So one of my hometown childhood friends challenged me on Facebook a couple weeks ago. Nothing as exciting as a duel with black powder guns at dawn. The challenge was to show a black and white picture from my life. One picture a day for a week. Pictures without any people in them. Yikes. But even worse than no people in the shots, no explanations allowed describing the pictures! Double yikes. I’m a wordy person, I need to try and explain everything. In bulk. Multiple times.
I thought about just ignoring the challenge. Seriously. But I must confess, my curiosity was piqued. So with a big sigh and a little muttering under my breath, I started going through my 4,000 pictures on my iPad to see if a certain picture stopped me in my tracks. And needed no explaining. As if.
This silly challenge had been all over Facebook. Each time I saw it on my newsfeed, I cringed thinking, if you are indeed one of my friends, don’t pick me, don’t pick me. Please. Most of the pictures I saw were taken the same day they were posted. Simple life moments like clean folded laundry, cooking a meal, the speedometer of their car. But no, that wasn’t what I was thinking. I was leaning towards pictures I already had about my life. It didn’t worry me much about having good material without people in them. All my favorite landscape pictures are people-less. Who wants to see a throng of folks at Niagara Falls? Not me. Just give me the Falls please. Wild waves or an oddly calm day on Lake Michigan-spectacular-just hold the people please. But I wanted to tell a story with each picture. It’s what I do. Now that was gonna be the impossible part. (Photo taken by Jeremy Church in his kayak).
|Lighthouse at Muskegon on Lake Michigan…|
After the first 2 days I was already stewing about the number of pictures I wouldn’t be able to use because my 7 measly days were up. Yeah, thanks for that Anne. Just put a very short leash on this piss-poor-writer-picture-taker-constant-explainer. I decided long before my 7 black and whites were history I needed to do a mostly picture blog, plus words. But this time on my terms. People allowed, maybe some color and certainly words. Can’t forget to try and ‘splain it all for you. Over and over. Just in case you didn’t get it the first 3 times.
Here goes. Don’t think I’ve ever made a big deal about my heritage, when actually I’m quite proud of being Dutch. The reason it was never a big deal growing up was because approximately 80% of my small town was Dutch too. Guess I assumed the whole world was of Dutch ancestry. But after I moved to different parts of the country, I realized there’s a whole lot of nationalities out there and I’m a very small part. (Just happens to be the best one). Huh, who knew? Sorry, this explanation was already way too long for one simple wooden shoe. Let me try again.
|My great-grandma’s wooden shoe. Mom painted it in the ‘60’s. Sigh…|
With another shoe picture. My Mom’s first pair of baby shoes which were bronzed. The way families made keepsakes in the late 1920’s. That’s better.
|Mom’s bronzed baby shoes, 1928…|
This one is similar to the heritage thingy. Can’t say I really, really loved Iowa until I left the great state. It was simply the only home I’d ever known. That was 30 years ago. Things I never gave a second thought about. Acres and acres of corn crops, the richest, blackest dirt-needed to feed the world, wide open spaces, the mighty Mississippi, abundant sunshine. The older I get, the longer I’m away, the more I love my native state of Iowa.
|An Iowa field. Thanks God…|
My beloved little hometown. Immense love, loyalty, gratitude. My childhood wasn’t pain free, but whenever I think about Rock Valley, I smile and thank God I grew up there. Kind of like Opie in Mayberry. Hokey, I know. Still, the truth.
|Main Street of Rock Valley during the 1960’s…|
Rock Valley Community School. I wasn’t a good student, wasn’t very popular, but had a very close circle of friends (partners in crime too). Basketball games on Tuesday’s and Friday’s, pep bus rides, dances, cheerleading, bowling alley pizzas, slumber parties, stealing cars, vandalizing buildings. Lots of warm fuzzies for that huge part of my life. Neese, the thug. Ah, the good life.
|The new addition grade school in the late 1950’s…|
My Dad, driving the Iowa State snow plow during one of our way too frequent blizzards. He was forever grateful for his job and benefits that it provided.
|Dad driving the snowplow near Rock Valley…|
I never saw this picture until after my Mom died and I cleaned out their house when Dad was moving to Michigan. Summer of 1950 Mom was pregnant with me. Aww, too cute. She was 23.
|Pregnant with me in 1950, Larry is behind her on his trike…|
Well, I’ve finally made my entrance. That’s me, about 6 weeks old on the kitchen table. Next to me is Larry, 4-1/2. Neither of us realized how much we would enjoy the few short years we would have together. Mutual admiration society. Wasn’t he just the cutest?
|Me and my big bro, 1951…|
I know, I know, thousands of folks eat them everyday. But as far as I know, only Northwest Iowa call them Taverns. Not maid-rites, not sloppy joes, simply Taverns. Why this one word is of vital importance to me, I’ve not a clue. But it remains so.
|Taverns still served for hot lunch at all area schools by Rock Valley…|
My home all through school. One of the oldest houses in Rock Valley. It had more additions Dad was not an architect, every add-on (Dutch word is haukee) was a different level by a couple of inches. I wrote a whole blog about Dad and his odd way of building. But it was my home and I loved it.
|The house where I grew up…|
A huge part of my upbringing, Rock Valley’s First Reformed Church. The youth groups were phenomenal, Sunday school, choirs, RCYF. (Being part of a group was very important to me).
Part of Mom’s legacy. She had more talent in her knitting needles and ability to read complicated patterns. I still have several of her wool, handmade sweaters she made for me. She was really proud of her work. Me too.
|One of my favorite sweaters that Mom made for me in high school…|
A frequent place to visit. Located about 70 miles from Rock Valley, it was a huge draw for teens. Lake Okoboji, one of the world’s bluest lakes, Arnold’s Park with gobs of crazy carnival rides, The Roof Garden, known for the hippest bands, concerts and dances. Thee Cat’s Meow, for sure. Fond memories.
|The best day trip destination as a teen…|
Not to worry, this is just the first installment of my life in pictures. A snippet of a small town girl growing up. I’ve got lots more of my life to show and share. Next year. Thanks for tagging along. Stay tuned…