I was born, raised, and still reside in a small town in rural Illinois. I would tell you the population, but it depends on which side of town you come in on. If you enter from the south, the sign says 2700. If you enter from the north, we drop 200 and fall to 2500. Nokomis is a farming community surrounded by corn fields and sporadic patches of timber. The topography is flat, and the climate is annoying. In the winter, we freeze, and in the summer, we fry. The temperature can easily go from well below zero to well over a hundred degrees. Not in the same day, but sometimes it can feel like that way. You can often walk outside in a T-shirt at noon and feel the sun on your face, and then step back out at six o’clock and be shivering under your winter coat.
Nokomis is also the kind of place where you don’t have to lock your doors, where everyone knows your name or at least your face, and many can trace back your family lineage for three generations. The cost of living is low, and it’s a good place to watch your children grow and learn without worrying if they’ll be in danger as they walk to school. In all the years I’ve lived here, I can recall one murder, although it was a particularly brutal one that remains unsolved to this day, and the dark shadow of what happened still remains a stain on the heart of the community.
The town is an hour away from anything that could be considered a city, and a half hour away from the closest Wal-Mart or McDonald’s. But I don’t think that distance is a bad thing. It’s made our community be self-sufficient. As compared to other towns of our size, we have a great many businesses and a person can find everything they need within our city limits. Although, they might not be able to find everything they “want.” We have good schools, a nice grocery store, two banks, two pharmacies, several restaurants, a museum, multiple doctor’s offices, three gas stations, two places to rent movies, many specialty shops, and as many churches as we do bars.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling and visited a lot of places. But all in all, home is where the heart is, and our little community has a lot of heart.
International bestselling author Ethan Cross is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month, which means we are offering sensational deals on his work. You can read more about the program here.