. If you were lucky you could take your bike and ride around their neighborhood!

I on the other hand had a little better time than most. I lived on a dead end street across from a 13 acre field where I could take my bb gun and go shoot birds (no I never shot my eye out thank you very much!)

It came that about 1976 a good friend moved next door to me and his grandpa was a mechanic for toyota so he had tools out the yinyang and since I was mechanically inclined we got along real well. We would fix it if it was broken and break it just to fix it!

Then came the time when we got really mobile...not cars but we got a horse and a surrycart which would hold the 3 of us (us two and my brother). We lived in a small community on the east side of the main road in town called duquesne (pronounced doo-caine) and we went all over that place on the cart.

That was about it until we started driving.

Capter 2 "the formative years?"

Well my best freind Roy and I had gone through several years of tearing up and fixing things until one day we got wheels! we thought "things are gonna change now"...Yeah right! the only thing that changed was we could get to the other side of the main road in town without getting ran over! You see Rangeline back then was not like it is now, then you could actually walk across it once in a while, now you can barely merge into traffic at an intersection with lights!

We thought that we were cool cause we could go up to "main" and cruise half the night. Well looking back at it now it was boring as hell but then it was the "in" thing to do and if you were "in the know" you could occaisionally watch a good drag race!

Most people raced from 32nd and main south until there was a clear cut winner but the serious races were on Stephens blvd just off of 20th street by the case dealer.

You would line up there at the corner and race to the railroad tracks and whoever got there first was the winner. I saw several good races with classic musclecars of the era, guys would work on the cars all week just to race on the weekend. I guess I quit watching when they went to using nitrous oxide or NOS. I felt that it was an unfair advantage to the ones who could not afford it and those guys were dominating the drags.

I was never in their class to race against them but I did have an average car which was pretty quick for the money I had to spend. Mine was a 70 chevelle with a 307 engine mystery motor - they call them mystery motors because they run better than they are supposed to! I raced several times and won better than a 50% ratio. Now you know why I went to school part time and worked two part time jobs to pay my insurance! I had a freind who worked with me at Dennys late nights on the weekends, he had a 70 chevelle convertible and it was nice! he even showed it from time to time. One day we decided to see who could make it to the convenient store at 24th and rangeline first.

We lined up at the light at 32nd and when it turned green we both hit it hard. I jumped out in front of him and stayed there until I got over the railroad tressel by what is now Timberline resturant. As I was going over the hump on the other side he caught me and just left me. I didn't have any more to give. Now keep in mind I am running way past the 120 mph speedo and he FLEW by me. I had all the low end and he had all the top end, imagine both in one car! When I got the the store (seconds behind him) It was my turn to buy the pin ball until dawn.

Roy had a 69 Dodge Superbee that he rebuilt the engine on and that thing ran pretty well but before the BEE he had a 71 ford mach 1and a 67 pontiac Tempest. I am not sure if he ever found the top end on the mach 1 but I can tell you that the Tempest would run to 126 mph before floating the valves! The bee had so much low end torque it actually dropped the drive shaft during the initial engine break in...he did a power stall and let off the break and gave her hell - just when it started to move away from the cloud of tire smoke it gave way.

Fortuately we were at the top of the hill from the house and we just pushed it down the grade and replaced the u-joints.

Chapter 3 "skipping forward"

The previous two chapters were an insight to what it was like to be in a small town and not have any real activitvies for the younger generation, Yes I did have fun for the most part but it was something that had to be made "on your own".

This town has always been and will always be a trucking and retirement town. If the trucking industry left the town would die and the same can be said about the retirement community. I am now in my 40's and I have married twice and divorced twice. I have helped raise two kids who have went through the same things I did when I was comming up and NOTHING has changed.

From a youth point of view there is still movies, skating and going to the mall. Kids can still go to friends houses but now there are DVD and pizza parties at somones house.

The following are some of the things I would not recommend:

Letting your children go to the mall unattended - why you ask? let me list them from someone who has been security there tin the past:

1) the kids there are now in gangs, they travel in packs and create all kinds of trouble including fights and terrorizing girls, there have been rapes in the past and cars burglarized even kidnappings from the mall parkinglot. much of this you have seen in the news here but the mall wants to keep it quiet for obvious reasons.

2) I have seen numerous unnatural sex acts in the halls behind the shops and in the restrooms of both sexes between adults and kids alike so please don't just "drop off" your kids and figure they will be alright because they are with friends because they may wll be the problem or be involved in some way as a victim.

There is the Kage: a place to go if your under 18 until 11pm. Let me just say this: it is a place for kids to go and smoke, drink out in the parking lots and there are a lot of fights - if you don't believe me call 417-623-3131(JPD) and ask for the communications desk and ask how many fights there are there - hell there was even a stabbing there recently! Basically not a safe environment for you kids to go to.

I would say more but this is limited and I will close this line of thought by saying: Joplin is a town of slow driving, old, retired people and the city counsil refuses to help in that they will not see the need to have more youth oriented activities; they themselves are old, retired (mostly)people who don't really give a damn about anything other than how they can make more money for the city. It's a shame really because this town could be much better but for the local government.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:As an adult it isn't bad because you can still afford to live here
  • Cons:it sucks because there isn't any communtiy activities: out to eat and movies that's it!
  • In a nutshell:Retirement drivers who can't seem to drive the speed limit! nuff said!
  • Last visit to Joplin: Feb 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • Apr 5, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    You've lived here your whole life and that is your opinion of this town? Do you even go to the mall? Really? What a one sided and skewed look at what, for the most part, is a quiet and pleasant place. Why do you even live here?



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