Fairfield Iowa and its Little Town Charm

welcome to fairfield

Now honestly, I never thought in my life I’d head to Iowa of all places for a vacation. Not that there’s anything wrong with Iowa, it’s just not I guess what you’d call a vacation destination.

We arrived in Cedar Rapids and picked up our rental car  – a Dodge Charger and yes now my hubby wants one and headed out on the road to Fairfield.

Dodge charger

It was a little bit of a drive but not too bad.

on the road to fairfield

welcome to fairfield

But I couldn’t have felt more at home or more at ease than I was while there. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows each other, where people smile and say hi to each other without suspicion. They have a town square where everyone meets, chats and listens to music together.

It’s just one of those quaint little towns almost lost in time. And yes one that just screamed to me to be captured in black and white. So here it is: Fairfield, Iowa in all it’s cherished, quaint and simple beauty. I’m already wishing I could go back.

town square musicians


gift from boy scouts

sidewalks of fairfield

torino's steak house


We arrived downtown a little early one day and just walked around town and down to the park, sat on the benches, stopped to look at the flowers and played on the swings with our kids in the early morning sun. We unplugged and reconnected like never before. This was like the childhood I remember. We felt safe, we played outdoors, we walked from place to place smiling and greeting others. What a warmth it filled me with to share this experience with my family. Thank you Fairfield for sharing the warmth and charm of your city with us.

I miss the simplicity of life gone by, don’t you?

© 2014, Nanette Gomez. All rights reserved.

From a Stranger to a Friend


One day, out of the blue, a stranger walks into your life and teaches you and your daughter the true meaning of kindness.

That’s what I experienced this past weekend in Fairfield, Iowa while we were on vacation. If you were ever into the video game craze of the 1980′s you’ll know the name Walter Day. And if you don’t, just watch Wreck-It Ralph and you’ll notice Mr. Litwak looks an awful lot like Walter.

Never in my life did I expect our lives to be so touched by the kindness of this man.

We went to his office with one of his associates. He wasn’t in but we were welcomed in anyway. Almost instantly Princess located a book on one of his bookshelves about world records. She sat in his chair and read it. Before we left we asked her to return it to the exact spot that she had found it.


The next day our friend brought the book with him for her to read while we worked on things. She was intrigued with the book and kept it in her hands most of the day reading through it. When she was done reading it, I asked her to return it to Walter and say thank you. I went with her as she followed him out the door. She called to him and reminded him to not forget his book and thanked him for allowing her to read it. Walter turned to her and told her she could keep the book. I said no, I knew it meant something to him if he had kept it this long and had tagged the pages he was on.

He turned to me and said the joy it brought her meant more than what the book meant to him. Obviously the material possession meant far less to him than the joy in her heart by his selfless gesture meant to him. My daughter looked at me with tear filled eyes. She blinked and blinked to keep the tears from falling yet I know her heart was overflowing. As she tried to speak she quietly uttered, “why did he do that mom”. I reiterated his message to her and she held on to me tightly as he walked away.

This is the way to teach love, caring and kindness. She will never forget this moment nor the lesson she learned from this kind-hearted man. And neither shall I.

Thank you Walter for your lesson in love and kindness. And the stranger at the beginning of this post is no longer a stranger but a friend, a very, very dear friend.

© 2014, Nanette Gomez. All rights reserved.

Ottumwa Re-Creates Legendary 1982 LIFE Magazine Video Game Photograph

Photo credit: William McEvoy

My husband is a big fan of the 80′s arcade scene. He spent countless hours in the arcades as a child so when he heard about the legendary 1982 LIFE Magazine Video Game Photograph being retaken he wanted to be there to see it happen.

How could I say no? He supports me 110 percent in my blogging travels and I thought to myself, “Hey, I’ve never been to Iowa, this could be fun.” I’ll be sharing my own personal photos and experiences either here or on my facebook page, I’ll let you know as soon as I get them up. All I can say is I wouldn’t have missed it (The Video Game Trading Cards & Posters of Twin Galaxies event in Fairfield, Iowa) for the world. But for now, here is the press release and photos. Do you remember the original:

Photo credit: Enrico Ferorelli

Photo credit: Enrico Ferorelli

OTTUMWA, IOWA – AUGUST 4, 2014 — On Sunday, August 3rd, the citizens of Ottumwa, Iowa Celebrated the City’s 32nd-year as the “Video Game Capital of the World” by re-enacting a famous 1982 LIFE Magazine photograph.
There was no way he could miss the opportunity of a lifetime, so William McEvoy, flew to Iowa at his own expense from his hometown of Ottawa, ON, Canada to volunteer his services as the official photographer of a photograph that commemorated Ottumwa, Iowa’s unique legacy as the “Video Game Capital of the World.”
McEvoy says: “When I heard they were going to re-enact the legendary LIFE Magazine photograph from 1982 that honored the video game superstars of the “Golden Age of Video Game Arcades” — the picture that helped put Ottumwa on the world map as the ‘video capital,’ I knew I had to be there and take the photo. It was a dream come true.”
The original photo was taken outside the landmark Twin Galaxies Arcade at 8:00 AM, on Sunday, November 7, 1982, on East Main Street, in Ottumwa, Iowa, by famed LIFE Magazine photographer Enrico Ferorelli. Some video game historians today considered the photo the most recognizable picture in the history of the video game industry.
The 1982 photo was published as a two-page centerfold in LIFE’s January, 1983 issue – the “1982 Year-In-Review” edition — and included 16 superstar V.I.P video game players along with five members of Ottumwa High School’s cheerleading squad. For this modern remake of the classic photoshoot, three of the original video gamers (Billy Mitchell, of Hollywood, FL; Steve Sanders of Kansas City, MO and Joel West, of Gastonia, NC) appeared in the picture along with one of the original cheerleaders, Tracey Groy, now of Phoenix, Arizona.
The re-enactment photo included 16 members of the current OHS cheerleading squad along with over 75 other individuals who came from as far away as Tallahassee, Florida; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Hillsboro, Oregon; Center Barnstead, NH and Minden, Louisiana. For the gathering, Ottumwa City officials barricaded East Main Street and Mayor Tom Lazio personally gave the proceedings the blessings of City Hall by appearing in the photograph, as seen on the far right of the photo.
The nation’s video game players have been actively supporting Ottumwa’s quest to create the official International Video Game Hall of Fame & Museum during recent years. The inspiration for the photo re-enactment was to generate more public and civic support for the project.
Ottumwa’s claim to video game royalty stems back to the early 1980s when the city was the home of the famous Twin Galaxies Arcade — famous as the “scorekeeper” for the worldwide video game industry. On November 30, 1982, then-Mayor Jerry Parker proclaimed Ottumwa to be the “Video Game Capital of the World,” a claim that was later reconfirmed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Atari and the Amusement Game Manufacturers Association (AGMA).
 Ottumwa continues to enjoy its unique legacy as “the birthplace of organized video game playing” and hopes to develop themed tourist attractions in the city which capitalize on its remarkable video game heritage.
The Video Game Trading Cards & Posters of Twin Galaxies  William McEvoy  Arcade Culture Magazine

Photo credit: William McEvoy

© 2014, Nanette Gomez. All rights reserved.