Last week I wrote about my decision to set The Luck of the Buttons in Iowa. It got me thinking about the notion of place and what qualities people value in their home states. Several Iowans have shared their thoughts, with a few more to come, including today's guest writer, Katie Mills Giorgio. Look for other states to be represented soon, including the reflections of school children in Hawaii.
Katie Mills Giorgio is a freelance writer living, working and raising a family in her hometown of Cedar Rapids. She writes for dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites (and even sometimes just for fun!) and hopes to someday make the leap into the world of children’s literature. You can read more about her writing life at katiemillsgiorgio.wordpress.com
I am proud to say I was born in the great state of Iowa (my birthday is actually the same date Iowa officially became a state way back in 1846!) But growing up, we moved around a lot so I'm not a lifelong resident of the state.
It's interesting though when I look back on all of our moves that Iowa remains a constant. We moved to Illinois but Iowa pulled us back. Then we went all the way down south to Georgia...again Iowa pulled us back. I tried Illinois again after college, only to be pulled back to Iowa.
Admittedly, the last move back to Iowa (now more than seven years ago) was my own choice. I was about to start my own family and have always known I wanted to raise my kids in my hometown of Cedar Rapids.
I've loved something about all the places I've lived. But Iowa—Cedar Rapids, in fact—means the most. It means family and fun because we are lucky enough to be surrounded by relatives. It means having a big backyard to run and play in. It means living in a city with a downtown we love to frequent. But it also means we are close to wide open spaces. We pick strawberries in the summer, apples in the fall and go chop down our own Christmas tree. And my son wouldn’t let me forget that Iowa means some pretty delicious sweet corn.
So maybe all of those years I wasn't just being pulled back. Iowa was simply calling me home.