What are the advantages of living in the country? I put this question to my husband who has lived in the country all of his life and would never want to live anywhere else. He thought for a second and said, “more space and closer to nature.” He was eating breakfast so I didn’t press him any further on the subject. Being married to him, I pretty much knew what he would say and I knew he would not agree with any negatives I might come up with.
We know a number of couples who wished they had a farm but never bought one. Maybe they came to their senses. We have acreage which at one time was farmed. Considering that it isn’t now being farmed and brings in no income, the taxes we pay on it are incredible. Besides, in order for it to remain cleared land, it must be mowed every few years or trees soon take over. We either keep a tractor to do that or hire the work out.
It costs us more to go to town for business or shopping. There’s no bus service here and the increase in gasoline prices makes a half hour trip to town, costly. If space is what we want we have that and I confess we enjoy our four acre lawn. We seldom see our neighbors, but then I hear city people say the same thing. I doubt if our neighbors care if our lawn is mowed or not. This is not always so when living right next door to someone. My husband did mention gardens, but on a trip through town we see gardens tucked into small back yards, bigger gardens then we have. And have you noticed the garden plots being offered to city residents to use? These are similar to the “victory gardens” seen during World War II.
We do have privacy in the country and something else my husband mentioned was less
crime. (Maybe that’s because we have less people here.) Is the air fresher here? I believe so. However, more and more people are moving back to the country. Those living on main roads and small villages here see lots more traffic than years ago and air pollution is greater. We live off the main road on a ‘dead end’ township road that used to have only about seven houses on it. Now I think that number is close to forty, and travelers are curious to see where it dead ends, so we do have more traffic than necessary?
As a kid I lived with my family in town, a short distance from Philadelphia. It was on a street where houses set in a row, close to each other. It wasn’t tenement housing, just a nice neighborhood. We lived in a double-block. That meant there was only a thin wall between us and the next door neighbors. Our front porch connected on to theirs, but when my dad screened in our porch he closed in the end of the porch on the neighbor’s side. That wasn’t very neighborly, was it? But it provided privacy. It seemed that people moved in and out of the house next door and I don’t recall any of them having children my age. Maybe that was why we never seemed to be friendly with our next door neighbors.
The hedge in our front yard continued on across the front of the neighbor’s house. No one offered to do the whole hedge, so depending on who got to theirs first, they left the other side looking in need of trimming. We had a sidewalk along the side of our house and neighbors on our other side, living in another double block, had a strip of lawn between our places. However, from upstairs in my room I could look across into their second story rooms. So usually the shades were kept drawn. Our backyard was small and connected to the neighbors behind us. It was here that my brothers made tunnels and roads, even battlefields for their cars, trucks and lead, army soldiers. etc.
Getting back to our double block, we got new neighbors who had a young baby. The mother liked the idea of keeping the child, a good lot of the time, in her high chair. To help deal with her boredom the child would rock that chair back and forth, back and forth across the floor. At the time, children’s high chairs were heavy wooden ones so the sound was heard in our side of the building. I don’t remember my parents ever bringing the subject up to the neighbors, but I have a feeling mom was tempted to. Dad went to work, we were off to school or outdoors, but she was always at home. I think she got used to the sound.
I loved roller skating on the sidewalks, walking to the municipal pool, or church, running off to a girlfriend’s house, just a few houses away, and the movie theater was also within walking distance. I had to take a bus to the dentist. I remember chewing on my numbed bottom lip on the ride all the way home. I only did that once! A submarine shop was nearby and I was often sent to buy these sandwiches. (They weren’t called hoagies there.) The biggest part of my life I’ve lived in the country, but town wasn’t all that bad.
Here, we’ve always had gas stations nearby and country stores, now closed, were in nearly every village. In their place is a large grocery store only about a mile away, two pizza places nearby, also a bank and a radio station, and our very own red light at a busy intersection just down the road. We drive to all of these.
So much for country living, thanks, or maybe I should say no thanks, to progress, if we live long enough we could be living in the city.