Going, going, gone...small towns

"Anonymity is the enemy of civility, and produces insensitivity and callousness. The nice thing about small towns is everybody has to be civil to each other. You can't live that close without being civil. Nobody in our hometown suppressed arguing something on the merits, but it was done in a civil fashion. I think there actually tends to be more independent thinking in small towns. It helps develop individuality to be in smaller communities."

Gaylord Nelson

I found the above quote by Gaylord Nelson, while read a biography on him by Bill Christofferson titled "The Man From Clear Lake." It got me to thinking about the concept of "small towns" in today's world. Technology has changed the whole way we communicate. As the world has shrunk into a "global village," has the concept of a "small town" vanished?

Do towns like New Richmond and Hudson still count as small towns? How about Roberts, Burkhardt, Boardman or Houlton? Hudson definitely has morphed into Woodburian-like suburbia. New Richmond is transitioning into that model faster than anyone will admit. The porches on today's new houses face the backyard. Air conditioners muffle the sounds of the outside world. There's no corner grocery store to walk to. Moms don't send kids to the neighbors to borrow a cup of sugar or a couple of eggs. The telephone party lines are long gone. The fences are too high to lean on and talk over. Face-to-face communications been replaced by cellphones, the Internet, Blackberries, etc.?

Do we even know who we are communicating with these days?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy, there sure some uncivil people in New Richmond! Harassing phone calls, tearing up yards, threatening children. There oughta be a law against these things!