Rich, Rich, Rich

This was originally written in response to someone’s blog about how awful it was to live in Iowa…it has been edited and expanded here for your enjoyment…

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa…so long ago it was close to farms. Detasselling corn was THE summer job. Racism was not part of my youth. Black girls were part of our slumber party group because we didn’t know they “shouldn’t” be. I hated the black kid who sat behind me in Social Studies, not because he was black, but because he was obnoxious. School was fun because the teachers loved their jobs…and us.I picnicked at Walnut Woods State Park, laughed through the water dips at the Ledges, swam in Clear Lake, Okoboji and Gray’s Lake. I watched the planes take off and land from the viewing spot outside the airport fence because it was cheap entertainment. I spent literally hours at The Art Center and first met Piet Mondrian there. I worked at the Ingersoll Theater, had a friend who invited me to her parents farm to ride the horses bareback and I attended Barbershop Quartet competitions at KRNT, and danced with Lawrence Welk when he did a show there. Sleeping outside on a hill at the park or the roof of our house because it was so sticky-humid-everywhere was a treat. One of my uncles worked at the Iowa State Fair, so every year I got special treats…puppets or straw hats or such…and he was there long enough, so did my kids!
Somewhere along the line, of course, Iowa shed her 50’s mentality and joined the rest of the drug-racist-violent culture of this century. San Diego didn’t feel like home partly because there are no thunderstorms there. I lived there 10 years, loved the fireworks, missed thunderstorms. Every bad thing that [K] mentions could have happened anywhere. What could not have happened just anywhere are the intangibles..the spirit, the warmth, the vitality, born-of-necessity-creativity, the genuine people-caring and the gosh-darn-down-to-earth-let’s-just-get-it-done-attitude!
Too timid to peer around the bend? One of Dad’s favorite pasttimes was taking us on drives in the country and asking which fork in the road we wanted to explore that day!


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