Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Here's How We Started...

It was Friday, the beginning of the fourth of July weekend. 1958. Jerry wanted to join the rest of his family at the lake for swimming, playing, eating, water skiing, etc. His mother said, "No! If I can't go to camp meeting, I'm staying home!" Jerry finally gave in to her and drove the two of them to Gladwin, Michigan to a campground outside of town. Jerry's dad had died of cancer several years before, and Jerry,  being the only child still living at home, worked for Dow Chemical Co. and cared for his mother.

Anita had completed her freshman year of college in South Dakota and had returned to her parents home in Winona Lake, Indiana. She had a job lined up for the summer. Her parents and brother were leaving on a two-week speaking trip to several Eastern states and ending with the second week of speaking each day at the Gladwin, Michigan camp.

But alas, her job wasn't ready for a summer worker yet! It would be a couple of weeks before she could start working! Anita quickly packed a suitcase and joined her family on the two-week trip.

July 3, 1958, Jerry and Anita were introduced to each other by Anita's new friend, Mary Morse. Oh, now Jerry brought his mother to camp every day all day for the weekend and every evening for the next week! And then parting was such sweet sorrow!

They wrote letters to each other every day, not knowing when they would see each other again! Anita's job started so she was busy every day now. One day in Jerry's letter he said he had a long weekend coming up and would like to drive down to visit! Oh, how exciting! But when Anita told her parents they said, "Oh no. We'll be gone again for that weekend. He'll have to pick a different time." So, in my letter that day I wrote that it wasn't a good weekend for him to come because I'd be home alone. What a disappointment for both of us!

Then to make things more complicated, I got a phone call from a guy I had dated and had been writing to, before Jerry. He said he was on his way from Seattle to Wilmore, Kentucky, where his parents lived, but was stopping here to see me! Oh oh. His family was driving up from Kentucky to pick him up! Thank goodness I had written to Jerry not to come!

On the day Burt was to arrive I worked hard and fast to get our house ready for overnight company! I had never been a hostess before but I did what I thought my mother would do! Then I took a taxi to the depot to meet him. He had a huge smile! I admit we made a nice couple. We took another taxi back to my parent's house to wait for his family to arrive. He sat on the sofa beside me and put his arms around me for our first kiss! But I resisted. Oh, "What's wrong?" he asked and then answered his own question. "Oh, it's another guy, isn't it?" My response was, "It's been such a long time, Burt!"

His parents arrived soon after that episode and I was relieved. I don't remember what I did about supper that evening or even what his parents did for the evening. Burt and Nellie and I took his parents car and had a fun evening.

The next morning, I woke up very early and began thinking about breakfast. Oh, what was I going to fix for breakfast? I knew there weren't enough eggs for a whole family. There were no stores nearby, but there was the Eskimo Inn Resturant a few blocks away from where I possibly could buy a dozen eggs! I ran a couple blocks, then down a long hill, to the restaurant and politely asked if they would sell a dozen eggs to me. They did! I ran, trudged up the hill, and ran some more to our house. Everyone was still sleeping! Thank the Lord! I cooked a good breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, juice and coffee! No one even knew I had been in such a panic!

After breakfast, it was time for them to get on the road headed for Kentucky. Burt began begging me to go home with them for the weekend! I could be Nellie's guest, not his, he said. Nellie and I were very good friends, but somehow I just didn't feel right about it, so I refused nicely but firmly.

Their car had a problem that morning! It wouldn't start! Burt and his dad worked and worked to start it and finally had to call someone to help them. After several hours it was repaired and they were on their way.

I was totally exhausted! As they drove off I fell onto the sofa and immediately fell asleep! All of a sudden I woke up to someone knocking loudly on the front door! I jumped up, ran to the door, and opened it, not knowing who it was.

There stood Jerry! He was grinning! I was in shock! We went into the living room, sat on the same sofa Burt and I had sat on. Jerry put his arms around me and pulled me to himself to kiss me. I eagerly responded!

What a close call! Jerry had been driving around town, for at least an hour, looking for our street and house! What if he had arrived while Burt and his family were still there working on their car?! Thank the Lord for His Timing!

We drove to Warsaw, the nearby town and got him a room in a hotel. The next day, Mother was returning home by bus. Jerry and I were there to meet her. She was very surprised! We explained quickly this was his only weekend off work and he had a room at a hotel. Mother smiled and nodded her approval. Later she called some friends about a block away who often rented a room out. Yes, it was available and Jerry could stay there.

So this was how we started! But, there's more. The summer was flying by. Soon I'd be returning to South Dakota for school. Jerry said if I went there we'd have to say a final good-bye. Oh no. We were both very sad. There was a college in Michigan I could transfer to. Spring Arbor College. So, that was it. I transferred and the rest is history! We became engaged at Christmas time and were married on June 13, 1959.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Watch Dog

Our city used to do a school census every two years. For several years I was one of their census takers. I had to go to each house in my area, ask how many children, how many babies, were any handicapped, etc. People, for the most part, were friendly. Once in a while I'd meet some one who was in a hurry and didn't want to answer my questions. My area was mainly in the country so I drove from one house to another. I'd often meet dogs and cats, and other pets. 
     One house had a Doberman Pinscher and some geese in the yard. I was very nervous about the dog but didn't bother about the geese. When I was leaving I asked the woman if her dog would bother me  She laughed and said, "No, the dog is friendly, it's the geese you need to worry about! They'll attack you!"
     Another place as I drove in the driveway was met by a medium size dog running out to my car, barking loudly. I rolled my window down and said hello. I talked about the weather and what a nice day it was. He stopped barking and just looked at me. I explained why I was there and told him he was a good dog. Then I opened the door and got out. He walked up to the house with me and even up onto the porch with me. I knocked on the door. 
     A man opened the door and looked at his dog. I was explaining why I was there when he interrupted and asked how I got out of my car! I said I just opened the door and got out. 
     "Well," he said, "This is a watch dog. He doesn't let anyone come in my yard. What did you do?"
     I told him I didn't do anything except talk to the dog. Then I said what an intelligent dog he had and that the dog must have sensed that I love dogs and am not afraid of them. He must have known I wasn't there for any 'no good' reason so he let me walk up to the house.
     The man must have accepted my reasoning because he kept the dog with him and let me walk back out to my car. Oh, there were no children living in this house...

Storm of 1948

     We were living in Covington, Oklahoma in the middle 40's. It's a small town near Enid. 
    In the spring of 1948 we were having a normal day of playing. Mother had walked to the grocery store, several blocks away on Main Street. She had given us, children, instructions to stay at home until she returned. 
     It was a very hot day, the air was still and sultry. Suddenly the wind began to blow strong gusts. There was an eerie feeling in the air. 
     Our neighbor, Mrs. Powell, came rushing in asking where Mother was. We explained she had gone to the store so she instructed us to stay in the center bedroom because a storm was coming. Then she ran home to care for her own family, as the wind picked up speed.
     It became very dark from the storm clouds. Lightning was flashing and thunder booming and roaring. It was very scary.
     We kids, Richard 12 years, Lorraine 10 years, Anita seven and Billy four, all hid under the bed in Mother's and Daddy's bedroom.  Daddy was off holding a revival somewhere far away in another state. But, oh, where was Mother? Shouldn't she be home from the store by now? 
     Suddenly she came bursting in the door with her bag of groceries. She had run all the way home, so frightened for her children and for herself.
     We were so glad to have her home with us. She immediately said, "Come kids, we've got to pray." We all knelt beside the bed and prayed for God's protection in this very bad storm. Suddenly we heard the living room window blown from the inside out! But we were safe. 
     Finally the storm was over. We, along with all the neighbors, went outside to see the damage. Trees were blown down all over. Glass and debris was scattered everywhere. Siding and roofing were ripped off houses, our included. But all the people were okay.
     We heard a report of a town, Woodward, that was completely flattened except for a couple buildings. We had experienced the tail end of a tornado. 
     To this day, I am petrified of storms. Wind and lightning have a bad effect on me. I'm sure it all comes from the fear of the storm in 1948.
     When Daddy came home it was decided we needed to move back to Iowa. We moved that summer but not to Iowa. We lived in Illinois for a year and then back home to Iowa.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Oklahoma Chickens

We were living in Covington, Oklahoma. I was about seven years old. My family had little money. We moved to Oklahoma so we wouldn't have the huge coal bills we had in Iowa. Daddy traveled all over North America and sent money home to Mother. He was gone weeks at a time.

In order to provide meat, for our family of six, Mother decided to raise roosters. She bought 100 cute little yellow chicks. Our garage was changed from a play school to a chicken house! Lorraine and I were disappointed to lose our school but we loved the baby chicks! Our back yard was fenced in so as they grew the chickens could scratch and eat.

I love hearing roosters crow early in the morning and it probably goes back to our days of raising chickens!

We were in for a surprise! We began finding eggs! One every day! One of the chickens was a hen! She laid one egg a day except on Sunday! We decided she must be a Free Methodist (the church denomination we belonged to) chicken because she didn't work on Sunday!

An old couple lived around the corner from us and our back yards butted up together. They had a beautiful garden with all kinds of fresh vegetables!

Every now and then we'd hear and see the man yelling and waving his arms and then we'd hear chickens squawking! Oh no, our chickens were flying up to the top of the fence and down into the neighbor's garden! He was very angry with the chickens and with my mother.

Poor Mother. She didn't like upsetting our neighbors but she was committed to providing meat for her family.

Since Daddy was gone most of the time our pastor came over to help Mother when it was time to butcher some of the chickens. We, kids, stayed in the house during the butchering but then helped out with plucking the feathers. Mother was raised on a farm so she knew how to prepare a chicken for cooking or freezing.

One day after butchering several, Mother got an idea...

She carefully cut the chickens in pieces and wrapped them in freezing paper. Then she took two of the packages and walked around the corner to the old couple who hated our roosters. They were so surprised to see her and probably didn't even want to go to the door!

Mother apologized for the roosters getting into their garden and then held out two packages of freshly butchered and packaged chickens! "I want you to have these," she said with a smile. They were so surprised and gratefully accepted them. They never yelled at our chickens again!

She didn't just give them one. She generously gave them two chickens! That's  my mother! What a lasting impression she made on us children that day and on the neighbors! I still remember it like it was yesterday.