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.