My dad was almost 96 years old. In fact, his birthday was December 22. My older brother, Richard, and I were visiting Mother and Dad, who lived in Washington. Richard lived in Colorado and I lived in Michigan. My sister, Lorraine, was living in Washington, but because she was with them most days, had taken a few days off while we were there. My younger brother, Bill, living in California, was not there.
Richard and I were staying together in a cottage on the adjoining campground to the senior community Mother and Dad were a part of. Dad was now in the nursing home, Mother lived in their apartment in Independent Living. Sunday morning I decided to go visit with Dad before going to church with Mother and Richard. I walked to the nursing home and went right to Dad’s room. He was sitting in a wheelchair and was so glad to see me. We visited briefly. He was so alert! I suddenly asked if he’d like to go home to see Mother. Oh yes, he’d love to. I pushed him in his wheelchair down the halls to their apartment. Mother was so surprised to see us when we went through the door!
Dad loved being back in their apartment and looked it all over. He was so alert! It was kind of like arriving home after being on a long trip! I called Richard at the cottage and suggested he come right over so we could all visit together. What a wonderful morning we had! We looked at all the Christmas cards they had received, it was quite a stack! Dad knew each person or family and talked about what good friends they had been over the years. We skipped church that morning, but we had a wonderful time of sweet fellowship. God was there!
We took Dad back to the nursing home at noon so he could eat his dinner and we went to eat with Mother. We promised him we’d be back after dinner. We all went back to his room anticipating another good visit.
What happened? Did he know we were there? He wasn’t the same. Did he even know us? We stayed all afternoon, trying to make him comfortable.
We left at suppertime. Mother went back to the nursing home to sit with Dad but Richard and I went to our cottage. It had been a long day. About 9:00 PM I got a phone call from Mother…Dad was gone… December 18, 2005.
This picture of Dad is a very typical picture of him in his retirement years! Even though he was getting older, he managed to make the switch from a typewriter to a computer! By the way, he typed with two fingers! He spent hours writing stories, articles, books! He had 13 books published! Of course, they weren’t all after he retired. He loved writing. Dad and Mother traveled all over the world researching for books he authored. Most of them were historical biographies.
Dad had a bright future ahead of him back in 1928. He graduated from high school and that fall was a freshman at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was going to become a lawyer! He loved debating on the college debate team. Then in 1929, the bottom fell out of the financial world in America. Dad, along with most college students became a dropout.
Tony Parrish became Dad’s uncle a few years later when Dad married my mother, Corina Aanas. Tony’s wife, Pauline Reinartson Parrish, was my mother’s aunt. Mother and Dad met when Larry Reinartson, Pauline’s brother, took her for a ride on his Indian Chief motorcycle and stopped at the hotel where he also worked as a cook’s helper! My dad was working his shift and stepped outside on a break, to chat with his friend, Larry. Larry introduced Glen to Corina and the rest is history! They were married November 30, 1933.
It was Thanksgiving Day, a good day to get married! Glen (Dad) began going through the phone book trying to find a pastor who would be willing to marry them that day! Finally, one answered…Rev. Mark Shockey, pastor of the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church. They had never heard of that church or that man before, but he was willing to marry them if they came soon. He was going hunting so they’d better hurry!
My dad advanced at work and became a chef! But times were tough. They moved often, wherever a cooking job was available. Three children were born to them in five years. Richard in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Lorraine in 1936 in Clinton, Anita in 1938, back in Waterloo. Yes, times were tough. Drinking and smoking were taking up too much of the meager salary Dad was making.
One day, as Dad was reading the newspaper, he decided to check out the pastor of the Free Methodist Church. He wondered if it was the same pastor as the one who married them. No, Pastor Shockey had moved. A new pastor was there now, Rev. E. W. Walls.
Dad suddenly saw a picture of some friends of his from a few years past! J.K. French and Oscar Leper. They were singers and would be singing in the Free Methodist Church! He laughed! What were they doing singing in a church? When they were all single, these two friends sang in bars! My dad would go into a bar where they were singing, throw a fifty cent piece into a cup…as bait! Other people would follow suit! Then they’d go to another bar. Before entering the guys would hand my dad the fifty cent piece, he’d wait outside until he heard them singing, then he’d go in and throw the fifty cent piece in again! What were they doing singing in a church!?
To be continued…