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Aster's avatar

Would you live in a small town that revolves around its churches?

Asked by Aster (15727 points ) 1 month ago

My daughter wants me to move, eventually, to her town ten miles from here. It has a four lane road that runs right through the middle of it and a very low population of the nicest people I’ve ever met. There is no crime. The homes are off the road along with First Baptist Church, First Methodist Church, First Assembly of God and a Catholic church. There is one grocery store that is spotless and they carry your groceries to your car, a dozen places to eat and growing fast, a farmers’ market, one small bank, no hospital and one drugstore that delivers. In some neighborhoods you can live on a huge lake. About ¼ of the residents live on tracts of land that vary in size. As you would expect, possibly, there is some gossip. Home prices range from 40K to 450K. There are no bars or nightlife whatsoever. Does this sound like a town you could love? Or would you avoid it like the plague? The school system is known as “fair.” TIA!

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42 Answers

jca's avatar

It sounds like that movie The Stepford Wives.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

If I could live in a town like that I would feel like I died and went to Heaven. I’d move in a “New York minute”. yeah, I’m a New Yorker and would love to get out of here. In plain language, it sucks living here.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds appealing in many ways once at an age when I no longer want to travel and cannot get around well on my own. For now though, I will pass.

Aster's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat I am frankly startled by your answer. People come from all over the world to see New York and many of the most wealthy and famous people would not live anywhere else.

Aster's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer thank you for your answer. There is an airport fifteen miles away using Southwest Airlines.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Aster It may be nice to visit or live here if you were a rich celebrity or wealthy wheeler dealer but try being an average person.

A simple dinner out and a movie can easily be over a hundred dollars, try paying for parking or taking an hour to drive 20 miles. The price of food in the supermarket, a starter home for $400,000, high school taxes, property taxes of ten to 20 thousand a year for a middle class neighborhood, tickets for a play at a hundred bucks a ticket, overcrowding, crime, protesters, the feeling of always having people up your butt, English being a second language, being politically correct and never saying what you really want to say…...

The list could go on and on but there are just so many hours in a day. I’ve lived here for fifty years. I’d leave in a second If I could afford to bring my children and grandchildren with me. I stay for them.

ragingloli's avatar

Sounds nice on the surface.
But below the veneer probably lies a bubbling cauldron of bigotry, superstition and religious exclusionism.
Q: “Why do you not go to church on sunday?”
A: “I am an Atheist.”
And BAM! Stores and Markets: “We do not serve your kind here, satan worshipper!”
Now I can not buy food in town and have to order everything on the internet.
I will probably get assaulted by some Jesus Warrior and can not get treatment because there is no hospital.
Coppers will not help, because they are all in on the scheme.

tl;dr
the bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
I would not want to live there.

syz's avatar

No. Fuck, no!

I realized just the other day that I could never live in Charlotte, NC – too many churches.
Too many churches = too many judgmental, closed-minded people. <shudder>

Aster's avatar

@ragingloli that sounds horrible. I’m trying to think of how they’d handle such an announcement and my answer is I don’t think an Atheist would say such a thing in the town I’m speaking about. I think they’d keep their mouth shut. Far as cops are concerned, you might see one. A real sweet man who will most likely not write you a ticket. He stopped me for speeding once and just smiled. Same guy stopped my daughter twice and no ticket.

jca's avatar

@Aster: People coming from all over the world to visit the place does not mean they would understand what it’s like to live there or that they would want to live there. A big city like NYC is not for everyone. The details provided by @BeenThereSaidThat are just a start of what the issues are. Rents on a studio can be 2,000 dollars a month. Outside of NYC, a starter home starts at 200,000 easily and goes up from there. Taxes are very high. The list goes on.

jca's avatar

@Aster: So you’re saying an atheist should not say he’s an atheist in this town? He should keep his mouth shut? That does not sound like a town that many people would want to live in.

Aster's avatar

@jca my daughter and mother in law spent a week in NYC. She said the view at night from her hotel room was great, the food was fabulous but the beeping of horns got to her. lol And the waiters acted, to her, very tough and uptight until they got to know them. Then they got softer. Very strange to hear. I’ve lived a sheltered life. lol As far as not saying you’re an Atheist I honestly and truly have no idea what could happen. There would be absolutely no violence or threats to you ; I do know that . A neighbor might offer to pray for you. Not sure.

jca's avatar

@Aster: I’m not saying NYC is not a great city. It’s not for everyone, however. Many places are nice to visit but as always, living there is a different story.

I understand that there may not be violence toward atheists in this town you speak of, but if someone can’t be honest about their religion than that would cancel the town out as far as being a potential residence, for many people.

jonsblond's avatar

You just described where I live. I love it and it’s a great place to raise children. The only thing I hate is the gossip. You can’t escape it.

Not everyone goes to church, but many do. I wouldn’t know if anyone cares or not if I don’t attend church. No one has shunned me or told me I’m going to hell.

Buttonstc's avatar

@jonsblond

Well, according to @ragingloli‘s projections, you would have to buy everything off the Internet as all the stores there would refuse you service :)

And watch your back cuz any day now some “Jesus Warrior” will be attacking you and leave you bleeding in the street :) because you’re one of “those” (ya know, the ones who don’t go to church)

According to loli, your life there should be abject misery. So, how come you’re thriving?

We’ll have to do something about that right away ~~

ucme's avatar

They made a movie there, The Village, I didn’t like that either.
Made the Amish look like supreme modernists.

Buttonstc's avatar

@ragingloli

You do realize how ridiculous and alarmist you sound, don’t you ? :D

Good grief ! !~~~

jonsblond's avatar

@Buttonstc But loli may be right. Now that I think of it, Pastor Steve may have tried to kill my husband and I. He’s the father of one of my daughter’s best friends. He’s a very likeable man. All of the kids in town love him and my husband and I spend time talking to him about the Packers and our vegetable gardens. His garden is almost as large as ours. Well last year he invited over to pick some of his ghost peppers. Was it a ploy?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Buttonstc He doesn’t care he needs attention sooooooo badly the poor thing.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I have lived in towns like that. One of those towns welcomes new neighbors, and waving is like, required. There is gossip all right, but mostly benign.
Another small town was gossipy, and wanted no new residents, and called people newbies a decade after making residence there, because they weren’t “Born ins”. It was like living in one of those awful late night movies, where the people smile to each other all day, but you know SOMETHING is weird, and the sheriff is, well, a bit suspicious. I was never in my life so glad to be rid of something. I looked at it in the rearview mirror, and felt at last like my life had hope.
Each little town can have its own attitude. That attitude can be directly tied to those little churches, too. Some are open arms and love all type places. Some are self important and judgmental.
I LOL about the Stepford reference. Your description made me think of the town in Footloose.
I think it would do you some good to spend some time there, not as your daughter’s visitor, but blending in. Go to the drugstore, by yourself, pick up a few things, and see how they chat. Are they too busy talking to Aunt Bee to see you standing there? Is someone talking about Dave, and that flashy red car of his? Also visit the grocery store, and do some walking around, just to breathe “their” air. You can pick up a lot that way. When you go, just to visit, you limit your exposure.

Buttonstc's avatar

@jonsblond

Yeah, you’d better watch out. You don’t want your bodies ending up being the fertilizer for his peppers, now do you ?

:D

Aster's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers I go to their grocery store and spend about $70 about once every six weeks. I can only say they’re friendly and warm. Yesterday, a lady wheeled out my order and she said, “how are you doing today?” and I said, “great; I just visited my daughter. ” And she replied, “how I miss my mother. ” And I said, “no; I visited my daughter” and she said, “I know; I’m just missing my mother. She knew how much she was loved.” I had known this lady five minutes. After that I went to a drive up chicken dinner place. The list said, “two piece dark” and I ordered that. The girl said , “would you like two thighs instead of a thigh and leg?” and I said, “Yes, thank you and how is the okra?” She said, ‘I’ll go get you some” and she brought out a few on a fork for me to test. I didn’t test them; I said, “ok” and ordered them. Nobody was in line except for me. I also went to their farmers ’ market. Only one lady was working there. I said, “where are the other sellers?” and she said, ” they’re off because of the heat. May I help you with something?” and I said, “are those seedless watermelons?” and she said, “Yes; two for seven dollars. I’d be glad to help you carry them to your car.” I have no idea if all this sounds usual or unusual because I’ve lived down here for so long I’m used to it. The last time I went to the grocery store the teenage boy who carried out the groceries said, “have a blessed evening.” I have attended many Methodist church functions and I love the people. I participated in the Baptism of my granddaughter up in front.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Aster It sounds like an ideal town for you then. Not all small towns are as hospitable as this one.

janbb's avatar

Only if one of the churches was Unitarian Universalist. (Said only half in jest.)

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

It sounds so sweet. You are a lucky lady.

Coloma's avatar

This is a problem in many rural areas, even here in “liberal” California.
Many small, rural communities are inhabited by the old school fundamentalist types and finding more open minded, creative, intellectual types can be difficult. I have been dealing with this for decades in my area. Being a free thinking, bohemian writer type I have had a hard time finding compatible peers in my rural areas.

As always, some things are a trade off, beautiful, peaceful surroundings, low to no crime, but often lacking in intellectual stimulation. I loathe gossip, just loather it, count me out of that revolving loop of crap. haha

majorrich's avatar

Sounds like a great place to be from. Towns like that are disappearing from the map like crazy.

jonsblond's avatar

Our little grocery is the same. High school boys work as baggers and carry our groceries to our car, even if we only have a couple bags. The cashier will call for an extra cashier if there is ever more than one extra person waiting in line. They wish you a Merry Christmas and know everyone by name. It’s nice.

My SIL was visiting from Arizona and she about freaked out when she unloaded her groceries for the cashier and the bagger came to take her cart and exchange it for one of the smaller carts the baggers use. She went to yell at him because she still wanted to use the cart. She didn’t realize he was there to help.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I grew up in a small town like that. There were still plenty of heathens like myself. There was unfortunately a relentless assault of christians eager to convert and save the heathens by getting them to praise jesus and handle snakes. (I’m not really kidding about the snakes) some of them actually get the concept that not being a christian does not automatically make you a satanist. I did enjoy small town life. There were plenty of redeeming qualities. I would love to go back.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I Live in a town like that, it’s great. I don’t have kids so I’m not ‘in’ the gossip & no one cares who goes to church.

cookieman's avatar

Probably not, unless it was very near a good size city.

Be sure to say ‘hi’ to Norman Rockwell if you do move there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cookieman And whistle the theme to Andy Griffith! It’s simple but good, family values & healthy kids.

flutherother's avatar

It’s OK, I could exist there but it sounds soulless and unlovable. I wouldn’t choose to live there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Flutherother I guess you never watched Andy Griffith, it’s very nice. Slower, simpler, cleaner, we all help eachother

Darth_Algar's avatar

I grew up in a town like that. I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out. And no, they are not great places to raise kids, unless you want the kids getting into trouble because there’s absolutely nothing for them to do but get in trouble.

longgone's avatar

Got to love the generalizations on both sides.

Aster's avatar

@cookieman Nine miles out the highway is a small city of a little over 100K people. Two years ago the Baptists finally lost and they serve liquor in the restaurants now. Decades beforehand people would simply drink at home or pay a ‘membership fee’ to order alcohol. The Southern Baptists put up quite a fight claiming making it “wet” would ruin the town which hasn’t happened.
What I don’t like about either town is the lack of mountains and snow.

jca's avatar

Where I live, when a new restaurant opens up that does not yet have its liquor license, you can BYOB to the place, which can be a better option, financially. Of course, that’s no longer an option when they finally obtain their license.

cookieman's avatar

@Aster: Nine miles is not bad at all. If the city is fairly vibrant and has employment and entertainment options, then sure — could be nice.

As for the churches… unless folks are beating on my door demanding I attend church, I’d be okay.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DARTH Out of my grandparents kids, only two stayed, so I get that. My half sisters left & my bro & I stayed.

Coloma's avatar

I was raised in both a rural and city environment and then raised my daughter in a rural, foot hill/mountain area. She had a great upbringing, all the farmy pets, and is a major nature and wildlife and animal nut. She wanted to move to the UK and L.A. but now that she is older( almost 27 ) she wouldn’t mind a country house again. Personally I think while kids can get into trouble anywhere our community kept kids younger for longer.

Kinda hard to sneak out when you don’t drive and live a mile down a gravel road and 4 miles from the main highway and 19 miles from the nearest happen’in hub town. lol
Kid getting pissed off and threatening to run away:
“Have fun honey, don’t let the mountain lions get you!” haha

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