Growing up Iowan


I had a pretty damn good childhood, and maybe I should acknowledge my parents more for that.  We were never rich, but I never went without necessities.  I also had plenty of toys, a bike, sports equipment, and whatever I needed.  The best thing I ever received was their attention, though.

Before I reached school age, my mom would stay home with me.  I watched Sesame Street every day.  If she stepped out for a bit she always asked me if The Count had been on.  He was our favorite.  Also Kermit doing the news, Super Grover, and the Cookie Monster (because who doesn’t love cookies?).

My dad came home for lunch pretty much every day.  I’d oftentimes hide first, and he’d spend the first few minutes of his lunch time looking for me.  Usually it wasn’t too difficult to find me.  I’d probably be in the bath tub or behind their bed.  Yet he always managed to look surprised that he’d actually been able to find the master hide and go seek player!

Sometimes mom and I would bring him donuts at work.  I remember being able to bring them in by myself!  It made me feel so big and responsible.  He once gave me an old key he said was for his work building.  Now that made me feel important!  This was when Asher Motors was in the spot that later became Sernett’s department store (which is gone now, too).

Mom and Betty and I (and some others I think but can’t remember who) would sometimes go out to the north shopping center (the Southpark Mall wasn’t in existence yet) to the café for breakfast.  They had the most amazing cinnamon rolls!  Huge!  I guess not necessarily cinnamon – I remember lots of caramel on them.  Yummy, sticky deliciousness!

I didn’t learn to appreciate these things until years later.  Staying home with small children is hard!  Even if they’re behaving perfectly (as I’m sure I always did, duh!), it’s hard as an adult to not have another adult to talk to.  Even us incredibly bright and articulate (and humble, I might add) children don’t converse the same as adults.  There’s probably only so many conversations an educated, working adult wants to have about Scooby Doo or the arcane rules to some game you just made up.  Hmm, bad example – anybody would be glad to talk about Scooby Doo for hours on end, I’m sure!

They made sure I knew how to read and write.  I can’t remember how many times I wrote “Danny”.   It was never made into a chore.  Learning was made fun.  I guess that’s the advantage to having an awesome teacher as a mom!  I loved any book with my name in the title.  “Danny and the Dinosaur” was a favorite for years.  We also had “Where the Wild Things Are” and many of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books.  Clifford rocked.  And Little Bear.  As I got older we spent a lot of time at the library.  Found another Danny book – “Slide, Danny, Slide”.  Baseball, ya know.  Football was always the king of sports, but I never found a book called “Tackle, Danny, Tackle”…

Mom and Dad always included me in little things.   Maybe carry some small things when dad was going flying (model airplanes), or “help” mom with some little chore.

I had it pretty good, and I think I’m so much better off for it.  I love them both more than I could ever say!