What do you see out of your window today?


Being born on December 29, 1921 has always been tough on me – everyone is broke and the holiday let down is over! I was the first born to Elsie and Lewis Honomichl who lived in Perry, Iowa. Mom was a school teacher and Dad was a conductor on the Milwaukee R.R. Perry was a farm and R.R. center, population 6,000 and about 40 miles from Des Moines, Iowa. It was a prosperous area and all went well until the Great Depression of the 1930’s By that time our family had expanded to two more daughters and a very welcome son. We lived in a nice two-story home with a half-acre in the back. My parents were both brought up on a farm in Kansas, so kept a large vegetable garden and even a few chickens. Our neighborhood had an abundance of children. The elementary school, Roosevelt was across from our house. The neighborhood was congenial – we played in each other’s yards – hop scotch – jacks – jump rope – hide and seek – shared holiday activity, etc. Our summers were warm – our winters cold and snowy! My Mother thought travel was a wonderful way to educate. My Father could get R.R. passes so we could ride free. We usually went to Kansas to visit relatives. One summer we all went to the Chicago World’s Fair 1933. I was so impressed by the Big City. We even went to the Chicago Theater to see the dancer Sally Rand who danced without any clothes! Needless to say there was lots of blue lighting and smoke and she kept moving huge fans back and forth which didn’t reveal much, but I was shocked! Another year my Mother took us to California to visit her Uncle Scott in Pomona. It was a wonderful long train trip. We ate in the dining car and slept in the Pullman car. Uncle Scott had a beautiful ranch where I had my first taste of avocado, oranges and dates picked from a tree. It was an exciting time I’ll never forget the palm trees – cactus and desert were beautiful. A trip to Seattle, Washington by train was even more exciting. I had never seen mountains or the Pacific Ocean. We went through the Continental Divide and experienced all the rugged mountain scenery! I still remember those trips!! As I reached high school age, I also had a good experience. I took piano lessons, dancing lessons, baby sat for $.35 an evening – worked at Woolworths on Saturday making $.15 an hour and was lucky to have the job (of course I could buy a nice blouse for a dollar). I was a cheerleader, learned to drive a car and had a valid driver’s license at 13, was in contest chorus and was member of National Honor Society and worked at the public library part time as a volunteer. After high school graduation in 1940 I was ready to go to nursing school. I had a scholarship to go to Drake University but money was tight so nursing school seemed to be the correct direction. It was war time. I had a three year course at Grace Hospital in Hutchinson, KS. Since it was a small hospital and war time, we didn’t have interns so the nursing staff got to do all the IV’s and duties of the interns. We were well prepared to graduate and go into the Service. I applied for the Cadet Nurses Corp and was proud to wear my grey uniform. I was ready to join the Navy Nurse Corp. However, the Navy had a training school for Navy Cadets in Hutchinson. We were excited when those young uniformed men came into town looking for dates. That’s when my plans changed. I met Harry Johnson on the steps of the nursing home. We kept corresponding and when a lucky diamond ring arrived in the mail, what could I do but wear it!? (My mother made me promise to finish school before I married.) I graduated on D-Day 1944. Soon I was on my way to Florida where Harry was stationed. The wedding was in the beautiful Flagler Church in St. Augustine, Florida – but that’s another story. After the war was over, Harry decided to finish Dental School. The University of Indiana accepted his application so we were off to Bloomington, Indiana. Student housing was arranged and we were lucky enough to be assigned to a trailer that was near the stadium. We lived in this tiny trailer for 2 years – no running water – no bathroom – we had to walk a couple of blocks to the community bathroom. It was a cold winter. We heated with kerosene. Our clothing absorbed the smell and soon we trailer people could be identified by our odor! After 2 years we were transferred to Indianapolis for his practical Dental Training. We were fortunate to find an apartment in an old converted house. The owner rented to medical students. We enjoyed our time there since we were all students with very little money and lots of ambition. I worked at Mouldings, Inc as an industrial nurse. It was a great experience but another story! After graduation from Dental School, we had very little money and were trying to decide where to set up his dental practice. I was 7 months pregnant to add to the problem. Fortunately, Harry’s uncle who was a practicing dentist in Pleasantville, NY offered a space in his office and an apartment. It was a good solution. We lived at 15 Great Oak Lane in Pleasantville for 35 years. Our family of three daughters kept us busy and happy. We loved being a part of Pleasantville and all its activity. Before we realized it – it was retirement time. It was a big decision to leave Pleasantville. We had been active in the church and community. Our next 20 years were spent traveling and living on Cape Cod and Clearwater, Florida. We were lucky to enjoy good health and enjoy a happy 64 years together. Sometimes I feel we had a story-book life. What a lucky girl I’ve been!

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 1921,dentist,Great Depression,Honomichl,nursing,Perry Iowa,Pleasantville NY
  Perry, Iowa, Pleasantville, NY
Jan 01 1970


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