The problem for citizens became one of personal isolation in which family became the focus of city life, and the folks in the apartment next door were relative strangers. Foreign-born migration preserved some cultural connections in distinct neighborhoods, (Chinatown, the barrio, “darktown,” etc), but the loneliness of the wage slave class became the modal mood of the modern man of the 20th millennium.
Meanwhile, out in the country, small towns to serve the agriculture industry grew, with clerks, butchers and brokers building single-family homes of relative elegance and comfort compared with the cramped quarters of tenement life in metropolis. These communities were largely friendly with their neighbors, with whom they did daily business, sharing the benefits of town life and banding together to create improvements such as parks, paved boulevards and local garbage removal. A community of friends and acquaintances gave rise to the mythic small town American lifestyle.
After World War II, suburbs attracted successful business execs, and after urbanizing local farmland, they often moved further out to the “small towns,” expanding the populations but largely subscribing to the friends-and-neighbors code locally observed. Many of them now work on protecting their communities from the blight of over development they saw in the suburbs from which they fled.
I opted out of the urban adventure half a century past and enjoy living in a town of less than a hundred souls of varying ages from pre-school to retirees whose general welfare is taken up by neighbors. Shopping in the nearby city, rides to medical appointments, house cleaning for a nominal fee and tending a backyard vegetable plot for health and food all result in cost savings. We have a second-generation volunteer fire department with highly trained firefighters and medical assistants. All in all, a nice little town!
Of course, there are occasional scandals and tragedies, and when someone dies we walk out to our local cemetery for a grave-side memorial gathering. It is good to know you’ll be buried by friends.
The cost of this security is our loss of political clout in society dominated by the eastern states with their concentrated populations who rule by voting majority on criteria dedicated to the needs of city dwellers, but it’s a small price to pay.
Be kind to your neighbors, they know where you live!
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at email@example.com.