Birthdays in Austin
We don't need excuses to gather, but we let 2 October birthdays nudge us towards a little reunion.
We celebrated Heidi and Don's birthdays, over the first weekend of the month.
Been a While
In recent years, we've managed to get our gang together... in many places.
This was the first time we've all been together in Austin, since both of these young couples got married over 5 years ago. Cheers to that!
Celebrating with Food
We had a fun birthday dinner outing...
Lots of good food and lots of lingering.
Hanging at the House
We spent a lot of the time hanging out at Heidi & Jamie's house.
After months of sizzling hot weather, we had a pleasant-coolish weekend.
Hanging at the Pumpkin Patch
It was perfect weather for visiting a pumpkin patch.
At just over 2 1/2, Charlie was the perfect age. Actually we all were.
A few days later, Don and I met up in Chicago, with Heidi.
Chicago weather was not ideal, but it was cozy in our little hotel.
Our schedule (and lots of rain) didn't allow us much time for exploring... but we had fun.
We managed to squeeze in a few good eats... plus a very important (pretend) phone call.
We were able to sample some Polish pierogi, in the neighborhood where Don's Polish grandparents once lived.
We made the trip to Chicago, for a happy reason. Heidi's friend since preschool, was getting married.
Nathalie's mom (Milissa) and I have been friends since the 1990's.
Two special evenings...
And lots of smiles. These 2 haven't changed much!
Heidi flew back to Texas and Don and I spent 6 days exploring Iowa, in a rental car.
I loved my view from the passenger seat, spotting changing colors and curious barns. Fields of dry cornstalks.. an Amish buggy!
Don and I have our own childhood memories of Iowa. I lived in Grinnell till age 10. Don grew up visiting relatives in Iowa. We spent 6 days traveling around the state, staying in interesting places.
We had popcorn in Perry and met a pup in Decorah.
We had breakfast in old Dubuque and I read books overlooking the Mississippi River.
We stayed in mostly small towns and a couple small-ish cities.
The slideshow above shows the places we stayed and the wandering we did nearby.
Every evening, we relaxed in a new place. We had a relaxed poolside toast in Iowa City. We had a riverside drink, overlooking the Mississippi.
We sipped wine looking down over Main Street in Dubuque and said "Cheers to our 44th Anniversary", in Hotel Pattee's library!
On October 20th, I dropped Don off at the Des Moines airport and headed for Grinnell.
I was excited-nervous about reuniting with my old buddies Joanna and Debbie for a couple days, in the town where I lived my first 10 years.
1967 and 2023
I remember the day Debbie's dad took the photo on the left. My family was getting ready to move to Florida.
Deb and Jo no longer live in Grinnell, but Jo's stepmom does. She took our photo when we stopped in for a glass of wine.
It was wonderful to wander the old college campus and parks and neighborhoods, where we used to ride our bikes.
We stayed in Hotel Grinnell, which used to be Grinnell's Junior High.
Debbie and Joanna have memories of walking the halls as students, in the 100 year old building. I don't think they ever enjoyed a Margarita in this building until 2023.
We regressed to the kids we were in 1967, with candy cigarettes and Bugles... comic books and troll dolls..
We wore the "Not Now" ties (used for door signs) and took our candy cigarettes and water glasses into the halls to misbehave.
A very nice staff member humored us and snapped some photos.
It was fun to compare childhood memories.
But it was also special to get caught up as adults. There was a lot of catching up to do.
Wandering in Grinnell
I wish I had more photos of Grinnell from when I was a child. I made sure to take many, when we explored.
I borrowed one of the hotel bikes before I left town and rode down my old street. I knocked lightly on the door of what had once been "the yellow house". No answer, but I was just happy to stand on my favorite porch!
My Grinnell visit was a good trip down memory lane. I'm so glad I was able to reconnect with old friends and to reconnect with my 10-year-old self a little bit! I may have changed in 56 years, but I still love a good sweatshirt!
We spent the end of the month enjoying home! We ate some healthy food on Halloween... lots of candy and chili, too!
I Facetimed with poor little Charlie who was sick on Halloween. She helped me decide which pumpkin to carve. You can tell which one she picked.
Sadly, not a single trick-or-treater rang our bell. So we'll be eating a lot more candy in November!