A Trip to Iowa City

I just got back from a few days in Iowa City, my first vacation in way too long, and my first trip back to Iowa in over two years. I love Iowa City. If Fredonia, New York is my hometown, Iowa City is my home away from home. My life there had its flaws, but now that I’ve moved on, I mostly remember the good things.

The trip almost didn’t get started. It happened to fall right during the epic Santa Ana windstorms that knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people across Southern California over the weekend. But, while there were a couple of stoplights out complicating the trip to the airport, my plane took off from Burbank more or less on time.

My connecting flight was in Denver, which had heavy snow that morning; about twenty feet from where I was sitting to kill the layover, a lot of that snow started leaking through the ceiling’s light fixtures, creating a huge downpour of meltwater in the middle of the terminal. A very drunk would-be passenger showed up at my gate later, soaked through…evidently she’d stumbled right into the shower. The trip to Cedar Rapids was smooth, although we did land in a wet, steady snowstorm. Wow, hey: weather! Good thing I saved the removable liner from my winter coat!

Technically, the official purpose of the trip was to, uh, finish moving. When I moved to L.A. in 2007, I left a rather large closet full of belongings at my friend Carol’s house — mostly books and magazines. Needless to say, it was high time to clear up that loose end, so I spent part of my visit sorting through books, shipping boxes of keepers, and donating items to Goodwill.

But the moving business was mainly just a great excuse to visit old haunts and hang out with the great friends I made during my years as an Iowan. By and large I managed to fit in everything I wanted to do, except a visit to my work colleagues. In between social visits and moving business, I drove the cold winter streets, visited my favorite local shops and restaurants, and fondly remembered old times.

I don’t doubt for a second that moving to Los Angeles was the right move. But it was great going home to Iowa City for a few days, and more emotional than I was expecting. The place still tugs at my heartstrings. Hope to be back very soon!

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