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The speaker is a 65-year-old White woman with a college education from Council Bluffs, Iowa; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Pottawattamie
State: IA

Iowa's first city on its western edge, just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska, Council Bluffs did not gain its present name until 1852. Indians sold furs to French traders at this point, and Lewis and Clark camped near that site in 1804. Council Bluffs was named the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad by President Lincoln in 1863, and it still serves seven railroad companies. It was the great mail-handling terminal of the West for intercontinental mail. While its population peaked at 60,000 in 1970, over one million people now live within fifty miles of the Omaha/Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The speaker describes various experiences of living in this metropolitan area.
Inf: I have a very interesting hobby that's given me so much pleasure. We've enjoyed many experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise. About ten years ago, or maybe more, I attended a demonstration of a Joseph Conrad, on flowers, and it was a whole new world to me. I thought you just picked, and I think up until then you did, just go in the garden and pick flowers an' put 'em in a vase. Because uh, the Japanese have done it for many years, but I don't think, particularly in the middle-west, we had done too much of it until recently.

I'm not a professional and um, I shall never forget hearing the grandchildren once when I had been doing an arrangement or something in the house. I heard them talking, and one of them said, "You know, I think this grandmother's kinda silly, don't you?" And the others said, "Yeah, but gee, isn't she fun?"

[FW: (laughing)].

And I, I almost wept on that.

But um, also I do Christmas decorations and once in a while to a club or a group, give a demonstration. I did one that was a great thrill. We have an Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, and the Home Ec teacher asked me if I would come out and do a Christmas talk display. So uh, we went out quite early. My husband helped me, eh, there's, you have to transport quite a bit of junk to do these things, and she asked me if I would uh, they were sewing, and she asked me if I would do the uh, help the girls, or watch them, and pretty soon I felt a pull on my shoulder and one of the girls wanted me to come help her sew, thread the machine. Well, my machine is much older. I didn't have much luck on that. But it was a thrill to do for these girls, and until you caught on to what was wrong, it was kinda nerve-wracking. I would say something that I thought was really quite clever, and usually brought a laugh, I mean a ground-breaker, perfect silence. And you think, well, what have I done? What's wrong? And uh, then in just a minute or two, they would burst out laughing, or at least respond to my funny remark. And uh, it was being interpreted as I did, by one of the teachers in sign language. And you see it took them a minute after I had said it, then she had to interpret it. So, once I learned to give 'em a little time to go on, but that was such fun.

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