High cost of staying in Warren

Sometimes residing in good old Warren, where the cost of living is relatively low, exacts a pretty high price. I’m not talking about dollars and cents, I’m talking about the cost of not seeing those family members and friends who have gone away to other places for greater opportunities or maybe for a better climate.

I am one of the few of my Warren G. Harding class of 1953 who have remained in Warren, because many of my pals and friends whom I hung around with while I was growing up have participated in that exodus.

It is a strange thing to me, this traveling clear across the United States in one case, and nearly half way around the world in another, to see my sons, their wives and my grandchildren.

When I was a young family man rearing my children in Warren, both sets of grandparents lived within two blocks of my little family.

Along with the positives there were a few negatives, like getting unsolicited (and often unheeded) advice. However, it was a great thing to experience the nurturing and comfort of having grandparents so nearby. Of course, having built-in baby sitters was an added bonus.

But, as my sons became educated adults, they found it difficult to remain in the Mahoning Valley. Finding good employment wasn’t easy.

My older son became a substitute teacher in Warren City Schools. My other son found employment with a manufacturing concern, but the future there was a bit dim.

The result of all this was that both sons chose to move away to better enjoy more promising employment. My older son chose teaching English to young adult business people in China, and my other son is a developer in California.

Both chose their spouses in their respective new locations where my grandchildren are quickly growing up.

When I was in their age bracket, pretty good employment was available, and industry and commerce were doing quite well. Warren’s 1960 population was nearing 60,000.

The situation has changed quite a bit since then with the shuttering of once thriving industries and our population shrinking to under 42,000. Plans are underway to demolish hundreds of vacant homes.

Although I’m proud to say that I’m a lifetime native of Warren, I am saddened by the fact that my family is so widely dispersed and friends I grew up with have found lives elsewhere.

So, I live in the familiar comfort of good old Warren where some things are as they were many decades ago, while others are new and different, and some are gone forever.

I’m hoping for a resurgence here. Things are looking up a bit as the area is slowly, but incrementally, improving. I know it won’t bring friends and family back, but there’s another generation coming up. Maybe they’ll see their way to stay in the area. Here’s hoping.

By the way, there’s still plenty to do in good old Warren.

Mumford, of Warren, can be reached at columns@tribtoday.com.