Thinking about Iowa

Many places in Iowa hold memories for me. I was born there. My grandparents lived there, as did my uncle for a period of time. I spent summers in Okoboji for a while, attended camp there, and recall an amusement park. My mother and father owned a home in Marshalltown that I can never seem to find when I drive down the streets, while my aunt and uncle lived in Des Moines for a stint.

The bulk of my Iowa time was spent in Marshalltown. I learned to golf. I attended church. I observed my Pappy’s determination and grit every day at the YMCA through the weights he would lift and many miles walked. He was also a smart businessman, revered in his industry, and allowed me to tag along from time to time, learning communication tactics and techniques. He had surgery on his ankle once and thought the puss oozing from the hole was a cool thing to show his granddaughter.

I spent most summer days with my Grammy, watching Days of Our Lives and quickly understood that “Avon Lady” visits were full of fun catalog browsing sessions. I helped mow the yard, in a manner fitting of a golf course fairway, walked the dog, that yapped non-stop, and met many life-long friends that were positively impacted by my grandparents. It was amazing to see how many visitors we had in a week.

During my reckless teenage years, my father stored my car in Iowa while I outlived the license suspension in Illinois. My mother is buried there, my grandparents, and great-grandparents as well. I spray painted the American flag in my aunt and uncle’s front yard each year for the 4th of July. My second car was purchased from a local car dealership, too.

I’ve seen Marshalltown businesses come and go, residential areas evolve, parks renovated to have “up to code” equipment, a tornado sadly wipe out much of the downtown area, and a community united to rebuild.

Once my aunt and uncle moved from Marshalltown a little more than a year ago, I haven’t visited. It makes me wonder if and when I will again. Who knows, might be a good little trip for my kids so they can learn more about their own mom’s past. But now that I think about it, with so many deep roots in Iowa, I wonder how I ended up here in Illinois?

Regardless of why I’m here and not there, I am grateful for the many memories.

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