I can't remember if I've actually blogged about this before or just put an extra long comment on someone else's blog. If I did it to you, I'm sorry. I can get a little long-winded sometimes. (Shaddup.)
I'm an Iowan. I was born here, albeit several miles to the south. After my birthparents married and moved to the big city of Des Moines, in the center of the state I lived there for a couple of shortened years before my birthmother got sick with polio and ended up being put in the hospital. Eventually, she was transferred to the University Hospitals in the eastern part of the state and I was shipped to the northwest area to live with my paternal grandparents. Two years down the road my mother had died, my dad had remarried, and we were once again in Des Moines. After a year my family moved to an itty bitty town in central Iowa. About as rural as you can get and still be in a town. We didn't live there very long, about a year, but my dad changed jobs and we moved to a small college town not far from Des Moines. I loved it there. It was the true "small town" experience. He tried to be in business for himself, working out of our house, and it didn't work out so finally we moved back to Des Moines and he resumed working for his old company.
What all this rambling is telling you is we moved a lot… but my parents always had their base in Des Moines and had friends that lived there and that they reconnected with every time they moved. Even after retiring and moving to Arkansas, when they had their fire and their home was destroyed they came back to Des Moines and the same friends were there, waiting with open arms. That was their hometown. Me? I just went from place to place and never really bonded with anyone… feeling like the new kid in class pretty much each and every year. I didn't develop those strong friendships most kids have when they go to school with someone for a long time and share the teachers and the inside jokes. I stayed in the back of the class and watched, the outsider.
This is my husbands' hometown. He has lived in this area his whole life, except the years he was in the service. He has friends he has had since he was a kid. Our kids went to school with some of the same teachers my husband had! Although this is a college town in many ways it is still small town and you can barely turn around without someone knowing you… or of you… and it became my kids' hometown, too. The place they grew from a very small age or were actually born here. They, too, have friends they've known forever and attachments that will last.
This all brings me back (in a quite round-about way) to the reason for this post. I have said before that I read all the time. I have this strange thing I do that when I see an author mention, oh, say, Iowa… or some city in Iowa in their books… I freak! My heart beats faster and I actually have to check out the author again to see if they are from around here. What is the Iowa connection? You can imagine how I felt when watching "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" or "Field of Dreams"! Trust me, it is amazing just how many times Iowa gets mentioned! Usually it's the sweet young innocent thing that turns into a stripper or gets killed or something equally icky. Or… it's the dumb salesman who just got off the bus and loses his wedding ring to said stripper at the Vegas casino he just happened to stumble into… yeaaaah… whatever. Iowa is portrayed at being in the middle of nowhere. Okay, I'll give you that. It is. But it is the way we like it!
So I get perhaps even more excited to find out some of YOU have Iowa connections. I won't name names, just because I'm not wanting to 'out' anyone who hasn't given all that much personal info to the world yet, but I just met a guy the other day online that I chatted with for quite awhile and realized he not only was from Iowa, but I knew right where… and I may have actually SEEN him back when he lived here! He and his wife, both are from here… and got married not more than 5 miles from my house! Freaky, I tell ya. He ran for the hills of the great Northwest… but another Iowan only got as far as Missouri before she stopped. Then there is the one who grew up in Iowa that actually lives clear across the globe! I mean, talk about gettin' out of town!
So, is it weird for me to think this is a cool thing? Do you get excited when you read something unexpected about your state… even just in passing? Do you get intrigued when someone is from your area and wonder what their life experiences were there…and why they left? If you were the one who left, do you ever go 'home'?
I'm curious. Where are you from – what you consider your "hometown"? (Feel free to comment anonymously if you want… I think my comments accept that.)
*Update* Michael put the following in the comments and I originally was going to add all these, but didn't want the post to get toooo long. At any rate, they are some more "Iowa" connections. "And there's plenty of other movies;the Straight Story with Sissy spacek, The Indian runner with David morse, Harvest of Fire/ Lolita Davidovich, A Thousand Heroes/ Charleton Heston,Country/ Jessica Lange, The Bridges of Madison County, Michelle Bense,
Starman fell in Cedar Rapids, Terms of Endearment,Noises Off, Pennies From Heaven, Twister, Michael,Miles From Home, Fist, Children of the Corn, Puppet Masters,Take This Job and Shove IT, Mommy, the TV series Coach, all involveIowa in one way or another, I think Radar mentioned he was from Iowa
in MASH. Calamity Jane is from fictional Grandville, Iowa. There are books like The Second Nevraska Cavalry that is about the Sioux massacres on the 1862 plains, Morning Ran Red is about the axe murders in Villisca, Iowa. There are a host of famouse people from Iowa as well; Tom Arnold, Johnny Carson, Harriet Nelson, Cloris Leachman, Nick Nolte, Donna Reed, even John Wayne, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver…Laura Ingalls, John Deere, Harry Reasoner, Anne Landers, Glenn Miller, C.W. McCall, Andy Williams, Maimie eisenhower, Wyett Earp, Tom Thumb, Buffalo Bill, Herbert Hoover, Henry Wallace, James Van Allen, George Washington Carver and Norman Borlaug."