Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Iowa memories

Recent discussions on a facebook group, revived memories of a special time in my life. My earliest memory is of the JFK assassination. Not the act specifically, I was too young for that, but the impact on my mother. I will blog about this in the future, because today the memories of three years spent in northeast Iowa are foremost in my mind.
The thing about these particular memories is that what I experienced then has an impact on my life now. Then-exposure to the country music industry, now-heavily involved in gospel music industry locally. The exposure to the work-a-day life of a local musician then seems to make it possible for me to understand the work side of our weekend warrior status.
My memories are so much more than this, though. My parents divorced when I was five. My mom remarried soon after and with her new husband we moved to Iowa. Our first house was in Cedar Rapids. I have vague memories of the highway running in front of the house, several houses in a row. I don't remember a yard per se, but I do remember my school was across the street. Then one night, my parents packed up, and we moved to a cute little house in Monticello. It was early winter.
I loved kindergarten in Montecello. One morning I woke up to a ton of snow. Since I walked to school, and Mom didn't listen to the radio in the mornings, I bopped on out the door, ready for a great day of school. Halfway there, a neighbor called to me. "Where you going?" she asked. "To school" was my reply. "I'm sorry sweetie, there is not school today. Too much snow." I ran home crying, I wanted to go to school! My mom made it up to me by letting me do the dishes for her that day! It didn't take long for me to figure out that it wasn't a privilege!
That same year I got my first real pet, a parakeet named Lady. Since my step father was a bass player in a local country band, my younger sister and I had a babysitter every Friday and Saturday night. One Saturday we got into trouble for miscreant behavior the night before. Since the babysitter had promised not to tell our mom, it was a shock that Mom knew what we did. When I asked her how she knew, she said "A little birdie told me." Mom says that she caught me giving Lady an earful later that day. I took her literally. I just knew the bird had a big mouth!
Monticello was such a small town then, you could go just about anywhere by walking. One day, Mom chewed us out again for something we did when the sitter was there. So I decided we were going to run away. So Donna and I piled our favorite baby dolls and their clothes into our doll carriages. Right on top we each put a change of underwear and went on our way. The most important things in life. We went to the babysitter's house, but she wasn't there. She was at the swimming pool. So off we went.
Apparently our mom didn't believe us at first when we stated our intentions. A couple of hours later she realized we meant business and headed out looking for us. As we were crossing an alley headed to the pool, she pulled up in the car and caught us. Needless to say, we didn't sit really well for several days, and didn't see much of the out of doors either.
Monticello was where I got my first bike. Monticello was where we lived when three tornadoes came through town. Monticello is where we lived when there was a total eclipse. And Monticello was where we lived when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
I don't know what things are like there now, over forty years later. But it was a great place to be a kid.

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