Monday, April 11, 2011

April A to Z Challenge: I is for ...

    "I"  is for the loveliest state of them all...Iowa. (Or fill in your own favorite state, as long as it starts with an "I" today.)  I lived for thirty seven years in Iowa, which is why it is dear to my heart. The bubble-gum colored peonies in spring, the smell of lilacs in May, the whine of locusts on a summer night, the sporadic blink of fireflies in July, the vivid green rows of corn, the steel gray of a thundercloud, the white-out blizzard conditions, the 98% humidity...I'd better stop while I'm ahead.
    Below are a few photos of the things that say "home" to me...the things that say "Iowa."

I'll start with the first house I remember living in. We moved from here when I was four. I remembered the huge wall in front and in my mind it was about five feet high. I was shocked when I came back as an adult and saw that it was only about two feet high! I used to play with hollyhock seeds in the back yard.
I lived in this house from ages 4 through twelve. It was light green when I lived there, and there was no fence. Those are my bedroom windows up on the second floor. Best memories: moss roses growing in the back yard, white and purple lilac trees, lily-of-the-valley growing against the back wall, watching thunderstorms from that enclosed front porch, and picking rhubarb from the side of the garage in back.
My school for first and second grade where I was lovingly taught by Sister Gabriel and Sister Eugenio. The girls played on a playground to the right and the boys played on a playground to the left. No co-ed hi-jinks there. It's called Holy Family now, but back then it was St. Boniface.
I attended elementary school here from grades 3-6. I loved walking to school on foggy days, because then I could pretend my school was a castle. It was considered major good luck to have your classroom in the rounded rooms. Many thanks to Mrs. Rusch, Miss Faber, Mrs. Reinking, Mr. Toso, and Mrs. McGill. This school was originally a hospital.
The church I attended for 28 years.

Computer Geek and me in a lovely rose garden.

I love this statue. So majestic.

A statue of Lt. Colonel Dennis Nielsen carrying young Spencer Bailey from the scene of a plane crash. When asked how he felt about saving the boy, he answered, "I didn't save him. God saved him. I only carried him." Several artists were commissioned to submit proposals for a memorial after the crash. All were abstract and the people of Sioux City spoke, saying that the best memorial would be of Nielsen carrying the boy. The people won out. See the actual photograph here. I was coming home from work and couldn't figure out what all the sirens were for. I later found out about the plane crash.
The Mighty Missouri.

One of my favorite views: You are looking at Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota all at once.

Daughter Kay at Grandview Park, where a huge blues festival is held every summer. The rollings hills hold over ten thousand fans as performers, famous and aspiring, rock the crowd.

The Iowa flag!  Booyah!


  1. Oh, Randi, love, love this post.
    Iowa is one of the best things in my life. Despite the winters, I could happily live there.

    Thanks for the memories.

    P.S. This would work for Yesterday's Magazette.

  2. Oh Iowa! While I don't have corn growing out of my ears (yet), I do enjoy being here! Thanks for the great post to remind me of what I have! Still, I do miss mountains!

  3. BEAUTIFUL post. I was so inspired! I decided to award you the Inspiring Blog Award.
    Go to and pick up your award.

  4. I love Iowa. Remember the "huge" brick wall in back of the apartments. I remember hiding behind that on May Day from Gilly and then when I went back years later I could step up and over it. I miss walks down by the river for full moon night, Grandview Park, cruising the Loop, lol and that one really old huge Victorian house over by Kelly's, I think it was like pink and blue.

  5. I love the sound of the word Iowa and I loved this post...especially of you sharing your past.

  6. What the Fannie Farkle! I missed the best thing about Iowa before....TACO JOHNS!!!

  7. Auntie M: Iowa is one of the best things in my life too. I remember your husband used to call us "Iowegians" and I loved that term.

    Jed: I am so glad that you enjoy Iowa. It's such a special place to me. While you miss the mountains, I miss the sunsets...

    Deirdra: Thanks for stopping by! You made my day by giving me an award! I will go pick it up from your site. Thank you so much.

    Levizmom: Isn't it amazing how adulthood changes our view of how things looked? I miss those walks by the river too. And you DID forget Taco John's! Hello! :)

    Ken: The word Iowa does have a pretty sound, doesn't it? I'm gad it sounds that way to others.

  8. Don't recall Iowegian, but he's part Iowegian. He lived in Hospers and Sheldon.

  9. Oh, that statue makes me cry. It reminds me of one in South Africa, that was also made from a photo, of a man carrying a boy who'd been shot by police. You can see the photo here:

  10. Auntie M: Dutch country, eh? (If I remember correctly.)

  11. Jill: I checked out that photo. It was so sad to me that he was shot during a "peaceful" demonstration. I thought of my own twelve year old. In the article I couldn't find if he survived the attack or not. Do you know?

  12. Randi - he did not survive. It's a very famous event in South Africa. The man carrying him is his brother, the girl next to him is their sister.

  13. Jill: That's awful. I hate when children are the innocent victims when adults can't get it right. Thank you so much for commenting on it.

  14. I'm ready to visit Iowa now!! Thanks for showing us all these great photos!

  15. septembermom: I'll meet you there! :)


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