When I was a kid visiting my grandparents during the summer in Orange City, Iowa, items in the local newspaper told of who in the community was traveling, entertaining, visiting, and celebrating special occasions. Now I find in old newspaper archives that our own summer visits were noteworthy a couple of times. The picture here is from a visit in the 1970s, but the news items speak of earlier years. According to the news of the day in August 1966, we were visiting from Belcourt, North Dakota. In 1969, I learn, my parents arrived in Iowa from our new home in New Mexico to retrieve my sister and me, and “a family gathering was held for them on Monday evening.”
Most of my random memories of those visits are of ordinary but reassuring summer activities — going for ice cream, going to the park to swim or to play on the “Flying Dutchman” swing, coloring in coloring books, walking to the town center, visiting neighbors… Often our cousins, aunts, and uncles came by. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have brief memories of hanging out in our grandparents’ hardware store making bows for gift wrapping. We went to a Reformed Church on Sundays, where my grandfather had peppermints on hand. We picked green beans from my grandmother’s back yard garden and took them inside to snap the ends off before she cooked them for dinner … Sometimes we ended our visits with a trip downtown for a small souvenir — I still have my blue Delft windmill, though its blades are a little wobbly now… These news items and photos, like that little windmill, provoke warm and happy memories of cherished visits, and I am grateful to have them.
See other posts in this series, In the News.
(A good source for old newspapers is newspaperarchive.com. )