Brian’s Column: Boyhood Visits to the Farm in Iowa

Reminiscences in response to Cousin Jim for his journey thru Kansas


Bro Forrest (R) and Me (L) with Tuton (Twoton)

[In the 1950s and 1960s my brother Forrest and I would go with Mom and Dad to my grandmother’s farm in Iowa. Cousin Jim and his wife are on a cross-country roadtrip heading ultimately down to New Orleans to visit his daughter. He has been trying to locate Gram’s step children, and now seems to have located them in Western Kansas. So he asks for memories and photos of the time, which I feel sans any real identifications, are appropriate for me to share out as a broader good will gesture to the rest of the human family.]


Those were golden years in my childhood… except for the time that you and Forrest ganged up on me, when Aunt Donna slapped me for being sassy, and feeling totally out of it when the men would retire to the parlor after the big meal and talk in ‘man code.’ [It sounded like they were discussing very important matters, especially Grandpa Al. He seemed to lead the discussion, and had a way of sounding authoritative, though I’d have no idea what he was talking about. I expect my dad and Uncle Ted and the other younger men didn’t know what he was talking about either, but respectfully kept their end of it up.] Continue reading

Book Reviews: Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories (1971),204,203,200_.jpgAnd other disasters, by Jean Shepherd
Reviewed by Brian Wright

1971, Doubleday [stories originally appearing in Playboy]

“For some unaccountable reason, I discovered I was a consumate polka dancer. The polka is a true soul dance. You don’t learn it; it engulfs you and sweeps you on in a flood of braying coronets and tootling clarinets and the thundering syncopation of bass drums and cymbals.  The drummer, a heavy-set Pole, squatted like a toad and his equipment, operating with the machinelike precision of a pile driver. I bounced and sweated, Josie clinging and hopping, ducking and bobbing as one born to the beat…”
— from “The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski” Continue reading