The Town I named Nowhere

29 Jan

I’ve wanted to leave Illinois for more than half my life. When we moved close to the Iowa border I thought that might be enough. We left Zion, Illinois and everything changed. In November 2010 we moved from the county I’ve lived all my life and I wasn’t sorry until I arrived in the town the house we were renting was located.

It seemed apparent that Lake County had it all and New Windsor, Illinois had nothing. In Lake County things were walking distance, if someplace was too far to walk to there were buses, taxicabs, and trains. If there was water running through a lake County City then I’d expect that there would be public boats. Zion even had a free trolley that went through Zion to Winthrop Harbor every hour and 15 minutes from Springtime to Fall. In New Windsor I had fallen off the map. No one I know had ever heard of that town. When I used mapquest the address in which I was living couldn’t be found. There were no trains, buses, or cabs. A cab from several towns over was willing to pick me up and take me to the nearest department store for $50. There were times I might have paid that fare… If only it wasn’t for the fare to get back home. When I attempted to order things online as I was accustomed to doing, I discovered that my address was the best kept secret because nothing can be sent to an address that doesn’t exist. In one seemingly harmless move I’d lost my existence. I didn’t exist for a year as my husband became increasingly more hostile. I still found things to smile about and laughed about the entire ridiculous town of New Windsor.

I can write a book of all the ridiculous things I’d encountered in New Windsor, but the most ridiculous of all was the phone/internet/cable company. I don’t need to state a name because there was only one in the entire town. The highest Internet speed was 5MB which was less than half the highest speed of Lake County of Illinois. The cost of the highest speed was $99 which was more costly than 10MB of speed in Lake County. The tv reception was horrible and the tv programs kept freezing and the cable boxes resetting, because providing 5MB of Internet speed AND watching television using the 2 tv DVR just caused too much strain on their network. Oh, that’s unbelievable enough until we tried to pay our bill. The company closed promptly at 5PM, they mailed the bill along with a return envelope. I should have asked what the return envelope was for BECAUSE the phone/internet/cable company, the only one in the whole town only accepts cash. This is the point at which I’d be surprised if you didn’t fall over in your chair. So when bills came due I had to go to the phone company before 5PM because I just knew they couldn’t have expected me to send them cash in the mail. Or so I thought. Did I forget to mention that the company is closed on Saturday and Sunday? A bill was past due as of Sunday and they called on Monday morning. I reminded them that they were closed, but that was no excuse because they expected cash to be in an envelope and dropped in their mailbox. I wish I could have seen the look of shock upon my face. That was the most shocking moment of my life since 5 years prior when my mother died. In those moments of shock we have to request that the shocking news be repeated but end up being shocked yet again when the same thing is said that we thought we heard the first time. Even in the earliest days when there were no doors in doorways there were thieves, but apparently I’m expected to believe that everyone in New Windsor or at least everyone at the phone company is honest. Yes, I’m aware that people in that town feel safe about not locking the doors of their cars. In FACT, the front and back doors of our house didn’t even have a bolt lock. If you can believe it, I managed not to fall over from shock a single time.

In the town of New Windsor there were two supermarkets. One was the equivalent of a corner convenience store and the other was a gas station. People that wanted to eat well left town or went broke trying to eat common food at the restaurant prices offered in town.

There is a restaurant down the street in New Windsor that to my disappointment only served tacos on Tuesday. If you visit New Windsor you should order one, but it has to be Tuesday, schedule your visit accordingly.

The town hall hours were interesting. It was open only twice a week for 2 hrs each time. It was so ridiculous that I took a picture of the sign on the town hall door, but at the moment I don’t know where that picture could be.

There were no schools in town. The kids all had to get on a bus to go to a school in another town.

There was only one worthwhile street in town. It was called Main Street. On It was a restaurant, bar, tavern, library, market, gas station, waste department, post office, and a bank. Two buildings said bank on them but one of them was the waste department which is why it took me 3 trips down the street to find it in order to sign up for garbage pickup. Do you know that my husband was upset with me for not asking how much it would cost? Was he planning to drop the garbage at the dump himself? He was too busy to sign up for it, but he would go to the dump himself? This is what I dealt with, unreasonable situations.

There was a bank and a library, both were interesting places. I never saw the bank open but once, this was because it was only open after 3PM. 3PM until when… I have no idea, but I’m willing to assume it closed at 5PM. When I needed an ATM I went to that bank just 1 time and never again. The bank didn’t have an ATM, what kind of bank doesn’t have an ATM? The library had posted hours, but the hrs were different depending on the day of the week. The most interesting hours had stuck in my head: 10am-12 and then 5PM-8. Tell me that isn’t a long lunch break. When I finally found the library open and visited, it was the size of a bathroom at Great America. Those bathrooms are big as bathrooms go, but for a library… I’d call myself disappointed at the sight. There was no private place to read, all was viewable from the front desk. There was no clear table on which to study because books were displayed all over it. I was surprised that there was a public computer, but it could have been just for catalog use.

We spent exactly 1 year in New Windsor. Not a day less, not a day more. November 1st, 2011 I hopped a bus to North Carolina. I couldn’t wait to leave Zion, but leaving New Windsor was 100 times better and I finally got out of Illinois.


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