Saturday, April 16, 2011

How do you tell your life story?

There are so many ways to tell a life story. I found a new one this week when I drove to Lockridge in southeast Iowa to interview Johnny McLain for The Iowan.

McLain could not write his story - he's dyslexic.  So, for the past 40 years, he has been telling his life story through clocks he carves. Most of the more than 50 clocks are also display cases. Each case is like the chapter of a book, focusing on one aspect of his life - from the homestead where he was raised to his years as a hobo, from people like his grandmother and wife to interests like music and hunting.

Like all good story tellers, in telling his own story, McLain connects with others because he's also telling our stories.  Among his clocks are ones that pay homage to Disney, Budweiser, Tulip Time in Pella, and the Old Thresher's Reunion. Each of his life stories made me remember more of my own stories.

At 74 years old, McLain is still carving. Right now, he's working on a new room to add to his museum - a room that will focus on the 1950s and 60s.

I'm writing more about Johnny McLain and the Johnny Clock Museum in the July/August issue of The Iowan. Read about it there and drop in to see him. You may be inspired to think about new ways to tell your own stories.

Call the Johnny Clock Museum at 319.696.3711 for hours.

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