Back in the 'hood? Friday, 5/27/16

Because of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, we got a move on early to snag a site at first-come, first-served Black Hawk Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  We lucked up and got the last available site, signing up for three nights ($18/night) -- in a nice pull thru with electric, at the edge of a forest.

What better place to spend Memorial Day than in the Heartland of America -- Iowa, and all that she conjures:  cornfields and farmland, rolling hills and silos, patriotic and friendly folk, front porches with red, white, and blue bunting, Mom's apple pie (just kidding about that one, I didn't see any apple trees) and even an Iowa boy named Marion Morrison, who might not have been the famous actor he became if he hadn't changed his name to John Wayne.

I had a special reason for being here ... to revisit the city and home where I lived as a youth fresh out of high school, a very long time ago.  Truthfully, more than 50 years have passed since then, a lifetime ago for me.  Cedar Falls is where my paternal grandparents lived, where my Dad and his sisters grew up; a quiet place in middle America.  This was a way station for me, a spot between point A and point B for my gypsy feet -- my home in Niagara Falls and the land where I wanted to be:  California.  I spent nearly a year in this house with my grandmother (Grandpa had passed earlier that year), and I was company for her.  But I couldn't stay; for me, it was, "California, here I come!"

It's still a lovely-looking home, although I didn't see a porch swing.  It looks loved, well cared-for, and I'm glad.  Our family has scattered to the four corners of this nation and I don't think we have relatives in Cedar Falls, none known to me anyway.  Jimmy asked me if I thought I'd ever come back, if I'd ever see the house or the city again.  It wasn't on my radar, I guess, 'cause I didn't think about returning, not in all my travels.  Iowa was just middle America and not a destination, I thought ... till today.  Now, I'm happy to have made it back, relive some good memories, and show it to Jimmy, tell him all about it. 

We have three days to spend, to look around, ride our bikes.  Cedar Valley has extensive bike trails.  Black Hawk c/g is full of holiday revelers, lots of people.  It's very, very green here.  Ponds, sloughs, creeks, streams, low places, and the Cedar River -- water is everywhere.  Weather forecasts call for rain and/or thunderstorms (that stuff is following us or something!).

Cottonwood or Willow "snow" -- airborne fluff that looks like snow dots the pond.

We managed a short bike ride to get an overview of the park, and a look-see at the river.

As we've seen in these Midwestern states, rivers and streams are at or above flood stage, fast and wild.  I had no idea the river was this BIG!  It's cloudy.  Expect more rain!

We had beau coup chores to take care of today, laundry and etc.,  and we got it all done, plus a bit of touring the town.

The old gas station on 1st Street is now a visitor center.

Enlarge the picture if you can't read the text.  A Danish newspaper was printed in Cedar Falls from 1882-1954, which drew a lot of Danish settlers to the city.  My grandmother was from Denmark.  My granddad was a merchant tailor from Sweden.  They married and settled in Cedar Falls in the early 1900's.

Near the visitor center is the Little Red Schoolhouse, which we checked out.

One room for all grades.

This is the teacher?
He's the apple of my eye! 

It may be redundant to say it rained today, but it did.
Happy Memorial Day, everybody!


  1. This was lovely, Nickie. A good thing to return to an old home and find it loved. You captured that Midwest feel that I so enjoyed during the years I would travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for work at the national soil survey center. All that green comes with a price. Mo went with me one year and learned the hard way that you don't sit on that green grass. She got a horrible case of chiggers.

  2. Aw, the old house looks so good! Gosh seeing that brings back such memories of those summer trips to see Gram-In-Iowa. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I know I said if you were swinging through Wisconsin to let me know but if you are swinging through Northern Illinois that is doable for me also!

    1. We're already in Indiana. Maybe on our return ... stay tuned! :- )

  4. A trip down memory lane. A porch must have a swing ... that's what I want when we eventually settle down (if we settle down might be a better way of saying it).

  5. Dave Macaulay11:09 AM

    The old house still looks good. Lots of great memories here!


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