I Wish You Would’ve Died

Imagine a white woman from Iowa teaching Spanish in a town that was one fourth Latino. Imagine coming into the classroom mid-year after a string of substitutes. On my first day, a student said, “You’re our 12th sub.  How long are you going to last?” It was a brand new middle school in Ramona in… Continue reading I Wish You Would’ve Died

Machu Picchu Before It Was a Thing

(re-run) It was 1977. I was finishing up ten weeks of student teaching in an American oil school in Caracas, Venezuela. My roommate, Christy, wanted to travel for two weeks before we went home to the states. She wanted to visit Machu Picchu in Peru. I’d never heard of it. “It’s the lost city of… Continue reading Machu Picchu Before It Was a Thing

My Free Farm Dog

(re-run) I saw three Aussie-mix puppies today.  They are ten to twelve weeks old and gorgeous! I remember Pepper as a puppy just four years ago. I am too old to house-train another puppy.  But they were so cute! I had a Brittany spaniel/Australian Blue Heeler mix puppy way back in the day.  My future… Continue reading My Free Farm Dog

I Stole a Dilly Bar on a Dare

When I was fourteen I stole a Dilly Bar from the Dairy Queen on a dare. It was lunch break from my junior high school, and we had an open campus. That meant we could walk across Douglas Avenue to go to the corner drugstore for candy or the Dairy Queen for ice cream. My… Continue reading I Stole a Dilly Bar on a Dare

Doc and Lillian

When I was just out of college and teaching in a small town in Nebraska, I rented a refurbished farmhouse from the superintendent.  His dad was Doc. Doc’s wife was Lillian. They became my surrogate Nebraska grandparents. Doc used to be a dentist, and one day he presented me with a mood ring. Remember those?… Continue reading Doc and Lillian

The Navajo in the Room

My mother’s brother was a college professor at Shiprock College (now renamed Diné College) in New Mexico.  He met and married my aunt Grace, a Navajo woman.  This was exciting news in my all-white Iowa family. Uncle Jim was coming to town with his new bride. Uncle Jim was tall and slim, and had a… Continue reading The Navajo in the Room

The Day Grandma Got Woke

My mom loves to watch Ellen. It’s usually fun and games, with hunky guys and Ellen playing tricks on her guests and staff. She rounds out the hour with lesbian jokes, a musical performance by some obscure band, and Ellen surprising some needy but giving person with $10,000 in cash. Then the death of George… Continue reading The Day Grandma Got Woke

Bricks, Ricks, & Cardboard

(re-run) The college mixer was hosted by the men in Lorch House in Friley Hall, in the heart of the Iowa State campus. Tappan House, the top two floors of my dorm, Barton Hall, was invited. Yes, I am old. Yes, dorm floors are co-ed now. This was in the days of the dinosaurs. The… Continue reading Bricks, Ricks, & Cardboard

Pennies from Heaven

(re-run) When I was sixteen, I saved up my babysitting money and went downtown to Cottage Grove Avenue in Des Moines, where there was a head shop filled with incense, hanging beads, roach clips, black light posters and tie dye. Although I wasn’t a pothead (I didn’t smoke cigarettes either), I enjoyed the ambience of… Continue reading Pennies from Heaven