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My Own Home Town:
A Dream
Milestones Vol 13 No 2 Summer 1988

I have changed my attitude entirely with reference to my home town, because of a dream that seemed so real that I have not been able to lose its most impressive lesson.

I dreamed that my neighbors and myself had practically deserted our town. We did business over the long distance phone and through the mails and gradually lost all interest and finally were entirely out of touch with our old town.

Mixed with a variety of impressions were the words: "Moved to a Live Town." These words seemed to present themselves everywhere and were painted in letters that could be read by distant travelers and easily by passengers on passing trains.

In my dream I attended to my daily labor and did not seem to connect myself nor any of my interests with the strange words so plainly seen on every side. Then my youngest child - my baby girl - grew deathly sick and I sent a messenger in haste to my old town for a physician and he returned saying: "There is no doctor in the old town. A card on his old office said, "Moved to a Live Town," "

Her long illness made it necessary that I should borrow some money to pay the specialist that I was compelled to call on the long distance phone, so I sent my boy to the Bank in my home town and he came back with the statement, "The Bank has moved to a live town."

Then I went to see what had happened to the old town. I rode through its deserted streets; looked upon its empty stores; its deserted homes; its noiseless shops; its bank building that had atone time housed its prosperous and reliable banking institution, sadly rode past the old church sacred with many tender memories; the cemetery where under neglected earth the bones of my best loved ones were sleeping, the fencing all gone excepting a few posts and against one of these an old man was leaning and as I approached he looked upon me with the saddest look I have ever seen and in answer to my question, "How do you explain all this?" as with a wide gesture I encircled all the surrounding ruin. "This," he said, "has come, because its former citizens and those living neighbors to the old town withdrew their patronage, did about all their business with distant cities by phone and mail and left their town fall into as great a ruin as any known on the frontier of France. Yet the merchants, the mechanics, the bankers were most willing to serve."

Then I awoke and I aroused all my neighbors. We went into a conference and I pointed out what might come to pass and how dependent we were upon the home town, how great our indebtedness really was and we resolved not only to patronize every one doing business in the old town but to co-operate in every worth-while public movement. We have a sign now at our station with letters two feet high. "This is a Live Town. Our Citizens are Progressive. Our Institutions are Solid as a Rock. Our Farmers are the most Prosperous in the State." At every four corners we have set a guide, post bearing this sign: "To the Live Town."

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