Monday, July 20, 2009

Character development: Steve and Vanni

7-20-09 evening reminiscing vacation brain

Before I describe in more detail the events of the five day portion of my vacation in my hometown over the 4th of July, I probably need to introduce the cast of characters that are central to my visit. This same group of people has been gathering for years in Charles City, our hometown, which at some point along the way, became a strong tradition for us all.

Last week I talked about Judy C, she lives in Mason City which is only 30 miles from Charles City. Her brother Steve, my childhood friend is at the extreme end in regards to distance away from our hometown. Steve is a teacher in Barrow Alaska, which is north of the Arctic Circle. Steve has been in Alaska since the late 70’s and has become very knowledgeable about the native people of Alaska, thus everyone (well most people anyway)in Charles City finds him fascinating to talk to. And Steve loves to talk. He is a natural teacher.

Steve and I attend school together for all grades K-12. He remembers throwing kisses at me during nap time on our rugs in Kindergarten. He and his friend Daryl, also a neighborhood boy had a crush on me. I however wanted nothing to do with boys, except for my across-the-street neighbor boys Bob and Jim, who were really like my brothers. I loved only cats back then! The love of boys would not happen to me until age 16.

Here is picture of Daryl, Steve and I last summer.

Steve and I really didn’t interact much after elementary school, except we were in some classes together, and I was a cheerleader for him while he played basketball. Steve was the tallest guy in our class at nearly 6 ft 8, (I think I have that number correct). All I know is when I hug Steve, my head is in his arm pit.

Steve got reconnect with me, and met Greg in 1994, when he finally came back to a high school class reunion- Class of 1974. He had stayed away from Iowa for several years. My father, who was Steve’s Social Studies teacher in Jr. High, was one of Steve’s favorite teachers and thus on his trips back to Iowa he would spend time with my father and they would have great discussions about the world, geography, WWII, and Steve loved learning about my Dad’s war experiences. I'm hoping Steve writes a book about my father someday.

Steve was a bachelor until age 50, so we all were holding judgment of the girl he brought back to Iowa with him about 5 summers ago. Her name was Vanni, she also worked in education up in Barrow and she seemed to fit right in with our motley group, since she was originally from Missouri, and was just a down to earth Midwestern gal. Steve and Vanni married one year later. I love spending time with Vanni. She has a good sense of humor, makes me laugh, and keeps us hometown kids in check. I'm so glad Steve married her and made her apart of our Charles City family!

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