Polk City speaker shares personal tidbits and history about Iowa farm life

T.K. WestContributing Writer
Polk City speaker shares personal tidbits and history about Iowa farm life

A resident of Polk City, Julie Frances Miller, first began giving speeches at a very young age.

“Really, I have been giving speeches since I was little for 4-H,” Miller stated. “I also gave speeches in junior and senior high school English class, high school speech contest and while president of the University of Northern Iowa Student Iowa State Education Association.”

After attending a conference called “LauraPalooza” in 2012 (an adult conference about Laura Ingalls Wilder), Miller decided to utilize her talent in speech, giving along with her own personal history in order to present life on an Iowa Century Farm. Back in 2006, Miller first spoke at libraries and schools around the central Iowa region on the topic of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Since then, she has developed her presentation to include her personal family history of pioneering in the state of Iowa, as well as the chores, hard work and fun times of growing up on a farm. Sometimes, her presentation even involves several hands-on experiences for children, such as pioneer games and crafts.

“You might even hear about a family of raccoons and how we liked to have fun by doing something on the roof of a shed,” Miller said.

Today, Miller’s presentation “As an Iowa Farm Girl Thinks: Growing up on an Iowa Century Farm and the Similarities to Laura Ingalls Wilder” has reached audiences ranging from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum to the Polk City Library.

“Some of my favorite places have included ones right here in Polk City,” Miller said. “These include our son’s school (West Elementary), as well as the Polk City Library. It is fun to already know a lot of the adults and children.”

In addition to presenting, Miller has also helped with programs, such as Story Time and Kindermusik at the Polk City Library. The library has not only shown her “Little House on the Prairie” collection in its display case, but also miniature quilts created by Miller.

“It is a nice library because they offer a variety of quality educational programs and activities for children and adults. The librarians are nice there too!,” Miller said. “We really like Polk City because of the friendly, caring people, and the fact that it’s still a small town.”