Raised an Iowan: how to find your way out of a cornfield and other lessons only an Iowan understands
I was recently read an article that was basically a compilation of stories from millennials who have purchased homes and how they were able to do so. Most of the submissions were from people who lived on either the East or West coast or another large city. The one that caught my eye was from Dubuque, Iowa. And the reason this one stood out? Because it was about Iowa!
Not Just a Flyover State
I’m always surprised to hear about Iowa in national media outlets, especially when the presidential caucuses are still several months out. I think a lot of that surprise can be attributed to the fact that Iowa is generally looked over by much of the other parts of the country as a flyover state that doesn’t have much to offer other than cornfields, pigs, and and intense love for ranch dressing. Not that they are wrong – we definitely have our fair share of ALL those things!
So Much to Offer
As I’ve gotten older, moved out on my own, gotten married, and become a parent, I’ve come to realize that Iowa offers so much for those who call it home. I am proud of the childhood I had, and I am excited that my kids will get to experience many of the same things I did growing up. My elementary years consisted of playing hide and seek in the cornfield behind our church on Sundays. These were followed by lessons from my parents about how to find my way out of a cornfield if I wandered too far in and got disoriented. There was many an afternoon spent playing in our friends’ club house in their timber and four-wheeling through their pastures.
Memories with Grandparents
My sister and I would spend a week or two in the summer at my grandparents’ farm with our cousins. Often times we could be found in the backyard under the mulberry tree eating the ripe berries or climbing on the fallen tree next to it. We would do our best to convince our grandpa to let us drive one of the older and simpler tractors up and down the long drive. If he got his work finished on time he’d agree.
On the Weekends
As a teenager many Friday and Saturday nights were spent out on friends’ farms around massive bonfires that were so big we didn’t know for sure who all was there. There was never any shortage of crickets chirping or stars twinkling on those nights. There were several times when I was roped in to helping my best friend’s family with larger, just need another body, kind of chores, like moving cattle from one pasture to another. My sister even spent time being employed by a local hog farmer. He liked her so much he asked her to take care of the entire hog operation while he was gone for a couple weeks. Only in Iowa do you get that sort of job offer!
Appreciating the Little Things
Now, I realize some people might not think these things sound like a good way to spend their free time. But I beg to differ. Growing up and living in Iowa has made me appreciate the little things. I had to learn how to make my own fun because there usually wasn’t a place close by where I could buy it. And when we did things like go to the movies or the science center or the children’s museum, it was a treat and something we really appreciated. That is what I hope to be able to pass down to my kids in this age of technology, and I think Iowa is the perfect place to do it.
Personal blog submission by an Iowa native, Emma Chase