Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good People Make Good Places

While I was trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, a process still under way, our son had little choice but to come along on the trip. It was quite a journey. We lived in eight different cities while Lee was growing up.

Lee proved there may be truth to the currently overused pronouncement: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

No doubt it was difficult for Lee to periodically leave good friends and adjust to a new community and school. I've often regretted causing those problems for him. But I think he became a man of integrity and honor who has been able to adapt to difficult situations partly because of his diverse experiences. The nature of two communities we lived in may have contributed positively to his development.

Forbes latest list of the top 10 best places to raise a family in the U.S. includes two cities where we have lived. Forbes ranked metro areas based on household incomes, costs of living, housing affordability, home ownership, commuting times, crime rates, and local school quality. Lee attended school and participated in organized sports in two of the top 10--Boise, Idaho, and Ogden, Utah.
Ogden, Utah, is a great place to live in any season.
Ogden was No. 3 in the rankings. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, an excellent spread between incomes and living costs, and great access to outdoor activities. Lee learned to ski nearby; a trip to the mountain slopes was just a few miles from our first home there adjacent to a Wasatch-Cache National Forest boundary. Lee made school friends in Ogden with whom he still stays in touch.

Boise ranked as the seventh best place for families on the Forbes list. Boiseans also enjoy a good income to cost of living ratio and great opportunities for outdoor lifestyles. School quality rated high and the crime rate is low. Several of Lee's early school years were spent in Boise.
Boise, Idaho, has a State Capitol and much more to recommend it.
Lee, Sandy, and I conferred today about characteristics of the places we've lived. We agreed the Forbes people got it right with Ogden and Boise. But, because it would be almost impossible to quantify, the raters didn't consider the factor we believe was most important. We all thought the people in those two cities generally were pleasant, thoughtful, and helpful. For us, good people made Ogden and Boise good places to live.

This might lead you to think I was pretty smart about picking places to apply for jobs. Not so.

We had never set foot in Idaho before moving to Boise. The only individual consulted was my sister, who knew a little about the city because her husband worked for Boise-Cascade and they had visited company headquarters a few times. The endorsement was lukewarm at best. Jane's final statement was, "I suppose its OK if you like sagebrush." We made the change simply because it was time for me to move on.

We moved to Ogden strictly to get a Forest Service promotion and the improved income that came with it. Most of the comments I heard before the move were negative, but that was because my boss (who had lived in Ogden earlier) mounted a campaign to convince me not to leave Idaho. Some of it was absurd.

The most imaginative, and least convincing, statement by Boise National Forest Supervisor Ed Maw was, "Those Mormons will steal your horse; then they'll steal your wife."

Well, I didn't own a horse, and Sandy has stayed on as my beautiful wife to this day. We didn't find a lot of bad guys in Utah. What we did find in Ogden, just as we did in Boise, were good neighbors and friends.

9 comments: said...

Beautiful places. I think you must have been great parents. My brother did not do as well as your Lee. I've always thought all the moves we made affected him, although he made fewer moves as a kid than I did.

Marc Leavitt said...

I've lived in New Jersey,Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and France.

People are people, wherever you live. There's always a new friend just around the corner.

Tom Sightings said...

You did good. But I agree with Marc Leavitt; if you're open and honest and friendly, you can meet good people almost anywhere -- even in Buffalo, N.Y., where my daughter has lived for the past year. She's leaving b/c of the weather, and a better opportunity; but she found a lot of friends in Buffalo.

Dick Klade said...

Absolutely, you can meet some good people most anywhere. However, our travels indicated there were places where good guys seemed to predominate--Boise and Ogden were the prime examples. The flip side was four years of life in a Wisconsin city which we all agree was populated by far more than its share of jerks. Life was not pleasant there.

Alan G said...

During my career I lived in six other towns around the country other than my hometown. And as a town and as a location they all had their own unique qualities. I would be hard pressed to have to pick one as a favorite over the others. I liked them all quite honestly.

I really enjoyed the people I worked with in all those locations, that was primary for me. Secondly, they all had ample conveniences, shopping and restaurants that added to the experience.

It would have probably been tough on kids had I been married and had any but that wasn't the case so fortunately for me I didn't have to face that challenge.

Dave Tippets said...

I've lived and worked in some of the really choice outdoor places in America. Moving from Missoula to Ogden took some getting used to, but I finally had to conclude Ogden was a great spot as well. The secret has leaked out, and Ogden is no longer protected by its old bad reputation.

Dick Klade said...

Yup, "two-bit" street was pretty tame by the time we arrived in Ogden, although encounters with panhandlers were common and I was told a hooker or two was easy to find. Boise was in full recovery from a bad reputation as a wide-open town when we moved there. Like Ogden, it turned itself around nicely.

PiedType said...

It would be nice if families could choose exactly where they want to live, but that probably doesn't enter into to the selection nearly as much as the practicality of where the parents have to go for their jobs/marriage. I've lived in the Northeast, the South, and whatever you call Oklahoma, but given a choice, I'd take the mountain west every time. Something about the spirit of the west and the wide open country, clean air, sunshine ...

Kay said...

Your moves must have taught your son how to adapt to different conditions. I wonder how Honolulu ranked in the listing. I loved living in Illinois. It's really the neighbors that help make your life wonderful.