Hillsboro, my mailing address, got a brief feature last month in The Atlantic Magazine online: Taking Comfort in Small Joys. The series, correspondent Christina Davidson's "Recession Road Trip," has this mission:
For the next four months I will travel the back roads and State highways through the 48 contiguous United States, uncovering stories of economic survival and endurance. In diners, bars, bingo halls and coffee shops, I seek those Americans who have lost everything--except hope.
The tone of the Hillsboro piece is complementary--
...within the state, the ruggedly self-sufficient culture that endemic poverty has engendered represents strength and independence--a thing of pride for residents. Most importantly--for the purposes of this project--that natural state of being for West Virginia has acted as a kind of buffer against some of the heartbreak and despair the recession has visited upon wealthier parts of the country.
One hopes that the accuracy of her subsequent articles will be better. She has several errors of fact (one per paragraph, by my count), such as mistaking the West Virginia household income for the per capita income, making West Virginia sound like a financially flush place. Still, I do like her take-away message:
Valuable recession lessons can be gleaned from the West Virginia experience: Never buy what you don't need. And learn how to can.