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My big fat trip to Ft. Madison
When people ask me where I'm from, it's always a tough question to answer. I was born in Detroit, but our family moved when I was five before I could form any memories of the Motor City. We lived in Des Moines, Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte after that, but averaged only three or four years in each city, living in a succession of suburban enclaves that could have been Anyplace, U.S.A.

If I'm from anywhere, it's Fort Madison. That's odd, considering I never spent more than a couple of weeks straight there. But throughout my life it's been the one place I've always come back to, the place my parents are from and the place where they rest in peace today.

The opportunity to come back to Fort Madison for something other than a funeral was irresistible. So here's a photo album of my big fat trip to Fort Madison in October 2004, prompted by my cousin Julie Walljasper's wedding to Matt Donovan.

I made a bee line for the kitchen table at 1332 Avenue H. I've enjoyed
 a lot of good times in that kitchen!

Kelley, Kathy and Jay engage in a
 time-honored family tradition:
Beer drinking and BS'ing.

Ric and Doris


Kathy in her home away from home.

Nicholas had a good time.

Uncle Jim took some of us on a tour Saturday morning.
He's with Jay at Riverview Park.

Ric and Jay's kids
enjoyed hanging around
by the riverside.

Soren towers over Uncle Ric. Soren was fascinated by the swing-span bridge in the background.

Uncle Jim poses
in front of Joe's boyhood home
 in West Point.

Tour group visits St. Mary's West Point.

Saadwich: Steve's surrounded by Kathys.

Doris and her windswept boys outside the church waiting on the happy couple.

Aunt Joanne with Nick, Chris
 and Rachel Williams

Terry and Jim looking good at the wedding.

That's me with Aunt Joanne.

Julie and Soren
smilin' and stylin'.

Let the confetti fly!
Matt and Julie leave the church

Steve and Uncle Tom

A tender moment

Smilin' faces: Julie and Joanne

The brothers catch up.

Steve is keeping me out of trouble.

Mary, Anne, Kathy and Chris

Rachel and Sarah

Joanne always likes to hold the babies.

Chris and her wild dance partner

Kelley and her cousins

Ben was a lean, mean
dancin' machine!

Andy's gets down!
(I'm not sure what Kelley is doing.)

Kathy and Kelley vied for "Wiggy's" affections all night. Looks like Kelley won!

Sally and Chris

Aren't Jacqueline and Kirsten
elegant in their gowns?

Wendy and Elizabeth outdanced
all the adults.

Nick does a public service vacuuming up the invasion of ladybugs.

Hangin' out in Joanne's backyard
on a sunny Sunday