I've been away for two weeks. The first week I was at FUSE Camp (which I may write about later) and the second week we took a roadtrip out to the midwest.
And then we came home and a storm had taken out our internet signal. (Clearly, it has been restored.)
The next couple of days will be devoted to sharing my trip.
Our first destination was Blakesburg, Ia. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents (as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...) live in that area. This town, while I don't exactly consider it home at this point in my life, is where I lived my first 12 years. Whenever we visit, I drive around town taking the same pictures (because really...it's a very small town and there isn't a lot to photograph) while I remember my childhood and my family collectively sighs while they remember being on this exact same photo taking journey a year prior (and the year before that and so on).
When I was a child, Blakesburg had a population of around 400 and I knew every single one of them (Because I was a busybody as a young child. Surprised?). Someone told me last week the current population is 92 and most I don't know.
This is the church I attended when I was a child. My grandma went there. Sometimes I went with her. Sometimes I went by myself. (Because it was a tiny town, I had run of it from a very early age.) Back in those days, the bell was still in the steeple. It's interesting how one's memory makes things larger than they actually are. I spent hours and hours playing on those steps. In my mind, they are vast. In reality, not so much.
This is a picture of a little, tiny room; my first Sunday School room. Again, my mind remembers this room as huge. The reality of it's tiny size is intriguing...because there were like 30 kids in there when I was in there. How did we all fit? When I reached 1st grade, I graduated to a new room.
Whenever I think about those days in that church, I think about this sand table. (It was somehow located in that tiny room.) My great, great (maybe one more great?) grandpa built this table. After the lesson, our teacher would take off the top to let us play. With the sand were teeny, tiny toys, little glass bottles to fill, etc...
So much has changed and yet nothing has.
This last picture is of Mrs. Irene Herteen. She was my fifth grade teacher. (She was also the fifth grade teacher for both of my parents.) I snuck up behind her and then popped in front of her just to see what her reaction would be. (Strange? I know.) I wasn't sure if she would know who I am...because I have been gone from there for 25 years. She immediately sort-of knew. She called me by my mother's name at first, but then she realized.
Yeah. So much has changed and yet nothing has.