Dan Hackmann’s Howdy

All the very best greetings from my fellow classmates of 1973!

After graduation from West High:

  • BA in History, with minors in Music and Spanish from the University of Iowa (1977)
  • MA in Spanish and Linguistics, also from the U of I (1979)
  • Dissertation Research at the University of Munich (1986)
  • Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology from the School of Religion at the University of Iowa (1989)
  • I taught at the U of I, UNI, Coe College and Kirkwood until 1989, received chair in Humanities Department at Kirkwood in 1989.
  • Guest Professor at the University of Konstanz, Germany (summers 1993, 1994)
  • Met and married my wife of 28 years, Marion Plate (1995)
  • Taught University until 1996, then moved to Germany, started high tech consulting firm
  • Moved to Zürich area of Switzerland in 1999 and worked in IT and High Tech Swiss and American Firms until 2018
  • Member of our Church Board at the Swiss Reformed Church in Uetikon am See, Switzerland since 2013, responsible for finances and real estate
  • Founded two other advisory firms and one joint venture with a Graduate College in Brookings, South Dakota
  • Started teaching adjunct for the Graduate College (Christ School of Theology at the Institute of Lutheran Theology) in January 2022
  • Appointed full Professor, Research Fellow and Academic Dean at Christ School of Theology starting July 1, 2023

My two grown up children (Elke and Thomas) live respectively in DeWitt and Iowa City. Elke has two children, David and Ellie (10 and soon to be 6) and is married to Joe Hanson. She works in fashion sales management and Joe is a journeyman pipefitter (they install industrial sprinkler systems). Thomas is married to Katie (nee Aunan) and has three boys, Jack, Silas and Benjamin (4, 2, and 7 months). 

I have been back to the States three times this year (2 x Florida and Puerto Rico, 1 x South Dakota just last week) but unfortunately had only time for a quick swing through Iowa City to see family in April, when my mom turned 89. Was looking forward to being there this weekend but could not extend my trip beyond Tuesday of this week because of meetings here in Switzerland.

We absolutely love it here in Switzerland and both became Swiss citizens in 2018, but both retained our US and German citizenship.  The weather and of course the scenery (we live on Lake Zurich) with the mountains and beautiful small villages and cities are excellent.  My wife Marion (Mücki) started a practice for foot care (FootSpa) in 2019 and has built up a substantial clientele over the last four years.

Going forward, since the Christ School of Theology is 100% online since its inception in 2007, I can teach courses and work with our faculty from more or less anywhere with a decent internet connection. I proved this in February when I met my cousin and his wife from Minnesota in Rincon, Puerto Rico, where we all worked and played from that paradise!

We plan to continue living in our current flat at least as long as Mücki still runs her practice. She is still 3 years from retirement age here in Switzerland (64 for women). But our plan is to be able to travel more to see family and friends and the beautiful world around us more in the next years. I’m excited that Chris Wilhite, a good friend of mine at West High is moving back to Iowa City. The chances will be much higher then that we will be able to get together, as both of us have live very far from there and each other for decades now!

Have fun at the celebration on Saturday and REALLY wish I could have been there to see you all.



Mark Kozik’s Howdy

Hello everyone.

After West High, I attended Pomona College, the University of Denver, Drake University, and the University of Miami. Since then, I’ve spent my working career as a tax accountant, tax professor, and tax lawyer, all in Denver.

Along the way, in Des Moines, I met Abbie, a fellow Drake student, from Honolulu. We dated for 10 years and have been married for 34. No kids. Abbie is a graphic designer. We’re both still working, although on gradually declining schedules. 

For fun, we hike, bike, ski, and run. As with Chris Wilhite, my runs are getting slower and shorter, especially since I got A-Fib last year. I’m interested in trading notes with anyone else who is still running (at my email address ). I’ve gotten used to being greeted as “sir,” and complimented for “still getting out there,” by the younger runners at races. I’m not crazy about it, but I’ve gotten used to it. 

Thanks a million to Dave for setting up and running the class website. I like telling my friends that one of my high school classmates invented facebook ten years before facebook was invented.

Have fun,


Meg Eginton-Carmichael’s Howdy

If I hadn’t had the drive to to dance professionally I know I would have been perfectly happy to stay in Iowa City, because I love living and working here now. I married a professor of Chemical Engineering and a atmospheric climate scientist in 2023. After thirty five years of singledom I met the love of my life.
We all know, (at sixty eight years old–how did that happen?) that success is equal parts desire, hard work, good and bad luck, and some talent. Many of you know that in high school I wanted to dance. I got the dance bug very early, at nine years old, and almost immediately knew that I needed to end up in NYC, thanks to reviews of performances and photographs in the back of Newsweek.

In Iowa City I received encouragement for my dream from the University of Iowa Dance Department, where I took classes after school, and by fourteen was performing in the college dance concerts. I also danced in The Music Man for the opening of Hancher. Mr. Barker and my father came to think it a good idea for me to leave high school early so that I could dance more seriously. It was actually my dad’s idea. There was some question about whether I would be allowed to graduate, but since I’d already been accepted to college he felt it didn’t really matter. I spent my last semester of high school at the University dancing all day and taking courses in philosophy and French.

I lived in the Burge Hall dorm and had two roommates. During those months I also got my first paying dance jobs, with Michael Sokoloff at the Center for New Performance at Iowa and the Brick and Tile Works. I learned how to work very hard at my dancing. This gave me the confidence to go to Sarah Lawrence College, which is forty five minutes outside of New York City, and start the first chapter of what has been a three career life. I have been a professional dancer and choreographer, an actor/director and theater movement professor, and a somatic movement therapist. There has been overlap in these careers.

Iowa City was a formative gift to me: none of my eventual colleagues in dance had such a nurturing environment to grow up within. That was good luck. The emphasis on creativity was higher in my dance classes than in theirs and it helped me become a good dancer more quickly. That was desire. At college I studied with a famous dance composition teacher, Bessie Schonberg. She pushed me to go into New York City four times a week to take extra technique classes, so that I could catch up.That was hard work. I’d danced a lot, but the University classes were not strong on technique.

Dance is a career that lasts 20 years, if injuries don’t end it sooner. I danced in top companies: Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Stephen Petronio and Dancers, which gave me the opportunity to tour internationally. That was talent. I had a company of my own for nine years, produced mainly in New York. I was grateful for fellowships from the NEA, NYSCA, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. I received a Bessie (the top award for modern and contemporary New York dance) and that led to a starring role in a Broadway show called Largely New York, nominated for 4 Tonys. That show involved some acting, so I started to study and do off-Broadway plays and eventually did a couple of movies, one of them Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino. I had a small role, but a pivotal one. I also did many national commercials, which paid the rent between plays and movies.

During my years of dancing and acting, planning for the future, I also became a certified Alexander Technique and Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist. Because of touring and performance this took me seven years. I also worked nights at a law firm to earn much needed money. (Even today dancers in top companies average a yearly salary of $40,000). I used to joke that we were paid in steps and roles, and not dollars. After one of my concerts was seen by the head of Yale undergraduate drama and the director of a program with NYU Tisch School for the Arts I was invited to teach movement for actors at both universities. I was able to stop working nights and I discovered I enjoyed working in theater education.

In 1993, my 20th year in NYC and my 20th year of dancing and acting professionally, my son Robbie was born. Now she is my daughter, Kit. As a single mother with no child support (that was bad luck), I suddenly became worried one night about paying for private schools in New York City. Though seemingly established in the theater and film world, with top agents for commercials and legit theater, I felt discomfited by the financial insecurity of being an actor (99% of unionized actors are unemployed on any given day). My dad suggested that I return to Iowa and get an MFA. I applied and was given an Iowa Arts Fellowship for two years, in theater, and I started that fall, with a six month old baby in tow. I graduated in 1997 with an emphasis on directing and two Iowa Playwrights IRAM awards for best direction of new plays. I was very proud that one of them was for a play I adapted and directed. Eric Forsythe was my fabulous mentor. Once again Iowa City was my great nurturer. It was an amazing place for us to be until Kit was four, and I would have stayed if another piece of luck hadn’t landed in my lap.

A former colleague from NYU invited me to come and teach in a small graduate level conservatory faculty at Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, which was a joint program with Moscow Art Theatre. I co-headed the movement program with a Russian movement specialist. This job gave me the opportunity to direct and tour my projects to many countries in Europe, including Russia, and also to be resident movement coach for the professional stage in Cambridge, the American Repertory Theatre. I worked, and essentially apprenticed myself to many internationally celebrated directors.

Sadly the Harvard program ended after four and a half years and I accepted a clinical associate professorship at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for twelve years, again heading the movement program. This gave me the opportunity to teach summers in London and tour a play I directed to Paris, where it won best international production at the La Foire St. Germain. I began to choreograph concert dance again, on commisions from other colleges. I toured two one man shows I wrote across Florida and acted in a play that went to Yaraslavl’s International Volkov Theatre Festival where we received The Crystal Bell for best international performance.

At St. Petersburg Academy of Dramatic Arts I was asked in a television interview how I could play three Russian women in one night so convincingly, and if perhaps I was of Russian ancestry. I explained that it was because I studied movement and movement is cultural! During my FSU tenure I was also adjunct professor of theater, dance and interdisciplinary studies at The New College of Florida. I retired from Florida State University as a full clinical professor in 2013, following a sabbatical in Iowa City.

At the end of that sabbatical I went for a walk in the country with a friend I’d made in graduate school. During the walk, looking at the spring bloom, I realized I just didn’t want to leave Iowa City again. I’m a fifth generation Iowan, so the landscape is in my blood. I love the Iowa City way of life and the lively city we have become. Plus, my dad was declining and I wanted to stay and help him. Because my daughter was in college and had never liked Florida I decided I could take the leap. At fifty seven I opened a somatic movement practice, first at Eastwind downtown and now in the Peninsula Neighborhood. It did well enough that I was able to buy my first house on my sixtieth birthday. Now I own a condo with a small studio and two offices, Movement for All, LLC. I offer individual treatment for chronic pain and autonomic disease, and give classes in movement and dance for beginners and people beginning to age, such as balance, dance for fun and fitness, pelvic floor control, balance, postural alignment, ballet for grace after fifty.

I’ve continued to choreograph off and on and have had dances performed at the professional New College of Florida New Music Festival, the Sarasota Ballet, and most recently the Museum of Modern Art, where a dance I made in 1985 was shown as part of a larger exhibition. Sometimes I coach young dancers who’d like to go pro, but I’m more interested in writing. That was my second interest, in both high school and college. I’m working on two memoirs, and improving my writing. But my absolute primary interest is enjoying my marriage and my new family, made up of Kit and Greg’s two children Gemma and Emmet and their spouses. We have two grandsons and we hope we will have more!

I can’t come to the reunion this time because I’m on another sabbatical, this time my husband Greg’s. We’ve been checking in with his projects across Europe and Asia since January, and are currently in China. I’m truly sorry to miss it again, but it’s just too far to fly back and forth. I hope there will be a little Zooming on Friday! It’s fourteen hours difference, but I’ll be sure to get up at night to check in. I hope you all have a fantastic time. Here’s to our next decade of health and joy!

Best wishes to all,
Meg Eginton-Carmichael

Mary Jo Miller Banwart’s Howdy

I knew I should have written this before an entire group of my fellow classmates sent off interesting, thoughtful and memory inducing Howdy’s…but I didn’t.  So, you’re stuck with this update!  I don’t know about the rest of you, but it certainly doesn’t seem like 50 years have passed since we graduated.  Clearly we don’t look or act old enough to have five decades under our belts since 1973, but it seems to be true. 

I was one of the “originals” attending West High starting in the 8th grade.  The junior high (or middle school as it’s now called) wasn’t built and Southeast was busting at the seams.  Myself and the rest of the busload of country kids were dropped off at the bottom of what became the rec fields and told to walk the one plus mile to school…in the mud that first day.  We were all a bit shocked, but until the streets were finished that was our morning and evening routine.  I wore a daring coulotte skirt that first day, which my mother informed me that if I got kicked out of school, I would be walking home.  Mr. Barker and Mr. Ferguson were too busy to notice I wasn’t conforming to the dress code.  Needless to say I looked like my grandmother dressed me when the 70’s were ushered in with hip hugger elephant jeans, cropped tops, etc. which were seen daily in the halls of West. 

However, fashion didn’t influence the uniforms we were required to wear for PE.  Remember square dancing for PE for what seemed like the entire year because the gyms weren’t completed?  Our volleyball team went to state—first West High team to make it that far—and our shared Athletic Director Mr. White, failed to allow any $’s for uniforms.  So, instead of wearing our PE gear, I made green shorts for everyone on the team and our parents bought us jerseys.  We really weren’t that good, but we were tenacious and refused to let the ball hit the ground, which kept us in the running and placed 6th (I think) at State.  We had a blast.  I remember pulling a bit of a prank and sending a cow pie to Mr. White to live up to our name of “Cow Pie High” for the West/City football game.  Luckily I never got caught.

We did have excellent teachers that prepared us well for college or the future of our choice.  I remember my education being academically challenging because of our instructors and also because there were lots of talented students.  A term paper on Andersonville Civil War prison camp took lots of research at the U of I library; writing and performing for English; laboring thru geometry, etc.  What I remember most wasn’t the competition but the kindness of our class.  I think we all wanted to excel, but we came from so many schools and backgrounds that it was all new for most of us.  And as a country kid who had gone to three elementary schools in four years and then Southeast for 7th grade, I was thrilled to land in one place for the rest of my high school career.  I made lots of new friends and appreciated how well we all blended and got along as we continued to welcome Central and U High kids. 

Primarily I worked in women’s ready to wear (what else do you do with a degree in phys ed?) which took me to many cities while working for corporate and then landed in Aspen, CO.  I worked for a private owner who lived in Iowa and ended up with a store she knew nothing about because her managing partners were on the run due to some unsavory activities.  Needless to say I learned a tremendous amount about business and the wacky world of retail selling to lots of famous people.  And, yes, everyone does look the same in their underwear!  

I married an Iowa guy and moved back to Iowa to work for Iowa State University with Julie Kent Larson!  We continue to see each other often living in Ames.  For the last 30 years I’ve worked to build our family cookie business, www.cookies-etc.com, and currently just own and manage one store in Ames.  Life is getting easier!  My husband Jon works with me and we have a daughter, Lauren, who lives in the Milwaukee area.

I hate to miss the fun.  Have a great time reminiscing and catching up on the last several years.  Thank you for such warm memories.

Mary Jo Miller Banwart ‘73

Nancy Masbruch Olinger’s Howdy

Fifty years! Seems like I blinked and here it is already.

My husband and I had retired to Florida in 2018, which turned out to be short-lived. In December of 2019 he was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease). Hideous disease. We moved back to Iowa in 2020 to be near family and better medical care. He passed away January 2022 at the age of 66. So, I’m adjusting to widowhood but miss him so much everyday.

I have a son and daughter living nearby, and two spunky grandchildren who bring me so much joy. We all just returned from a family vacation to Colorado. (see recent photo at Garden of the Gods)

Besides raising a family, I returned to college and got my BA in Communications/Public Relations with a minor in Psychology. I retired from my career in this field in 2018. Over the years we enjoyed many outdoor activities- boating, fishing, camping- and traveled all across this beautiful land of ours. Our final trip together was to Yellowstone, despite the progression of Ron’s illness. Our motto was “Keep making memories” and I’m doing my best to continue this tradition. I also am active in our church, serving on the Women’s Prayer Ministry and with Bible studies. Met a wonderful group of recent widows and we get together regularly. We lean on each other as needed, but mostly have fun with lots of laughter. We even talked one of their sons to provide us a private cruise on his small yacht this summer. That will be a crazy time for sure!

Hope you all have a fun time together this weekend. Can’t wait for the photos!! And a huge thanks to our webmaster who keeps us connected, and to the planning committee.

—Nancy (Masbruch) Olinger

Addendum added 24 June 2023 in the AM

You might be wondering, since I live so close, why I’m not there today. For years I’ve volunteered for a human trafficking awareness organization (Chains Interrupted) as a youth presenter at schools and churches. We call ourselves Chain Breakers. Today, after months of planning, is one of our biggest fundraisers… Freedom Ride 2023. Primarily motorcyclists, but anything on wheels can participate in the 100-mile route. Yes, it’s happening here and where you live too. Educate your children and grandchildren to the dangers… especially with social media. They also prey heavily on kids who seem abandoned by their families. Let’s band together to break those chains!

Rodica Ionasescu’s Howdy

Hello Classmates,

A lot has happened in my life since I graduated along with all of you from West High in 1973.

I enrolled in the University of Iowa to be close to home since I was still fairly new in United States, having lived here for only two years. I studied Physics and Astronomy, undergraduate, and Astronomy, graduate. After obtaining my degree in 1980, I moved to Southern California, and did work on navigation equipment for submarines, a far cry from my love of celestial exploration, although I learned a lot on that job and that’s where I met my future husband in 1981. He was also working as an engineer at the Autonetics division in Anaheim. We got married in 1983.

We had two children, a boy and a girl. We both changed jobs during that time. I moved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena in 1985. That was my dream job. I worked on projects funded by NASA doing Mission Design for future missions to planets, asteroids and comets, and in 1992 I became a spacecraft navigator on the Cassini Mission to Saturn and spent the next 25 years as part of the Navigation Team, from concept through launch in 1997, up until the end of mission in 2017. From 2012 until my retirement in 2021 I was also part of navigation teams which evaluated concepts for future missions: the Europa Clipper, which will launch next year, and Europa Lander and Dragonfly, both of which will launch before the end of this decade. After Cassini I also did navigation on current missions, namely the Maven Mission around Mars, and the Juno Mission around Jupiter.

My life with my husband was very busy but beautiful. We loved being parents and participating in our children’s activities, and we also loved our jobs and worked really hard. To that we added a major remodel of our house, always planning ahead around our family. Sadly, all those plans came to a halt in 2001, when my husband died suddenly of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy at the young age of 47, while playing soccer with the JPL team. Our children and I grieved for a long time, but we all did our best to continue our lives and always make him proud.

My son received a full basketball scholarship to play in Division 1 at Lehigh University, from where he graduated with a B.S in business. After working for 9 years at JPL, he went back to school to obtain a graduate degree in engineering. He’s now one semester away from accomplishing that goal. My daughter obtained a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and after post-doctoral work at MIT, she’s now working for the EPA. She’s married with two daughters, whom I love a lot. I hope to explore new things in my retirement, be with my family more, help more as a grandmother, and be overall less stressed out.

I remember with fondness the two years I spent at West High, and I regret not becoming acquainted with more students while there. I barely knew English when I first arrived in United States in 1971, and communicating with others was very challenging. I hope you will all have a great time at our 50th high school reunion, and I am very sorry that I will not be in Iowa City to celebrate with you all. A warm hello to those I knew better: Patti Ampofo, Patricia Bravo, Julie Knight, Sue Hansen, Debbie Dee, Betsy Elliott, and of course, our webmaster, Dave Gerlits, to whom we all owe many thanks for keeping us connected over the years.

Rodica Ionasescu

Lynn Hogben’s Howdy

I went to West High for only my last semester in high school.  I majored in linguistics in college (Princeton University), but after I took a constitutional law course my sophmore year, I decided to go to law school.  I met my husband, Jim Beck, my senior year in college and we have been together ever since.  I went to law school in Philadelphia because he was still at Princeton.  He followed me there and we wound up staying in Philadelphia for good. Both of us are lawyers and are still working.  We have a daughter who lives in Maryland. 

The photos are of the three of us hiking in Kauai and Maryland.

Chris Wilhite’s Howdy

Howdy to my fellow Class of ’73 Classmates!

After graduation from West High:

  • Bachelor of Music in trombone performance from the University of Iowa.
  • Met my wife Sue McLaughlin (Regina Class of 1977; her dad owned the Annex Bar on 1st Avenue) in 1975 where we were co-workers at McDonalds on Riverside Drive. We were married in 1978 and celebrated our 45th anniversary in May.
  • Our daughter Noelle was born in 1979. She is a licensedarchitect and lives in Basalt, Colorado. Most of her clients are in the Aspen area. She is an avid skier and kayaker.
  • Since I couldn’t make enough money to support my family playing the trombone, I stayed at the University of Iowa for another three years to get my MBA and CPA.
  • My career in finance and accounting has taken us to the following cities over the past 42 years:
    • Oldenburg, Indiana
    • Rockford, Illinois
    • Batesville, Indiana
    • Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Quincy, Illinois
    • Anchorage, Alaska
    • Baltimore, Maryland
    • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • Albuquerque, New Mexico
    • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • While we love the weather, geography and culture of New Mexico, and being close to our daughter and my sister Connie (class of 1975) who lives near Cimmaron, NM, we recently decided to move back to Iowa City. We both have brothers and sisters (including my brother Jeff, class of 1982) living in the area, and it has always felt like home. We recently sold our house in Albuquerque where we have lived for the past 9 years. I plan to arrive in Iowa City on June 23. We are currently shopping for a house.
  • I’ve tried to keep up with the trombone with various community orchestras and semi-professional gigs.
  • Still running every day, but not as far and not as fast. Just happy to still be perpendicular to the road.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in June!!



Laurel Davies Howdy

Hi West High Class of 1973

It is so nice to be thinking of you talking and dancing and enjoying celebrations at our 50th year Reunion.  This is my Howdy essay-  Thanks Dave.
My name is Lori Davies (Laurel) and I was blessed to go on  the U.N. Tour to New York City in 1972 and meet several of my future classmates (like LeeAnn Shank) before University High School closed, and I became one of your new classmates from U-High in 1972-1973.

I was blessed at West High to be elected to the Student Council, I was on the Newspaper, and I had writing included in the Yearbook.  I went to State (with Mike Singer) in Storytelling and we received top ratings.  It was so nice to meet so many of you that year, and I wish you well now and in our future.

Holly Richardson made a beautiful Homecoming Queen!  I was so happy for her.

50 years later- wishing you all well, but still feeling badly.  I hope that by telling my story to you now, you will know my side!

I would love to talk to many of you again someday in Iowa City.  Like Patty A.!  LeeAnn!  Jennifer!  Sara!  The Hueys!  All of our U-High people!   And so many nice people in our class.  I hope you have enjoyed your life as I have, and I would love to hear your stories.

I loved college, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art, moved to Seattle, and worked for lawyers in downtown Seattle.  I loved Seattle.

I moved home to I.C. again after my Dad died, took graduate classes at Iowa and was blessed to have a second job creating store window scenes in a store in downtown Iowa City (that you might remember with my sewed-created art clouds in the windows).

Next I moved to Los Angeles, where I worked for Melvin Belli’s law firm in Beverly Hills, and worked for The J. Paul Getty Trust in Santa Monica, CA.  I loved Los Angeles.  

Then at that point I had an offer from my favorite metaphysics books author, who had lost his wife, to work for him on the Jane Roberts Seth Material, and I was able to take my dream job in Elmira, NY.  I inherited these books from Robert Butts, and now am continuing working with The Jane Roberts Seth Books which are published in over 30 countries.

Philosophy was one of my favorite subjects in High School, and still is! 
I appreciate your reading my little Howdy today, and I hope you have a terrific time at the Reunion.  I would love to hear from you if you care to write to me via email?  Dave has kindly listed my email address, and I will be thinking of so many friends during the reunion days,

Very best wishes to you,

Lori (Laurel) Davies

Ruth Jurgens Noth’s Howdy

Hello everyone. 50 years sure has gone by in a hurry.

After graduating in ’73, I started working in the fabric industry after trying and leaving college after a year at SUI, Ames. I entered management training with Fabs Fashion Fabrics in 1975 and was shipped off early to Decatur, Illinois before training ended to close a store there. I could see the handwriting on the wall and left them after the closing and moved over to Northwest Fabrics and Crafts. I moved sight unseen to Marshfield, WI and opened a new store there in time. While there I surprisingly met Paul Maxwell’s sister in the store – small world. After a few years I knew I wanted to move back to Iowa, but they claimed they had no openings here, so I left and came back to Iowa in other employment.

In 1981 I met my husband while working at the Cedar Rapids Water Department. He was in charge of the lab and water quality. We married in 1984 and started our family right away – Chris being born in 1985 and Mike in 1986. Chris and wife have a family of two and live in Marion, Iowa. My grandchildren are 2 and nearly 4, a boy and girl respectively Mike lives in Houston, TX and is engaged but no date set yet.

After Mike was born, we had him checked by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency for a speech impairment to find out if it was one he would outgrow or if he would need therapy to tackle it. The evaluator then told me about her learning disability and I found myself very emotional over it, as it was mirroring my life almost perfectly. Since then I have to come realize that I don’t read because I don’t retain what I read. I have to hear things to retain them, so I’ve always been a visual and audio learner. I also don’t recall many memories throughout my life, but remember numbers well and most of them useless. LOL

When the boys were 4 and 5, I started volunteering for their school – Linn-Mar. After several years of volunteering, sometimes 500 hours or more a year, they asked me to hire on as a teachers’ associate.  For 3 years I worked in first grade. Then the building added another grade level, 5th grade, and they needed someone highly organized to get the teachers off the ground and going. Knowing it would be more computer work than first graders, I took on the challenge I had also written a study to the district as to why they should computerize their lunch system – meal tickets in particular. Children were losing them and they were like cash. The district agreed and then told me I would be managing the system for them part time, I could keep my associate position part time and I’d have enough hours to be considered a full time employee now with benefits. I said I’d stay 5 years and I stayed 23.

In 2009 I lost my beloved husband, Tom to cancer on Feb. 5th. On Feb 5th of 2016 I lost my beloved best friend, Janet Riley Morton, one of our classmates. She married one of my cousins. On Feb. 5th of 2021, my grandson was born. So Feb. 5th is quite the day and I’m so glad we have a birthday to celebrate.

Life has been good. After retiring in 2017, I moved both my parents into my large ranch home with me. Dad had dementia and was getting to be a lot for mom to handle. We lost dad a year and a half later, and mom is still living with me at 89. It will be 6 years come Thanksgiving and she’s doing fairly well.  

Ulrike Kubiska, aka Uli, our AFS student who lived with us in 1972-73, has gone off radar. We haven’t communicated for a few decades and I’ve never been able to find her. We still have beautiful  Christmas tree ornaments from her and her family from Austria that grace our tree each year yet.

I wish everyone a wonderful reunion. I won’t be able to attend, but will be thinking of you all.