A small Burg in Southeast Missouri. My big sister said, “Come start over in Missouri.”
Well, why not? I had nothing else going and had no money.
We had a lot of trepidation starting again in a small town in a state I’d never lived.
You ever have a nightmare where you’re trapped and you cant leave? That was the way this place felt; it’s overall aura.
There were ominous warnings like Google maps took us to the wrong location when we arrived. The streets aren’t mapped correctly, and we were on the same street but the northern one and not the southern one.
The street we ended upon had a dead raccoon, not quite dead with a gaping mouth and flies. My son was horrified as I almost ran over it again, but stopped and turned around.
He said it was a sign. I felt maybe he was right. (He was ready to turn the car around and leave.)
Not to be too negative, it did have flickers of light and kindness. You can find that one beautiful soul wherever you go.
But this place is pretty devoid of heart and soul. On a weekend by the river it was ghostly. The infrastructure has potholes that can fit a mini Cooper. You drive along and in seconds lost the chassis of your car. You have to practice hyper-vigilant driving.
Everything is run down. Rentals are cheap but you have to pass the application (paying the $25 or $30) to actually view a property. So, you are dropping money before you even know If it’s a place you want to live. Only a few realtors/property management groups run everything.
I was told this is the employment practice: they will sometimes have someone work for 30 to 90 days with no pay just to make sure they are a good employee. And then, once proven, they will pay you. You can work for free anywhere here. I’m pretty sure that is illegal.
They move very slow. If they say they might chat with you for an interview it will be in a few days, or next week. And then, they take another week of consideration. And then…. while you’re out on the street starving waiting for that great job at Hardee’s. Whoops, they hired someone else.
I’m probably being hypercritical but that’s the gist of work life from what I gathered while trying desperately to find employment for 10 days. Something inside just didn’t feel right when I was in the city. I’m not sure what it was, but I’d wake up fearful every morning. My son told me we need to “GET OUT” and I should have listened to him sooner.
I know it’s “historic” but that’s no excuse for being grossly unclean and rundown. This place had filth on filth. I saw one clean property – an apartment complex built 3 years ago. That was it! Nicely re-done, means there might still be muck in the shower, crust on all the floorboards, sticky stuff on the walls, and stains you have no idea when those stains were made and what occurred to make that stain. But its been swept. Carpets are so stained and disgusting, and never replaced for the next renter. They don’t re-paint. They don’t update. They do nothing and rent is dirt cheap. That is because properties are dirt-y
The town has four major hospitals and myriad clinics. It’s invested in the sick, needy and elderly. I heard it was a college town but rarely saw young people. They probably leave once classes are over. They run north, or across the river, or anywhere but this town.
I got no feel for youth. No sidewalks or bicycle friendly paths. Just rundown and overgrown streets with potholes. I asked about healthy foods and they have a Natural store. One. It was small. There were a few plant-based items.
Animals and pets are not wanted in the town. I’d say 85% of rentals say “no pets allowed.” There is not one dog park. When you stand outside you rarely hear birds. It was strangely eerie that a wooded place near the Mississippi River did not have the sound of wildlife.
I went to the big park in the center of town and drove smack-dab into a drug bust with five cop cars and some guys on the ground. I drove around it.
Homeless on the streets and lots of cops. I did see a casino.
The Mississippi River is beautiful. The view from Cape Rock is lovely.
I felt I’d dropped into a void on the planet while walking through the city. I’m not sure what that feeling was, but it was never a good feeling.
Sadly, this town never seemed to want to grow the infrastructure. It didn’t look like new business, other than a few restaurants, were invited to this town. It was basically something that looked like it was going through a slow death.
It was sad for those few bright souls that still dwelled in this dying city.
While traveling I’ve driven through a lot of towns. I always wonder what’s going on in those towns. The really small ones people stay and live a life. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a small town. Perhaps that’s why its practices perplexed me.
I want to add I did see some really bright lights. Those helping others. Those kind souls that smile and say, “Hello,” or “Good Morning.”
I walked through a store with my son. We were looking for a loaf of bread and a few drinks. But a lady – short like me – was walking by the bread aisle. She kept glancing and smiling at my son. He said “Hello” to her and is always very gracious. He’s very tall and lanky.
My son offered to get something for her, because she was looking up at the stuff on the top of the shelves. She said, “no thank you,” with a kindly smile.
We finally got our bread and tortillas and stood in the check-out aisle. The lady was in front of us, smiled back at Joshua again, and then told the cashier, “I’ll pay for them too.” I, of course, told her, “no, please you don’t have to do that.”
She insisted and bought us a loaf of bread and some tortillas.
That was such a kind act. And it made our last day in this small town. So, it might have its faults but it still has its people.
And people do make a town. It is too bad the town didn’t seem to care for the people.
Next, I’m driving toward Arizona. I just feel a little lighter heading toward the southwest. I’m not sure. My family is from the area. My dad grew up in New Mexico. Arizona and California is where family lives. Maybe its the kinship and the Native American blood that runs through my veins. I’m just not sure.
But I will be updating our new adventures trying to find a home where we fit.
Losing everything and trying to start over is always a difficult task.
I hope you all have a beautiful rest of your day and find what you seek and search for in life. 🙂
Love you Gracie! 🙂 ❤