Did you know that Western PA has the highest population of people who live their whole lives in the town they were born in? According to many locals, this is a fact. I’ve tried to research this via some third party, but I’ve been unlucky at finding anything available on the subject on either Yahoo or Google. But let’s assume for the time being that this is pretty close to true. I’ve heard it often said that Johnstown has more people who live their whole lives in here than any other town in America. That might be a stretch as a record, but the fact that many people who are born here live their entire lives here doesn’t shock me after being here for a few years.
So in this context, let me say that the single question asked of Suzy and I by EVERY native of Johnstown at the news of our moving has been (to these words), “So you guys just don’t like Johnstown?”
Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, don’t get me wrong — this place ain’t the city and we bitch about the lack of our favorite foods and how there’s no coffee shops or bookstores around here, but I’ve lived in smaller towns than this. I get along with my neighbors pretty well (how many of you plow out your neighbors?). I love going boating or watching football with my friends here. Socially, while we’ve never been *integrated* by the locals, we haven’t had much of a challenge adapting to the town and the local nuances.
I just find it kinda odd that the first thing people think is that we’re moving because we’re “big city folk” or some shit like that — like *we couldn’t handle Johnstown living.* Please. Johnstown living has treated us just fine.
It’s the job, sillies. Seriously. We didn’t move out here because we saw **Slap Shot** and thought, *hell, this must be the town for me!* We moved here because of the job at CTC. Period. If there were opportunities to grow with the company, we’d stay. But there aren’t opportunities to grow in the company — at least not at a pace we’re comfortable with. In other words, we go where the job is. The job *was* in Johnstown. *Now* the job is in Chicago. If the job was in Botswana, I’d be learning how to find beer in the bush.
Bonanno taught me this a long time ago, and the lesson still sticks. It’s not always about *you*. But I think people from Western PA aren’t used to the thought of moving for the job. I think the value system is such that puts family and friends — the people you spend the most time with — first. And so if the job sucks, you stick it out and figure it’s your lot in life that your job is going to suck. If you lose your job and can’t find work, then maybe you’re figuring that’s just some higher power telling you what’s what. I don’t know. And I don’t know why this little thing is nagging at me.
It’s just that it wasn’t like it was two people who said this to either Suzy OR I… it’s been about twelve people so far, and it’s the first thing out of their mouths when they respond to the news of us moving. That’s pretty weird.