Clarence is a weird town. We bought our house in the winter, which the "experts" always say is a bad idea...then you don't get the true feel of a community because everyone is tucked away in their houses. We LOVE our house. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And in the five years we've lived here we've done so much to it that the only real alternative would be hiring a house moving company and taking it with us. We love it that much. Since the community blowup last summer regarding the upcoming sesquicentennial, which pitted the "I was born here and you don't know anythings" against "the people who have chosen Clarence as their home but have no family ties" I have been approached by person after person, couple after couple, family after family, who have said "we've lived here XYZ years and still feel like outsiders". Literally dozens of people have said that to me. My reply is always, if EVERYONE feels like an outsider, who is on the inside? After experiencing it firsthand it's more like a pervasive attitude that floats around the town like smog. I'm not sure if I could name more than a handful of people who PHYSICALLY make me feel like an outsider, but this attitude just contaminates experience after experience.
There are great people here. Frankly there are people who were born here...people whose parents were born here that say they are outsiders. The joke from one of them is "We're third generation outsiders". Sad. I feel like I'm approaching a soapbox here....my platforms are laying on the ground, starting to be assembled....the heightened soapbox position may come soon. This is something that is unacceptable to me. I realize I've lived here only 5 years and in many "native" people's minds I should keep my yap shut...I've been told as much. I want to live in a community that welcomes newcomers with open arms, assists those newcomers with finding their niche to get involved, and celebrates life's simple joys TOGETHER. There shouldn't be an outside or inside. There should just be a community of people. The territoriality needs to end. What is there to be so territorial about here? We have a downtown that has declined to the point of being nearly empty, volunteer groups that have all but disbanded due to the "smog" I previously described and people who are sad.
I won't stop striving to make this a welcoming place. I think it's important and when things are important I just can't give up.
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