Thursday, January 3, 2013

Much in store for the New Year

Here we are in another year, 2013 to be exact, in case you forgot to buy a calendar. Which, by the way, I did and only realized it last night when I glanced at the calendar in the kitchen where December, with its marked dates of where to go and what to do, glared back at me. I guess a new calendar goes on my “to do” list.

Speaking of things to do, I have a tendency to Google quotes upon occasion, for a couple of reasons. The first is to shed light on a subject that I have on my mind, and the second is reinforce my belief there are a lot of people out there smarter than me. Anyway, with a new year on my mind I had a desire to find out what other folks have said about it.

Predictably, there are many thoughts on the subject, some funny, some introspective, many very cynical. In the latter category, my favorites are from Mark Twain, which I will share a couple later. But the one that best fit today’s post was a quote from syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman:

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

That is what we here at the Center did when planning the events for the year. What went wrong wasn’t given much time, but rather what could be offered to better inform, educate, and yes, entertain. And this year has the potential to do just that.

The year kicks off with the annual Grant Wood Birthday Soup Smorgasbord held at the Eldon KD Center on Saturday, Feb 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to the exceptional soup prepared and served by the volunteers, along with the birthday cake and brownies, there will be a drawing for the winner of the American Gothic House print, framed with porch boards from the American Gothic House. To view the print and to buy raffle tickets click here: The American Gothic House Print.

On March 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. the American Gothic House Center will hold the first-ever Easter Egg Roll at our “White House.” Modeled after the time-honored event in Washington, D.C., where children roll eggs across the White House lawn, we hope it will become an annual tradition.

In April, the lecture series continues as Laural Ronk and Richard Miller of the Bluffs Art Council share the story of Grant Wood’s time in Council Bluffs and his painting of the Pioneer and Corn Room murals in Eugene Eppley’s Chieftain Hotel in the late 1920s. This mural has recently been discovered and provides a glimpse into the life of Grant Wood before his fame with American Gothic. Held at the Eldon Public Library on Sunday, April 14 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Also on the agenda in April is the Grant Wood bus trip on Saturday the 27th. The itinerary takes travelers from Eldon to Ames where stops will be made at Iowa State University Library, where two of Wood’s murals are displayed, a stroll through the Anderson Sculpture Garden and a tour of the Farm House Museum. The day will wrap up at the Reiman Gardens where Iowa landscape-themed gardens are the focus. For more information contact the American Gothic House Center at 641.652.3352 or email

On Friday, May 24, a new exhibit “Parodies of a Portrait: American Gothic’s Place in Society” will be unveiled at the Center. American Gothic continues to be one of the most parodied paintings in the world. “Parodies of a Portrait” explores the history of these parodies and how this iconic painting is interpreted in society.

In June, in concert with American Gothic House Days in Eldon, the Center has a number of events on tap. On June 8 and 9, there will be an American Gothic House Art Contest open to anyone regardless of age. On Saturday, June 8, the American Gothic House 5K Walk/Run will be held and on Sunday, June 9, the American Gothic Bike Ride will take riders through a scenic ride of the Eldon area. Visit for more details.

To round out the last third of the year, the annual Volunteer Appreciation Potluck supper is scheduled for Sept. 28, the Children’s Gothic House Party on Oct. 26, a lecture by Rudolph Daniels “Trains Across Iowa” on Nov. 10 and Gingerbread House Building on Dec. 7.

As can be seen, this upcoming year holds much promise. Take note of these events, add them to your calendar (if you have one yet) and we hope to see you sometime in the future.

Now, as pledged, a couple of New Year quotes from the master cynic Mark Twain:

"Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever."

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

As good as these are, my personal favorite is not from my hero Twain, but from James Agate, English author and theatre critic:

“New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”

Happy New Year!

Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!

Our Mission: Integrating the puzzle pieces of American Gothic
300 American Gothic St | Eldon, IA 52554 | 641-652-3352 |

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