Ring…Ring…Hello?

Telephone. A luxury I’ve had for most of my life. Telephones have come a long way! Let me begin by retelling my dad’s exciting telephone experience.

Dad was born in 1909. His family had their first telephone. They were on a party line, of course. The number of rings had to be counted to know when an incoming call was for them! I don’t know how many rings meant a call for them.

Eight long rings meant important news was being broadcast across the party line!               In 1918 good news came across the wires telling families World War I had ended!

July 5, 1919, there came eight lon-n-ng rings again! This time to tell everyone to look in the sky, south. There my dad and others in the family had their first sighting of an airplane, just a tiny speck, moving steadily along!

Dad’s sister, Bessie, was seventeen years older than Dad! She went to school through eighth grade, then she got a job as a telephone operator until her marriage to her young boyfriend, Earnie!  619px-texasrichardson_telephoneexchangeoperator-2 This isn’t a picture of Aunt Bessie but I imagine she looked something like this on the job!

An early telephone.antique-telephone-1-2

The first telephone below was in the farmhouse where my mother grew up in northern Iowa! It is now in my brother’s kitchen. The board on the box at the bottom has been replaced, as you can see. But my mother remembered the phone well from when she was just a girl. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   momonoldtelephone3-16-08   This is Mother, in her old age, pretending like she listening to someone on the phone of her youth!antique-telephone-in-georgia-2  This phone is in the history building in Winder, Georgia! I was given permission to post it here.

When I was a little girl, we had a phone most of the time. When Dad was a pastor, he needed a phone. Many emergency calls came to him. Black phone (2)  Some years he traveled and my parents couldn’t afford a telephone!

Jerry and I were married in 1959. We had a phone like the one in this latest picture. It started out being a party line with eight people on our line. It was very soon cut down to four people…then later, two people. We were very conservative. Long distance calls were made very seldom. Of course, when we had a new baby, calls were made to spread the news!  I’ll never forget the day Jerry told me, in the early 70’s, that I should start calling my parents once a month and have a nice visit with them! So I did! Black phone (2)  In the eighties, we finally got a private line! It was wonderful! Calling became normal and usual. With five children, how could it not!

I was hired by the school system to call the substitute teachers for the secondary schools in our city. A new private phone was installed in my kitchen! Blue telephone  It was very similar to this one! Yes, I picked out a blue one to go with my kitchen! The big difference of this picture is that my new school phone had push button numbers instead of a dial! I loved it. But, it was for school calls and paid for by the school system so our family still used the old black phone, most of the time. There were exceptions!

When we built our new log home twenty years ago in 1997 we bought a new phone with an answering machine! Oh yes! I wish I had a picture of it! We didn’t have to miss any messages! We also bought an old looking phone and hung on the wall in the kitchen. It worked but, of course, not anymore. new-old-phone-2  Now it just looks old-fashioned!

All this to bring us to today! Of course, businesses still have telephones and a few people still have a land line with a phone connected.

We don’t. We have our cell phones. But even so we’re not up-to-date! Jerry still has his flip-phone! jerry-on-phone-2 He says it works fine. I have my iphone. img_0052-4  What a difference in telephones today! I have instant access with anyone anywhere! I can text or message or talk at any hour of the day or night. My daughter, in Ireland, and I message or talk to each other whenever we want to! It sounds like she’s next door! I have friends all over the world and it’s wonderful to be in contact with them! My phone gives me the weather anywhere in the world, instantly! International and national news comes over my iphone! Pictures? My phone has a camera and I can even edit my pictures before I post them! I carry my phone with me all the time. I charge it at night while I’m sleeping.

This morning one of my sons called so we facetimed! That means we are both on a camera so we could see each other as we talked! Wonderful!

But back in about the seventies, a prediction was made that in the future we’d be able to talk on our phones–live! Oh, no, I thought! What if my house was messy! What if I looked bad, like I wasn’t dressed up! My hair might be a mess! I thought it was a bad idea! But the prediction came true and I love it! I love facetiming with my grandchildren and my children and even friends!

Yes, the telephone has come a long way from when it was first invented! But we still answer with “Hello?”

 

 

 

 

Growing Up…White

In 1944 to 1946, I began my education in Des Moines, Iowa  at Nash Elementary and Kirkwood Elementary. The schools I attended were racially mixed. Race meant nothing to me. I played with anyone who would play with me.

I was raised in Iowa, except for three years, 1946 to 1949, when we lived in Oklahoma and Illinois. It’s interesting how impressions are made on children. Because I’m writing about the 1940’s and ’50’s I’ll use the word, Negro, rather than Black.

When we moved to Oklahoma, we lived in a town that was all white. I remember seeing a negro man walking along the railroad tracks one day. The thought that came to my mind was, he’d better keep walking because negro people can’t be in this town! If he wants to sleep overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the jail!  What a thought for a little child. What a thought to remain in my mind after all these years! Anita 1947

We moved back to Des Moines and for 8th and 9th grades I attended Washington Irving Jr. High. I have many memories of my two years there. There were many, many negro students. I don’t remember any negro teachers.

I wasn’t very athletic so gym days were tough for me. I couldn’t serve a volleyball and get it over the net… My hands stung every time I tried to hit the ball back over the net. One day a girl, who was getting very aggravated with me, yelled, “Niger”, at me! I couldn’t believe it…she was a negro! Later we became good friends.

A negro boy in my homeroom was named Matthew. I’d never heard of anyone named Matthew. I thought it was interesting his mother named him a Bible name! Today it’s a common name…I have a fine grandson named Matthew!

I had a very long way to walk to and from school. One day as I was walking alone, one of my classmates, who was also walking alone, caught up with me. We started talking as we walked. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.

We were walking down a very busy street. All of a sudden, a car veered and nearly lost control. We jumped quickly, staring at the car. The driver caught my eye. He was staring, in disbelief, at me! Oh my goodness, we’d nearly caused an accident! Yes, my friend was a negro boy! So what! We were friends…simply that, friends. And good friends, at that! We continued walking together until we came to where he had to turn the corner but our mood had changed. We said good-bye. We were still friends but we never walked together again. I felt bad then and I still do today.

These are just a couple of memories I have of growing up white in a country of both whites and blacks. I have lots more, but these stand out in my mind.

Years later, I understood why I had such a feeling of comradeship with my black friends. My parents, though never saying so, had the feeling of equality with black people and had always encouraged me in this way. But it was more than that. My dad became Director of Interracial Evangelism, in the 1960’s, in our denomination, Free Methodist Church of North America. I was so proud of him then and still am. What a legacy my parents gave me.

 

 

 

Cousin LJ

I was a little girl when I first got to know my cousin, LJ. He was already a man. I probably saw him before he was married, but I don’t remember. I do remember his brown, thick, wavy hair!

LJ was in World War ll. Scan_Pic0054  Thanks, LJ!

I do remember him after he was married. We were living in Oklahoma and were visiting family in Iowa. LJ and Ermadel were newly-weds. My mother, being a wise and patient woman, talked to us children, before we arrived at our grandparents house: “LJ’s wife has a birthmark on her face. You’re not to stare at her. You’re not to ask what it is. LJ loves her and the mark doesn’t matter to him. So just remember that when you see her.  She’s a wonderful person.”

I learned two things that day. 1.)  I learned what a good man LJ was! He loved Ermadel for who she was and probably didn’t even see the flaw on her face, even though he knew it was there. 2.)  I learned what a loving and wise person my mother was! Preparing us ahead of time saved a lot of nervous embarrassment for LJ and Ermadel, and for us.

There is something else I’ve always remembered about LJ. He always smiled at me with a tender, loving smile! When I think back, all those years ago, that’s the main thought that comes to me! I would shyly smile back. Today, I think he probably was thinking and hoping for a little girl to be born to him and Ermadel! A few years later, Iris, and then Keith were born to them. I think LJ and Ermadel must have been very loving parents!

LJ’s dad and my dad were brothers, making LJ and me cousins.

My parents became born-again Christians when I was about two years old. They were the only ones born again in both of their families and were very often ridiculed by their siblings. But in 1948 LJ made a life-changing decision to live for Christ. A special bond was formed between LJ and my dad.

Years went by and LJ and I hardly had contact with each other, but being cousins, we still had that bond between us. A couple of years ago another cousin, Erma, died, and my daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Gene, drove Jerry and me to Iowa to attend her funeral. Who else was there? LJ with his daughter, Iris. We’d not seen each other in years!

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Then last year we had a cousins reunion in Iowa. LJ and I had a time, just for the two of us, to visit and reminisce about our lives. I told him about his smiles when I was a little girl and how much they meant to me. He didn’t even remember! But I do! FullSizeRender (78)  I took this picture of him during our little visit. He was 90 years old!

There was a sign on his door of the nursing home he was living in. LJ's door sign  I was surprised to see the date of when he was born-again! I don’t know why I was surprised…after all, that’s the most important date in a Christian’s life! LJ died on November 23, 2015 at age 91. I’ll see him again…some day!

This is a picture of LJ and Ermadel when they were married 50 years. LJ & Ermadel 56 years

 

 

Mother’s English China

Back in about 1952 Dad bought and sent a beautiful set of English China dishes to Mother. We lived in Elk Run Heights, a sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa. Dad, as an evangelist, was traveling, as usual. He was in eastern Canada and had been looking for just the right set of dishes to buy and send to her. He finally found it!

I’ll never forget the day several large boxes arrived in the mail. We were both so excited! It was like Christmas day to us! Mother and I carefully unpacked the boxes. Only one cup was cracked and later it was replaced.

Mother was a beautiful hostess. Between graduating from high school and marrying my dad she had worked for a very prominent family in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. There she learned how to be a proper hostess. She said at the time she never dreamed that knowledge would be so important to her later on in life!

Being the wife of a pastor, an evangelist, an executive, a conference superintendent, and more, she had entertained many important and influential men and women. Bishops, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, college presidents, professors, the list goes on and on! Her beautiful set of English China was well used!

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Table set with Mother’s English China.

We were visiting Mother and Dad, at Warm Beach Retirement Center, in Washington, in about 1994. Mother surprised me when she said she’d like to give her set of English China to me and that we should take the set home with us! Oh, I didn’t know what to say! I was thrilled that she wanted me to have them, but how could I take them? Maybe she would need them again! Why not wait a few more years? But she insisted I take them when we left back to Michigan. So Mother and I carefully packed the dishes into a couple of sturdy boxes. English China 1

I treasure Mother’s English China! On the bottom of each piece is the name and location where they were made. I can’t read the whole thing, but I can see ‘Simpsons… Cobridge, England’. I only use them on very special occasions. Today was one of those occasions! We invited our new lead pastor and wife, Pastor Gene and Lois, for dinner! As we all sat down at the table Pastor Gene exclaimed, “Oh my, what beautiful dishes! Are these special?”

So I had the joy of telling them about Mother’s English China and my joy to be serving dinner with them.  I told them of all the important people who had eaten from them and now they were among the important folks also! It was a wonderful evening!

 

 

Fun Loving Dad

My dad was a baby,  Scan_Pic0108  who started out racing with the doctor! Dad won! The doctor arrived at the Iowa farmhouse after he was born! My dad was a boy, who lived on a farm until he was ten, then his dad retired, built a house in town, Scan_Pic0006 and Dad became a city boy. You can see their  1916 Saxon, which my Grandpa bought brand new!  My dad was a brother, the youngest with six older siblings. My dad was a college student until the financial crash in 1919. He was going to be a lawyer!

My dad was a cook’s helper and later a chef. Scan_Pic0103 Dad’s the cook in front.

He was a husband 3905_1067392805078_6714086_n and a  daddy. Scan_Pic0107 He was Dad 45 a minister, pastor, evangelist, and a writer, Scan_Pic0254 He published 13 books!  And he was an executive.

My dad was an actor! He portrayed B. T. Roberts, Glen as BT Roberts the founder of Free Methodism.

My dad was a world traveler, having traveled to various countries in four continents: North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Because of all his experiences and knowledge he was bestowed an honorary Doctors Degree of Letters!

Then he became a student again, earning his BA and his MA at age 70!

In all of these roles. he still loved to have just plain fun. Scan_Pic0127  This was in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago! Dad & Mother relaxingDad and Mother relaxing in the park!

He walked me down the aisle and gave me away. Wedding June 13 '59 001  Then he walked up onto the platform and married Jerry and me! wedding-day J & AGo-cart0098  Here he’s having fun riding my son’s go-cart! Anita & Jerry Merry-G-Round 79 Portland0001  He’s riding a Merry-Go-Round! Scan_Pic0059  He’s letting Annie drive his scooter!  Yes, I have many fond memories of my dad. He was a man with a mission…who loved to have fun! He lived four days shy of his 96th birthday. I loved my dad.

Dad’s Roast Pig Story

This is a story my dad told many times. It’s a true story and he’s Glen.

Dad’s Pig Story

Glen’s first job in a hotel kitchen was as a cook’s helper. He bought a white cap, white apron, neckerchief and Scan_Pic0102 seersucker pants. It was a large hotel, where they served lots of private parties. Jack was the head chef and he was tough!

A dinner was scheduled for one of the most prominent families in the city. It was a dinner celebrating the 80th birthday of the former editor of the city newspaper. Everything had to be perfect.  A roast pig was the main entrée on the menu. Glen was scheduled to be helper of the cook who was in charge of roasting the pig. It was the first time either one of them had roasted a pig.  The pig was delivered to the hotel kitchen. He had been butchered, but the head and feet were still on him. But he was  too long, even kitty-cornered to fit in the roasting pan! The cook said to Glen, “Hey, let’s do something a little different! What if we set him up on his haunches’? I think Jack would like that!” They’d do anything to please Jack, just so they could keep their jobs!  So the pig was set up in the roasting pan. Some blocks of wood were set up under his chest to hold him up. Another block of wood was in his mouth, so they could put an apple in later.  They cocked his head just as they wanted it, but his ears looked out of character, hanging down like pigs ears do! So they took skewers and stuck them down into his ears and pinned them up so his ears were sticking straight up. He was the most alert looking pig! He looked like the dog in the Victor advertising, listening to his master’s voice! They, very carefully, shoved the pan, with the pig sitting up, into the oven.

The cook told Glen, “It’s your job to use a ladle and baste the pig every half hour. “We have to do a good job with this pig, or we could lose our jobs!” So, every thirty minutes Glen pulled the pan out and basted the pig. He enjoyed it and the pig was looking good! It took most of the day to roast the pig.

When it got near time for the banquet everyone was busy and somehow the pig got neglected! But It was time now to get the pig ready, to take him out of the roaster pan and put the apple in his mouth. As Glen opened the big oven door, SMOKE came rolling out! And oh, the poor pig! His ears had been dangerously close to the top of the oven. They were gone! They had crumbled away like crisp bacon! The sticks were still there, but even they were burned. But, that wasn’t the worst! The worst thing was that the skin on his back had bust open and had left a gaping hole in the middle of his back! Grease was popping up out of the hole and his backbone was exposed! The cook shook his head and said we’d better call Jack.”

When Jack got there, he was so angry he couldn’t talk! He just stared at that poor burnt pig!

Well, over in the bake shop was an old man, Bill, who had been a chef, in his day, but now he was old and worked in the bake shop. But he was an artist! He did the ice sculpturing, decorating of the cakes and so on. They had been to him before when they needed help fixing something up. Jack was actually jealous of him,  but now he ordered us to fetch Old Bill. Someone ran to the bakeshop and told Bill to come quickly!

Old Bill came walking over, taking his time. Jack wanted to reach out and grab him! When Bill got there he took a big long fork, stuck it into the pig’s back in several places and then said, “It’s done.” Jack jumped up, waving his arms in the air, “I don’t care if he’s done…what are we going to do about that hole in his back?!”

Bill calmly told them to take the pig into his bakery. He covered a large oval shaped plank with white, fluffy mashed potatoes. They, very carefully, set the pig up, on his haunches, in the middle of it. He, then, filled a large pastry bag, with mashed  potatoes, like one used to decorate a cake with icing! The first thing he did was work on his ears. He pulled the skewers out and threw them away. Then he cut out some ears from heavy brown wrapping paper, put them in place, and covered those ears with mashed potatoes! Then he worked on the face to make it look attractive. He put cranberries in the eye sockets! He put the apple in his mouth! The pig was looking good!

But what was Bill going to do with that hole in his back? They soon found out! He took his big pastry bag filled with mashed potatoes and made the most beautiful saddle right over that big hole! Oh, he was the most beautiful roast pig they’d ever seen! In fact, it was the most beautiful piece of culinary art they’d ever seen!

Glen and the other three men, carefully carried the pig into the dining room. Old Bill followed along behind, with his pastry bag, ready to fix up any part they messed up.  The party was ushered in. They had been to lots of parties and thought they’d seen everything! But they were in for a big surprise!

When they came in and saw that pig sitting right up on his haunches, beautiful saddle on his back, beautiful ears standing straight up, apple in his mouth, they were amazed!  “Oh, Father,” one of the daughter’s exclaimed, “Look what they did for your birthday!” The old man came over and shook his head. He never dreamed they would do anything like that for him!

It was soon time to carve the pig.  Jack had put on a clean apron and cap, found his sharpest carving knife, and was ready to carve the pig. He was smiling from ear to ear! He carved away but stayed away from the saddle on his back! When it was all over, he was given a big tip! In those days, money was scarce but they thought he deserved a big tip! He kept it, too!!! He didn’t even share it with Old Bill!

This is a true story and happened in about 1929. My dad was trying to work his way through college. Then came the big financial crash! That ended his college career. He was fortunate to keep working in various hotels in the kitchen and eventually became a chef! A very good chef!

Years later, after a life-changing experience with God, Glen, my dad, became a minister and this story became a favorite among his listeners, especially young people.

It was a perfect illustration for how God can take a ruined life and make a masterpiece out of it! God can and does!

 

 

 

Our Fifty-sixth Anniversary

Jerry and I were married, in Winona Lake, Indiana on June 13, 1959, fifty-six years ago! We met on July 3, 1958.

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This picture is of my family, my two brothers, Bill and Richard, were ushers, my sister, Lorraine Meadows, was my matron of honor, my little niece, Christine Meadows, was my flower girl. Of course Jerry and I are in the middle. Mother and Dad are on the right.

I’d been attending school in Wessington Springs, South Dakota and had completed my freshman year. I was writing back and forth with a fine young man, Burt. We enjoyed each other’s company, but there wasn’t anything serious between us…yet.

Jerry and I met at a Free Methodist Church camp, near Gladwin, Michigan and my dad, Glen Williamson, was the camp evangelist. I was with my parents and younger brother, Bill, only because a summer job I’d been promised hadn’t started yet. Instead of sitting at home with nothing special to do Mother suggested I go with them to Michigan. So I packed my suitcase and went along.

Just outside the tabernacle, where the services were held and where my dad was preaching, was a big oak tree. On July 3, when my new friend, Mary Morse, and I left the tabernacle, after the service, we saw two very good looking, sharply dressed guys standing under that big oak tree! Mary introduced us. One was her brother, Bob. The other one was Jerry Archer.

The next day, July 4, Jerry came back to camp. There were boat races on the river at the next town, Beaverton. Would I like to go and watch them? Several others our age were going. Sure, of course, I’d love to go. Jerry had a sharp, black and white, ’54 Olds 98, with a red interior! He held the front door for me to get in! Bob and another girl got in the back. That evening, after talking my parents into excusing me from the evening service, we went to some car races at West Branch, Michigan. This was our first actual date. It seems strange, but I don’t remember watching any fireworks, even though it was the 4th of July!

Jerry explained to me how he happened to come to camp. It wasn’t his favorite place to be! But his mother, who was widowed, wanted to go to camp meeting! He wanted to go to the lake where other family members and friends were. Jerry had a boat and loved to water ski! But his mother said if she couldn’t go to camp meeting she was staying home! So Jerry reluctantly agreed to take her to the Gladwin camp meeting. And we met! For the rest of the camp, we spent as much time together as we could. But camp meeting ended and we had to say good-bye. So we exchanged addresses and promised to write letters…

More another day!