Letter: Why not Sikeston?
“Sikeston … Sikeston? Where’s that? Never heard of it?”
“It’s in Missouri, down low.”
I was born and raised in California and fortunate to live out my childhood there, before it earned the reputation it has now. I was an Eagle Scout and spent a lot of time hiking in the Sierras and enjoying camping among the giant Redwoods, or in the sand dunes along the Pacific coast. It was a good time to grow up there.
My answer to the questions from my California friends was simple.
“I can’t afford to live here anymore.”
Their response was generally sympathetic. Most of them were hanging on by their fingernails themselves: stuck there by aging parents, careers or just too timid or lazy to move. I made the move in the months following the 2020 election, so there was a political component in my decision as well, which I prefer not to discuss. There’s been too much of that already, and it never leads to resolution. I’ll just say that I didn’t like the direction the state was moving and leave it at that.
So, “Why Sikeston, in particular?” I started with a wall map of the USA. My primary concern was climate, so I drew a line across the country corresponding to “Climate Zone 2,” which was the sam as my Central California home of Modesto. I don’t like snow, so any further North was out. I lived briefly on the Gulf, and I don’t care for extreme humidity. The list of towns I made was further whittled down by size, cost of living, access to medical care, potential for flooding and other factors. Of the places I could afford, Sikeston slowly rose to the top.
My biggest surprise was the question most often asked by new neighbors.
“Why not?” Is my usual reply.
Sikeston is large enough to have convenient local access to almost everything I want or need, yet still small enough to get around on food if I want to. I live close to downtown in an older, quite neighborhood full of friendly people who mind their own business. I’ve found the local business people I’ve dealt with extremely honest and forthright.
In short, I really couldn’t be much happier. I could do with lower humidity and fewer bugs, of course, but it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of living here.