Nursing Voices

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day #1: Welcome to Iowa

Welcome to the Middle of Nowhere. Just in case some of you city slickers don't know, these are cows. Two of these old gals didn't know what to make about the crazy lady taking their picture. I took this photo from my aunt's backyard.
Can you say moo?

I made a new friend today. His name is Darwin. He has a museum in Villisca, Iowa. Here's a picture of Darwin and my mom. Darwin is a modern kind of guy. Notice the the cell phone clipped on his bib overalls. Yep, people living in Iowa are high tech.

Here is the inside of Darwin’s museum. He said he opened it a long time ago because he didn’t want these historical relics deteriorating out in local barns and garages. As you can see, Darwin has some really cool stuff.

Infection control nurses, please take note. This is an old whooping cough quarantine sign. Thank goodness we haven’t had to use these in a long time.

This painting is in Darwin’s museum. It was painted by a local artist. It’s a picture of the Villisca Ax Murder House. On June 12, 1912, eight people, six of them children, were bludgeoned to death with an ax while they slept. The murders were never solved. Darwin said he bought the house in 1998 and is currently restoring it to its original appearance. He also mentioned that the house is haunted. Darwin gave us a tour of the place after he ate lunch.

Darwin gave us the grand tour. Here is a picture of a room where two little girls were killed. The bedroom was very creepy.

Here’s where the parents were murdered.

Darwin said that people hear children laughing in the house and that there are cold spots in this corner of the kitchen. Darwin rents the place out for sleepovers at $250 a night, but Darwin said that a lot of people leave the house before the night is over. Can you guess who his biggest repeat customers are? Nurses, of course! Go figure. I guess that proves that most nurses are a little crazy. I gave Darwin my name and email address and asked him to pass on my contact information to the nurses that keep coming back to the house. I hope I hear from them because I’d like to ask them what draws them to the house.

See, I told you we know how to have a good time in Iowa. Come back tomorrow for more Notes from the Middle of Nowhere. In the meantime, start typing up your posts for Change of Shift. I'll be hosting Change of Shift on June 14th. Please send your posts to nurseratchedsplace AT yahoo DOT com. The deadline for sending in your submissions is June 11th.


Blogger Gerbil said...

I'm glad you're having fun, MJ. If ever there was someone who deserved some nice, down-home rest and relaxation--it would be you!

12:27 AM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

If I stayed over at the haunted house do you suppose Darwin would tell me that his "biggest repeat customers" were lawyers? Just wondering. Darwin seems a true salesman....

1:19 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I can't believe you're in the town where I was born! I haven't been there in years and years.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Hi everyone:

Curmudgeon: Darwin didn't know that I was a nurse. He said that the other big group that keeps coming back to the house are doctors and medical students. Go figure!

Donna: I'll be posting pictures of the Glenn Miller happenings very soon. Today, I'm visiting with the oldest nurse in our family. She has a great story. I'll post it after I get the details from her today.

Gerbil: Thanks for your kind words. I haven't had a vacation in YEARS. This is a great break for me, and it's fun seeing the family again:-)


7:36 AM  
Blogger Lea said...

There is something very symbolic about the man named Darwin with a cell phone clipped to his overalls.

Love the cows - especially the two who were interested in you!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

Hey, that was really cool about the mass murder house and all. Who knew it would be this fun in Iowa?

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Whooping cough. In 2004, I got quarantined for Whooping cough (along with the rest of our camp) for 120 hours. Last year I got scarlet fever. Apparently, I'm just trying to collect all the fun 19th century illnesses.

9:56 AM  
Blogger poody said...

Darwin looks like almost any farmer in Paris Texas, my hometown. We call those overalls duckins in Lamar county! LOL The house is creepy looking and gives me the heeby geebies just looking at it!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Gwen said...

Very 21st Century, that whooping cough. Ask your local public health nurses. You're not alone Amber Lee!

Fascinating museum! Vacations with family are my favorite.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

Thanks for the tour; with the pictures, it was a lot of fun.

2:43 PM  
Blogger greensunflower said...

Didnt they just make a movie based on those murders?

3:10 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...


Yes, someone just finished a movie about the murders, but I can't remember the title.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous miranda5 said...

Yes, they did. Documentary-type. I watched it a couple weeks ago--it's available on Blockbuster online rentals. Villisca: Living with a Mystery is the title, and I recommend it. The filmmakers, Kelly & Tammy Rundle, interview Darwin and take you through the house. The girls room looks better in your photo than it does on the film--MJ, did you think the stacked windows (front of the house, second story) were creepy? They kept showing them from different angles, and they creeped me out. Actually, in the film they connect the murders to a man who (they believe) was a serial killer.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Student Nurse Jack said...

Thanks for Day One of the Iowa Ramble. I miss the sea of corn fields and (shhhh, don't tell anyone) the smell from hog farms. My best friend's dad was a hog farmer, so I'm kind of partial to them. I hope not all of the corn will be harvested before I get up there mid-August.

The Whooping Cough sign certainly caught my eye. One of our Maternity units here had someone working on the floor with whooping cough and what a mess that was. That's a news story a new mom who delivered in that time frame didn't want to hear!

Enjoy your down time, MJ. Thanks for the tour. It truly is another world when I go 'back home.'

7:17 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Your vacation sounds wonderful, creepy, and cool. Makes me think of my favorite horror movies. Either that or vacations at my parents' place way out in Arkansas. My mom is an RN out there working for a local nursing home. I'm sure she'd get a kick out of reading your blog.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Say hi to my ex-in-laws in Boone, will ya? Feel free to tranquilize my mother-in-law.....

10:21 PM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Oh I love this post....I love the ghost stories....I would love to visit that place....not sure if I want to spend the night...but getting in touch with some spooky old spirits...right up my alley....

12:15 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

I love the pictures! Hope you're having fun in Iowa...

2:46 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Darwin is a cool fellow; fancy restoring a House of Blood?

And that room that's greeny-blue paint finish?... I painted a house like that once...two houses actually. In the second one, it was the kitchen.

Glad you're having fun, MJ ;0)

6:27 AM  

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