Gloria Wiest

When I came to the United States (from Veracruz, Mexico) I came with a student visa. I went to San Jose, Calif.; then transferred to Houston, Texas, a couple of years later. In Houston I met my husband, Gary. We dated a couple years, then got married. Our son Gary was born in Houston. When our son was born, I wanted to be a mom. My goal was to stay at home and raise our son exclusively. We could not do it, except with two incomes. One income was needed for day care. The other income was for living expenses.

Coincidentally, at that time Gary’s father, who lived in Iowa, wanted to retire and offered to sell his business to us. He had driven a milk truck for 30 years and had a successful business. After we thought about it, Gary and I decided to buy the milk truck and relocate. That way, I didn’t have to work.

We moved to beautiful Fort Atkinson, Iowa. In the beginning, being in a small town was so different. But to raise a family there was a blessing. In time, I could see that. I didn’t work again until our son Gary went to kindergarten. When I began working again, I joined the catering department at Luther College full time. In catering, I worked late into the afternoon and on weekends. Therefore, I had to find someone to take care of my son.

I quit my job four years later because I wanted to be home when Gary got home from school. I had that summer off. Then Warren Palm began to call me to help out in different areas in dining services during the days while Gary was in school. Eventually, I was working more than 30 hours each week. When I asked for benefits, I was offered a full-time position in dining services. Since I went to work early in the mornings, I was able to be home when Gary got home from school. A few years later, Marty’s Cyber-Café had an opening. I applied for the job and was hired. I have been at Marty’s ever since. None of this would have occurred had Warren Palm not given me the opportunity to stay home with my son when he was sick.

I like cycling. I do RAGBRAI. It is an opportunity to meet many people. Everybody is equal on RAGBRAI. Everyone is wearing biking shorts and jerseys. All is takes to meet someone is to say, “Hi, where are you from?” and their story comes out. I have met so many people with wonderful stories. I have developed friendships, which I will cherish forever through this process. By sharing our life stories, we create opportunities to get to know anybody we want.

Gloria Wiest