Athens, Ohio sits at the intersection of some of southeast Ohio’s most well-traveled non-highways (I kid you not, this is how Dave tried to sell this town to me when I said it would be nice if we lived off of a major highway).
One of those non-highways is OH-13. If you drive 26 minutes north of Athens on OH-13 and about fifty years back in time, you will arrive in Glouster, Ohio. Unfortunately for Glouster, as with many towns in southeast Ohio, the manufacturing jobs left and those who stayed behind reaped the often unhappy rewards. These towns have been the source of untold fodder for big city reporters looking for stories about Obama and McCain during this election. George Packer, whose much touted piece in the New Yorker took an incisive look at rural America and race relations, posted a snippet about Glouster today:
Helen (Babe) Walker, seventy-three years old, who lives in the Appalachian mining town of Glouster, Ohio (discussed at length here), writes:
“I think that the residents here in Glouster are getting accustomed to the fact that we will be having a black president. They think it is not a bad idea.”
He then takes us far, far from Glouster to another small towner, this time in Wisconsin:
And Roger Catt, the retired Wisconsin farmer who told me that “McCain is more of the same, and Obama is the end of life as we know it,” will be voting for the end of life as we know it.