Shortly after graduated high school I turned 18, and the thing I wanted most at the time was to get out of dodge. I had been living in small town Maine all my life and all I could think about was moving to a big city in some other state. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, those were just a few of the cities swirling around my thoughts, of course I didn’t move to any of them. I only got as far as Portland, Maine, and while I only lived there for a few years it gave me an appreciation for what I had left behind. Now I’m back to small town living, I have been since I left Portland six years ago, and while it’s not what I had imagined for myself I certainly wouldn’t change it.
Living in a small town may not seem like the most glamorous lifestyle but it has its perks. How does that Cheers song go? “Sometimes you wanna go…where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came”, well that’s what it’s like living in a small town. People get to know each other and care about each other, they do each other favors, like how the owner of the local bookstore always lets me know if a new book I might like came in or he’ll email me articles about books or authors he knows I love. Or how the owner of the bakery already knows my order when I walk in the door. Or even how you can gain some amazing long lasting friendships by getting to know the regulars at your job. These kinds of interactions show the kindness of the people living around you, but also show how they want to be the best to help inspire the rest of the community.
Two years ago, my town was dealt a harsh blow. This town had always been a mill town, the local paper mill had been providing hundreds of jobs for locals and people from surrounding towns for many years, so it came as a horrible shock when it was announced that it would be closing its doors for good. The mill had been sold to a scrap metal company and they would slowly begin disassembling is within the coming year. All those people lost their jobs just like that. There were many people that ended up moving out of state so they could have a job that continued to support their lifestyle, but not everyone, and many of the people left thought the town was sure to be on its way to ghost town status.
It was a dark time, yet while something of this nature could have gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of a big city, it was headlines in our small town and we weren’t going down without a fight. The loss of the mill was extremely damaging but the community came together and gave support to the families that needed it. The community came together for the businesses that had lost customers by hosting cash mobs and creating festivals to bring more people into town, ultimately helping many locals keep the doors of their businesses open. The community rallied together and drew more attention to this little town than ever before. There have been concerts and barbecues, outdoor movies and wine tastings and numerous other events I could go on about, and two years later the town is still here because people worked hard and worked together.
Living in a small town like this I feel safe, I feel comfortable, I know the people down the street and I know that there is support should I ever need it. We may not have amazing skyscrapers, national landmarks or supersized malls, but that’s okay. We have heart and we have soul. Living in a small town you can have a whole community just at the end of your fingertips willing to help you out. How can you go wrong with that?