17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Harlan, Iowa: Population 6000


...you'll only find 2 stop lights
...your realtor is married to the president of the bank
...you can get a house for $39,000 that in New Haven County, Conneticut would cost $250,000
...if locals have to wait behind 3 whole cars at a stop sign, befuddled, they wonder, "Is the county fair today!?"
...the drivers at the stop signs wave--"you first" "no you" " no, really, you"
...a house above $120,000 is considered an"upper end home"
...from anywhere to anywhere in town shouldn't take more than 5 minutes driving
...you're 30 minutes from the nearest church Branch
...you're 60 minutes from the nearest "big city", Omaha
...you're 40 minutes from the nearest mall
...the vp of the bank comes in on Saturday just for you
...you are surrounded by trees, fresh air, and farmland
...you'll find at least 4 churches of various denominations
...it was estimated that about 70% of the community regard religion as important in their lives
...the ENTIRE town shows up for the Homecoming football game--the town's greatest event each year
...the "Pork Queen" (as some pork industry is out there) makes the cover of their local paper
...on the second page in the local paper you can read everyone who has been issued a speeding ticket
...diners show up in jeans and flannel shirts to eat at The Country Club (and yes, it's a paid membership)
...you learn what permafrost really is

...you really don't lock your house up unless you're going out of town
...it has been noted more than once during the bitter winter--a driver leaving the car running in the store parking lot while they shopped so the car would be warm upon their return
...we just might have to own a "sit down" mower

...my husband can work 4 minutes from where he lives
...because of some of these things, and despite some of these things, I am very excited to be living the next chapter of my life!


  • Wow...at least it's not population 600 or 60 or 6. What an exciting time! Change sounds fun right now...maybe I will come with you!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 11/03/2006 07:50:00 AM  

  • Congrats Katie, very exciting! You can now be a "rural adventurer" like me! That sounds very much like the description of my town (population 4,000) and entirely more cosomopolitan than the town I grew up in (population 900). It's quite a change from New York City, but as you said in your last sentence - it's great because of and despite that! I'm sure your kids (not to mention you and DH) will love having a yard, and you'll be wearing jeans and flannel shirts to the Country Club in no time. :-)

    And kage, somehow I dont see you as an Iowa girl. I'm sure you would pull it off with pizazz, but it would just seem wrong somehow.
    posted by Blogger marian at 11/03/2006 07:58:00 AM  

  • good luck with that! Sounds fun and awful at the same time, if that makes any sense at all. I love the whole cheap cost of living, churches everywhere, lots of land, but I would hate the long drive to the mall, and yet, the whole idea of a pork princess cracks me up to no end! Also, no commute would be dreamy.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 11/03/2006 09:49:00 AM  

  • I moved from Portland to Omaha a few years ago - not quite as drastic of a change, but really I've learned to love living in a smaller city - the people are so friendly and make all the difference!
    Good luck in your new home
    posted by Anonymous EmilyS at 11/03/2006 10:47:00 AM  

  • Congrats Katie. What a change from the city. Was your husband looking for work out there and that's how you found this little town? Do you have family nearby?
    posted by Blogger Beth at 11/03/2006 01:06:00 PM  

  • Kage--if you do want to come, at least we will have a guest bedroom for you! Oh, and I thought of you as we were attending the branch. As I watched the lady conducting I told dh, "Man, I'm going to miss Kage." You give life to a sea of dreary hymn singers.

    Marian--I had no idea you were in such a small town and grew up in a teeny town! Cool! You'll have to give me a few pointers. :)

    Beth--acually he was just looking anywhere (hoping it'd be further west). A contact of his recommended him to a guy at an agriculture develpment firm there. So, we decided to go for it. It does happen to be 3 1/2 hours from one of his brothers, and about 9 from another. Which isn't neighbors, but a lot closer than we are now!

    It's funny because I grew up in a suburb on the west coast. Some native NYers are like, "are you happy about the move?" as if I was a city girl at heart and devistated my husband would drag me to the midwest. The fact is I grew up somewhere in the middle of rural and big city. So, my family is living both ends of the spectrum--which I think is very fun and experimental.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 11/03/2006 04:40:00 PM  

  • How awesome! My town was almost 10,000 people, so I can pretty much imagine what life will be like for you. Congrats and good luck!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 11/03/2006 05:20:00 PM  

  • Katie,

    Welcome to God's country, Katie. I live 60-90 minutes south of you in Glenwood, and if you are in the Atlantic branch, then we are in the same stake.

    Emily, I am a native Omahan. Where do you live--what ward?

    Tim J. (9M)
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/03/2006 06:33:00 PM  

  • Katie--I truly hope you enjoy your unique town. My husband and I moved from D.C. to central Virginia (read: middle of nowhere with access to Richnmond) a year ago and experienced some of the same exhiliaration and reserve that, at least I think, you are feeling. And we have LOVED our experience. I can't see 3 out of my 4 neighbors, I can get the kids in the car without having to gather everything that I need, and I feel like I do things (like mow the lawn and decorate the house) for me instead of some unsuspecting ward member who happens to stop in. Because really...no one "stops in" (oh yea...except the police when my oldest son escapes in the morning before I'm awake and the alarm is set off...BUT even they are nice about my lack of parental responsibility!)

    So good luck! And enjoy it while you can.
    posted by Blogger Maralise at 11/03/2006 09:30:00 PM  

  • What an adventure, Katie! I hope the move goes well!

    I never thought I would be into small towns, but I am completely addicted and fascinated w. Gilmore Girls right now, so you never know!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 11/04/2006 07:39:00 AM  

  • First of all, congratulations! It sounds like an exciting adventure for you. And yipee on the short commute! That is the primary reason for the location where we live and we love love love it. Andy was just commenting yesterday how he never has to listen to traffic reports.

    And welcome to the midwest! We have loved it (although we are in a big metropolitan area, and I'm sure rural Iowa will be much different. But all I know about rural Iowa is what I learned watching The West Wing episodes where the team was campaigning there.) The caucuses should be exciting to be a part of. It's always seemed like such a quirk of our political system to me. We are quite close to parts of Iowa, but looking at a map, I see that you're a ways from us. (if you ever want to take a trip to Minnesota, stop in)
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 11/04/2006 08:04:00 AM  

  • PS--How far from your current apt would you have to go to find 6000 residents? A couple of blocks? Kinda crazy to think about.
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 11/04/2006 08:06:00 AM  

  • Michelle, I used to think about that a lot when I was living in Astoria - having grown up in a town of 900 and a state that had only about 550,000 residents I realized I wouldn't have to stray far from my block to top the numbers in my town, and really not too far to top the numbers in my state. It boggles the mind how many people are packed into each square mile in NYC when you start to think about it that way.
    posted by Blogger marian at 11/04/2006 05:45:00 PM  

  • I love small towns. Nothing better.
    posted by Anonymous Susan M at 11/05/2006 03:27:00 PM  

  • I second the Wiz, sounds fun and awful at the same time. I actually lived in a small town in Oregon in high school and it was beautiful and a great place to live, but now that we have lived in bigger areas, the thought of a small town is appealing and suffocating at the same time.

    But houses for $40,000? Holy cow! Real houses? With yards? Lucky!
    posted by Anonymous Mary at 11/06/2006 04:33:00 AM  

  • Wow! I love these stats. How exciting! I spent a number of years in a town of 2000 people with 1 stoplight....it was great! I loved it! My whole family loved it! I'm so excited about your house and yard, too. A riding mower, too, huh? That's cool. And let's be honest...the midwest is where all the cool people are. ;) We're excited to have you in our neck of the woods (ok, so that's a big "woods," but hey...you're a little closer!)
    posted by Blogger Heidi at 11/06/2006 11:36:00 AM  

  • The change sounds exciting and the stats are so interesting. There is part of me that would love to live in a place so small, but another part that couldn't dream of it. I am sure your guys will adjust beautifully.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 11/06/2006 11:47:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the welcomes all you midwesters. :) And, for the votes of confidence in finding happiness in our move--glad lots of you have had great small town experiences!

    Tim J, I don't know what the name of the branch is yet, but wow, what a geographically big stake if both of our towns are in it together!

    Michelle and Marian, we thought it was downright crazy that my kindergardner's gradeschool is only 1/2 the size of Harlan. 3000 kids! That says a lot--that his school is HUGE--and that Harlan is small!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 11/06/2006 05:57:00 PM  

  • btw, now only 4 of us are still here in queens....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 11/07/2006 06:31:00 AM  

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