We drove through Illinois and across the Mississippi River to get to our hotel in Iowa. The next morning we drove from Iowa, across the Mississippi to get to our destination in Nauvoo, Illinois. As soon as we parked next to this playground the kids were super excited, thinking this was our destination. We had to let them run around and enjoy it for a little bit.
Across the street was the Nauvoo Temple. Here's a picture of our crew behind the temple:
And here they are in front of it:
Across the street from the front of the temple is this statue which is called Calm as a Summer's Morn. It is a representation of Joseph and Hyrum Smith as they left Nauvoo for Carthage where they were killed 3 days later.
Once we got to Old Nauvoo we were immediately given tickets to see a performance geared toward kids which included a puppet show. Hubba was lucky enough to be called on stage to perform in one of the numbers.
Kind of a funny coincidence happened at the puppet show. As we walked into the theater, there was a family from our neighborhood. I mean, people who live right down the street from us and have kids who are friends with our kids. Crazy, right? Some of the kids paired off with their friends to go and explore while the youngest of them stayed with Allen and I. We were able to do a lot of really fun things like make our own rope, learn how candles and bricks and horseshoes are made and how cookies were baked back in 1840. We also saw some wildlife that was different from what we see at home, like this cardinal which was about the brightest red you can imagine.
And I hope you really like the picture of the cardinal, because I was so busy keeping track of kids and enjoying visiting the different little shops and demonstrations that I didn't take many pictures. None of our neighbors, none of the things we did. But we all came away with a cookie from the bakery, a "prairie diamond" ring made from a horseshoe nail and a souvenir brick for the family from the brickyard.
I did get this picture of the kids in a stock for shoeing oxen before we left for Carthage Jail, about half an hour from Nauvoo.
By the time we arrived at Carthage Jail Little X had fallen asleep in his carseat and Little O was beyond the top of his threshold for patience in listening to presentations so I volunteered to stay in the van with them while Allen took everyone else inside. After about 10 minutes Little O announced that he needed to use the bathroom RIGHTNOW so I had to wake X up and hurry them in to the visitor's center to take care of business. It's okay though, because if we had stayed in the van the whole time I never would have gotten this next picture, which is one of my favorites.
These two boys do not know how to sit still. One of Little X's favorite past times is chasing birds and he had plenty of them to chase here at Carthage. At one point this squirrel showed up and kept the boys entertained for at least 10 minutes. It would run just far enough to get away from them, then stop and stare as they came at it again.
Eventually the squirrel got smart and ran up a tree.
After a longer than expected wait, the rest of the family emerged and we got our group shot of the kids in front of Carthage Jail.
From there we drove a long way along the Mississippi River and then crossed it into Clinton, Iowa, where I lived until the age of 7. We met up with my Aunt Betty and Uncle Jack and then all went to dinner at Happy Joe's, a pizza parlor where I have great childhood memories of my family going when it was someone's birthday. Probably my greatest regret of this entire trip was that I was so enthralled with my visit with my aunt and uncle that we never got a picture together. That still bothers me. I grew up next to these two and this visit with them was something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Like my parents, they are both Deaf, and so we spent a lot of time with them since they lived a short walk from our home way back when. When we arrived at their home my Aunt Betty let us in and we were all sitting there in the front room when Uncle Jack walked in. He looked at all of my kids sitting on the couch and floor and signed to Betty, "I don't know these kids." And then he looked at me and his eyes got huge and his mouth dropped open and he signed to me, "Herb's girl?" and I nodded and gave him a big hug. I have seen Aunt Betty once since we left Iowa, about 13 years ago, but I have not seen Uncle Jack since I was 7 years old and the fact that he remembered me and was so happy to see me just about made me cry. Aunt Betty was as spunky and full of life as I remember and Uncle Jack was just as funny as he was when I was young.
At Happy Joe's we all visited and joked and ate pizza and laughed and told stories until it got to be late and Betty and Jack needed to get home. After they left I told Allen, "Oh, no. I forgot to take a picture!" So he took this picture of me and the kids so we'd at least have some kind of documentation of our trip to Clinton.
After leaving Happy Joe's we drove past the spot in the Mississippi River that my dad swam across when I was young, my childhood home at 443 5th Avenue South (an address I will never forget) and then past the Lutheran church where the 4 kids in my family went each Sunday and finally past my old school, which has undergone renovations and looks much different. This tour of my hometown was all in the dark so I didn't get many photos. But this one I couldn't pass up, and it didn't turn out too badly.
Our home. A whole flood of stories and memories happened here.