Outside Chicago – What’s It Like?

Nov 04, 2023 1M Views 5K Comments

Just beyond the bright lights of Chicago is a completely different world out in rural Illinois. Come on an adventure with me to see what’s happening close to Chicago, but a world away.

â–ş Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

MUSIC USED IN THE VIDEO 🎵
â–ş Terin Ector – Cold World (Instrumental Version)
â–ş Headlund – Return to No Man’s Land

[Peter] Good morning guys,
here in beautiful Downtown Chicago
but today’s video is not about Chicago.
It’s about one, two hours
outside of the city.
The countryside,
a completely different world.
So today we’re gonna go on a road trip,
get lost on some back roads,
meet the locals,
hear what they have to say,
and learn a thing or two.
Let’s do this.
♪ jazz ♪
[Peter] Instead of tall buildings
we have tall corn.
About and hour and a half outside Chicago
and check out the names
of these towns out here.
We have Sandwich, Sublet, Paw Paw,
Buda, Norway, Earlville, Love, Palmyra,
it’s a Syrian city.
Let’s check this out, peaches.
I could go for a nice peach right now.
Look at this.
[birds chirping]
Nobody here.
This is what’s so cool
about the countryside.
That trust, right?
Just come on my property,
grab some food,
leave some money.
Hear that owl, the birds.
I don’t know if I’ll finish these today
Mmm, best peach I’ve had in years.
That is homegrown for sure.
You can’t bring these peaches in your car,
be all over the place.
[chewing]
They got the hammock right there
under the tree.
Endless corn for a lifetime.
Big skies out here.
Just a simpler life.
It is for some, not for others.
I like both actually I gotta say.
I like the urban environment,
I like the country environment.
Lately more nature though
just seeing all this greenery.
Downtown Sandwich.
Nice little town
but I think we can do better, guys
because Sandwich is off a main road
and when you start getting out here
you can see
the big urban sprawl of Chicago.
We’ve finally got out of it.
There are places like Rollo here,
let’s check that out.
Does it have streets?
Couple, okay,
so we got a few streets there.
There’s Paw Paw.
Look at all these back roads,
hopefully meet some farmers,
that’s the goal.
A lot of them I bet
haven’t even been to Chicago.
I bet there’s some people out here
the further you go
maybe they’ve been there once or twice.
But it’s just like this beast
on the periphery of their lives.
Two different worlds
very dependent on each other.
Gotta love Rollo,
the biggest structure is the grain silo.
There’s a sign that says it’s for sale.
…could do with this.
It’s interesting, just a couple houses
with a nice church.
[Peter] There used to be
a general store over there?
-And then… This was a town, right?
-So who lives in the town now?
-So it’s your family’s town?
-How’s that?
Little different than Chicago, huh?
-You guys go there much, Chicago or no?
-I’m gonna check out the church,
is it okay? Is it your church?
[Peter] How many people go to this church?
-50 a week? Okay.
Take care.
-[woman] Okay, you too.
-[Peter] Thank you.
[Peter] This is interesting,
so on the map it looks like a little town
but it’s basically this family’s property.
Built in 1913.
Got some nice stained glass in there.
It’s on the National Register
of Historic Places.
[latch thuds]
That’s unfortunate,
it looks so cool in there.
Ugh, too bad.
Oh, we got Compton
on the west side, how ’bout that?
The Burg, West Brooklyn,
these towns keep on giving.
Let’s check those places out.
[Nelson] If you take this around
it’s Shabbona Road.
This is Chicago Road.
It goes out to Paw Paw.
-Any restaurants there?
-I don’t know if the bar
is open anymore or not.
-Okay.
-But there’s The Beaver Den is in Paw Paw.
-Oh, cool.
So everyone farms out here?
What is everyone doing out here?
-Uh, I don’t know, there’s a bunch
of traffic coming through here lately.
I’m coming back
from a farm sale yesterday.
I drive a truck full time
but I farm part time.
-So all the corn I’m seeing out here,
are these massive corporations
that own this or smaller farms?
-No, just small farms, family farms.
-That’s cool.
-They’re ‘tween
500 and 2,500 acres around here.
The only big massive
corporate farms that you might see
is there’s one
’bout four miles north of my house.
-And are you guys holding onto that
or are the corporates coming in?
-We’re holding on pretty good.
-Cool.
-Those guys, the only reason he’s
corporate is he went belly-up four times.
So now…
So then a big company
had to come in and take him over
’cause they owed so much money to them.
-So the mom and pops are hanging on?
-Yeah.
-Is it a livable career out here?
-Yeah, it’s pretty easy.
I make a pretty good living at it, so…
-Good for you.
How’s trucking these days?
-I’m busy all the time.
I’m always gone, I travel all the Midwest
and I haul farm machinery,
not like this but bigger.
-So what do you feel about
the country when you’re out
and come back to where you live?
-Like where I live and where I go,
everyone’s about the same.
We’re all easy going.
We don’t…
-Low stress out here, huh?
-Yeah.
Yeah, there’s nothing
too concerned about us
and we just hang out.
Drink beer, hang out.
When I was driving truck
full time for my dad
I was doing Chicago four days a week
’cause there’s a mill in there
that’s a hundred years old
and they haven’t moved it yet.
So we go in two times a day
and then I would go in
at midnight and get a load of feed
to come out and feed cows with, so…
-What do you think about Chicago?
-Ugh, it’s just not…
-I don’t like going there at all.
-It’s not your thing?
-Chicago runs Illinois.
That’s the way everyone out here says.
-It’s the engine of the state?
-Yeah.
-But you guys feed Chicago.
-Yeah, we feed Chicago
but Chicago runs the whole state.
Springfield might be
the capital of Illinois but Chicago is.
That’s where J.B. Pritzker
is all the time.
-So it’s really two different worlds
right next to each other?
-I’ve met people
that lived in Chicago all their life
and never knew there was a farm out here.
-Seriously?
-Yeah.
-This is beautiful, I’m in Chicago…
I’m making videos
on Chicago and I thought
all right,
that’s one perspective of Illinois,
I want to get out into the countryside
’cause it’s totally different.
-And it’s beautiful, man.
-Yeah.
-The ancestry out here
in Northern Illinois,
is it Scotts, Swedes, what is it?
-It’s everyone, so I’m Norwegian.
We’re seventh generation farmer,
Norwegian.
There’s some Germans around here
and there’s a lot of
Irish around here too.
If you drive around you might see farms
that have century farm plaques
on their farm.
So they’ve been there a full century.
-Oh, that’s what that means?
-Same families have lived
on that farm for a full century.
-So this corn, is this going
into Doritos potato chips
or where is this corn ending up?
-So this corn mostly ends up
either going to the Illinois River
and gets shipped on a barge
down the river.
Gets loaded on a container ship
and goes overseas
-Where overseas, Asia or Europe?
-Uh, both.
Depends on who wants it the most.
-So we have in the United States,
a food surplus right now?
-Yeah, we always have a food surplus.
One farmer feeds
350 people in America now.
-So there’s a lot of you guys?
-Yeah, well we’re smaller and smaller
but I think we’re down to
two million farmers in the US right now.
-Okay, out of 330 mil?
-Yes.
The government’s got us pushing
so hard with the DEF on our tractors.
-The what on your tractors?
-The DEF.
-What’s that?
-The diesel exhaust fluid.
In 10 years or 20 years
we’re supposed to go all electric.
Well, for us to do electric
out here on the farms
those electric tractors
would have to be able to last 12 hours
in one field.
Just working ground.
Well you could do it
but now you’re talking you gotta stop
or the tractor’s gotta have
twice the amount of batteries
as a diesel tank to keep us running.
-You look at the telephone poles…
-Yep.
-Those telephone poles
have been there for 40 years.
Now you’re gonna wanna run
everything off electricity
who’s gonna come out
and fix those telephone poles
if we have a major snowstorm
or whatnot and we got a pile of snow
and we have electric plow trucks
and the plow trucks aren’t charged
’cause the batteries died overnight?
‘Cause it got too cold.
-Do you guys worry about this?
-Yeah, we worry about this all the time.
It’s a major concern about
going electric out here in the country.
Electricity is nice, don’t get me wrong
but you’re never gonna replace
the diesel engine or the gas engine.
‘Cause there’s so much demand
for oil and gas.
You can’t just replace it
with electricity overnight.
And they want to do it in 10 years,
well 10 years is still not enough.
-You have to change
all your equipment out, everything?
-Yep.
-The windmills up here,
they’re fiberglass blades?
-The blades are fiberglass,
they have metal structures
but fiberglass outside.
And then the windmills
only last 20 to 25 years.
Then you have to tear them down,
rebuild them…
-You sure about that?
-Yeah.
-Really?
-Yeah, all these windmills out here
are 25, 30 years old
and they’ve been taking them down
and are building them
and what they do is just cut the bolts,
drop them on the ground,
they flop right over, break everything up,
they put a brand new windmill in
and everything else goes to the landfill.
All these windmills
are pretty much powering Chicago.
Everything that gets…
‘Cause there are solar farms
over by my dad’s house
just north of Somonauk.
They’re putting solar farms in.
There’s a guy that wants to put
3,000 acres into solar farms
on good productive ground.
And all that solar power
is gonna go up and power Chicago.
-How do you guys feel about that?
-I don’t like it.
‘Cause it’s a 20 year lease.
At the end of the 20 year lease
the company has the right
if they want to renew it or not.
So it’s not up to the farmer.
If they say in 20 years,
“Oh, we don’t wanna renew it.”
Well now it’s like who’s responsibility
to pull all the solar panels out of there?
‘Cause if you damage
one of those solar panels
and the chemical comes out on it
that ground, you can’t farm that ground
for a hundred years.
You have to take all that dirt out
to a specialty landfill
and bring new dirt in to farm.
-They’re pretty toxic?
-Yeah.
-So you guys aren’t for
the renewables out here?
-We are but just not
take up precious farmland.
They don’t make farmland every day.
We’re losing farm land
constantly around here.
It’s easy for someone
to come out and be like,
“Oh, this is good area for solar panels.”
Yeah, it’s good area for solar panels
but why are we taking the heat
for putting solar panels up?
I don’t want a 200 acre field
of solar panels by my house.
There’s warehouses in Chicago
that are 200, 300 acres of flat roof.
Why can’t they have solar panels up there?
[Peter] What a cool guy, Nelson.
So if you’re new to this channel,
that’s pretty much the M.O.
Getting locals to speak.
I ask questions, let them run free,
no clue where it’s going
I mean I can guess, I’m in rural America.
I’m sure it votes
very Republican out here.
So politically I know
where people stand for the most part
but you always learn something
from someone living
a different lifestyle than your own.
So for example, Nelson sees corn,
and land, and agriculture out here.
So a solar panel is a threat.
I’m talking
from his perspective… to that.
Potentially they leach chemicals,
the land can’t be used again.
If solar panels start
taking over field by field
what happens 10, 20, 30 years out?
He’s thinking,
“Look, we don’t use much energy out here.”
I mean compared to the acreage we live on.
You know, but we’re
sending all the energy to Chicago.
Why don’t they put the solar panels
on top of their buildings?
It’s not to say solar panels
are great or they’re bad
or windmills are great or bad.
But it’s just to understand
where people are coming from.
Everyone has a reason for their beliefs
whether you agree with them or not.
[car revving]
[man] Originally Paw Paw was three towns.
You had East Paw Paw,
West Paw Paw, and Paw Paw.
-You don’t get many tourists?
-No.
-The city folk don’t come out here?
-On Labor Day they do.
-But that’s it?
-Yep.
-[Peter] This is new since the pandemic?
-[woman] Yeah.
-Nice place.
-[Peter] You’re both from Chicago but–
-[man] Then we moved here.
-How’s it been so far?
-Great, it’s a wonderful place to live.
-How have the locals taken you in?
[man 2] There’s no burning crosses
on our front yard so that’s good.
[giggling]
-[Peter] Have you made friends?
-[both] Yeah.
-[man 1] We live in a small part of town
-[man 2] Compton.
[Peter] What’s going on
in Compton, Illinois?
-Nothing.
-Bloods and Crips?
-It used to be a railroad town.
Back in the 1830s.
Stagecoaches came through
when they went out west
and the entire town
moved to where the railroads were
which is about five miles from here.
-Okay.
-Yeah.
[Peter] Why was this town
important before?
-It was another stop
on the stagecoach route
for the cattle drives.
-Cattle drives?
From somewhere to Chicago?
-Iowa to the stockyards in Chicago.
-So the slaughterhouses were in Chicago?
-Yeah, in Downtown Chicago
was the slaughter yards.
The stockyards.
-In 2004 I had a really high pressure job
and there was
a lot of property for sale out here
and I thought, “Hey, it would be
really nice to have a weekend house
somewhere that’s commutable.”
It’s only an hour and 45 minutes,
two hours to the city
and I built a house out here.
-Oh, cool.
-It was a weekend house at first
and over the years
I got more and more comfortable
being away from the city
and then eventually it was like,
hmm, you know what,
I really don’t like being in the city.
I like the quiet, I like the nature.
I like the cool, no stress vibe.
-Yeah.
-A gay couple living in
the rural Midwest would be kinda pariahs
but no, I mean we get
invited to block parties
and we’re welcome just about everywhere.
We don’t know what people
are saying behind our backs
but it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
I changed careers, I work out here.
-Political stripes don’t matter?
-No, and I’m sure without a doubt
we’re the only Democrats…
[laughs]
…within probably 10 mile radius.
-But you don’t feel the friction?
-No.
That’s so cool.
-People are pretty much nice everywhere.
I mean you only see the media focused on
extreme people who are hateful
and going out of their way
to be mean or whatever
but for the most part
most of the United States,
people are very nice.
It’s just you don’t always see it
portrayed that way in the media.
-There are conversations,
things that come up
and we just redirect these conversations
so we’re not having
those political dialogues.
-I mean yeah,
there’s a guy down the street
who has a Trump flag
flying all year ’round.
-Yeah, “Trump 2024”.
-But we’re friends with him.
We’re nice with him, you know?
[Peter] Being Chicagoans and living
out here, you know both worlds,
what do people in Chicago
not understand about here?
The perspective out here?
-They think it’s like another country.
Getting our friends
from Chicago to come out here
is ridiculous.
-It’s too far.
-They can’t take a cab.
-It’s funny though ’cause it takes them
an hour to get somewhere in Chicago.
-To go four miles.
-Yeah, to go four miles and…
-Coming out here
is like an hour and 45 minutes.
[Peter] You think it’s
a lack of curiosity?
-Maybe lack of motivation, maybe it’s
not understanding what the benefits are.
I mean this is the restaurant.
There are no options. [chuckles]
You can’t go grocery shopping,
you can’t go clothes shopping you can’t…
-There’s no Starbucks, McDonalds.
-No Starbucks.
-Where do you go grocery shopping?
-I order every week from Walmart.
-In Rochelle which is
about 20 miles… 20 minutes away.
-I work near there so…
They load up the cart, I come home.
[Peter] But it’s an inconvenience
worth it to be out here?
-Oh, yeah.
-We have a wonderful garden,
I used to keep bees, you know?
We’re going to have chickens.
-We have a beautiful prairie.
-It’s much more sustainable.
-Planted a prairie,
it’s all native species.
We really like it,
it’s very calm, it’s quiet,
no noise pollution,
no air pollution, no light pollution.
-We see the stars at night.
-See the stars at night.
[four wheeler]
♪ somber country ♪
[Peter] These windmills
are absolutely massive.
Check this out here.
I guess that’s all fiberglass,
that’s what he was saying.
[knock echos]
[voice echoes] Yeah, I think so.
Wow.
All right guys,
so I just walked up to this barn,
talked to this family
for about a half hour.
They don’t want to be on camera.
I asked them about the windmills.
What are their thoughts out here.
It’s pretty simple, if you’re leasing
to the company to have the windmill
in your field, you’re liking it ’cause
you’re making passive income basically.
But if you’re not, you don’t like ’em.
So this area in Illinois
is one of the first I guess in the state.
These windmills came in around 2000.
They’ve already
been replaced, a lot of them.
They were smaller before,
now they’re bigger.
So it’s nothing new here
but in some of the areas
where they’re sort of going out in to
there’s a lot of friction with the locals.
A lot of signs saying,
“Don’t put up the windmills.”
So like most topics in life,
it’s complicated.
Depends who you talk to.
So the first guy we talked to,
he was against it, these guys are for it.
[Margie] How old do you think I am?
[Peter] I’m gonna say 62.
-You’re a beautiful person,
I’ve had people say 67 and 68
but on May 31st I was 90 years old.
-Ninety?
-And on June 3rd
they gave me a birthday party.
On June 4th
I skydived for my eleventh time.
-Oh my God.
What’s the secret?
-I don’t know, good genes I guess.
-[Peter] You’re jeans are nice for sure.
-[Margie laughs]
-I do not take any medication at all.
-Never?
-Never.
-You’ve never taken anything?
-Well I’ve had a broken wrist.
I’ve had a couple surgeries
but that’s the only thing.
Just to get…
-Do you eat super healthy?
-No, not especially.
I was a farmer’s wife, you know,
meat and potatoes.
-So you got a yard sale going on here?
-Uh-huh, this is a yard sale
but in here…
-Okay.
-The machine shed sale.
-Ooh.
-It’s like a yard sale or garage sale
only everything is
brought into the machine shed.
This is my mother’s Avon collection
and I’m trying to use it.
These things have probably
been packed away for 30 years.
-Interesting.
-How is the community?
Do you love it out here?
-I love it, I’ve lived
in this community since I was married
and I was married in 1954.
-Do you remember World War II?
-Oh yeah, I had brothers
that were in World War II.
And at that time we were not able
to know where they were
or what they were doing
for three to six months.
-You were writing letters?
-Yeah, we were writing letters
but sometimes you wouldn’t
get the letters for several weeks.
And then at one time
they had to be censored.
The letters had to be censored.
-Okay, so what do you remember?
I mean you were a kid
but what did it feel like at that time?
-Um, well like you said, I was a kid.
The only thing I do remember
is that we did have ration books.
You know?
We had stickers that you get
so many stickers for coffee
so many stickers for sugar,
get so many stickers for tires.
One time my mother was looking
I think at Life Magazine
and she said, “There’s John.”
That was my oldest brother
and it was a picture
of him and two buddies
looking over all these bodies
that had been laid out.
That had been killed because of the war.
-Did he come back?
-Yes, he came back,
I have some magazines, it’s called Yank.
-Did you ever hear of a Yank?
-No.
-During World War II
there was a special magazine
that was made for the servicemen.
-You have Yank here?
-Uh-huh.
-I’ll buy that.
Oh, wow.
-Here are the Yank magazines.
-Five cents.
-1945.
-Uh-huh.
-Oh, wow.
Oh, look at that, that’s so cool.
-Maybe you want to look at the date,
maybe an earlier one.
-Look at that one.
-This is March.
-“The war against winter
on the western front.”
-Uh-huh.
-Definitely want that one.
Look at that, trench warfare.
-There’s a December ’44.
-There’s another December ’44.
-That’s a cool one.
So at this time
you were a kid but this was…
This was a time we didn’t know
where the world was going.
-That’s right, yep.
-So right now feels very stable to you?
America, compared to these times?
-Yes, uh-huh, as far as I’m concerned.
-Yeah.
-I mean you can compare crises
and everything every time you turn around.
-Five cents a piece at that time.
-Okay.
-How much do you want to sell them for?
-50 cents a piece.
-50 cents?
-Uh-huh.
-I’ll pay more than that.
-Whatever.
-I’ll donate to the cause,
this is cool stuff.
You don’t think negative thoughts?
-Not very often, no.
Life is not worth
thinking negative thoughts.
-So you’re an optimist?
-Wrinkles in your forehead. [chuckles]
-Well you have less wrinkles than me
so what does that say?
[both laughing]
[machine buzzing]
[Margie] This one, this one,
this one, this one, this one.
So what have you got?
You’ve got two aces.
You got a pair of twos.
-[Margie] Not much.
-[Peter] That’s cool.
-[Peter] What’s that?
-[man] It’s a shoelace tightener.
-For pulling your shoelaces.
-I always needed one of these.
I don’t know how I lived without it.
[man] Yeah, right.
[Margie] Years ago they laced
their shoes halfway up their leg.
-Right.
-And so that would go
through the hole and the lace through
and you could tighten your shoe down.
-Marge, do you remember
using one of those?
-No, I didn’t have to use one of those.
I’m old but not that old.
-I’ll tell you this woman
doesn’t take any prescription medicine.
[Margie laughing] See?
-At all… nothing.
No prescription medicine,
no blood pressure medicine, nothing.
-All she takes is vitamins.
-Do you go to the doctor’s?
When I need to. I have a yearly physical.
[all laughing]
-Hey, she can outwork all of us
when it’s 90 out.
I’m telling you I’m like ugh.
[Peter] Look at Marge go.
[man 2] I wanted her to marry me
but she says I’m too old.
[Peter] How old are you?
-76.
-Yeah, Marge you need what, a 55-year-old?
-Oh, no not that young.
-The last 11 years
on her birthday she skydived.
-Yeah, we told him that.
-Yep.
And she’s gonna do it
every year until she dies.
[Peter] You’re not married now?
You didn’t re-marry?
-No, somebody asked me and I said,
“No, I was under
my father’s thumb for 21 years,
under my husband’s thumb for 42 years,
no more thumbs, I’m on my own.”
-What if you met the right guy?
-Oh, we’d have a good time.
[all laughing]
[Peter] All right, 55 to 70,
is that the range we’re looking at?
-I’d say 70 to 85.
[Peter] Oh, he’s in.
[all laughing]
-She’s had plenty of dancing partners
over the years, don’t get me wrong.
-You have a good dance?
-I love to dance.
[man 2] Maybe that’s my problem,
I don’t dance.
[Peter] Yeah, that always helps.
-The other problem is
she thinks I’m her son.
[Peter] That doesn’t work either, yeah.
♪ somber country ♪
No, we’re not in
the South Side of Los Angeles.
It’s Compton’s sister city
over here in Illinois.
[music continues]
[Peter] Has Leon always been camera shy?
[man] Yes.
[man on phone] I don’t remember.
-I got the camera pointed at the phone
so I don’t show him.
[Leon] He’s known me for 18 years.
[man on phone] I knew his dad,
Leon grew up under my nose
and I didn’t realize it
until he was 30 or something like that.
[Leon] I went to school in Paw Paw,
been around this area for 50 years.
-[Peter] Can I film your shirt?
-[Leon] Sure.
[Peter] “Straight outta Compton.”
You know, I’ve made
a lot of videos in Compton
in South Central Los Angeles.
[man on phone] Really?
-I make videos, everything from
the Amish to Bloods and Crips
and everything in between.
-Well how ’bout that.
-Yeah, I go in deep.
I was in South Side yesterday, Chicago,
now I’m out here.
[Leon] South Side’s a little rough.
-If you’re with the right people,
but yeah, it’s finicky.
[Leon] Who you are, what you’re doing,
or who to talk to, or not to talk to.
-That’s true.
-The joke is when you’re driving
a truck with stuff on it,
you don’t stop at stop signs.
-In South Side?
-[laughing] Yes.
-Are you a truck driver?
-No, but I’ve hauled
through there, equipment
and done work out there
when I was younger.
But I mean it’s probably half true I bet.
-[man on phone] Where’s that?
-[Leon] South Side of Chicago.
[Peter] It’s interesting,
you guys are like…
People from Chicago are scared of
you guys and you’re scared of them a bit.
There’s like two different worlds
right next to each other.
[man on phone] That’s really true.
One time I was in Chicago
at the trade show.
Anyhow I was in a bar once
and I happen to sit next to a salesman
who used to pass through Compton
and he mentioned he was afraid
that if he stopped at this particular bar
it was a pretty rough place.
And I was just amazed that
he had that perception
because well, I guess
there’s some mean people in Compton
back in the years but I don’t think
there is anymore.
[Peter] Right, that’s interesting.
South Side, there’s nice parts
of South Side too.
South Side’s pretty big, there’s
nice parts, some harder-hitting parts.
-Yeah.
-Howard, who named the town Compton?
[Howard] There was a family
originally named Compton
-Okay.
-They owned the 80 acres
that the town sits on
and it was prior to 1875 or thereabouts.
-No relation with
South Central Los Angeles?
-None whatsoever.
Are you up at Jerry’s right now or what?
-I’m going to Jerry’s, I’m looking for it,
it’s over here somewhere, right?
-[Peter] Jerry’s Bar?
-[Leon] Right around the corner.
[Leon] It’s been remodeled
so it doesn’t look like it did years ago.
[Peter] It lost its charm?
[Leon] Yes.
-Oh, it’s all generic now?
[Howard] It looks like they put
roofing material on the inside
as I understand it.
[Howard] I haven’t been in since they–
[Peter] It’s weatherproofed?
[Leon] I’ve been in there twice,
I don’t recall that.
They put vinyl flooring,
it looks nice but it’s modern.
-It’s not the feel of Compton?
-No.
[Howard] I haven’t seen it since,
Leon, so…
[Howard] It’s a very,
to use a big word, bucolic life we lead.
Very serene, very quiet.
Um…
Birds all over the place.
Uh, the main North-South highway
used to run right through Compton.
It used to be 51.
Now it’s called 251.
And there used to be some wicked
train tracks right there in Compton
that every time you cross…
[Peter] Okay, so these are
the big events of Compton history?
Which in my sarcastic way is a good thing
because you don’t have
a lot of BS you gotta deal with.
Right? It’s like a calm life out here?
[Howard] Yeah, it’s very calm,
it’s also…
From infrastructure services
so that if you have a problem
and you call the police
which is the sheriff
it takes him 20 minutes to get here
unless you happen to call
at a time when they’re on patrol.
-Do you have any crime out here?
-[Leon] Not much.
-[Howard] Not much, not really.
[Howard] There used to be
a strong rivalry in the towns
mostly to which taverns you went to.
[Peter] Okay, what towns?
-Compton, West Brooklyn, and Paw Paw.
-Gang turf wars or what?
-No, just farm folk
and different religions
Protestants versus Catholics
and farmers versus blue collar workers.
-Oh, interesting.
-You know, stuff like…
But all of that is pretty much gone now.
-Okay, who won out in the competition?
Are there any winners here?
-Not yet, I guess…
-Just a minute here, Peter.
-Yeah,
[background voices on phone]
-It was my nurse technician
coming in checking on something.
Okay, I’m okay.
So that competition
has pretty well died down.
Uh, I don’t think there’s as much
drinking going on, do you, Leon?
[Leon] No, probably not
but back in the day Paw Paw had three bars
and two restaurants.
-Well I’m gonna go off to Jerry’s
’cause as much as I love this,
I gotta get a face on my camera.
-Yeah, well listen, Leon, I thought
there was deal going on at Jerry’s
about Straight Outta Compton.
[Leon] That was last week,
they had amateur wrestling going on.
-Oh really, I missed that?
-Yeah, it was kinda weird.
The legendary Jerry’s Bar
with the new upgrade.
If you want to meet the locals
in a town like Compton
this is the place.
-How long have you two been together?
-A year now.
-You over the honeymoon
or still in the honeymoon period?
-We’re definitely not
in the honeymoon period.
-Okay.
[all laughing]
-That was a good time.
-That was a good time.
-You two are so cute.
[man] It’s all love.
Ashton, WACC, they took–
[woman] Yeah, how long ago was that?
I graduated in ’04 but my kids are in.
[Peter] Okay, took what out?
-Pledge of Allegiance.
-You should be proud of it.
You should be proud of where you’re from.
You should be proud, I love America.
I love us.
We can go out in public
and talk to any race
and it’s like usually always
I have never had a problem.
But then you see on the news
racism this, racism that.
You know what I mean?
It’s not like that.
-So a lot of people would say
in Chicago maybe
if they were Black they’d
come out here, they’d have problems.
What’s your take on that?
-Um…
I guess it just depends
on what they’re about.
You know what I mean?
‘Cause there’s bad everywhere.
-If they come out and have beers–
-Yeah, if everyone’s cool….
-Everybody’s cool and all that,
it’s when you start getting into
bringing like drugs out here and all that.
And kind of bringing the trashier side.
‘Cause there’s trash everywhere,
it doesn’t really make a difference.
You got bad people everywhere.
You got bad white people,
bad yellow man or whatever,
and all that.
-There’s bad people everywhere.
Like grandparents have been racists
but it’s not like that no more.
It’s just not.
Like we all get along.
[Peter] It’s like our generation
moved through that sh*t.
-[Peter] Gen-X moved through it.
-[man] That whole Jason Aldean song.
Like that’s true, you’re not gonna
come here and cause a problem
and everyone’s gonna let it go.
-You come here and ’cause a ruckus–
-Like that’s the truth.
And he’s not promoting violence,
nothing like that.
It’s just…
It’s not gonna happen,
you know what I mean?
-We’re here for people
that live around us, our neighbors.
I mean I moved out here from Aurora
and every neighbor knows each other
and watches out for everybody.
-Their property, everything, their kids.
-Yeah.
-We care about the kids going
up and down the street too fast.
-How we was raised.
-Yeah.
-So no crime out here pretty much?
-You get fireworks.
-Fireworks and burnouts.
-2:30 in the morning.
-[all laughing]
-Around here it’s pretty peaceful.
No big murders, nobody gets shot,
no one doing nothing.
-If something happens a neighbor
knows and everybody gets on the person.
-Yeah.
-Okay, so there’s accountability?
-Very much so.
-Like some kid’s out of line,
all the families are gonna be…
-Or like a kid’s going through stop signs
or a few kids are riding their bikes crazy
a neighbor goes over and says,
“Hey, your kids have been
blowing this stop sign
and we’re worried
about him getting hit by traffic.”
Then the parent goes out
and berates the kid
and says don’t do that no more,
you know?
Just what it is I guess.
-Lot of old school values still out here.
[crickets]
[Peter] There you go,
a little snapshot of what it looks like
right outside of Chicago.
Two big takeaways for me today.
One, both rural America
and Urban America
fear each other a little bit.
In Chicago yesterday in the South Side
I heard people saying they worry
about going out to rural America
and I’ve heard the same here
People worrying about going into Chicago
but the truth is people
on both sides of the tracks here
are very friendly.
I’ve had nothing but good experiences.
I think it’s a cooked up divide.
It’s been around for probably ever.
It’s just gotten I think a bit worse
with the media, and our politicians.
And then secondly,
the two are so reliant on one another.
Without rural America
nobody in the cities eats.
And as we can see today with the windmills
a lot of the energy
is coming from out here.
And rural America
would have a much worse way of life
if the companies that ran the electricity,
the internet,
all the products and services,
come out here
to make this life convenient and nice.
If that didn’t exist,
well, it’d be a tough go.
So both are very reliant on each other.
They just don’t see each other
face-to-face a lot of times.
So if you live in Chicago, get out here.
Check it out, it’s really cool.
Met great people today.
If you live out here, I suggest
getting into the city from time to time
if you don’t
just to get that different perspective.
So thanks for coming along
on that journey, guys.
Until the next one.
♪ somber country ♪

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