We had a family potluck in Ricketts, Iowa today. It’s a tiny town, in the midst of corn fields and farms. Seriously, I saw two streets in town that ended right in a corn field, with no dead end signs even.
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a farm not far from there. I spent a good amount of time in town, at my cousin’s house. There used to be a tiny bowling alley we went to. These days, the bowling alley is long gone.
A walk around town this afternoon led me to some pretty cool opportunities for photographs. Thought I’d share some of Ricketts with you.
Just got home from checking on the booth. Before going in, I asked my kiddo how we’d feel if we sold nothing. He replied that we’d feel great! Indeed!
The doilies, potholders, hankies, and books seemed to fit right in. They sure give it a warm ‘pull up a chair and we’ll drink tea while visiting’ feeling. Sort of rooted, in a way. Not quite how sitting at a grandma’s kitchen table feels, but down home.
I thought I’d show you how it’s coming together.
P.S. We’ve had the booth one week and a piece of my art made it into the world!! How exciting! I’m so grateful!
When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.
If you are anywhere around Exit 275 on I-80 in Nebraska, and you want to see something really cool, stop at the Great Platte River Road Archway museum in Kearney.
On our way from Cheyenne Wyoming to northwest Missouri yesterday, we took I-80 through Nebraska and stopped there. Oh my gosh, you guys, it is amazing!!
The museum chronicles travel history in the area starting with covered wagons, stagecoaches, the Pony Express, and highways.
We each got a ‘personal-type’ museum guide via a device that looks like a tv remote with headphones. The exhibits had numbers on them and you can just point them at ones you want to learn about and press play.
That was my first experience with those and it was really neat. You can move at your own pace, turn the volume up or down, there’s no rush to miss a tour group.
The museum itself is extraordinary with its escalator entrance, the lifelike figures, the detailed murals ceiling high, railroad history, and a great display about the highway system. It ends with a step inside a vintage diner with booths and jukeboxes.
The gift shop is really nice and there’s even an ol’ vintage Coca Cola machine, if you fancy a soda in a glass bottle.