Lordstown, OH —
The recent GM plant closure in Lordstown, OH has sent this small town into crisis. For generations, the plant has been the driving force of the local economy. It has allowed families to thrive and engage with each other within the community. With a population of about 3,500, everyone was a neighbor. They knew each other’s comings and goings and saw each other at church and school functions. Now that the plant is unallocated, many families have been forced to move to larger cities in search of income. What will become of the local economy? What will become of their relocated friends and neighbors? Most importantly, who will there be left to gossip about?
“My family has been in Lordstown for five generations,” states Rose Perkins, 89, “and the town’s gossip has been a staple since it’s inception. I started the popular column in our weekly gazette, titled Where is John Jr. going now at 3am? And that led to my second most popular column Who is that man Laurel Lee is with? That is not her husband. Now with everyone moved away, I just don’t know what to do with myself anymore.”
Karen Smith, 39, is a founding member of the Lordstown Neighborhood Watch and a Prayer Warrior at the Cornerstone Church. “For years, we have kept an eye on things. We knew who was going to work at the plant, and who was skipping work to day-drink at the bars. It was based upon our observations we knew who to gossip about… er, I mean, PRAY FOR at church. The Neighborhood Watch night shift recorded the shenanigans of those rowdy Tim Daniel Boys. And we kept tabs on John Jr., who was always going somewhere at 3am. Our work was important. Now that the plant is closed and they have moved away, what is our purpose? I pray the Lord will give my life new meaning.”
For those lucky enough to have deep roots in Lordstown, allowing them to remain in the community, it is a bittersweet small token. Yes, they are secure in their family-owned properties, but there is only so much to be said about the town’s two remaining love triangles. Walking to the mailbox every day at the same time has been reduced to nothing but walking to the mailbox. There’s nothing to see here, folks. Not anymore. For Lordstown is a town in crisis; a town searching for identity; a town seeped in boredom and meaninglessness. Let it serve as a cautionary tale about further destruction left behind in capitalism’s wake.
By Tommi Becker