Friday, March 9, 2012

I Said Eastern Iowa

I've reordered this story a bit, putting the top section at the bottom. The top section covers some of the same ground as an early story from Mom, the one that tells of her mother's passing.

I still wanted to include this version, written longhand in August 2011, but start here where the last story ended. This tells of how Mom left home and arrived in Iowa and met my father. The photo is from where the story ends, my parents' wedding day.

Incidentally, after Mom's passing in December, I asked my father to tell me the story of how they met. His version has Mom going up to him at the get-together. Mom's version here, which I came across later, has Dad going up to her. On who went up to who, I think I believe Mom.

After getting through the six months, I went home again. I cooked. I cleaned. I did everything I was supposed to do, but, of course, I was not happy. I couldn't take it with Dad and me alone.

I called Sioux Falls to vocational rehab. They sent someone out and soon I was signed up for a vocational college in Rapid City.

I signed up for a medical secretary course. It was interesting and fun. I got a room in the dorm so it was two blocks away, which was OK in the summer.

Classes were interesting. Working with their counselor, she asked me where I wanted to live. I said Eastern Iowa, as my sister lived there. She gave me appointments at the University of Iowa and Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. My niece helped me get into Mercy Hospital for the interview, after a long ride from Rapid City by bus to Waverly, Iowa.

The interview went great. I got the job on the spot. We looked for an apartment within walking distance. I started working in December of 1971.

By spring, I bought a used car. My brother-in-law had hand controls installed and took me to a parking lot to drive around a bit. It felt good. ...

My apartment was a one-room, for my dog Sally and I. I needed to branch out a bit and check out apartments.

I found the first level of a house, someone lived upstairs. It was about a mile from the hospital. I was secretary in the nursing administration office. I loved meeting new people.

One lady across the hall at work got to talking about meeting people. She got me in touch with a singles group. While I felt a little strange, I still went. There were a lot of people there. None of them were dating material. "Oh, well," guess I wasn't surprised. I did meet a lot of new friends at the group. I was in this group for a year or so.

One Sunday afternoon the club was at a picnic of sorts. I brought my dog Sally. She loved to go with me, especially when I was outside.

This young man came up and started to talk with me and Sally. His name was Steve ... He said he thought when I talked about Sally, it was my daughter. Either way, it was OK with him.

We saw each other every day after that. He worked at the university hospital in Central Sterilizing. We picked out rings by New Years. ... We married July 5, 1975.

The start of this story.

After high school, I stayed home a couple of years and tried to build up my sewing business.

I went to the doctor in Sioux Falls for a routine appointment. He took an X-Ray of my back. My back is an "S" shape. I had worn a body cast for years. He said it was time to have this back surgery. It is called a Harrington Rod. A long rod is positioned in your back along the spine and a short one positioned on the S part. Now another cast. He said it would take six months or it could take longer to heal.

I was able to go home. Mom rented a hospital bed. I insisted on this bed being set in the living room. I also insisted on having the phone and stand moved to the head of my bed, so I can answer and help her a little. God was with us.

Approximately three or four weeks into this "confinement," Mom was taking my dishes back and dropped them.

"Are you OK, Mom?" I said.

"I was not convinced. I picked up the phone and called my brother who lived a quarter mile across the field.

He came right over, along with his wife Dorothy. She packed a few things for Mom. Loren called the doctor and started to get her ready. Lorney also called Vera to come to take me home.

While all these arrangements were made, I began crying. Mom did so much for me and all of us.

Vera arrived, just as Loren was leaving, and Dad came home. They both tried to tell Dad what happened. I didn't hear all of that. That is OK, as I was thinking, crying, and praying.

Connie, Aug. 20, 2011

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