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Editor's Note: A Quality of Life Committee sponsored by the Perry County Development Corp. is partnering with The News to present the stories of people who have moved to Perry County or who have returned here after several years away. This column was written by Lewis Anderson.
Like most 18-year-olds in this town, I could not wait to leave Tell City. There were so many things I wanted to accomplish in life and this small town was a dead end. So after I graduated from Purdue University, I took a commission in the U.S. Navy as an ensign.
I was stationed in San Diego, Calif., for about two years. Looking back, I don't remember ever giving or receiving a friendly wave or hello from either neighbor whose front doors where about 4 feet from my own. My wife and I had acquaintances, but not one real friend who would drop everything to help a stranded buddy. It's hard to explain how depressing it is not to have somebody to prop yourself up against when things get tough. Not all the white, sandy beaches or sunshine in the world could replace a true friend.
After San Diego, I got stationed in Norfolk, Va. My wife and I loved our neighborhood and the people around us. I'm not lying when I say we lived in a great neighborhood.
However, in the three years we lived there, a teenage girl got arrested for prostitution, a man was found dead in a neighbor's bush, (he had been pistol whipped in the head) and my neighbor got shot walking down the street with his 7-year-old son.
Luckily, he and his son survived but we later found out a 15-year-old boy shot him while performing a gang initiation. All of this happened not more than a block from our house, not to mention, the constant police sirens whirring through our neighborhood.
About a year ago, my wife and I decided we needed to get closer to home. Upon moving into our house, we had 10 friends show up to lend a hand. One neighbor baked us a pie as a house-warming gift, and another let me borrow some pruning tools. This would never have happened in San Diego or Norfolk. We haven't heard a police siren go down our street yet, and I don't think we will anytime soon.
As a teacher in Tell City, I know my children will receive a quality education. While our boys are still too young to go to school, they are going to daycare at William Tell Elementary. After less than a year, we already feel like we have a strong relationship with the people working in the daycare and the office.
One would think these relationships would be common at any school or daycare, but from personal experience, we know it is rare and special.
I used to see this town as a ball and chain. That's why my wife nor I would advocate for someone to immediately settle down here after graduating from high school or college. We both feel it's imperative that everyone get out there and experience life.
Just know that when it comes time to raise a family, it would be wise to consider Tell City.