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Country Mouse or City Mouse ?
Old 08-06-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
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Country Mouse or City Mouse ?

I am curious to see how different the lifestyle in the country and city and in between population density areas are.
I personally grew up very close to NYC, so I've had a taste of small suburbia and visits to the big city on a regular basis. I've lived in the country - formerly all dairy farmland now mixed with residential homes and small "cities" nearby - for 29 years now.
Let's hear about the advantages and disadvantages of country, suburbia, and city life as you perceive them.
Past recollections or stories about present situations are most welcome.

Funny or nostalgic stories, of course, along the lines of "my town (city) was so small (or big) that..." would be great.

For starters...

Country Mouse - my town is so small that the residents are asked to help out the local volunteer fire department by removing deep snow piled up around the fire hydrants in the winter.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:17 AM   #2
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I grew up in a small town in Pa. . I've been on cruise ships with more people than this town had residents . It was a great place to grow up . We could ride our bikes anywhere and be safe . The car dealer used to send us a birthday cake on the anniversary of when we bought our chevy . There were two Doctors and one was also the town vet .. The town was half Irish and Half Polish with train tracks separating us . My Dad was a state policeman and for some reason every Christmas cases of Jack Daniels would be delivered to our house . ( Could it have been a bribe ?) . The only industry in town were the factories . My Dad was a good friend with the man who owned the pajama factory so when we would come home from college complaining that we were not going back he would call him up and get us a job . The threat worked because we all graduated without ever setting foot in the pajama factory . I currently live in a larger city but I still love small towns so I guess I'm a City mouse with a country mouse heart .
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Where I grew up, entertainment consisted of Mooing out the back window and watching the cows come through the fence.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
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Country mouse. Our county just put in it's first traffic light a year or two ago. It's the county where Earl Hamner grew up and based The Waltons at.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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Country mouse. Our county just put in it's first traffic light a year or two ago. It's the county where Earl Hamner grew up and based The Waltons at.
Ha! Got ya beat.
The only traffic light in my small town has been there for about 15 years. The light is located on a state highway, all 2 lanes of it.
It was put there only because of a fatal accident. It had a long history of minor car accidents. A long term growth in population made the road a lot busier.
The road I live on, as well as others in the area, are named for the small townships the road connects. The same road changes names as you travel along.
I used to have a rural delivery box number until 911 service came along (unsure of which year?) to the county.
Edited - I looked it up - 911 service was activated in 1995.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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...There were two Doctors and one was also the town vet ..



I can just imagine the jokes this poor doctor had to endure.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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I've lived in the country a little, but mostly city and suburban dwelling. The country is beautiful, quiet, and there's no traffic; but, it comes with disadvantages. As a former co-w*rker (who grew up on a ranch) said, "in the country there is always a chore to do, equipment breaks all by itself even when you're not using it, and grass grows 24 hours a damn day. No thanks, I've learned to appreciate all this concrete."
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:30 PM   #8
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Country mouse.....We never did have a light....there was a small store/gas station, the school house and a church. Maybe 6 to 8 folks who lived "in town". The population was listed as 50 but to get to that number they must have included all the residents in a 2 mile radius! Today there is just an intersection, the church and school. Lots of logging communities folded over time.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:17 PM   #9
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Independence is growing up - used to be a threeway flashing stoplight at the T - now we have several around town. Used to be an "Isis Theater" here, known to locals as the "Is Is". Outside of town is a smaller clot of homes - Buena Vista - pronounced by locals as Boonie Vista or by the uptown crowd as Bue-nie Vista. I still see nutria, skunk, and racoon families on our porch and lawn, deer wander through on occasion from the wilder area by the creek.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:37 PM   #10
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City and suburbs for me growing up (mostly suburbs). We lived in SF for a couple of years when I was a kid, and I can remember lying awake listening to all the traffic on 19th Ave. Best part about living in the city? There was a playground, a movie theater, a super-market and an ice cream parlor all within two blocks of our house. Dad would walk us a block to the bus-stop for school, and then catch the streetcar to the office.

While there are advantages to city living, I'm an introvert, and would much prefer to live out in the country. No neighbors within sight? Perfect! DW prefers having neighbors close by, so we live in the 'burbs.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:57 PM   #11
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I grew up in a western PA steel town of about 25,000. I loved it. It was home to many hardworking and thrifty first and second generation Americans of various ethnicities. It is now a ghost town inhabited mostly by the elderly, younger people on the dole and drug dealers(or so I'm told by the elderly). My grandfathers both worked in the mill but sent all their kids to college. I have lived in NYC, Philadelphia, Long Island, Tidewater Virginia, the Monterey Peninsula, but presently live in a small western PA city of roughly 50,000 about 65 miles from where I was raised. It is a very pleasant place, and I feel fortunate to live here and to have good friends and a tolerable job. I consider myself an in-between mouse...suburban variety. I can be out in the country in about 10 minutes.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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There were two Doctors and one was also the town vet ..
Been there, ...

I recall my dad taking about serving on a jury in the 1940's in my small town. It was a rape trial and the defense called a witness who testified the accused's privates had been so badly ravaged by a dog attack that he was incapable of having raped the woman. Yep, the witness was the town vet.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:04 PM   #13
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I grew up in a tiny, poor, rural Texas town. The one thing I miss about it is the respect and deference afforded to regular folks. My family was lower-middle-class, but my parents had always paid their bills on time, as had their parents (in the same town). It is not as if the local merchants were @ss kissers, but there was a certain amount of respect that just went with being a member of a respected family, and the only requirement for being a respected family was paying your bills and generally being a good citizen.

A couple of anecdotes.
There wasn't any mail delivery except for rural routes, so everybody who lived in town had a post-office box. My mother went to check the mail every day and always stopped by the dry-goods store next door. She would shoot the breeze with the owner and clerks, and if she saw something she liked, she would take it home and try it on there. If it didn't fit she took it back the next day. If it fit, she just kept it and the bill arrived at the end of the month.

As a child, when I was downtown on my bicycle, I would often stop in to the grocery store for a Coke or an Icicle. I could sign the bill before I was 7 years old.

Both the head teller and the vice president of the local bank were in the same graduating class as my parents. I got my first checking account at 12. Shortly after I graduated from college and moved away, I had a wreck, doing several thousand dollars worth of damage to my car (a lot of money in 1977), and I was only carrying liability insurance. I didn't have the money to get it repaired so I called the bank and asked for a loan. They mailed me a check and the loan papers for a signature loan in the same package. I made them promise not to tell my parents. When I called my parents that evening, I was able to say that everything was taken care of.

In big cities, people just don't know you, so a reputation as a solid citizen counts for little. I'm sure clerks at Neiman Marcus recognize Michael Dell's wife and treat her with a great deal of respect, but the clerk at a convenience store - not likely. On the other hand, everybody in our little town knew who my mother was, and she was treated well everywhere.

Edited to say that I guess this makes me a country mouse living in the city.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:26 PM   #14
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I grew up on a farm 3 miles from a village of < 200. Today, DB still lives on the farm and to save money the village idiot has been elected mayor.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:22 PM   #15
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...The town was half Irish and Half Polish with train tracks separating us ...
I bet it could be an interesting conversation if you asked around town which was the "wrong" side of the tracks?

I grew up with plenty of Irish and Polish in my neighborhood in Pittsburgh. When I was young, the neighborhood was convenient in that there was everything you needed within walking distance. theater, groceries, department store etc... Several bakeries! All gone now. The bank, post office and a convenience store is all that is left. I guess we can blame it on the automobile and the flight to the suburbs. I would love to be near a bakery were fresh, home made bread was available every day! A good rye with seeds is something special.

When I was a child, the empty lots or "woods" were the places to escape to in order to explore the unknown. As I grew, the woods seemed smaller and some were removed for housing. Now they look like small lots of trees. Now that I am retired, I have satisfied my need for "woods" by living out in the forest of NW PA. Drive in to Pgh to see the folks once in a while.

That is how this city mouse became a country mouse.

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Old 08-06-2009, 09:12 PM   #16
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Where I grew up, entertainment consisted of Mooing out the back window and watching the cows come through the fence.
It sounds like you and I may have grown up in the same area.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:24 PM   #17
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Where I grew up, entertainment consisted of Mooing out the back window and watching the cows come through the fence.
And now, you live in a place where you do not need a car and can walk or take public transportation to wherever you want to go.

We must admit that we can never "go home" again, or rather that we do not want to.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:28 PM   #18
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I was born in LA but moved up to rural central California when I was young, where we had a nut orchard. We lived 3 miles from the little town, population about 160 at the time. Kids came from as far as about 10 miles away to go to the elementary school in town. We had two small stores (smaller than most convenience stores today) and a post office, and a little church. There was 1 stop sign, on the road that ended in a T. If you were driving the top of the T, if you blinked, you would literally miss the town...no stop sign. Like Moe whose town was smaller than some cruise ships, there were fewer people in our town than on most commercial airliners.

After college, off to Tokyo I went and have spent 18 out of 24 of my career years here, with a 6 year stint in the states. When we went back to the states to live in the 90s, DW complained that there weren't enough people in our town of 40,000. Then when we moved back to Japan again, she began complaining that she never wanted to live in a big city again. So, we bought a 2 acre place in a little hick town of a few hundred souls, about 30 miles from where I grew up. That is where we built our home, which we use during home leave and which will be our retirement home (for the early years anyway).

I'm a country boy at heart, living in the big city, and sometime down the road me and DW will be country mice again. We love it out there.

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Old 08-07-2009, 12:45 AM   #19
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....

We must admit that we can never "go home" again....
The cows can't go home again, either. There's a WalMart in the pasture and the woods where they went sometimes to crossover into our yard now has condos and roads. I believe the farmhouse was moved to another location, silos are all gone.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:26 AM   #20
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grew up in a small town of 3000 -now live a few miles outside of the same town. We also got our first stoplight about 20 years ago. Some of the neighbors had never driven through one before that. Now it seems like we are being overtaken by suburbia.
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