Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Yesterday was Valentine’s day, so happy late Valentine’s and Discounted Chocolate Day! Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I am sure many of you remember making Valentine’s cards for people in your school while growing up. It was a big day depending on how much candy you got in return. However, did you know that even way back in the 90s? Take a look at the picture here, it is titled “Grant School Denison Club Making Valentines”. Can you guess when this picture was taken? The clothes might be a hint, both of the boys are wearing overalls, and the girls have old-fashioned dresses. Another hint is the board in the background; it is a chalk-board, not a whiteboard! Have you guessed yet? The answer is 1938! It seems amazing that even almost 80 years ago people and kids were already making Valentine’s Day cards. It makes one wonder about when Valentine’s became a monetized holiday! The original reason for Valentine’s Day was in remembrance of Saint Valentine. If you do not know why there is a day for remembrance of him, I suggest you look it up, as it gives quite a different meaning to the holiday.
Anyway, I hope that you readers had a good Valentine’s Day! Did you do anything special to mark the occasion? Let us know in the comments, have a happy Discount Chocolate Day today, and come back next time for more interesting stories and pictures of History from our collection!
Welcome to the Hometown Heritage (the branded name used by Fullhart Carnegie Charitable Trust) blog! My name is Jared Bloom, and I am the new intern here at Hometown Heritage. Since this is my first appearance on the blog, it seemed appropriate that I should introduce myself to you all, and tell you a little about who I am, what my goals are, and why I am with Hometown Heritage.
Let me start by saying a little more about myself. I graduated from the Perry High School in 2011, and I spent most of my childhood here as well, so I have many fond memories of our little town. I can remember the summer days of Friday Fest, with its stands of local products, live music, inflatable rides and more. I can remember when Shopko was still Pamida, and when Alco was still open for business. Even though some of these things have changed, there are plenty of familiar faces and places here in Perry, so the town feels like home. After High School, I chose to attend Iowa State University, and found that I was extremely interested in history. After spending four years there, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in History. During my time in the History department, I found that I was quite interested in Classical history (which generally involves the ancient Greeks and Romans). As part of this, I learned a little bit of Latin (how to write and read it at least), and spent 3 weeks in Italy in May of 2014. I went to see all the major landmarks like the Colosseum, and we even had a trip down to Pompeii. I also saw many of the minor landmarks (a cat sanctuary called the Largo di Torre Argentina comes to mind), and even managed to miss a bus and get lost for a while. The trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Looking toward the future, as a recent college graduate many opportunities have come knocking on my door and questioned what I was doing or where I was going. Often the response was “I haven’t thought about it yet” or “I’ll just go with the flow”, but eventually I had to sit down and think more seriously about the idea. As I did, a loose plan started to form in my head. After talking with a few professors and professionals, I decided that I am interested in working in a Museum setting, either as something like a Curator, or in a collections/preservation sort of role. I discovered that for me, this meant getting some good experience in the right kind of setting, and then going to a graduate school for a degree in Museum Studies. This is the part where Hometown Heritage enters into my plans.
Hometown Heritage is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to earn the kind of experience that I am looking for, and much more. I get to work not only with the kind of software that many museums use, but I also have the opportunity to earn some event managing experience, as there are various events coming up in this area that I am excited to have a hand in. However, experience is not the only reason I am here at Hometown Heritage. There is also the fact that this town, although not the first place I have memories of, is still my hometown, and it holds a special place in my heart. There is also plenty of history here in this town, even if it is not Classical History. I am aware of Hometown Heritage having one of the most extensive collections in the central U.S. for a small town. Within this collection, all of the stories that are told, the old photos and documents, the vintage collectables and works of art, and even the loose odds and ends have within them a special piece of this town’s history that I believe is worth preserving.
Preserving Perry’s history is a multifaceted job. Whether it be using our museum software, upcoming events, or simply digging through the mountains of boxes in our vault and backroom, I look forward to discovering new and exciting stories and experiences that I can share, with the rest of you, on this blog.
Change – truth is I am uncomfortable with change. I’ve lived in and around Perry, Iowa much of my life, and most of that time, change has been a part of life…...
I grew up in Dawson, Iowa – my entire small and happy world was a tiny town, with neighbors that looked out for one another. Together my sister and I attended school in Dawson, walked to the grocery store and post office (located in the back of the building), and faithfully attended Sunday school at the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Looking back, with the kindness time allows, I remember my neighbors, teachers, and pastors with fondness. I’m not so sure they’d think the same of a scrappy girl and her two brothers who frequently seemed to find mischief.
Let’s fast forward about 50 years, and return to Dawson, Iowa. I arrive in Dawson by bicycle, thanks to the incredible Raccoon River Valley Trail; from Perry it is 6 easy miles through woods and farm fields. That landscape has changed – 50 years ago there were many more small farmsteads between Dawson and Perry; evidence of these farms and families remains only in old photographs and aging memories. I spot the immense West Central Cooperative grain facility before arriving in Dawson; the smaller grain elevator of my youth is gone, as is the lumber yard, the school, and the gas station. The church remains, but is now a United Methodist Church, the parsonage was sold to a private individual. While I ride my bike around town, I see only change, so I return to the Raccoon River Valley Trail and ride west a little further. There, I wander through the small rural cemetery, nestled appropriately among farm fields; with the sound of the wind and bird song, I find the names of family, friends, teachers, and neighbors of my youth.