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Fischer: Small town living has its charms, but isn’t for me

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Aug 19, 2022

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Jen Fischer

Back in the summer of ’75 in a little town called Crockett’s Bluff, Arkansas, a young family arrived to explore the possibilities of small-town life. Included in this young family was myself, my parents and eight of my nine siblings (my youngest sibling had not yet transpired). Upon our arrival, the population increased by two-thirds. Prior to that, the town consisted of 16.25 people, one of which was my paternal grandmother (I cannot account for the 0.25 person, nor did I ever happen upon said person throughout my stay). There was one small country store just a farsee down the way (a farsee, for those of you unversed in hillbilly speak, is a distance that spans as far as one can see). This one-room, cabin-like structure stocked penny-candy, milk, bread, eggs and cheese. My interest was in the candy. Ahh, but the wisdom I gleaned from my time spent in the country store would seal my decision about living in a small town for life.

We spent the summer cooling off in a muddy swimming hole among snakes and broken tree branches and heading down yonder to the crick (translation: creek) to catch us some fish for fryin’ with our rudimentary fishing “poles.” As much as I enjoyed getting to know my kin folk, bless their hearts, I couldn’t wait to get back home to the not so wild west. I had had enough of outhouses, chiggers (which took three months to get rid of), fried cat fish and grits. Fortunately, my mom had as well. My siblings were half and half on the matter, but you could tie me down to an anthill and smear my ears with jelly if my dad didn’t want to stay.

We won that argument and returned home; however, years later, my father moved back by himself and finished out his years fishing for crawdads in the Mississippi. Bless his heart as well.

Either way, I learned quickly, and at a young age, that small town living was not for me. However, that does not mean it is not for everyone. According to the census, small towns can be defined as incorporated areas with fewer than 5,000 residents. Utah is no stranger to small towns. This list would include Morgan, Mountain Green, Willard, Marriot-Slaterville and Perry, just to name a few in our neck of the woods. While the employment advantages are likely greater in the cities with higher populations (and opportunities), this has shifted recently as companies have moved to work-from-home options.

Some of the reasons people choose to move to small towns would be some of the very reasons I would choose not to. While I can appreciate the tight-knit community feel of a small neighborhood, I can also appreciate running to the store and being able to complete my entire transaction in 7.5 minutes, as opposed to the hour and 43 minutes it would take if I ran into four people that I know who felt I needed the latest details of their brilliant son’s endeavors at an Ivy League school. Bless their hearts.

Smaller classroom sizes, less crime, minimal noise and light pollution as well as slower pace and fewer crowds are also known benefits to deter city living. However, in some small towns, if you don’t have some sort of a family connection, you may feel less than welcome. “Outsiders,” as I have heard “them” called, are not always appreciated and embraced in small towns. Despite living in Utah my entire life, I still feel I would need a literal “sponsor” of sorts to be accepted in certain smaller towns here. Luckily, I’m quite content with my current abode.

As Realtors, we are handcuffed in the ability to “steer” clients away from certain areas, regardless of the intent. Any questions or comments that may be interpreted as violating fair housing laws could get us into trouble with a capital “T,” right here in the small town of the proverbial River City. Perhaps I could offer a bit of unsolicited advice, lacking of any proposed intent: Spend some time in the country store. It is likely you will learn everything you need to know.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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