Monday, October 21, 2013

Sentimental Journey

Last week I went on a whirlwind tour through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. I relived many memories with family, friends, vet school classmates,  former teachers, and even got to meet my cousin Ashlyn for the first time. I finished my trip by visiting two friends in different retirement homes and even got to join in a sing a long. So much got packed into those six days. Here are just a few of my memories with some old and new pictures mixed in.

Some of my earliest memories are visiting my grandma's in Iowa. They also came to Indiana to visit us some. You can see a picture of us all at my first Christmas in my "Memories" post. I remember my Grandma Littlejohn sitting in the window at her apartment waiting for us to arrive and I remember playing and running all around my Grandma Tucker's house, up and down the stairs, around the back yard and into the attic. It was fun to discuss this with cousins and share our memories.

This is me in front of my Grandma Tucker's house. The people who own it now were nice enough to let me have a tour and I am so thankful for that and for the fact that they are taking such good care of the house that holds so many memories for me. They even have a beautiful Iowa State flag flying in front. Go State! My grandma, grandpa, dad and I all went to Iowa State  (although it was called Iowa State College when my grandparents went there). When I went back to school to get my Masters it was a joint program from Iowa State and the University of Iowa. My Uncle John (dad's brother) who had gone to the Univ. of Iowa, said it was about time I went to the "right" Iowa school. That made me laugh, although I didn't agree!

Grandma Tucker's house was so much fun to run around in and there was a small landing with little chairs and books. I spent a lot of time sitting there reading and looking out those windows. It seems so much smaller now! Around that corner are the steps to the attic. The back yard was hilly and had little paths and when we were bored running around there we could run across the street to cousin Margaret's house to play.

This is my Grandma Littlejohn sitting by the window that I remember her looking out of as we drove up.  This apartment is the only place I ever remember her living. You can see her Danish flag on the TV and later she had a Danish flag suncatcher in her window also. She didn't have much room to play in like my other Grandma, but we would go outside and run up and down behind her apartment and walk to the Botanical Garden and a playground that was near there.

Thanks to cousin Margaret for arranging the tour of Grandma Tucker's house and for taking me out to Elk Horn to learn more about my Danish heritage. My Grandma Littlejohn emigrated from Denmark in 1913. This is a windmill that was brought from Denmark and reassembled in Iowa. It sits in Elk Horn near the Danish Museum. I had seen the windmill before, but this was my first visit to the museum. It was a great visit even though the wind was so cold that day. Glad I am moving to Africa!

You can see the wind blowing the flags out straight. It made for a good picture.  I had to ask what the flag on the right was! Remember I didn't grow up in Iowa. How many Iowan's could pick out the Indiana flag? 

 I did live in Iowa for four years while in veterinary school and it was great to finally live close to relatives. I remember finally getting to spend a lot of time with my Grandma Littlejohn going to Sunday evening concerts at the capital and spending the night with her before my boards. She lived a short walk from the capital and it saved me on parking and getting up earlier. Double bonus! I also remember my friend Erin came and parked there also and Grandma was so worried about us, she kept giving us fruit to take and eat.

Ames has changed a lot and I don't even recognize the East side anymore. I do remember how it looked when I was there, especially during the 1993 flood. This sign that says "Welcome to Ames" was not normally floating in the middle of a "lake".

Erin and I both worked in the Pathology Department, but the school closed down that day due to the flooding, so we got to go home. Since the sun was shining by that time, we decided to ride our bikes around and  assess the damage. This was the remaining piece of the College of Veterinary Medicine school sign. It was really sad to see that much water destroying such a beautiful area. At least the vet school was dry and so were our trailers. 

It was great to see the school again and I was able to visit with many professors, friends and colleagues. For four years I spent many hours there working, studying and making great friendships.

So as I sit here I am finishing my laundry and repacking as I prepare to leave again on Tuesday. This trip will include training, a visit to another mission agency and seeing more friends, relatives and veterinary school classmates, along with another new cousin who I haven't met yet. I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life and the wonderful friends and family who have given me so many great memories. I am also thankful for the chance to move to Kenya and make more great memories while spreading the love of God to the people of Turkana. I can't wait to begin making new memories there.

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