This has been an amazing week. I just found out a novel has been written about my hometown. I guess that is not very surprising to most people, unless you were born in a town with a population at the time of possibly 100 or less.
Homestead, Iowa. A village in the Amana Colonies. East Central Iowa. The book is Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson. This little add-on village to the Amana's has almost always been forgotten. Nothing special ever happened here. It was just a great place to live as a child. In the fall, spring and summer, we played outside with all the neighborhood kids (all here means ALL) until the street lights went on. Riding bikes, kick the can, baseball, kick ball. It was perfect and safe. In the winter, we'd walk to the Pine Pond for ice skating. We had to cross the railroad track to get there, so I suppose our parents got together to figure out something safer. For many years, an empty lot was flooded and we ice skated right by our homes.
We used to have a working railroad station. My grandfather was a traveling salesman and spent a lot of time on the rails going between Amana and Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. He sold woolen items made in the Amana Woolen Mills. It was always a great thrill welcoming him home, because he would bring all sorts of treats from the big city.
This new book, just released, takes place in the late 1800's. My grandparents were born during this time and I remember a lot of their stories about the time. I am hoping to recognize historical sites in our town in the book. As they say, "it is in the mail as we speak."
I see statistics now that the population is 425 which I tend to question. The most famous person ever to live in Homestead would have to be the actor, Ashton Kutcher. Of course, he is younger than my children, so I never knew him or his family. He lived outside of town on a farm.
Another famous person was Bill Zuber who, during his baseball career from 1936-1947, played for the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Senators, New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
So, I have just added to my reading stack of books, but I have a feeling this book will be read quickly.
American Artisans: Hedley & Bennett
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