Life was very good for me in that little Iowa town. I had my freedom to go and do what I wanted, as much as a ten-year-old can. I had a new Schwinn bicycle, two dogs, good friends and a great family.
Mom was a good cook, using good local food from our garden and the farm. The homegrown, Iowa tomatoes were fantastic. I have never tasted a tomato of such excellent quality and flavor as an Iowa tomato, I always asked Mom to grow yellow and orange tomatoes for me, as I liked those best of all, and she gladly obliged. More about tomatoes later. Mom stayed home, as many 50’s wives did. She took care of the house and her family. That was her job.
Summers were great, but winters brought fun as well. The temperature would drop well below freezing and the snow would blow. The first snowfall was always exciting for me, as I enjoyed sleigh riding about as much as I enjoyed roller skating at the rink. I would spend every minute I could out in the snow on my sled. My dog, “Pooch,” would always be at my side and seemed to enjoy the excitement of running down the hill beside me as I sped through the snow.
It was extremely cold and my pants would be frozen stiff, long before I got back home. My hands would be so cold I couldn’t feel anything. My brother would run cold water over them, which would eventually restore the feeling in my hands. The inside of our windows would get covered with ice. He would show me how to push a coin against the ice so it would hum and when pulled away would leave an imprint of the coin in the ice. The cold Iowa winter made that little bit of fun possible, despite the fact we had storm windows installed for the winter.
Our other grandma (dad’s mom) would always send us a large package filled with some rather inventive gifts from her home in Los Angeles, California. One gift we knew would always be in the package was a double deck box of Mary See’s® Candy. Iowa had nothing like that box of candy from California, and we had waited an entire year to receive it. I would note; that was when a year was a long, long time!
Huge icicles would hang down from the eves on buildings and there was a commercial green house across the street that would get covered with icicles. My brother and I would break off an arm load of ice and we would use it to make ice cream in our, hand crank ice cream maker.
Hamburgers from the “Spot,” “Mary See’s® Candy” (once a year), and home made ice cream. How good can life get?
However, I was unaware of the changes that were about to come into my life. But come they did!