A while back, you may recall I made a trip to Iowa City. I did all my degrees (BA, MA, and Ph.D.) at The University of Iowa. My mentor for my Ph.D. received the outstanding mentoring award for the College of Medicine at The University of Iowa. It is a very prestigious award, and one that he was so proud to receive. Teaching and mentoring is everything to him....even more important than his research. So, we were all so happy for him. We had a big reunion of all the graduate students who have worked with him to celebrate. About 30 of us came to the ceremony, and people came from all over the country: Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Texas, New York....everywhere! It was so cool and so touching!
My mentor is an amazing man. I could not have asked for a better teacher. I learned so much from him about behavior analysis, children with disabilities, how to be a good teacher and professor, what it means to truly care about the children and families with whom we work, life in general, and what it means to be a courageous, ethical, and hard working individual. I respect and admire him so much, there are few words to express it. My gratitude to him for what he gave me runs very deep. He continues to mentor me, advise me, and give to me. I am also thankful for that. He is the epitome of a mentor.
I made my mentor a quilt to celebrate his achievement. You saw it in earlier stages. I actually had it finished in time to take to him for the award.
It is a Yellow Brick Road pattern. I added a couple of borders to it. I was really happy with how it turned out. My mentor has moved since I lived in Iowa City, so I asked his wife for photos of their family room (she wanted a lap quilt for him, because they already have Amish-made bed quilts for their beds). It is navy blue, and their decorating style has always been sort of southwest and clean-line, simple. They love Taos, NM and Indian art, such as pottery. So, I thought these colors, this pattern, and these batiks would be the perfect choice for them. I was right. They absolutely loved it.
I tried to take some close ups of the quilting, but the sun was really glaring that day, so sorry for the quality of some of the photos. I was able to finish this quilt on time in no small part due to Christine Hollaway. She long-arm quilted it for me in record time and with about no notice. Christine, you are THE BEST and I LOVE YOU! I was afraid to quilt the Minkee myself. I am so happy with Christine's choice of quilting designs and her execution of it.
Here is a close up of the label. I called the quilt "Road to Success." I try to incorporate the name of the pattern into the names of the quilt, when possible (sort of like a dog pedigree, haha). My mentor was very touched by the label. He told me he couldn't open it at the party, because it was too emotional for him, just reading the label. That made me feel good. :-)
I was really happy he liked it.
I didn't ask people if it was okay to put their photos on the web, so I hope they don't mind. I won't mention names for their privacy. My mentor is in the black shirt. The gal over his shoulder and the guy to his left were students at the same time as me. The little shrimp between me and my mentor was my master's student when I was at Gonzaga. She came and got her Ph.D. with my mentor and is now a professor at Gonzaga. The gal to my right was the shrimp's master's student at Gonzaga, and how she is earning her Ph.D. with my mentor. Four generations! How often do you see that happening? That was pretty neat.
We call ourselves the Crazed Weasel Society. Have for over 20 years. One of the guys who worked there with me is an amazing artist and always makes artwork for our Society. Those of you who know me well know that I have a tattoo of this weasel on my ankle.
If you look the other way from that chapel, this is the view. A huge green space they have maintained for years. Love that. Usually there's a lot of soccer and stuff going on here...flag football. That's the main part of campus...the Pentacrest. Iowa City used to be the capitol of Iowa (now it is Des Moines). The gold-domed building is the Old Capitol. It's now a museum. The other four buildings on each corner were legislative buildings. Now, they contain classrooms, offices, a museum of natural history, etc. Took a lot of undergraduate classes in those buildings!
It was such a beautiful day the day I was to leave. I gave myself a little nostalgia tour of Iowa City. I have a ton of photos of my favorite hangouts...bars, bookstores, etc. I won't bore you with all of them. But here is the sorority house I lived in for 2 years as an undergraduate. I always loved this house. Beautiful.
I was actually born in Iowa City. My dad went to medical school there. We lived in this house when I was very young. We lived here until I finished second grade; then we moved to Cedar Rapids. I drove by the old house to see how it looked. It sure looks good! It was built in the late 1960's, I believe. (Perhaps the very early 1970's.) People have really maintained it nicely. The back of the house was a patio. There was a pretty pergola over it that my dad built. Some new owners built an addition onto the house there. I was realy happy to see how nicely maintained the house and neighborhood were. Funny thing, though, behind this house was corn fields. This was the edge of town. Well, there are no corn fields there now. This is now the middle of town!
I could remember who all the neighbors were, and I remembered playing kick the can until it was dark on this street. My friend Brian, who died last December, lived two houses away from me. I was thinking of him a lot on the weekend, and missing him, too.
And, my old elementary school. I went to kindergarten, first, and second grade here. (Brian went here, too, but he was 2 grades ahead of me.) The school was built in 1969. It must have only been a year or two old when I attended school here. And it has not changed one iota (at least from the outside)!
It was a really fun trip back to Iowa City. It's been many years since I was there. I miss it. It is such a great town. Plenty of really good things to do, good theater, good culture, etc. It's a small town with a huge university in it. Those are my favorite places to be. I became very homesick after my visit. And it was so good to see all my friends. This will go down as one of the best few days I've had in my life. It was wonderful.
Hope you enjoyed the little tour of Iowa City. If one of your kids ever considers going there, I highly recommend it. Just a great town. And a great school. :-)
Until next time,