Iowa Writes

JOE CROWLEY
Jubilee


I was there, just a boy, that summer morning
in 1948, when Hub City turned seventy-five.
So much to celebrate: ration books recently
consigned to bonfires, and tires, shoes,
butter, bicycles—no stamps needed now.
The troops were home, relearning civilian life,
the geography of war, names in battle books
(St. Lo, Anzio, Malmedy, Remagen,
Rabaul, Tarawa, Iwo, Okinawa)
receding, slowly, into memory.

I took my place beside the only
taffy apple stand on Main, watched old Mr. Otis,
well on the other side of ninety,
lead the march, riding in a covered wagon
like the one that brought him here so long ago.
Next, Miss Iowa 1947, hometown girl,
her name and title in large letters
on billboards at the city limits, north and south.
Then, aboard a horse-drawn buggy, two members
of the high school graduation class of 1893.

I was there, just a boy, that summer morning
in 1948, when Hub City turned seventy-five.
So much to celebrate: ration books recently
consigned to bonfires, and tires, shoes,
butter, bicycles—no stamps needed now.
The troops were home, relearning civilian life,
the geography of war, names in battle books
(St. Lo, Anzio, Malmedy, Remagen,
Rabaul, Tarawa, Iwo, Okinawa)
receding, slowly, into memory.

I took my place beside the only
taffy apple stand on Main, watched old Mr. Otis,
well on the other side of ninety,
lead the march, riding in a covered wagon
like the one that brought him here so long ago.
Next, Miss Iowa 1947, hometown girl,
her name and title in large letters
on billboards at the city limits, north and south.
Then, aboard a horse-drawn buggy, two members
of the high school graduation class of 1893.


Such a lengthy line of spirited paraders,
moving through both downtown stoplights,
past thriving shops and busy bars, the town's
first cabin and its newest building (something
called a supermarket), on they came:
descendants of the founding family
waving from convertibles, the mayor
doing likewise from the rumble seat
of a 1939 Ford coupe. Cub Scouts,
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Legionnaires,
4H kids, prized animals in tow, politicians
in their Model Ts, flags, floats, bands
abounding, balers, tractors, acrobats and clowns.

We let the world be far away that day.
The Berlin Airlift was not flying over Iowa,
Korea was not weighing on our minds.
Wisconsin was next door, but who knew Joe McCarthy?
And who could ever have imagined footsteps
on the moon or towers falling in Manhattan.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JOE CROWLEY

Joe Crowley is an Iowa native, born and raised in Oelwein, and a 1959 graduate of the University of Iowa (political science). After a career as professor, author, and administrator at the University of Nevada, Reno, he writes poetry in retirement.

This page was first displayed
on April 02, 2010

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