In 1955, a movie titled “The Seven Year Itch” debuted with starlet Marilyn Monroe.
The movie characterizes a man who had been married seven years and had sent his family away to the country for the summer so that he could get some work done.
The “itch” is caused by his new neighbor played by Marilyn Monroe, who causes the man to fantasize about life with the neighbor instead of his family.
In other words, he wonders if the grass is greener on the other side.
What follows is not scientific or the result of any study, but casual observations and conversations with people who have moved to a small town and then moved away.
I call it the three- to seven-year, small town itch.
It goes something like this:
A couple or family chooses and moves to a small town with high expectations and in pursuit of their American dream.
They fantasize about small-town living, the closeness and cohesiveness that was once part of America where front porches existed and block walls did not.
They select their dream home and move in. They meet their new neighbors; possibly get involved in the schools or local organizations.
They meet a lot of down-home folks and ask themselves why they did not do this sooner ... and they are happy for three to seven years.
In the three- to seven-year time period, sometimes a different perspective may set in.
They begin to question their move from the big city or did they pick the wrong small town.
Where was the grass greener?
What happened to the euphoria?
In a bigger city they were more isolated from the local politics than in the small town.
The neighbors and friends who they enjoyed when they moved to town are now too close and they feel as if their privacy is being infringed upon.
They want to retreat to their own world and be less involved. The “itch” has started and there are several results.
If the “itch” never comes or they get past the “itch,” they are lifers in the small town.
If the “itch” is too strong, they move to the big city and may look back to realize the grass was not greener.
If they move to another small town, they find that three to seven years later the same questioning begins because small towns have the same basic characteristics only the faces are different.
They may miss their friends from the first small town. They may move back.
As a physician told me, sometimes it is best not to scratch an itch.
Ray Pugel is a designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.