So this past weekend I ventured back to my tiny hometown of Buffalo Center, Iowa, for our all-school reunion. It's one of those towns that has five other little towns nearby, so our school is consolidated. Anyway. There was a big parade and all sorts of events to celebrate, and a whopping 1,300 people came from all over the place. The highlight, of course, was the Fireman's Dance. Where I actually had a great time talking with friends I had grown up with but hadn't seen in over ten years.
There was Cara, who's now an optometrist in Kansas City, who reminded me that when we were little, I won a coloring contest and got us two free tickets to 'The Jungle Book' movie. My dad bought us so much candy that we both got sick.
Then there was Ben, who said the last time he remembered seeing me was at our 8th grade trip to Valley Fair in Minneapolis. I ran into Sarah, Kevin, Megan, old neighbors and teachers and lots of people who I hadn't seen in years.
I talked with a former babysitter of ours, then came back full-circle and got to see my two favorite kids I ever babysat for. It was so weird to see Joey turning 21 (that night!) and Molly, who was leaving for Nepal in two days.
It was surreal to run into these people, and hanging out with my friends Andrea and Jane all night - just like old times (while my dad babysat Lotus, of course).
I also had to take a quick drive by my old house, the house I grew up in. I hadn't seen it in years. I was sad to see it in such poor shape, but I instantly remembered playing on our old front steps (which are no longer there, sitting under the birch tree in the front yard (also gone) and riding my bike up and down those sidewalks. So strange to see. I'm glad I have that picture, though. I can still look at that window on the second floor and remember what my room looked like.
As much as I used to hate that town and dream of the day I could leave, it will always be home and it is good to go back. It was the first time I'd taken Lotus anywhere overnight, and I think it will always be a time that I'll remember.
A baby buffalo in the parade. I think it has mange.
The "State in '88" girls basketball team (also in the parade.) I cannot begin to tell you how big of a deal this was. These girls were all-stars in every sport. Our whole town would shut down to go watch them in state competitions. The Sime girls were always my basketball/softball coaches, and their little sister, Robin, was in my grade. In my eyes, she was the best pitcher ever.
This is the plastic Buffalo (one of many in town) that appears in every parade in Buffalo Center. Roy B. Johnsen used to always try and round up kids to ride on it.
Here's me, my 'little' brother, Joey and Molly - I used to babysit them.
Here's Lotus playing on a quilt my grandma made. I played on it when I was a baby, and so did my mom and her sister. I absolutely love the old-school embroidery on it.
The house I grew up in. (sigh) It used to be white.