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winter ending in iowa… decades ago

March 9, 2013

Yesterday the sun was shining in chi town, the sun that lights a cloudless stunning blue sky. It was the kind of sunny day that brightens the spirits of a winter weary community. The kind of sunny day that says, YES, you have survived another winter, spring is truly very near and I will be with you as you warm your chilly selves. A hopeful kind of day.

In Iowa, decades ago, a day like this brought out conversations of sweaters. We children knew it was still too early to be rid of the ‘snowsuit’, but worth the discussion of cardigans.. Spring jackets were not so common, we went from heavy dark serviceable snowsuits to light bright cardigans, cabled and buttoned. A very fashionable feature was our sweater guard, a clip with beading in the middle that connected the top front of our cardigan when we wore it over our shoulders, cape like, with the sleeves swinging.

The cardigan was not going to happen in March, we walked to school. The busses brought the country kids to town and after the new high school on the very western edge was finished, we westsiders could take the bus from the east side grade school over to the west side after and walk home from there.

In the early days, we walked to school, walked home for lunch, walked back to school and walked home after school.. 5 miles uphill both ways! NO.. of course not, it was a mere mile from one end of the town to the other, fairly pancake flat with only one stop sign at main street.

Our family lived 6 houses form the west end of town, you could easily see the farm fields and farmer Brown’s cows. When the blizzards came in from the west, it was a clear tunnel from the prairie farms into town. I was the only child on our street at our end of town and so I walked to school alone.

I cannot remember what I had for lunch yesterday or where I put my car keys, but I remember walking to school as though it were yesterday. the wooden screen door would softly close behind me, or bang harshly when the storm door was in, and off I went, down the short sidewalk, turn left……….. and cringe as the dachsund accross the street barked meanly as I ran for my life up the block. I only had to make it past the 3 old houses, the empty lot and the set back overgrown house on the next corner before the best part of the day would begin. The Colliers on the far side of that corner had a very elderly golden retriever. His children had grown past walking to grade school and his mornings were lonely. I don’t know if I ever knew his name, but he was my first best friend, he walked me to school each day. I was not that much taller than he, we walked almost touching with my hand on his back. On the way home, he waited for me on his front stoop, tail wagging and then walked me all the way home, past the dachsund and to my front door.

It was the best of times.

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From → Chicago, Family, Life

One Comment
  1. These are great memories to have written down! Save them!

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