Facing Childhood and Adolescence in Iowa’s Cedar Valley: A Big Mistake

Childhood, Facing Community Belonging and Citizenship from University of Northern Iowa (Waterloo, Iowa)

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Illustrated by: Kaitlyn

Written by: Rayvon

I had a pretty dull childhood. But, there is this one memory I remember in great detail. I was four years old. Me and my dad had gone downtown, near Walmart, in his old truck. My dad had stopped at a loan office, leaving me in the back seat. Big mistake. This next part, I remember vividly. I remember looking around my dad’s truck, the tattered leather seats with patches in them, the pine tree air freshener hanging around his top view mirror, the distinct smell of it mixed with the lingering ash from all his cigarettes. I remember unbuckling my seatbelt, the satisfying click it made as it came undone signaling that I had done it right. I then remember crawling over the small armrest in between the front seats and falling into the driver’s seat, so I could reach for the steering wheel and pedals. Unfortunately, I had to settle for just the pedals. I then remember stepping on the gas, feeling the car lift itself up, thanks to the curb, and hearing something smashing apart. I get off the pedals to see that I ran into the loan office and destroyed all the glass with millions of fragments scattered everywhere. The last thing I remember is seeing this woman’s and my dad’s faces contorted in absolute shock and surprise, which I thought nothing of at the time as I was too young to realize that I had messed up.

This story originally appeared in Facing Childhood and Adolescence in Iowa’s Cedar Valley, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the University of Northern Iowa in Waterloo, Iowa.

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