Gloria Neal

Honored by:Joy Neal Kidney
Brick location:A:18  map

When the atomic bombs were dropped, Dad was a B-29 commander with a date set to leave for Saipan--and combat over Japan. Because the war ended soon after, Dad returned to Iowa to farming and I got Gloria. She was born when I was two years old. Going to the hospital to see my baby sister is my very first memory.

Gloria was a sweet sister when she was little. After getting a shot as a preschooler, when the nurse let her choose a loop-handled lollipop Gloria wouldn't take one unless her big sister could have one, too.

But when we played with paper dolls on rainy days, cutting clothes out of catalogues for them, this little sister refused to let me name one of my papers dolls Cynthia. She clung fiercely to the Cynthia monopoly for months, maybe years.

And when we went to the Halloween party uptown one year dressed identically as witches--with new mops for hair--she won probably just because she was the littlest witch.

Even though two years younger, she kicked me out of the room we shared. "She's too messy," Gloria complained.

Later, this little blond strutted around the house wearing my lipstick, my high heels. She tattled. She read my diary. She read my diary to our mother.

Our parents took it for granted that Gloria would go to UNI just like her big sister. But she chose Iowa State University and became an art teacher.

Gloria has taught at Burton R. Jones Middle School in Creston, Iowa, since 1968. Five thousand students have learned about perspective, Ionic columns, batik, text lettering, and elements of design in her classes, among dozens of other concepts and techniques.

She has also provided the piano accompaniment for well over 300 junior and senior high soloists at music contests and timed or kept score for hundreds of sports events: 700 basketball games, 200 football games, nearly 200 track meets as well as several cross country, volleyball, and wrestling meets.

An eclectic connoisseur, Gloria collects and/or appreciates the big—jets, birds (crows), moons (full ones), horses (draft), and the tiny (perfume bottles), Post-it Notes, cats, and cut glass. She's known for her fondness for shopping, rings, Mountain Dew, and loafers. And wouldn't you know it, she loves sleeping late and summer vacation--to reread The Thorn Birds and The Virginian, her favorite books, and to watch for bluebirds.

Even though my sister has a career and I married and had a son, she likes to shop and I like museums, she is neat and I am still messy, we have become friends.

And I am proud of all she has accomplished.