Carrie Underwood Says She Had a ‘Free-Range’ Childhood

One thing that set American Idol winner Carrie Underwood apart from some of the other contestants was her small-town upbringing. Here’s what she once said about her “free-range” childhood.

Carrie Underwood grew up in Checotah, Oklahoma

Carrie Underwood | Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
Carrie Underwood | Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Underwood was born in Checotah, Oklahoma back in 1983. In her book Find Your Path she describes it as “a small country town full of wide-open spaces, pastures and woods here and there, family farms, and, best of all, decent people who look out for each other.”

She says the best part of her hometown is the peace and quiet. “What I love about Checotah, other than the people, is the quiet,” wrote Underwood. “Step outside, and all you’ll hear are birds singing, cicadas buzzing, the wind. It’s peaceful. It’s simple. It’s home.”

Carrie Underwood’s ‘free-range’ childhood

Underwood says she had a lot of freedom as a child. She says she and her friends used to “roam the countryside” and spend a lot of time outdoors.

My friends and I spent a lot of time outside, hunting for snakes, scooping tadpoles and turtles out of the pond to look at them, catching frogs in the ditch or fireflies in the fields at dusk (and letting them go again), chasing each other through the pastures and backyards and little stands of trees here and there.

My family didn’t have cable, so we had maybe five TV channels. What else was I gonna do but go play outside? When we weren’t in school or sleeping or called in for family dinner, we were usually out there running wild.

Carrie Underwood, Find Your Path

 Underwood says she is grateful for the type of childhood she had. She enjoyed the freedom to do what she loved and learn new things. “I’m grateful for my free-range childhood,” wrote Underwood. “It was fun and interesting, and I had the freedom to explore and learn about what I loved—animals, sports, and singing. And I was always active. My friends and I were always running around. It wasn’t something we even had to think about. It was just the way we all were—and if you ask me, that’s the way life is meant to be.”

Carrie Underwood says she was ‘lucky’

The country singer doesn’t take her serene childhood for granted. She says she feels “lucky” to have had such a great experience. “I think I was lucky to grow up in a place and at a time where kids didn’t need to be overly supervised, although the older neighbors who were home most days usually kept one eye on us kids to be sure we were OK,” wrote Underwood.

Underwood says that even though the kids would run around freely, neighbors and friends looked out for them. “In a place like Checotah, everybody knows who’s coming and going,” wrote Underwood.

“You’d see this person’s car or know when that person had a visitor. My friend’s grandpa lived across the street from us and he always knew when we were climbing his trees. He’d come out and sit in a lawn chair in the grass. We’d throw apples down to him, and he’d peel them. It was a win-win. We had fun, and he had his apples for the week.”

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.