Small Town Mentality
A new day has dawned.
Is a small town right for you?
In this article, I will explore the pros and cons of living in a small town. Perhaps you are considering moving to a small town and wonder what it would be like.
Hopes and Dreams.
My great-grandparents owned a house on the corner.
By age 4, I was standing on the corner of Route 1 and Route 117, waiting for the annual town parade to begin. Clowns throwing candy off the back of a float, the dresses of baton twirlers glistened in the sparkling sunlight peeking through tree tops.
The occasion was the first ever annual July 4 parade.
I was apart of that parade, too afraid to run up to the sidewalk from my great-grandmother's large front porch to chase after the fallen candy strung along the road.
Like anyone moving to a small town today, my great-grandparents had bright hopes for making dreams come true.
Growing up in a small town.
Small towns all across the nation have one similarity in common. It's hard not to meet up with someone out in public every time you run to the bank, grocery store or post office.
When I was growing up, my grandfather worked for a factory in town. He was a plant foreman and managed about 400 people. Needless to say, it was not often that we didn't recognize someone anytime we left the house.
A lot of people knew of me, yet I didn't necessarily know of them.
As I got older, and started working, I met many people who had been friends with family members through the years. My family was well known in this area.
At one point I picked up a side job waitressing at the local deli. When hearing my name, the owner asked if I was related to the people that owned the old farm. Indeed my grandfather was a farmer. He owned a private home farm.
She told me the story about the drive-in movie theater in town before they built the library and senior center.
In the field across from the public elementary school, there was an open field with a drive-in movie theater. It was the thing to do in those days. Cars would drive up to speakers so they could hear the movies on the screen. One day she was at the movie theater. Her window was rolled down. She was eating popcorn and watching a movie on the big screen when a cow walked by and stuck his head in her window.
Living in an old town has its perks. Everyone knew who the cow belonged to. My grandfather walked over and rounded up his cows to come back home.
It's amazing that stories like that are what make an old small town unique.
All places have a dark side.
The dark side of a small town.
All towns have their share of problems. No town is exempt from them.
I quickly learned as a young girl that small towns were more than parades and old family stories.
When you grow up in a small town, everyone knows who you are. If you've ever gotten the feeling that someone is watching you, you could be right in a small town.
I learned a hard lesson in life at a young age. You can't trust anyone. People have their own agenda and it's not always in your best interest.
Before considering moving to a small town....
There are things to consider before moving to a small town.
- People talk. People just love to hear themselves talk whether they are right or wrong. It inflates their ego to feel in charge of something even if it is to the detriment of others.
- Early curfew. Sidewalks roll up early every day in a small town. After 7 p.m., there's really no activity beyond one's own doorway. So much for night life!
- Small government. Good luck at the next town meeting trying to change things for the better. Small towns have small governments. It means that your tax dollars will go to whatever the government sees fit. Don't waste your time trying to change minds. Small towns are established with deep roots.
- Lack of privacy. When you live in a small town, you are subjected to a lack of privacy simply because you dwell in such a small confined area. Your house could be 5,000 square feet big. Yet it doesn't matter because everyone knows who you are and what you are doing whether you know them or not.
At one time our town was home to big corporations.
In fact, there was an infamous legal battle over the river one town over where the corporation was fighting an eminent domain case and won. Homeowners had their homes seized at merely a percent of what they were worth so the corporation could build larger buildings.
Yet, not even five years later the corporation pulled out of our area to move their business overseas so they could avoid paying taxes.
They left our county in ruins, leaving massive structures of brick and glass buildings to be seen from across the water ways. The people who once lived there still grieve over the loss of their family homesteads.
Jobs were lost. People went bankrupt. Homes were taken in foreclosure.
Big businesses do not mix with small towns. Partly because what they don't realize is that when big business builds in small towns, big business foot most of the property tax. Especially in circumstances where the majority of a small town is poverty.
Having grown up in a small town...
The smart ones succeed. They move away. The oldest of my family members moved to California and worked for Disney until retirement. She lives among movie stars in her modest home, with the stories to share about the rich and famous.
Growing up in a small town, I wanted to better myself and pursued a career. I moved away for a while. I realized my dream and worked in my career for 12 years before I married and had children.
I moved back to be closer to my roots. I wanted my children to know who their family is and to hear all about the tales of the town dating back to when my great-grandparents established their home which has since been turned in to a big brick commercial building.
Remembering a time when I used to be able to ride down the street and hear the horns beeping as passersby recognized the girl with the blond hair on the Schwinn bike.
Now even if I go to the local pizzeria established in 1958, where my family has eaten for many years, I don't recognize a single face.
At the school where my children attend, I don't know any of the other parents as they all moved here within recent years from a far away city. They don't usually stay. Within a few years they usually move.
When all is said and done, at the end of the day, my family embraces the memories of a town of old time's past. Where we knew everyone and knew where we stood.
Today it is a mistake to think we know anyone.
Soar like an eagle.
Everyone knows of you whether you know them or not
People develop resentment and harbor negative feelings
Family close by
The opinion of the people doesn't gain popular vote in small government
Small government = public places are well maintained
Little to do at night/early curfew
Small business, been around for years
Big corporations take over everything and then leave destruction behind to avoid taxes
Skeletons in past times you may wish to forget
If I had an opportunity, I would move away from this small town.
Even though it's rich in history and family roots, I speak from experience when I say it's not necessarily best to stay where you are planted.
I look at my aunt in California who realized her dreams and she is now 90+ years old. She has never turned back.
Maybe I've just lived here too long and need change.
Speaking from heart-felt memories, heed the advice of those that have lived it. Establish your roots where you can blossom.