July2019 (3)


About Me

I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated.
Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.
A former Cub Scouts den mom and graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, I’ve published two genealogies, as well as dozens of essays in newspapers and magazines, including Midwest Living and The Des Moines Register, and some of her stories have been broadcast over Our American Stories. Joy’s essays have been collected by the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa.

You won’t be interested in all of my stories, so they are divided into categories:

Books & Authors–Books I’ve especially appreciated. (Usually posted on Wednesdays.)

Depression Era–Stories from my motherline and from letters they wrote to their “Navy boys,” who enlisted in 1934. Most of these are set in the small town of Dexter, Iowa.

Dexter (Iowa) History–I help administer Dexter’s Museum FB page, and this is the handiest place to keep stories and pictures together. Museum season is from April through October.

Early Ancestry–Stories too early for Turn of Century.

Growing Up on a Farm–Dexter area 1950s and 1960s.

Kidney-Walker Genealogy (new)–Stories from my husband’s ancestry, including one about an anvil.

Miscellaneous–These didn’t fit anywhere else.

Turn Of Century–My motherline stories through WWI, mostly Audubon County and Guthrie County.

Uncategorized–tried to delete.

WWII–The main reason I started writing–to make sure the Wilson story is never forgotten. Dallas County: Dexter, Minburn, Perry.

WWI – Leora Wilson’s three oldest brothers, Guthrie County farmers, served in France in WWI.



Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD you God gives you. – Exodus 20:12

He determines the number of the stars; He calls them each by name. – Psalm 147:4



  1. Impressive body of work! Thank you for letting know about your work.

    I can send you a copy of a research project I did several years ago about a WW2 MIA 8th AF B-17 gunner if like.

  2. Joy, thank you for posting that wonderful picture of my grandmother, Lora Electa Barnes, to her Find-a-Grave site.

  3. Hi Joy. Gary Wilson here. Thank you for stopping by my story collection. I hope you had a great laugh or two. It was my daughter and our noting that with each family member who passed away that we were losing lots of family oral history. She told me that she enjoyed my stories so much that she did not want to lose them and that I should start a blog to collect and share them. I hope you did and will come back for a few more laughs.

    It also looks like you and I share a faith in Christ. I was thrilled to see that, even though I hope many non-Christians will visit my blog and enjoy a clean laugh without all the muck available so many other places.

    Consider yourself always welcome at my blog. Blessings.

    • Hi Gary. Yes, may God use our blogs as he wants! Mine is mainly family stories and local history, but I’ve been amazed at the connections you can make through a blog and the rest of social media. I’m also writing a book about my grandmother who lost three sons during WWII and was widowed shortly afterwards. My mother was their older sister who died just three years ago, age 97. She never got over those losses.

      Grandma left a hand-written memoir in 1987 (she also died at age 97)–one of my favorite things. I transcribed it to share with cousins, but now their children and grandchildren want copies! I’m grateful to be able to share. Bless you, Gary.

      I was born two days before D-Day. A German submarine was captured the day I was born. That’s what my tomorrow’s post features. I had fun with it.

  4. I almost replied to you earlier on GP Cox’s blog, when you mentioned Des Moines. When I saw Victor Klopping’s name posted there today, I wondered if you knew any of the family. Clearly, the answer’s “Yes.”

    I was born and raised in Newton (Class of 1964) and spent many, many happy times in Des Moines. I’ve done quite a bit of writing based on stories from my Iowa years, and always am happy to find someone else who’s engaged in the same sort of endeavor. My grandparents lived in Melcher (now Melcher/Dallas, apparently), and Lucas and Marion counties are where many of my kin are buried. My great-great grandfather, David Crowley, was instrumental in the formation of the 34th Iowa during the Civil War, and it was only after my introduction to the internet that I learned that an uncle is bured in the Philippines, in Manila.

    Anyway: I’m glad to have found your blog, and look forward to browsing. Just for fun, you might enjoy my little piece on the old-style Iowa roads, and Des Moines’ much beloved Yonkers tea room.

    • I grew up on a farm south of Dexter, but graduated from Earlham, Class of 1962. (My sis was Class of 1964.) Yes, coming to Des Moines was a treat. You probably won’t believe it, but Younkers is now closed. We still can’t believe it. Yes, I enjoyed your Iowa roads piece. I also love fog.

  5. Joy, I just heard back from the historian I told you about. As far as he knows, the Huey is not yet back at Camp MacCall. He will be taking a trip there when the weather cools and will get back to me again on the Huey helicopter.

  6. I am glad I found your blog! You are right, we discover so many interesting blogs when we start blogging. I have had a blog now for about a year and a half. I am amazed at what I have learned in that time. I am a Christian and I have found many faith inspiring posts. I have also been inspired by the passion people have for whatever they are writing about. Whether it is music, or art, or history, it is incredible how much you can learn when people are passionate about their subject matter. I will certainly visit here again. 🙂

    • Linda, I’m so thankful you left a note. I’m finishing up my first book (about my grandmother whose five sons served in WWII, only two came home) this weekend, but want to spend time with your blog. I’ve signed up to follow your website, and also on Pinterest. Are you on Instagram?

  7. I just read your new piece on Christmas, but I was not able to post there. Beautiful! We are kindred spirits. I have tables and the like from my family members that have been passed down. I cherish my memories of the time spent with these relatives and I try to care for their things. Decorating our homes is about what feels comfortable to each one of us; for some, it is elaborate, and for others it is less so. I enjoyed your post! 🙂

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