Facing Childhood and Adolescence in Iowa’s Cedar Valley: Hometowns

Adolescence, Diversity, Facing Community Belonging and Citizenship from University of Northern Iowa (Waterloo, Iowa), Religion

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Illustrated by: Denae

Written by: Dedra

When I was younger I went to live with my cousins in Mankato, MN.  I went to school there for awhile. I went there because my cousin and her husband worked late at night, and they needed someone to watch their daughter. Also, my other cousin Kim needed somebody to watch her son. So, I watched them over at their house. They lived in a trailer court. They worked at Long John Silver. It was my first time there so it was really scary. There were a lot more people there than in my hometown (Mason City, IA). I know all of the people in my hometown, and I only knew two people there.

On your first day you wanna make yourself look good or like, pop. Growing up, I wore mismatched clothes. I had to look good, and not wear mismatched clothes. After a while, I got used to it.  It was super fun. Their schools were very diverse. They had a lot of Muslim students. There was a black girl who wore a hijab. At the time, I didn’t know that black girls wore those or that they there were any black Muslims, so it was cool to see that. She didn’t really like me like a friend, but I didn’t care, I was just amazed by her culture. Growing up they didn’t really talk about Mexicans, Muslims, and other cultures, so I never knew about it. It was cool to learn about them.

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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