Oh to be 20 again, Me@20

Who didn’t love being 20?


I was in my junior year at Iowa State and my boss Louisa, a PhD in biochemistry, bought me a cake which we ate during our break. I remember sitting surrounded by scientists in white lab coats, who peered at me with the wisdom of age and intellect, and feeling very humbled that they would honor my birthday with cake. I worked in a lab which did research on Brucellosis, a cow disease, very apt for Iowa. I loved my job and learned more from Louisa than from any professor at the University. My birthday is in February; a month later on March 21, 1977 I got engaged. Yes, I was in love that year and every time I looked at my new diamond ring I was amazed. Amazed at my life, my love, at my new hopes for the future. I envisioned working in a research lab and starting a family, all dreams that materialized before my 30th birthday.

In the fall of my freshman year I met Kim who would later be my husband and father to our 3 children. He loved music and would sing to me as we made our way around Lake Laverne, not always saying a lot as two quiet introverts struggled to connect. It was usually a Beatle’s song called Her Majesty… just 27 seconds long, but one that will always be well loved as part of our history together. I’d be watching him, long brown hair waving over the collar of his jacket and looking out at the swans gliding on the lake as he sang:

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
But she doesn’t have a lot to say
Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
But she changes from day to day

I wanna tell her that I love her a lot
But I gotta get a bellyfull of wine
Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
Someday I’m gonna make her mine
Oh, yeah, someday I’m gonna make her mine

Me@20, Pauline at 80!

Kim and I also enjoyed visiting my great- grandmother Pauline. She loved getting out of the nursing home as we took her for shopping and car rides around her small town. On a warm sunny day we took her on a picnic in the park after loading up on Kentucky Fried Chicken.

She talked and licked her fingers while eating a chicken drumstick, looked around at the green grass and trees and exuded a simple joy. I learned a lot about gracious living from her, and more of my family history as she regaled us with stories of her father who immigrated to Iowa from Sweden in 1867. She was a strong personality and talked a lot. Her refrain, “That’s how it is at Pauline’s house” became my catch line as I learned to accept whatever came my way with the good grace of my great-grandmother. Sometimes she would nod off in the middle of a sentence and we patiently waited til she woke up and picked up the line of conversation as if there was no nap interruption.

Kim and I saw Crosby, Stills, and Nash in a concert. I loved their sweet harmonies and folksy rock sound and my favorite song that year was their Just a Song Before I Leave, short and sweet and mellow.  Later when we purchased our first home their song Our House resonated. Isn’t every life punctuated with the songs of the day? Music is embedded in the memory, a melodic background to all the stories of our lives.

Side note: The U.S. president was Jimmy Carter and he pardoned the Vietnam war draft evaders in 1977. Household median income was $13,500.  The federal debt was $706 billion.

For more interesting Me@20 blog posts please visit:

Mary Beth Lagerborg’s post: http://www.retelling.net/blog/2015/5/19/me20

Steve Pender’s post:



What were YOU like at 20? Create your own Me@20 blog post today, or share the Me@20 questionnaire in your social networks:

Include your answers to the Me@20 Questionnaire in your post:

  1. Where I lived @20
  2. What I did @20
  3. What I dreamt @20
  4. My favorite song @20
  5. What I wore @20
  6. Who I loved @20
  7. What made headlines when I was @20


About Me@20 Day:   Me@20 Day celebrates personal history and the 20th anniversary of the Association of Personal Historians on May 20th 2015. APH supports its members in recording, preserving and sharing life stories of people, families, communities and organizations around the world. personalhistorians.org


2 Replies to “Oh to be 20 again, Me@20”

  1. Love the anecdote about your great-grandmother. It reminded me that we used to arrive at my grandmother’s with a tub of PKF (which is what KFC is called here in Quebec) – usually because we were arriving after an 800 km trek unannounced so my grandmother wouldn’t tire herself out cleaning the house 😉 I can’t eat the stuff today, but those are nice memories and I don’t mind catching a whiff of that batter to remind me of those days.

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories for Me@20 Day. Just goes to show that when one person shares her memories, it benefits us all.

    Now if you excuse me, I have some stories to capture before I forget!

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