|The Alltel where my husband and I purchased our cellphones|
I guess you could say I ran away from home. The countryside is gorgeous. The Shawnee National Forest with its renowned rock formations is simply breath-taking. The deer and turkey that dot the fields on either side of the highway always brought a smile to my face. But it wasn't enough.
|Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest|
I, like many I grew up with, knew I needed to get the hell out of there. How can you gain any ground when you are fighting a natural disaster every year? When will you be financially stable enough to meet your desire for small, fun things when some of the highest paying jobs (like the director of a certain department at the local college) caps out at 50k. HA! A relative of mine moved to Virginia with me. A job he's worked less than six months pays the same, and requires no college degree.
The difference between small towns and these metropoli is astounding to me. It's almost more than a country girl used to 4,500 people can take. The biggest thing I've been getting used to though? Hurricanes. When I first moved here, I thought they were terrifying. I'd seen the news clips of them in all their glory. But then I went through one. The year after that, I went through another.
At least with a hurricane you can see it coming days in advance. You can make the decision of, "Should I stay or should I go?"
I suppose, if I had any piece of advice to give to those struggling to put their lives back together (Oh, have I mentioned that they'll be facing more storms today that guarantees tornadoes?!), it's three little words. "Don't walk, RUN!" Take that insurance money and get the hell out of dodge.
But they won't. I know it, you know it, they know it. They won't because, when you grow up small town, it's hard to leave. Your family is there, your friends are there, all of your memories are there. My family died with my mother's passing in 2010. Without her to anchor me there, I found it easier to pack up and come be with my husband. I'd been planning to move anyway, but kept putting it off. Oh, he's on deployment. I'll move when he gets back. That kind of thing.
There are people I miss in my hometown. People that I spent Wednesday morning desperately trying to find out about. But you couldn't pay me to go back to Southern Illinois. Hell, once the kids are college age in my household, my husband and I have discussed our next step. We're moving to Colorado to be with his family. A nice quiet home in the mountains, where my biggest threat is snow storms. Yeah, give me a fireplace and I'm good. If I learned anything from Southern Illinois, it's how to cook a pot of soup over an open fire and keep the fireplace chugging.
My heart goes out to those dealing with the storms, Southern Illinois or not. I know other places got hit too, and I don't feel any less sorrow for them. I wish you all the best of luck in rebuilding and safety from the woes of the world for the rest of your lives. ~ D. F. Krieger