Where it began…

Some background for any newbies I might have picked up reading my blog recently. I am the most technically challenged, inept person on earth. I didn’t know how to send an email in the year 2000. Hubs finally bought me a laptop so I was forced into the new century, yet years behind most elementary students. (But I was content, trying to remember where my fingers were supposed to be during typing class with Mr. Tyler). A decade later my techie kid, Joshua convinced me to buy an iPad, saying I’d never use my laptop again. He was right.

My technical advisor, early in his career. Joshua, 1976…

Not long after, I received an invitation from a classmate of the Hubs (Ray, 3 years older than me) to join a closed group aptly named, If you grew up in Rock Valley, Iowa. (I did grow up & join). There were about 40 fledgling members, mostly within a decade of my age, one way or the other. I didn’t know all of them, but most. The posts (almost daily in the first few months) from that group (growing everyday, but steady for quite awhile once we hit 100 members) were hilarious, sad, ordinary, thought provoking and off the wall. Someone would write, “do you remember when the cow got out of the Locker plant pen and ran through town? No one could catch him.” (I did not because I was 5 when it happened). Some of these threads would garner 300 comments and go on for days. I loved every minute, being relatively new to social media. (Ah, the good old days when FB was still social instead of one political platform after another).

50th reunion of 1966 (Hubs class). Ray (center) invited me to join, If you grew up in Rock Valley…

One of the group’s frequent readers/contributors/commenters had my curiosity piqued. A gal near my age but I simply couldn’t place her. She (Marlys) figured out how we were connected. Our parents had been friends when we were very young and we attended the same church. Her family moved to Michigan a couple years after my brother Larry was killed in 1958, which was still a vivid memory for her. When we started chatting we were surprised to find out we now lived about 45 miles from each other. (Thanks God, that was a good one). Marlys mentioned (in a very kind way) every time I posted or wrote a comment, If you grew up in RV, I wrote copiously. “What others say in 50 words takes you 500. That’s not bad, it’s just the way you write. I hope you’re a blogger.” (I didn’t know what a blog was). I’ll refer you back to being the least techie person on the planet.

My friend Marlys during Rock Valley’s Diamond jubilee in 1954.

Well Marlys had me read a blog she had written when she and her husband Jim had taken a long, nostalgic vacation. I. Was. Smitten. Hook me up please. Which is precisely what she did. Invited me to her house for lunch including hugs and loads of encouraging words. Helped me choose a blog name from several I was mulling over (in memory of our mutual hometown, Rock Valley which we both still carried deep feelings for. Our cute little town only had one stoplight back then. (It’s now doubled in size and traffic lights).

Rock Valley’s one stoplight until recently…

I left her house enthusiastic but nervous. I’m not a writer. My vocabulary sucks. I have punctuation issues and my spelling is dicey. (Thanks spellcheck-at least most of the time). I thought blogging was far beyond my capabilities. But I was determined. Really, who was I trying to impress anyway? No one is gonna read what I write. Once I realized I was writing for me, I lost most of my insecurities. Suddenly all those words and stories swirling around my head started taking shape. This blog was for me. I gave it 3 months-tops and I’d be done writing, stories depleted, memories spent, all out of words. Ha.

Ha-ha, Marlys and I both had pics taken for RV’s jubilee, but I didn’t get the quaint outfit…

The very next day I wrote my first blog post about my big brother who left me too soon called, Larry Wayne. The date was June, 11, 2014. Five years ago. Unbelievable. I thought I’d be done way before this. I just topped 250 blog posts. Sounds like a huge number, at least to me-because it is. So how come I’m not done?

Larry 3, 1949…

At first I could only write stories from and about my past. Nothing about my present life. But as I’ve said from the get-go, this writing business has a mind of its own. Often I have an old memory in mind, but once I start typing, I don’t always know where this particular installment’s gonna take me. Or how it’s gonna end. This storytelling has been one long emotional roller coaster ride. For me, my blog has been often painful, mostly therapeutic, rewarding, sad, goofy, joy filled, gut wrenching, truthful, and horribly embarrassing. There’s just not a lot of subjects I find taboo-thus some of my traumatic childhood stories. (Except politics. Not ever gonna change anyone’s mind on how I feel or how they do, it just creates hard feelings and enemies. Where’s the social media in that)? Believe and feel how you want, I’ll do the same. Period.

Me, painfully practicing for my piano lesson. Love my dirty, summer feet…

While several posts have been about a long ago family tragedy, some stories have been mildly amusing (at least to me, though not everyone gets Neese humor, which I guess is understandable), poetic and somewhat embellished. For the most part when I’m talking about my past, I cry when I write-and every time I reread that particular story. Although much of my life has not been filled with sadness, but reliving something-even though it was a happy event may cause tears. For example the birth of our youngest son. The story was called Party of 5. He wasn’t exactly planned but we were ecstatic as his due date grew near. (Shannon was almost 9, Joshua, 4-1/2) Adam however was breech, feet first, and my cervix closed around his neck after his shoulders made an appearance. We both almost died. (I’m convinced had it been the early 1900’s neither of us would have made it). Long story short, doc hopped up, straddled me and pushed Adam’s head out before any loss of life. Thanks for helping out that day, God. The emotions of reliving, telling that story made me cry for days. Hubs still harbors a huge resentment because I refused to see a specialist in Sioux Falls or Sioux City. We were living in a much smaller city. John was right, I should have had a C-section.

Adam, my perfect breech baby, 1980…

Celebrating my 5th anniversary compels me to start at the very beginning because I have something to prove to myself. I’m going to be brutally honest and count how many stories out of 255 so far are really good. Geez, I hope it’s more than 10 or that will indeed be brutal. While I’m gonna keep writing, for the next few weeks you might spot an installment that looks vaguely familiar or not, because I’m gonna repost the ones that have a special meaning to me. I know there’s a few and hope if you’ve been reading about me and my mundane existence for awhile, but never started at the beginning, you’ll enjoy a few of my favorites. I know there’s a couple folks out there who have been along for the entire blogging ride. For those few, I’m eternally grateful. Thanks again to one of my idols, Neil Diamond. Whenever I’m lacking a title for a new post, I can usually count on a favorite lyric or song title from Neil that fills that little niche for me. Keep reading, I’m not done writing. (I heard those groans)…

My 3rd Neil Diamond concert. Older, but still the best, 2017…

2 thoughts on “Where it began…

  1. I had no idea when I began the If You Grew Up in RV that it would start you on your blogging career but am absolutely thrilled that it did!!!! Your blogs have been appreciated by all, the funny ones, the inspiring ones, the memories you have shared that have sparked memories in others.Thank you Denise?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Betty, that’s really kind of you to say. You’re a huge reason why I began writing. Had I not been asked to join, If you grew up in Rock Valley, I very much doubt I would be blogging. If you’ve not read a story from June, 2016 called, “Thanks a lot” you’d better go back and find it because you’re one of the stars!! I give you, Ray and Marlys all the credit for this one woman disaster. I am forever in your debt and love you to pieces…

      Like

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