As I continue my series on The Town That Built Me, I am going to fast-forward just a bit. I hope to come back and share a couple places at a another time but for now I’m just not ready.
I want to pick-up my story in the summer of 1982. My brother, sister and I are all still together and living with my Grandmother, her sister Sally, our dogs Fifi and Lemon Drop and a stray cat or two. These days I was spending more and more of my time with my little sister playing house and dressing up barbies. In the winter we would spend entire weekends lost in our own little world, only coming to the surface of reality when school beckoned. Things are good. These are days I look back on with fondness and sometimes miss with my whole heart. We were kids and for maybe the first time in our lives we were getting to be just that. We road our bikes, played baseball with the neighborhood kids, in the summers windows were left open and we fell asleep to sound of crickets. I had a best friend that lived just down the street and we would have overnighters and listen to records of Rick Springfield and Blonde. For some reason I was obsessed with the idea that I would soon be turning 12, a number that I apparently thought was much more grown up than it actually was.
That summer brought about the great church standoff in our house. For a few years we had been attending a small church just outside of Marshalltown and I loved it. I had good friends there and even the adults had become dear to me. Living so far away, however, was taking a toll on my grandma and we were getting there less and less. When another pastor from a church in town happened to stop by and visit it was decided that we would attend services the following Sunday. I was having none of it! I already had a church. I was comfortable there and I didn’t want to make new friends, again. Being eleven did not carry much weight in these decisions so that Sunday I was there with the rest of my family, shyly hiding in the back pew and almost near tears the entire time. It would take a couple more visits and the persuasive befriending of a couple of the older girls from the youth group to finally bring me around. Turns out, it would be a change that would bring me more happiness and love than I could ever have believed. It would change everything.