Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where I Lived..on Broadway

I am linking up with #Where I Lived Wednesday over at Ann's

I grew up on Broadway. Not the very "famous bright lights of Broadway" but a far less traveled Broadway located in a small Midwestern Iowa town.  History books note that my street was the place to live in the 20's and 30's. My  Broadway is about a mile long. The homes on the lower end of the street are huge mansions, many with turrets and  stained glass windows. The street eventually winds up a hill where four generations of my family would live.
The story all really begins in Germany. My great grandmother, Julia, and her brothers were orphaned as youngsters and left with an Uncle who was neglectful and cruel to his new charges. One brother joined the military when he became of age and the other, Johan,  immigrated to Iowa. He felt the Mississippi River in Iowa and the farming community best reminded him of his homeland in Freckenfeld, Germany.  When my grandmother turned sixteen, Johan returned to Germany to bring  Julia back to Iowa.  He bought a house for them on Broadway and subsequently gave it to her when he married and moved to a farm. Julia married raised four children, including my grandfather in that house.   My grandfather and Grandmother  would eventually inherit the home and raise my father in this house.     
My father loved Broadway and I can't imagine him ever moving from Iowa.  It is no surprise that when he married my mother they would buy a home two houses up the hill from my grandparents.
This was a huge win for my siblings and I. We had a vast woods behind our house where we roamed for hours, made camps and hunted for wild asparagus and berries. But the very best part was being able to run down to my grandparents house.
I called my grandmother Dr. Nonna, probably because she spent so much time doctoring me up from 
poison ivy and other minor scrapes I got from playing in the woods.  She made me my favorite bean soup.  No matter what she was doing, she would put it aside to play with me.  Dr. Nonna made all of us feel cherished and loved. 
We had an array of odd neighbors on Broadway.  An older couple across the street  screamed at us if we as much as stepped on their grass. Sometimes just using their sidewalk made them completely lose their marbles.  Since they obviously hated us, or children in general, we would avoid their house at Halloween.  That and the fact that their treat was always one unshelled walnut.  Ironically, if we didn't show up she would call our mother and ask why.  And our mother would make us walk over to collect our nut. And say a genuine thank you for it.
I grew up and moved away, so excited to get out of the Midwest and a tiny town to boot.  (Though to my own surprise I would yearn to eventually return.). My father passed away and my mother sold our childhood home.  My brother moved into the house that Johan bought for his sister Julia almost a hundred years ago and resides there to this day.
The generational history of living on Broadway makes driving down through my old neighborhood today an emotional experience.  I loved living so close to my grandparents and that is why I loved living on Broadway.


  1. Walnut aside (omg), what a beautiful place to grow. Thanks for joining #WhereILivedWednesday!

  2. Ha ha ha that walnut story is hilarious! Some people are ahem, just a wee bit clueless. Ha ha

    Dr. Nonna sounds so wonderful. What a blessing to have those memories!

    1. I always thought they were just mean, but maybe clueless is a better word, and kinder. Thanks Sunny.

  3. I loved this! You painted such a vivid picture of your home. Your Dr. Nonna sounds wonderful.

    1. Thank you Tina, every kid should have a Nonna I think.