henryetta, oklahoma - small town, america. even worse, declining, small town america. population just north of three thousand, of which, i'm told, over 70 percent survive on some type of government funded income - social security, unemployment, welfare.
at one time, back in the 30's, i believe, henryetta was a thriving metropolis comprised of some 10 thousand folks. coal mining and glass manufacturing were the major economic contributors, with hundreds of family run farms easily within a 10 mile radius. then the coal mine went dry. the glass plant shut down. the town started a downhill slide.
my sister and i went to henryetta today. still dealing with dad's house out there. we met with a realtor to list the house. we were disappointed that the initial realtor we'd contracted didn't sell the house quickly, as they indicated they felt they could do. so we changed. and that was our primary reason for being there. to enlist the aid of a new realtor.
the average house in henryetta will sell for somewhere between thirty and forty thousand dollars. that seems incredibly low. particularly considering prices i've been used to seeing in flagstaff. and even far lower than what you'd find here in oklahoma city.
dad's house is well above average for henryetta. at roughly 1600 square feet, this three bedroom, two bath home, built in the 50's, we think will sell somewhere between 50 and 60 thousand bucks. and that's partly because the lot is just over a half-acre. that house in flagstaff would sell, depending on the exact area, somewhere between 150 and 200 grand. henryetta's declining.
you wouldn't expect you'd learn much in henryetta. we walked into the bank as we still have dad's accounts there. we were stunned to find that the largest bank in henryetta (yes, there are more than one) doesn't use computers at each and every desk. in fact, the young lady that assisted us had a typewriter on her desk - no computer terminal. how much can you learn from someone who doesn't even use a computer in a bank?
well, a lot. fundamentally, care and feeding of the customer. she didn't know us when we walked in. but she essentially came out into the lobby to invite us into her office and ask us what she might do for us. we explained what we needed to do. then the exceptional service started. rather than directing us to the teller line, as i suspect most bank employees would do, she filled out deposit slips for us, withdrawal slips for us (even typed them up on her ibm wheelwriter), told us to sign here, initial there, then asked that we'd simply take the documents she'd completed on our behalf to the teller.
my sister and i both felt this lady had gone far and beyond the call of duty. and she was, oh, twenty something, i'd guess. the age where you would normally expect curt treatment. but she did a great job on our behalf. and we really lavished her with thank yous. and her response was the best i've ever heard. not "no problem". not "uh-huh". not "yep". not even "you're welcome". and i doubt very seriously if she's ever read the blurbs i've written on this subject in my blogs. but she's better than me, cause she said . . . "thank y'all (it is oklahoma, you know) for allowing me to help you."
henryetta, oklahoma. learn from it.