Thursday, November 15, 2012

What childhood event was seminal?

 At the Women Business Owners lunch today, a panel of three successful entrepreneurs were asked this last question:  "What childhood event do you regard as shaping the person you are today?"  I thought about the question driving back to the office and I think my answer lies in a trip that my father and I made together when I was about 12 years old, by bus to the University of Iowa.  It showed me just how very large the world was, and made me want to go places.  

Here's an excerpt describing the experience from August 19, 2007 of my blog, titled "Music makes the world go round."  I have slightly re-written and re-arranged the paragraphs so as to make clear the seminal event.

" My father played football at Iowa, on one of the great Big Ten teams of his day. Though the whole family traveled to Iowa City in our car a couple of times every football season, he once took just me and him 300 miles south on the bus for a homecoming game when I was about 12.  Herewith the seminal event.

In pre-game festivities, the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band was introduced first.  For those who have never seen the band, or heard its remarkable brass and drum sections, here's a halftime performance photo.

You can also infer from the photo the size of the Iowa stadium (it holds 60,000+ people), and how very very large that would seem to an impressionable Irish Catholic kid who came from a town with a population of 1100.

That day, before the game started, over the loudspeakers came the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame." I can to this day see the Notre Dame band in my mind's eye, with brass flashing, legs all perfectly aligned at 45 degrees, all columns perfect, rolling out with the Notre Dame Fight Song -- and in green uniforms! I turned to my father and said, "Dad, I don't know who to root for...."

Master of understatement, he looked at me and said "Do you want to come back?"

Old Capitol on Iowa's original campus, the heart of the school.
I made a decision right then and there that I would indeed come back, that I would one day be a University of Iowa student.  I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I learned how to do that at Iowa, with its international flavor, home not only of the Hawkeye Marching Band, but of the Iowa Writers Workshop, as well as thriving theater, music,  and art departments.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Beautiful, Annie; every iota. Thanks for the trip back in time and for sharing a glimpse of how it was through your eyes. No doubt your flag-bearing skills at the 3-Day got their start well-before you marched as a high-school musician.

To our capacity for memory; Salute!