One of my favorite things about Facebook is looking at all the photos, celebrations and memories that family and friends post.
I have also enjoyed looking at photos a cousin on my mom’s side of the family has been posting lately. One of them pictured my mom when she was a young girl. The photo caption noted that the photo was taken when my mom’s sister, Genola, passed away in 1948 at age four. My mom was quite fond of Genola and talked of her often. I now have Genola’s doll, which was stowed away in my grandmother’s truck, which I got in my parent’s estate. I had the doll refurbished by a doll person in New London a few years back and now have it on display in my house. I am also a member of a private family photo group on the Horton side of the family on Facebook. I have enjoyed looking at the old family photos in the group of my mom’s dad’s side of the family.
It was my parent’s wishes that I end up with all the family photos – four large plastic tubs and a few boxes worth. I hope someday to scan them for others to enjoy. There are photos of fishing trips and vacations, family gatherings, birthdays, Christmases, other celebrations, backyard BBQs and much more.
As a community journalist for more than 20-years, I have the wonderful opportunity of recording life in word and photos for others to enjoy. I have just about every photo I have taken as a journalist, outside of North English, which ended up at the Iowa County Historical Society. There’s a lot of history there. And now I have the opportunity to tell the stories of the children of those I interviewed years ago.
I’ve taken a lot of photos at the Poweshiek County Fair and the Iowa County Fair before that. I’m now seeing young people come through 4-H that I took photos and wrote stories about their parents some years ago.
I recently attended the letter of intent signing of Eddie Burgess, the four-sport athlete at Montezuma who will play football in the fall at Upper Iowa University, Iowa’s only Division II school.
As I sat on the bleachers on signing day earlier this month, I was reminded that in March 1998, I had the chance to interview Eddie’s mom, Janel (Grimm) Burgess, a DR-M and Montezuma grad and basketball standout at Iowa State University.
I was new to community journalism and working at the North English Record at the time when I heard about Janel. Her mom happened to work at the bank in North English at the time.
I drove the company Geo Metro to Ames and met Janel at the local Perkins Restaurant on Duff Avenue. It was kind of funny. She was telling me her story and I was telling her my story. Maybe she should have interviewed me.
After the interview, I gave her a ride to the ISU Athletic Department where she introduced me to a coach and got me a photo of her playing basketball. That next Saturday, Janel’s mom and dad invited me to their home west of Millersburg for breakfast. Talk about making me feel welcome.
I followed Janel through the years at her various coaching stops in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri and back to Michigan before returning to Iowa a half dozen years ago where she and her husband, Tim, spent a time at Williamsburg before joining the Montezuma teaching and coaching staff five years ago. I had the opportunity to do a few stories on Janel during that time span.
There is no better job than being a community journalist. All the events and hours spent writing stories, editing pictures, putting newspapers together and staying up all night putting together special sections has been worth it. Everyone who I have written about and photographed are important and to have the opportunity to tell their story has been a blessing.
When I look back on my life, I am reminded that in high school, I could barely piece a sentence together, let alone write a news story.
No matter where you are in life, what you have experienced or the challenges you have faced, the future is wide open to possibilities and good things.
Some people are naturally talented. They could take a test blindfolded and ace it. For others, it’s a struggle. For those in that class, don’t give up, don’t quit trying and don’t look back. The future is bright.
I encourage you today to keep your focus on what is important and not get caught up in all the garbage and more garbage going on in the world these day. Put your hand to the plow and keep sowing seeds of good things. It will payoff for you!
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.