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When I Grow Up

June 26, 2014
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

There are four women who have influenced my life: my mother, my grandmother, Marjorie Vandervelde and Dorothy Muckey. Each, in her own way, taught me to be strong. They taught me to be resilient, confident, graceful and caring. They taught me to listen, to share and to be humble, to smile and to be just a tiny bit naughty.

Gram, Mother and Marjorie are looking down from above and Dorothy joined them on Monday. I smile when I think of them.

Dorothy and I traveled the state of Iowa together. We drove through April blizzards and enjoyed fall foliage. Most of our travels were to Iowa Press Women meetings, but we enjoyed many other adventures as well. When I heard "Hey what're ya doing?" I knew something was brewing.

Our travels usually took us on the scenic route. Even when they didn't, if we saw an interesting farm house Dorothy would pull in. The same if we saw an interesting rural church. We always left plenty of time to get to our destination. But if we didn't, we seemed to make up time somehow.

Perhaps that's how we managed to have an impromptu interview with the first woman Iowa State Patrol officer. Having pulled over on the side of the road, I was initially horrified when Dorothy leaned down and said, "I thought that was an awfully high voice for a man." We learned about the officer's career in a man's world and drove away with a smile and a warning.

Dorothy and I were together when we drove through McDonald's and she ordered her first Happy Meal. It was in the fall and the meal came in a plastic pumpkin. Maybe she thought we shouldn't be ordering kids' meals for ourselves, so she said, "Can you put those in a bag so they will stay warm until we get them home for the children?" We drove away laughing.

Who else but Dorothy could drag a trail of toilet tissue (on the heel of her shoe) across a hotel lobby and then laugh hysterically? That incident kept us giggling for hours, through dinner and into the night.

On Dorothy's 88th birthday, she and friends came to the Wild Rose. That's when they had the "wind tunnel" with Wild Rose bucks. Dorothy got inside and the bucks were swirling around like a tornado. She was concentrating to catch as many as she could. I don't remember the dollar amount, but she came away with a few bucks and a smile.

Dorothy could make a friend in an instant in a hotel elevator or across the dinner table. She developed a network of friends through her Family & Friends newspaper pages and her "Feminine Touch" newspaper column in the Algona newspapers.

This network was so extensive, if Dorothy wrote she had a hankering for rhubarb, she received rhubarb from one of her friends. Usually, she would drop a line in the lake to catch a few bullheads. If not, she would drop the hint and fish would appear at her door, cleaned and ready to fry.

Dorothy was a columnist who wrote from her heart and she involved the reader in her columns. She didn't shy away from any topic. Readers always knew where she stood. She could leave her readers in tears or laughing. She earned many awards for her work and accepted them with humility. Dorothy kept writing right up to the final -30-

These four ladies, my mother, my grandmother, and dear friends Marjorie and Dorothy, hold a special place in my heart. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.



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