Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 4- A Book that reminds you of home

As I don't look ahead in the list, I don't know what the next topic is. I'm forcing myself not to over think these. What is the first book that comes to mind when I see the topic? This was the first head scratcher.

The first thing that popped into my head was My Antonia by Willa Cather. But, as I thought about it, it doesn't relate much to home. It's a good book and you should read it, but, for me, it doesn't fit this theme.

Well, what is home? I have lived in Wheaton for 30 years now. I need to do a blog post on that but I first have to find some representative photos to scan for the post. Thirty years is a long time to live in one place. We are a nation of wanderers. I remember reading that the average family stays in a home from 3-5 years before moving to something that more meets their needs. I am, it would seem, something of an anomoly in living in the same place for such a long time. What's interesting is I'm not the person whose been on the block the longest. But I will say that my block has quite a bit of permanence to it. We went through a time when a few homes were turning over every 2-3 years, but we now have families who are quite content to have their kids grow up here, within walking distance of an elementary school, and a short drive to everything else.

And yet, when I talk about "home", it's not Wheaton. I've blogged about this before, how I am indelibly attached to Iowa although I haven't lived there since the 1970's. I have a WOW friend (meaning I met him while playing World of Warcraft) who could not wait to leave when he graduated college. "Deb, if I don't get out, I fear I will be stuck here forever." Part of me identifies with that. Who wants to feel they are stuck? But I can think of worse, much worse places to be 'stuck' than in Iowa.

So, contemplating all these things, I remembered a book I have in the pile and selected it. This is the best of the images I could find online. This is an oversize book that is a reproduction of postcards from the turn of the 19th-20th Century Iowa. I thought the book cover was a light blue background, not pink. I'll have to check.

Why select this? Well, I grew up at a time and in a place where life was not the hectic and often brutal pace we find now. It still isn't. Yes, you can get WiFi, DSL, cable and all those other 'modern' conveniences we have come to take as necessities. But you can also find horse-drawn wagons, threshing machines, corn boils, kids playing stick ball in the park with nary a supervisory adult in attendance. Places shown on the postcards are recognizable and, "Hey! That building is still standing." For me, there is an instant connection to what I remember growing up.

Is this total nostalgia? Yes, yes it is. I don't wish for things to be like they were. We didn't have air conditioning and this summer would have been beyond brutal. I like visiting the past. I don't think I'd like living there again.

And that's what this book means to me. It reminds me of a past I lived and enjoyed at the time. I might have been 70 years removed from when the first Model T wandered down main street in Dubuque, but I knew people who remembered that event.

The title refers to the movie "Field of Dreams".
John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven. 
Maybe, in a way, it is heaven for some of us.

Beverage:  Edinburgh's Finest tea


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