City of Waverly | Saturday, 27 June 2020
Not so fast my friend! Let me tell you a true story…
I remember growing up in the metropolitan cities my parents moved me to throughout my youth and wondering what it would be like to live in a small town… a place where everyone knew how to appreciate one another, look out for each other, and rise to the occasion when called to do so; a place that was comfortable to return home to from a long journey or be proud of because it felt so good to live there. These were the characteristics that made up the ideal small town in my mind’s eye but this place was just a dream and couldn’t really be true, right?
Both of my parents are from small towns. My Dad is from a tiny northern Arizona community that was once a jewel on the mother road we know as Route 66. Like the Disney movie Cars, when Interstate 40 came to be in 1957, the town dried up and no longer was the quaint little place for visitors and travelers to pull off and enjoy during their journey to or from California.
My Mom’s hometown has a similar story — a small community in central Wyoming that was booming along the Oregon Trail and was once the home station for the famed Pony Express. After the station was burned down along with a military outpost in 1866, the town never really recovered and has become a small bedroom community for nearby Casper.
Growing up, my parents always told me about their struggles of living in a small town. How everyone knew everyone’s business and about how both of them couldn’t wait to leave and find a new life in the big city. Over the years, they painted for me a grim picture of what it would be like to live in a small town which would eventually overshadow my ideal utopia.
Fast forward some 20 years, now married to the love of my life with twin boys who grow faster than the weeds in my yard, I find myself living my childhood dream in a small town in northeast Iowa called Waverly. With a population of around 10,000, Waverly is neither dried up nor lost in the past. It is vibrantly growing and has everything you want and much, much more: art, music, culture, a thriving business community, parks, trails, and plenty of recreational opportunities. It is the home to Wartburg College and an award-winning public school system. It’s a place where you know you’re safe, thought of and cared for by neighbors and friends who share your ideal lifestyle and values. It has become my new hometown and I’m excited that my boys get to grow up here and enjoy the experiences I only dreamed of as a child.
Travis Toliver proudly serves as the Executive Director for the Waverly Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Program.
He enjoys living in Waverly with his wife Nicki and twin boys, Carson and Tiegan.