Friday, August 20, 2010

Small Town, USA

There are many movies being made about small towns and a sense of community.  Does this really exist?  I really want to believe that it does exist.  I remember that kind of community in my old neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia.  I have missed that sense of community so much that whenever I dream of my living in a place or dream about my being in a house, it is always my old house in this neighborhood.  I have often wondered why this is.  I am often told because I have missed as well as desire this sense of community in my life.

 I now live in Los Angeles, California and thought that I would find a place that would give me this warmth and feeling of belonging, but I was mistaken.  I find that the people here are very different than what I am use to, not that it is bad, just different.  It may be because I am in a novel place in my life where I want to enjoy the journey and not just anticipate the destination.  Big cities are all about the destination.  Even though the lifestyle here is pretty laid back, but mostly for the young 20 somethings that are trying to find their place in the world, or not. I am sure that these small towns exist where the people know each other by name. There is one or two grocery stores, a main library,  one or two churches, well you get the idea.  I would love to spend some time in as many of these places as possible to see what life is really like.   Are these people kind to one another, do they look out for one another, do they respect each others lives, etc. 

I would like to see what it is really like living in town like Mayberrry.  How they respond to someone that has lost their home, or has a spouse or parent that is terminally ill.  Where they really enjoy simple living, and proud of what they do for a living.  Is the lady that sells her preserves good at what she does and is proud of that. Does she do it for the money or the love of preserving the best that nature has to offer. This is something that I would really like to explore and share with the rest of the world.  We can learn so much from others and I love to learn by watching how someone else lives and responds to life. I recently visited a place called Cambria, in California and I discovered that there is small town atmosphere like what I described above.  Where the businesses are locally owned and these business owners are quite personable.  The people care about one another and are in fact their brother's keeper. 

While chatting with Debbi, the owner of the Wild Ginger Cafe, I told her that this was the kind of environment that I aspired to live in, and she told me that Cambria was in fact the right place.  I also chatted with Vivian, who is African American and the owner of a yoga studio. We met her as she was headed to her studio for a yoga class that my daughter and I was just informed about and invited to by another woman as we were entering a sandwich shop located below the yoga studio. 
These people were like talking to long time friends or family.

 While in the sandwich shop we met a couple of African-American college students that were on their way to San Francisco, after leaving school in Los Angeles and they told us how nice the people were in this town. They said that their car had broken down, and the tow truck came, took their car to a shop and them to a hotel. The driver paid for them to stay in the hotel the first night and the hotel proprietor gave them a drastic reduction in rates for the three days that they had to stay and wait on the part to come to repair their car.  They said that they were just so surprised at the kindness that they were shown during this emergency.  This was confirmation for me even before meeting Debbie. I feel a bit strange making the race distinction of these people when it clearly doesn't seem to matter to them.  I know, it is hard to believe that this would even be likely in a small town.  We so often associate small towns with small thinking and to my relief, that is not necessarily the case. Therefore another stereotype thrown out the window.

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