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Letter #114: Who Knew I Was Gothic?!

January 22, 2011

Dear adventures,

By my 9th week of travel, I have become known as quite the ‘gamer.’ I’m always up for an experience. New cities, new states and new campuses instantly equate to fun memories in my mind. The experience is always what I’m looking for, so chain restaurants and sitting in hotel rooms are bottom on my list of activities to do in a new place. Part of this is because I’m 23 and simply look for you at all times as well as this being my first time to travel the country. I think the biggest reason is I just like to have fun!

I’ve had some great moments in the past few months, but this week all stops were pulled. Touring Memorial Stadium and Husker football: epic. Visiting an old kamp guy at the art shop where Golden Globe trophies are made: random. Stumbling upon the American Gothic Museum in Eldon, Iowa: priceless.

You see, I offered to drive from Des Moines to Quincy, IL. There’s no good way to get there, so after nearly being run off the road into an abyss of ice and snow by an idiot who was texting while driving, we came across a sign declaring ‘American Gothic Museum’ 50 miles. Jokingly, I asked Kara (K-Kountry intern and dear Branson friend) if she wanted to stop. We laughed and didn’t think twice about it. Then, we entered Eldon and saw the same sign pointing us to one mile away. We happened to be way ahead of schedule, and Kara could tell I was up for you. Without Allen’s (the other K-Kountry intern; yes, they sent us on trail together!) knowledge as he was napping in the back of the 15 passenger, we turn in.

Driving up to this, I still have no idea what we are getting ourselves into.

Kara and I walk in, and this is hanging front and center.

Still no idea what I’m entering. My initial connotation was a bunch of teens dressed in black. Kara anticipated the gothic art era. She was WAY closer than me. The museum employee comes around the corner and finally informs us we have stumbled upon THE house that inspired the painting, American Gothic. Into art or not, everyone’s seen this piece.

Grant Wood happened to pass through Eldon, saw and painted the house, then returned to his studio in Cedar Rapids.

There, he had his sister and dentist pose. They never stood in front of the house nor posed together.

This painting is probably the most parodied and familiar painting from the 20th century, and we got to dress up and pose in front of the actual house!

Of all things to stumble across, this was awesome. I feel more cultured and educated, and it’s just another ridiculous story to add to the books. Thursday, I was reminded to make time for random stops, conversations, meals, experiences and you. Thanks for the reminder.

Looking forward to many, many more of you,

American Gothic poser

 

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One comment

  1. We did a road trip down to see the American Gothic house a few years ago on a lark as well. It was fun..not too much else happening in the rest of the town, although we did do lunch in some little hole in the wall restaurant on main street. We opened a B and B in 2006 using Grant Wood as our “Theme” didn’t realize how prolific of an artist he was until then. sometime you might want to take another grand wood adventure day trip and check out several places near his birthplace and artist colony. (Anamosa, Stone City, and even the art museum in Cedar Rapids…



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