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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Iowa, drifting back

In honor of the 95 years since my mother was born, I decided to spend a little time looking on the Internet for images and information that would recall the place where she was born and lived most of her life, a town called Reinbeck in eastern Iowa. First, I pulled out the purple and yellow beads made of foil-filled glass that she was given as a high school graduation present in 1929, and wondered yet again where a girl in a small town in Iowa thought she might be wearing such magnificent new jewelry.

I found a wonderful Iowa public television web site, relatively new, with images and tales of Iowa. It included a photo from 1925 of the general store in Buffalo Center, where my mother would have her first teaching job about 8 years later. Did the store look the same and was it run by the same brother and sister, who are in the photo? Or did the Great Depression of 1929 close it, as it did so many other businesses? I found a 1939 photo from Reinbeck - a young man pouring a bin of hybrid corn, which was considered an earth-shaking invention in the 1930s.

I found a lovely photo on the South East Iowa Antique Auto Club site, of a Ford car in 1917 in Iowa, about the time my mother would first remember cars, and imperfect roads.

My childhood was filled with small tales, dozens and dozens of them, about life and characters in the little town of 2,000 in the center of the U.S., because my mother liked to quote her father, saying that in a town that size you have one of just about every kind of person there is, doing all the things people will do.

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