Growing up in the small Northwest Iowa town of Rock Rapids I have so many fond memories. When I was about a year and a half old my parents bought a house next to the Huisman family. Therewere five girls in my family and Cliff and Shirley had three girls. Jeri Huisman was the same age as me.

Jeri and I grew up together, were always the best of friends and have remained close over these many years. With all the important life events we’vealways been there for and with each other. Wedding and graduation celebrations were always shared. When I lost my Dad, then my sister Patti and then Mom years later, Jeri and her family were there. Jeri has also lost her Dad and her husband Gene and Marty and I went to Rocky to be with her, her son Andrew and the rest of the family.

Over the years we don’t get to see each other often but when we do it seems like it was only the day before that we were together.

Well a weekend in June we were all together again in Rock Rapids as the community has a Heritage Days celebration every summer. This year’s celebration was going to be extra special because the Parade Marshall and special guest was none other than Jerry Mathers (from the television show Leave It To Beaver). Jerry lived in Rock Rapids for a short time as a child and the town has been trying for years to get him there for these festivities and this was the year it worked with his schedule.

So a few weeks before the event Jeri texted me and asked if I wanted to ride the “Beaver Fan Club” float in the Heritage Days Parade with a group of other Rock Rapids graduates. Of course I said, “Yes!” I made special signs and brought them and there were about fourteen of us riding on the float, ages ranging from 59 to 68. It was hilarious to say the least!

Later that day we went to the community center and got to meet Jerry (Beaver) and get his autograph and our picture taken with him. He and his wife were so friendly and gracious, and they said they were really enjoying their time in Rock Rapids. They also said they enjoyed our float honoring him. It was a wonderful and fun weekend!

I’ve heard people say over the years that it’s hard to go home. Things change, people change or pass on and going home brings sad memories.

And although part of that is true for me, I would say I have far more happy memories of the time spent there and I encourage all of you to “go home”. Spend time with people you love and share fun stories because life is short and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Take care and have a safe and happy summer!