Since the day I decided to venture out on my own and buy a house 11 years ago (and subsequently marry the realtor), I’ve had this deep-rooted desire to sincerely connect with a small town community. I’m pretty sure it stems from having moved so much as a child, but whatever the case, I’ve always wanted it. I had this idea that it would be charming to walk downtown to the deli, or bakery, or antique store – and they’d know me by name when I walked in (and naturally, a small bell would chime as the door to their shop opened). I would feel connected to those people in a very small-town kind of way – the kind of way where they would ask how my husband was doing, if I was going to grow my heirloom tomatoes this year, and if my cat – Leroy – was still afraid of the vacuum.
Of course, at the time, I had no husband, I’ve never grown heirloom tomatoes, and cats are well – cats.
But I still moved into said Small Town and started patronizing the local businesses. At first, all things were rosy and rainbowed, set against the scenic river backdrop. My old, tiny home’s walls thick with possibility, promise, and just a little lead paint. But in time, as I restored my home and attempted to make new connections, the dream of living in “pleasantville” started to fade. To my dismay, many of the downtown shops I liked so much closed as the real estate market took it’s historic nose dive in 2008. In addition, I wasn’t always able to find the things I needed downtown and (admittedly) the Big Box Stores started to win when it came to furnishing my home and, well, eating. But, it was still a small town with nice people, adorable homes, a scenic river, and that charming small-town vibe, complete with 4th of July parades and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.
And so, we stayed and persevered, and fixed up this little home, and trudged through the toughest financial times we’ve ever faced.
After 11 years here, I’m happy to report that business downtown has been on the uptick recently and real estate is getting better. At the same time, though, I’ve not connected in the way I really wanted to with my community, and I’m feeling sad about this. My husband and I have often waxed sentimental over the fact that we’ll miss this place when we move. Unfortunately, that means leaving my current small town – because there really aren’t any homes for sale in my town right now that will suit our needs.
And so, in the hope of attempting to atone for the sin of not fully connecting with my current small town, I’m hoping to start over – I want to truly connect with the next town in which we live. I’ve been getting excited about what new people, events, places, and adventures I’ll be having soon. Luckily, we’ve found a great home in a nice, small town (that unfortunately doesn’t offer as much “downtown” as my current town, but it’ll work nonetheless – there is, afterall, an antique store, thrift shop, deli, flower shop, pizza place, quilt store, and watering hole… what else do we need?).
There are a plethora of positive aspects to this move – but there are also some things that make me a little sad. While I’m ridiculously excited to be making this move, to a new town, where I can fulfill my wish to start over, make new connections, and find my place – all while learning from, and respecting, the place I’m leaving – I realize that I will inevitably miss my current community.
Especially the river. I’m really going to miss the river.
But, when everything pans out with this new house, I’m sure I’ll get distracted by the many new adventures I’ll be having, along with all the DIY/Restoration/Decorating things on the horizon, too… it is, afterall, an old, historic home in need of some love. Fifteen rooms’ worth of love, to be exact.
All of which will make excellent blog fodder!
Wish me luck.