"Living in a small town teaches you to depend on each other. Many times in a city you live by somebody, and you never even know their name, but when you live in a small town you know everybody and you know where they come from. It has advantages and its disadvantages. If you've got anything you're trying to hide, well you're in bad shape then (laughs) because they know every single thing about you--good and bad. It teaches you to depend on people.
It teaches you to be concerned, much more compassion for other people. And, it also teaches you that you have to make do. A lot of times where anything you need is just simple. You can just go to the store and get it. Go here, and it really doesn't get to be a hardship on you. In a small town, without something, you have to make something else work. Or else, think of a different way, which causes you to think I think more than otherwise.
And, it causes you to have a lot of compassion for others because you have to depend upon each other. You can't just buy everything you need. Sometimes you have to have help. Only human hands can do, and that's where you get it."
Part of the "Stories from Main Street" project--an effort to collect stories about small-town life across the United States. The project was the brainchild of the Smithsonian's "Museum on Main Street" program, an initiative that brings traveling exhibitions about subjects of national importance to small towns across America.