Growing Up In Iowa

I was reading my favorite blog by Danielle yesterday and it reminded me of a FB post by an old friend of mine.

I was raised in Iowa, where flip flops come out in February, we don’t have fireflies, we have “lightnin bugs”, we don’t have cray fish in creeks, we have “craw dads” in the “crick”, “taters” are mandatory, “y’all” and “you’ns” is a proper noun, chicken is fried, biscuits come with gravy, sweet tea is the house wine, and you would never ever disrespect your elders. Post if u were raised in IOWA!!!!!
Ummmm……….Croner honey, you know I love you and all but are you high?  We were raised in the same small town (at least from the age of 10 on) and I have distinctly different memories of growing up a Iowan. 
 Y’all?  Never heard in normal conversation.
 Crawdads?  No. 
Fireflies?  Yes. 
Sweet tea?  Puhleeze……no one actually drank tea except for a few days in the summer and then it was sun tea.
Flip flops in February????  Sweet baby Ray not a chance in hell.  We were lucky if the ice on the streets melted by April.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I ever had a pair of flip-flops.  Dr Schols sandles yes but flip flops no.
Now ‘taters being mandatory, chicken being fried…..that is totally true.
I had what could best be described as a Norman Rockwell/Wonder bread childhood.  My first 10 years were spent in Ceylon, Minnesota which is a teeny tiny village on Minnesota/Iowa border.  We lived in (what to me seemed to be) a large home on an acre of land.  Across the street was the football and baseball field.  On either side and the back was either a bean or corn field depending on the year.  Just down the road was the school. 
 The street to the left and behind the homes wasn’t there when I was a youngun’.  Our yard had apples trees, pine trees and a bunch normal trees.  We got one channel on the tv……CBS out of Mankato Minnesota (Bandwagon anyone?) .    We didn’t watch a lot of television but I do remember that ‘naughty’ “MatchGame” in the afternoons.  I was weaned on images of the Vietnam war and grew up a lot when our next door neighbors lost their son Timothy in 1972.
My best friend was Amy Jurs who I met on the first day of kindergarten and we became fast friends.  I mean how could we not sharing the same name and all………….obviously we had tons in common!  She wasn’t lucky as I was to have a stay at home mom so we spent most days after school at her house.  Duh!!!!
Our family friends were farmers so we shared a hatch of chickens and raised them until fall when everyone got together to butcher them.  (Pretty traumatic the first year)  We picked peas and corn out of the field and froze it to eat during the winter.  We had a garden every year and grew tomatoes, potatoes and green beans.
We went swimming in the lake in the summer and ice skated on it in the bitter cold of winter.  In the summer the school district took bus’ to Jackson Minnesota for two weeks every summer so we could take swimming lessons.  I didn’t see a real swimming pool until I went there.
We went to church every Sunday and Vacation Bible School for a week each summer.  Every year my mom & dad took two weeks off of work and we went ‘out west’ on a camping trip…..Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde.  We traveled by car and as a treat got to have one breakfast out each trip.  We always had a blast.  I always ended up sunburned.
In the winter we got blizzards that literally buried cars.  I have vivid memories of walking on a highway on the tops of buried cars. 
In a town of less than 500 people we could go anywhere we wanted without fear….the only rule was to be home by dark.
At the tender age of 10 we moved to ‘the big city’.  Estherville, Iowa….about 20 miles away.  It was a town of around 2500 people and coming from a place of under 500 it seemed huge.

The swining bridge crossing the Des Moines River on the way to the swimming pool

In Estherville we had great ammenities like a community swimming pool and we would ride our bikes down and play every afternoon in the summer.  As we got older we earned money in the summer by walking beans and in my high school years detasseling corn (Quite possibly the most horrible job ever…..ever……ever……..)  When someone was sick, had a baby, had a death…..we cooked for them.  We had church potlucks on a regular basis.  There was (And is still) no graffiti outside of occasionally on water towers and train over passes.  (And then it is more of the ‘John + Kate’ type stuff certainly not gang related)
We would go to the “Iowa Great Lakes” to swim (and burn) during the summer and cap off the day with lunch at THE TACO HOUSE!!!! (Still miss that!)
In February we had the Estherville Winter Games when people all over town would create giant snow sculptures to compete for the best one.  I remember my parents spending nights in the cold helping to build the one for our church. 

Few photos exist but this is one from "The Importance Of Being Earnest" performed my sophomore year

In high school we drank too much, parked on too many gravel roads and had the most wonderful high school experience ever!!!!!  (Saloon girls rule!)  I made life long friends and grew roots that have carried me through these years.  We had homecoming parades, proms, plays, musicals, county fair, Friday night football/basketball/wrestling and all the traditional small town activities.  There was no crime, no one got arrested, we didn’t have cops in the schools and teachers let us get away with more than you can imagine.

Estherville High School Today

It was a wonderful place to grow up.  I’m deeply blessed.
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