In December, I visited the Midwest for the very first time. I spent an extended weekend there with my father, passing several days in Iowa City, Iowa and much of a day in Andover, Illinois. A few highlights:
- Meeting a key handful of my father’s dear college friends: hearing many entertaining stories, sitting together and sharing tasty meals, exploring their college haunts in downtown Iowa City, and looking through photo albums from their early partyin’ days.
- Checking out the Old Capitol (the state’s first capitol, now a National Historic Landmark) and its well-arranged museum exhibits.
- Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow layering the trees and sidewalks, and snow drifting down from the sky and speckling itself in my hair and on my fuzzy jacket.
- Attending the Hultgren family reunion in Andover: meeting dozens of new-to-me, friendly cousins and relatives; sampling all manner of Swedish-Midwestern foods, including lutefisk, tater tot casserole, and ostkaka (Swedish cheesecake); getting to watch a snippet of digitized video from the 1940s, featuring my great-grandparents and my young (early 20s) grandmother attending a family wedding—in the very same Andover church as the reunion!
Here is a handy-dandy slideshow of all my photos from the trip (after you click Play, you can click the four-arrowed icon at the bottom right to make it full-screen):