"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Glenn Miller

One more stop on the Iowa road trip was an evening at the Glenn Miller Museum. What a beautiful building, inside and outside.  I was in ninth grade when I really became award of Glenn Miller's music and his unique sounds. We watched an hour long movie in the theater at the museum with clips of Glenn's life that are not seen anywhere else and followed his story from childhood to his death. I ended up liking him even more after learning so much about him.

The director of the museum was gracious and helpful and friendly. He was putting up some twinkle lights in one area that was being converted for the evening for a surprise date. One of the young men who volunteers at the museum had asked if he could bring his prom date there for a surprise picnic supper before the prom, so they made room in one cubicle for a table and two chairs. The young man brought a nice tablecloth and his guitar and amp and was going to play his own songs for her during the meal and then he was going to serenade her with his newest song for her. He borrowed his uncle's BMW to pick her up and treat her like a princess. We met the young man while he was preparing the area and we both sighed audibly as we exclaimed that we know the girl will be thrilled with the way he planned every detail. He made three large flowers out of duct tape and then painted them, then took those flowers to the florist shop for them to make a small table arrangement around his flowers. We asked what the food would be in the picnic basket and he replied "steak and pineapple". It was an added bonus for my friend Shirley and me to be in on the surprise. Doesn't that sound romantic?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Apartment Living

He helped his mother move out of her apartment and then he and his wife and two year old moved into the almost empty apartment for a month of free living.

The noises from the apartment suggested they were chronic fighters. Screaming and yelling and sounds of bodies pushed (or thrown) against the wall.

They would go outside the apartment building and chain smoke on the back steps, leaving hundreds of cigarette butts on the landing and the surrounding area.  The two year old showed signs of being a troubled child, constantly whining, crying, and hitting and kicking his parents.

One night after another loud fight, the mother brought the child and a suitcase out their car. As she was fastening the child into the toddler seat, her husband ran up to her and tried getting her to talk to him, saying he couldn't live without her and how could she leave after all he had done for her. She buckled in the child, got into the drivers seat, and drove off. The man went back in the apartment.

Within five minutes, the woman was back in the parking spot. She left the child in his seat in the car, and she went back to the apartment, pounding on the door, saying to let her in, that she wanted the cell phone. He unlocked the door, she went in, and the door closed. Then shouting and more sounds of hitting and being thrown up against the wall and the inside door, with her screaming that she wanted the cell phone, where was the cell phone. It was hard to tell which one was on the receiving end of the physical abuse. All this time the child was out in the car.

After twenty minutes the fighting ended. He walked his wife to their car, he retrieved the suitcase, she got the child out of the seat, they all three walked into the apartment where things were "normal" for a day.

The apartment was across the hall from mine and the car was parked in front of my window. I was exhausted just being a spectator. I worried about the child being left alone in the car and I cringed at the sounds of things being thrown, especially when some sounds were clearly a person being hit and pushed.

I think about this family occasionally and know that there are many families like this one.  Children being raised by troubled adults who have no idea how to raise children. What a vicious cycle. Breaking that chain is more than difficult.

Have you been around situations like this?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Out of Joint

What else?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Buffalo Bill Cody

One of the prettiest small towns in Iowa is Leclaire. Along the water, quaint shops, very small main part of town. A few houses and B & B's.

I found a wire basket and some older tablecloths in a pleasant shop full of collectables.

We spent a few hours scouring each item in the Buffalo Bill Cody museum and then listened to  hand held tour info while walking through the steamboat.

Down the street from Buffalo Bill's museum is a shop for guys, American Pickers on television sell some of their stuff here. They also have tee shirts and plaques and books they wrote. This place was busier with tourists than the Buffalo Bill museum. Tourists were lined up out front waiting for the American Pickers store to open.

The visit to Leclaire Iowa was interesting and fun and the natural beauty of the town will be a pleasant memory for me for a long time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Czech Museum

One of the many displays in the museum.

An elaborate hat with beautiful handiwork.

The new museum.

The old building on blocks.
We visited several museums during the two week road trip through Iowa. Small museums and some very large ones too. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids IA is beautiful. It is located in Czech Village so there are shops and restaurants within walking distance of the museum where more Czech sights and  aromas invite passersby to stop and check it out.

A few years ago a horrendous flood damaged much of that part of Iowa and there are signs of continuing rehab and refurbish, as well as many people mentioning the flood in conversation. It made an impact on all their lives.

The Czech Museum was on lower ground and the muddy waters thoroughly damaged the museum and all the books. The books are being slowly and meticulously restored by professionals using modern techniques. The building was emptied, lifted up on blocks and moved to the current location across the street from where it was, and stands majestically on the hill looking down on the scene of the flood damage. We watched an interesting movie of the process of the huge undertaking of the move. The Czech community came together to work quickly and efficiently in the effort to salvage the bones of the building, move it to higher ground, rebuild and expand. The "new" museum has been open over a year and is absolutely beautiful. The community has come a long way from the humble beginnings of Czech immigrants.

Many of my neighbors and friends are Czech, which made the excursion to the museum even more interesting. Of course I bought a souvenir tee shirt there and enjoy remembering my time there every time I wear the shirt.