From my hometown of Toronto the drive to Amana, the dismantled utopian colony in Iowa, is 13 hours. I made it often in childhood, stuck in the backseat of my parent’s car, running batteries dead in my portable tape player, wondering if the long trip to a weird religious community was worth it.
But always, there was relief after we crossed the Mississippi river into the green rolling hills of my mother’s home state. “I feel better once I’m in Iowa,” she has said so often that I’ve come to believe it too. Most familiar of all to her is Amana, where she grew up, and where postcards of our family are still sold in the General Store: my great grandpa in front of a truck circa 1918, cousins hiking by the Iowa river, an aunt sorting cabbages.
If Amana sounds familiar it may be because it’s the name of…
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