The Show-Me State
My parents and my sister came to visit me over the weekend. They were on their way to Fulton, Mo., where my sister had just gotten a job. She will be the activities director at a small college called Westminster College, which is famous for being the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946.
For my sister Julie, Missouri is the fourth state she has called home. That is three more states than me, or my dad, or my other sister, Mary. The three of us have only ever lived in Iowa (not counting study-abroad trips), while my mother lived in Colorado for a short time. Julie grew up in Iowa, spent a summer working in Hawaii and went to graduate school in Wisconsin. She’s been around quite a bit, especially for a 23-year-old.
When I was in fourth grade, we studied a unit on geography in which we learned all the states in the “Midwest Region.” As I surveyed the map, it dawned on me that I had never been outside the “region.” I had only ever been to states that border Iowa, and it bothered me that my travel experience was so limited. I told my parents that our next vacation needed to be outside the Midwest Region. My desire was fulfilled the following year when we took a trip to Colorado. I’d like to believe that my lobbying was responsible for our choice of state.
Since that Colorado trip in 1997, our family has been all over the country. We’ve been to the Black Hills of South Dakota, the sandy beaches of Florida and the busy streets of New York. When my sister told me she had gotten a job in Missouri, I tried to think of the last time I was there. I pondered and pondered but nothing came to mind. I realized I have never been in Missouri, even though I now live just an hour away.
I’ve been in every state that borders Iowa several times with the exception of Missouri. We have several aunts and uncles who live in Omaha, so we make frequent trips to Nebraska. We don’t have any relatives who live in Missouri. In fact, I will be Julie’s closest relative, even though Washington is more than three hours away. I look forward to visiting the “Show-Me State,” and I hope it shows me all the things I’ve been missing for 26 years.