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Sunday, March 20, 2011


Small town America has seen its better days. The current recession and recessions of the past have been very hard on small towns all over the country. The ones that have been able to survive are the ones close to a larger city. Most of those have, however been usurped by said cities and become almost suburbs. They don't have the same identity that they used to have. They seem to be minor extensions of the city. One boundary blurring into the next.

Those far away from the cities have not fared well. People have left. Those left behind often have to travel far to find jobs, gas prices making it harder and harder to stay.  They consider leaving, wondering what keeps them where they are.

Buildings crumbling around them many find it very hard not to move on. Yet they find a way to stay. They wonder if it is resilience or fool hardiness.


People in small towns have a connection to their town that city dwellers can't fathom. There is a sense of community that is unmatched. People look out for each other. People wave to each other when they drive by, even if they don't know each other. Willie loves that. He loves the friendliness. A small town is much more like an extended neighborhood. That I think is why people stay.

There is a pride that can not be denied. That leads to a hope for a better future for their home. They can still see the town as it once was. They remember the days when buses brought customers to the many antique stores. They remember the faces of the people anxious to find a bargain or a treasure. They hope the day will come again and revive their sleepy town.
There are glimmers of hope, at least here. Some of the empty buildings have been reoccupied, and some have been restored to their former beauty. There is a long way to go, but the journey has begun. Whether it can be sustained is a question only the future can answer.

There are many beautiful old homes here. Many at bargain prices. Which is probably part of the reason so many stay. They can't get enough out of their homes to make a move possible. Many of the homes that Willie and I looked at last fall are still for sale. Our home was on the market for over a year before we bought it. We have twice as much home at half the price here. I can walk to much of what  I need.  Bazinga and I can take our walks without fear, even after dark.

I can see people thinking there is nothing to keep them here. There is no shopping mall, no grocery store, not even a Wal Mart. But all of that is within a twenty minute drive. Honestly, even in a city you probably have to be on the road for twenty minutes to get to most of that stuff anyway. In the city that twenty minutes is spent fighting traffic. Here it is a more quiet drive.

It is a more quiet life in general. It takes some getting used to. It takes time to adjust. The little world that is a small town is not for everyone. But for those that grow up in it and choose to stay, their little town is worth staying in, worth fighting for. Worth hoping for a better future for the town they call home.

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