ID #64738

Name: Gentry
Age: 19
Country: USA

Hello my friends! My name is Gentry and I am looking for people to talk to so that I can get outside of myself and the small town I live in. To experience different cultures and learn about the lives of those across the world or even just across the country. I am an avid reader and writer, I work at a bookstore so I am basically obsessed. I love music, typically all kinds but leaning more towards the indie/folk and singer-songwriter genres. I am just looking to hear your stories; all that you need or want to talk about! I am a great listener and an even better pen pal!!!

Preferences: None!

10

Centralia, Pennsylvania
Population: 10

“Analysts disagree about the specific cause of the Centralia fire. Writer David Dekok concluded that it started incident to cleanup of the town landfill. In May 1962, the Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery just outside the borough limits. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years when the landfill was in a different location.

On May 27, 1962, the firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire and let it burn for some time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not fully extinguished. An unsealed opening in the pit allowed the fire to enter the labyrinth of abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia.  According to a legend, the Bast Colliery coal fire of 1932 was never fully extinguished. In 1962, it reached the landfill area.

Few homes remain standing in Centralia. Most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished by the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority or reclaimed by nature. At a casual glance, the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it. Some areas are being filled with new-growth forest. The remaining church in the borough, St. Mary’s, holds weekly services on Sunday. It has not yet been directly affected by the fire. The town’s four cemeteries—including one on the hilltop that has smoke rising around and out of it—are maintained in good condition.”

5

What does it mean to lose your land, your language, and your heritage?

For Alaska Natives, these are existential threats.

On a trip to Southeast Alaska, I traveled to one village that is finding new ways to survive: Klukwan, ancestral home of the Tlingit tribe.

Nestled along the banks of the Chilkat River, Klukwan is quiet and tiny, home to about 90 people.

The Haines Highway runs through town, but on the day we visited, you could walk right down the middle of the two-lane road without worry of passing cars.

On a tour of the village, we pass by small homes and trailers: some abandoned, some with rusted old trucks out front, sinking into the soil.

“It’s a struggle,” says tribal president Kimberley Strong. “You see the buildings, some of ‘em are falling down and dilapidated. But we’re working at it. We’re working very hard at trying to keep the village alive.”

By doing that, they’re also trying to preserve the heritage of the Tlingit people, who have lived in Southeast Alaska for thousands of years.

Looking to the future, the tribe has great hopes for the new Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center, a soaring, light-filled space that opened in Klukwan last spring. It’s an $8 million investment in the tribe’s future, funded through grants, as well as state and federal money.

A Native Village In Alaska Where The Past Is Key To The Future

Photos: Elissa Nadworny/NPR

i want to run away. it’s not that i hate this place, or that something particularly horrible has happened. i feel the never ending need to go and run and see new things and breathe different air. i feel the need to go somewhere where i know nothing and learn absolutely everything about it until it could be my hometown.

i want to go start over and find new friends and new family. maybe, sometime after all that, i’ll come back here. maybe i’ll apologize for leaving so abruptly without any goodbyes, and maybe i’ll find my old friends and we’ll catch up.

but, in all honesty, if i leave, that’s it. even the people that would miss me will slowly move on and will probably hate me for leaving without a word. this place wouldn’t be the same when or if i ever chose to come back. it would never feel like “home” again.

but maybe that’s okay.

3

Along a snowy highway in the Rockies lies Buford, Wyo., elevation: 8,000 feet, population: one.

This tiny town is in danger of losing its last — and only — resident, as the town’s longest running business may have to close.

But this is really a story about three people. The first is Jason Hirsch, Buford’s town manager.

He mans the Buford Trading Post, which is also the gas station, the store and well, town hall basically.

Now despite his role as town manager, Hirsch is not the town’s one resident.

Buford: Come for the Coffee, Stay … To Keep The Tiny Town Open

Photos: Kirk Siegler/NPR

At six, I could reach you with tin cans and a string. At ten we held hands down to the mailbox, but mail on our way back up the street. At fifteen, you sent me smoke signals until you burnt your bug screen. At sixteen we were burning rubber but never got very far - you can only make so many turns here before you’re back at the start.

This place might be small, but I’d walk these same few roads forever if it meant I could walk them with you. Because darling, as long as you’re in it, this town is infinite.

— 

Mt // small town love

Prompt: anonymous