Steve Frerichs’ parents always told him, “Go, get out, go somewhere where you can do something with yourself.”
When your parents aren’t doing too well, they start preaching that message at an early age, said the Page native. So, he took their advice, joining his brother in Denver in 1990. The brothers formed a partnership in a construction business and he remained there for six years. But it wasn’t all that much fun.
The city’s “a rat race,” he said. “Anywhere you went traffic was ludicrous and the crime was horrendous.”
Frerichs, who now works for Christensen Bros. of Cherokee, Iowa, began looking for an opportunity to return to Nebraska. A visit from his cousin with an offer of a place to live brought the homesick Frerichs back to Page in 1996.
“I hated the city. I had an opportunity to come back, and I took it,” Frerichs said.
Out on the East Coast, in North Carolina, Frerichs’ future wife was having similar problems. The normally quiet North Carolina community she lived was being overturned by newcomers. After meeting through mutual friends, Becky and Steve were married and started talking about where to start their life together. Nebraska’s wide-open spaces and quiet lifestyle appealed to both.
“It’s not the hustle bustle constantly. People are friendly, and it’s a good place to raise a family,” Becky said.
The Frerichs knew they wanted to live in a small town near Norfolk. They settled on Randolph, moving there two years ago with Becky’s two children from a previous marriage. Becky, now manager of Randolph’s Clubhouse restaurant, warms customers with her deep southern drawl. The same customers come in for a cup of coffee every morning; they stop by again for lunch at noon. Becky always has cookies and cakes ready for them. She knows them by name.
“I would do anything for them,” she said, “and they would do anything for me.”
Her customers have watched the restaurant while she’s running errands, and they’ve shoveled the sidewalk for her in the winter.
“They’re the backbones of this community,” she said. “The generation before us made this community what it is, just as we will make this community what our grandchildren will see.”
That’s something that’s being lost in her booming North Carolina town, Becky said.
“I don’t know 90 percent of the people. They’re not going to make an impact on my life, and I’m not going to make an impact on theirs,” she said ruefully.
A lot of people today are looking for trendy places to live, she said. They leave home to get away from the small town, she said. But in a few years they wish they were back home.
“Your home is like a friend; and a new city is just an acquaintance,” she said.
- Story Courtesy of the Norfolk Daily News