Squishing About in My Brain


Posted on: February 6, 2009

I just joined (another) Iowa group on Facebook. There’s a thread about what people assume and say about Iowa and Iowans that piss us off.
So I thought about it…
I live in California now, going on eight years.
I get the Potato State thing a lot. I have learned to just say, “No, corn.” They usually respond, “Ooooh yeah! Isn’t that over in the east somewhere?” I tell them to check just off-center of any U.S. map.
People also seem to assume that everything in Iowa is tiny…including cities. “You had THREE malls? In IOWA?! No way!” Yep, and that was only in Des Moines, not Iowa overall. I now live in Santa Cruz, which is SMALLER than Des Moines, the capital city, where I grew up. (One mall, by the way. For Santa Cruz AND its suburbs and surrounding towns!)

Also, the farm assumption. I have had to tell even my closest friends here that NO, I did not grow up on a farm, and the only time I was on one was when I went home with someone who did, in college; they are somewhat shocked and aghast.

There has also been surprise that we have so many colleges, and that they are not tiny and backward places, but places where you can actually LEARN and go on to live a good and productive life!

Also that we have art and museums and botanical centers and libraries and shopping and even things NOT about covered bridges!

I have actually read a few books where they say things like, “…the Tony awards…and in case you live in Iowa and have no idea what those are…” and stupid things like that. It makes me sad that the writers need someone to belittle to make them feel good.
I think that it embarrasses people to think that not everyone WANTS to be New York or California….like Iowa must be SO hick because they don’t WANT a huge crowded mass of immoral, self-serving people crowded together. (No offense to the PEOPLE of NY and L.A., but c’mon…that’s all we hear about…and now that I live in California, I can tell you: most of it is justified.)
I have taken to telling people that Iowa is an AWESOME place to raise kids: that we grow up moral and kind, polite and friendly, educated, and less screwed-up in general, and just NICE…and then we go out into the rest of the world and spread it around.

I do not get annoyed anymore, after all these years. I chock it up to other people’s arrogance and lack of knowledge about the country they live in.

I, like most Iowans of my generation, I think, wanted OUT of Iowa in adulthood. I finally left, child in tow, at 31. And y’know what? I am thinking I might just move back.

There is something to be said for a decent, affordable standard of living, thunderstorms, fresh produce, and the Andersen-Erickson Dairy. And you cannot get a better tenderloin than you can get in Iowa. DAMN, I tell ya! Pork and beef ,(not to mention corn), there are the best in the world, bar none. And Iowa is SO GREEN! And you get people who are, more often than not, genuinely NICE and helpful and accepting of others. And y’know what else? I am PROUD to have been raised in Iowa.
I miss it.
If it had an ocean, I probably never would have left.


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