I was nine years old when for Christmas 1940 I received my very last doll. A big ‘awkward’ thing I promptly named Susi. Why Susi? Maybe because my daddy always called me Susi, which I …
I was nine years old when for Christmas 1940 I received my very last doll. A big ‘awkward’ thing I promptly named Susi. Why Susi? Maybe because my daddy always called me Susi, which I assumed was an endearing term, or maybe it was just an easy name for him to remember. I hope ‘easy’ wasn’t the reason Daddy used it but then ‘awkward’ isn’t exactly an endearing term either. My being an only child vastly narrowed my field of expectations.
This is all being offered to focus emphasis on that pivotal point of my life during which I was going to soon be ten years of age. Because of my parents’ periodical nomad-like practice of rental farming, we would be moving again, this time to a farm in a somewhat distant school district, with all new kids to get used to.
One needs to first understand that becoming ten years old is a rite of passage sort of thing to be honored, especially when it’s annual school picture taking time.
The school I attended was Clear Creek, a large building on Highway 6, between Coralville and Tiffin. It’s still there but you have to look hard to see it.
It had a furnace and a basement with cemented flooring on which games could be played. Up on the main level there were several rooms including two bathrooms. In one of those special rooms, we girls would giggle and fuss getting ready for our annual school pictures, borrowing combs and straightening our collars. I adjusted the barrette in my hair many times.
Among other important time in our lives was Valentine Exchange time. During then we would giggle and fuss about who would get the most Valentines in the drop box at the front of the room. The year I was ten I got one from a young man two years older than me, but he didn’t come to school that day. I was crestfallen to say the least, but that evening when my parents and I went to the general store in Tiffin he was sitting on a sack of chicken feed in the back, for a few minutes, at least, until he saw me.
Two years later my parent moved again, this time back south of Iowa City, and there were new kids, again, to meet.
Sorry, there is no after story here except I still have that valentine to this day. Yes, I did see him many times again, in later years, but only in the Cedar Rapids Gazette newspaper, busily at work, as an important governing official. It just proves you never know, when you are ten years old, who you’re going to know some day. Be ready.
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