From the Editor

Haywood is the best place to be

By Vicki Hyatt | Jan 12, 2017

A chance conversation the other day with a mother whose children are all planning to move elsewhere after graduation got me to thinking.

She said the family was in agreement there was absolutely no opportunities in Haywood for those who wanted to get ahead. To make something of their life in their chosen profession meant they needed to move elsewhere. As soon as her youngest had graduated, her plans were to move also so she could be closer to her family.

There no disputing that being close to family is a definite advantage, but I have to respectfully disagree about the opportunities available in Haywood and adjoining areas.

Thinking back to my own family, however, I can see where that realization may take a while to sink in.

I remember when my eldest son graduated from Western Carolina University, first with a bachelor’s degree and then with his master’s, he couldn’t wait to leave the area. We helped him move to Charleston where the allure of the beach and the big city appeared to be strong. Within 18 months, every conversation included something about a strong desire to move back, or counting the months to when he would be here.

Our second son ended up doing a good bit of traveling, as well, when he took a job as a rock climber clearing rockslides and making an adjoining road again safe for traffic. Not all his travels were to big cities, but they took him from one end of the nation to the other.

He, too, longed for the day when he could move home.

Lucky for us, all of our family members, along with their spouses and children, were lucky (or maybe just persistent) enough to find good jobs in the county, one in the healthcare field, and the other with the railroad.

I wonder how many others who have not yet experienced life elsewhere have the same desire to leave, but perhaps won’t realize all they are leaving behind until much later.

We’ve done stories about many home-grown Haywood residents who leave to seek their fortune only to return and forge a path to fulfillment. For some, it took time to either find or create their dream job, but they said the many advantages of small-town life were more than enough to keep them satisfied during their pursuit.

Good jobs can be defined in several ways. Hopefully all jobs would provide what’s considered a “living wage” at the lower end, and the possibility to advance as additional responsibilities can be assumed.

Other jobs may offer an attractive salary package, but perhaps not as much as could be made elsewhere. That’s the point where trade-offs would be considered. What’s the cost of living here versus elsewhere? What about the climate? A good environment to raise a family? The quality of schools? Safety? And the list goes on.

We join many families in realizing this is not simply a place we want to be, but one that can bring out the very best in people in oh, so many ways.