By Abe Villarreal

Sometimes I feel my life is an episode of The Wonder Years. Like Kevin Arnold, the teenager whose life is the center of the show, I can hear myself narrating my thoughts. It seems everyone can hear what I’m thinking but really only I can. 

Kevin goes through the ordinary ups and downs of life in the coming-of-age series. He falls in love with his childhood crush. He sometimes hates his best friend. He tries to reason with his parents. His older brother is his biggest nemesis. 

We can all relate, but where I see myself in Kevin, is realizing the big, important things in life, in the small, seemingly ordinary things of life. 

Kevin grew up in the late 1960s when almost every social norm of American life was being tested. From civil rights to the Vietnam War, rock and roll music, to women’s liberation, what a time it was to grow up. While Kevin was impacted by these historic events, it was the happenings of his traditional, small town life that changed him from youth to young man. 

I think this is what most of us experience. We’d like to think that the historic events of our past changed us in monumental ways, but in reality, it’s hard to know that you are living through history, when history is something you reflect on from a distance. 

As we get older, we reunite with best friends from our youth. We share stories of childhood pranks and times when we challenged our parents. We remember what seemed like unforgivable differences between us, that turned out to be laughable and silly moments. Usually, what we think of most are the life lessons we learned through the bumps in the road, and the times that caused us to step up to find something in ourselves we didn’t know existed. 

Kevin Arnold had many of those moments. Maybe that’s why I see myself in him. We all had those moments. Like the time you figured out your best friend was your best friend not because he was cool or popular, but because he was different and unlike anyone else. 

There was also the time you realized that family meant more than anything in the world. That’s a hard one to acknowledge as a teenager because most of your time is spent thinking you know more than your parents and that your siblings are just distractions to what’s really important in life. 

In one episode of The Wonder Years, Kevin, his crush Wendy Kooper, and his best buddy Paul Pfeiffer are devastated to learn that a nearby wooded area called Harper’s Woods is going to be converted into a shopping mall. This seems like the end of the world to them. It’s their secret hiding place. The home to secrets, hidden kisses, and playground memories that can’t be replaced. 

They vow to make sure that Harper’s Woods will remain that special place to them. They band together and attend a town hall meeting to make their concerns known, but the problem they face is that no one cares about Harper’s Woods like they do. So, they make one final visit to the construction site to respect a place that gave them so many life lessons. 

We all have had those occasions in life that cause us to appreciate what made us who are today. We may not read about them in history books, but to us, the quiet moments between friends at the neighborhood park, and the occasions of reconciliation with family members are just as big, and just as life changing that they remind us we are just as ordinary as kids like Kevin Arnold and his friends.

For most of us, it turns out it is the simple moments of life between regular people who love each other, that teach us what is most important. Just like in an episode of The Wonder Years. 

Abe Villarreal writes about the traditions, people, and culture of America. He can be reached at

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.