World War II Memories – Displaced JapaneseAmericans

Everyone knows about the displaced folks of Japanese descent during World War II. But not everyone has a personal story to tell!

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Japanese were moved to camps,  filled with rows and rows of barracks which housed the Japanese families, against their wishes.

My dad was the pastor of the  Free Methodist Church in Des Moines. Rev. Aoki was the pastor of a Japanese Free Methodist Church in California! It really doesn’t matter how they met…it does matter that they met!

But, let me try to explain the two men meeting. Dad answered the phone one day, the person on the other end had a Japanese accent! He quickly gave his name and his position in the church. Then he asked if he and his wife could come to our house.

My dad didn’t have any prejudice bones in his body. He explained how they could find our house and that they were welcome.

Somehow Rev and Mrs Aoki had escaped the exodus of Japanese people in California! Somehow they made it all the way to Des Moines, Iowa and called my dad, as another pastor, in the same denomination! With the blessing of my parents, they moved into our upstairs. They were a delightful couple.

There were folks in our church who were not happy! Dad patiently and lovingly gave God’s plan of salvation again and explained God’s love for ALL people. Slowly folks accepted them.  Finally, one Sunday evening, at the request of my dad, Rev. Aoki preached a sermon to the church family! Afterward, he received many warm handshakes and smiles. He and his wife were completely accepted into our church family.

I was too young to understand any of the implications. I only remember a very nice couple coming to live with us. They were very friendly and always smiled at me! In discussing this time of our lives with my older brother and sister, they both used the term, underground railroad! My sister, Lorraine, is gone now so our discussions are over. I called my brother, Richard and he, being four years older than I am, remembers many details and carefully explained it all to me again.

I believe with all my heart that God had a plan for Rev. and Mrs. Aoki and my family was included in that plan! What a privilege!

World War II Memories – Ration Stamps

I was a little girl during WWII, but I have lots of memories so I’m going to be sharing them here, at the request of one of my commenting readers!

Ration stamps were a big item back in the early 40’s. Each person in the family was registered and received a book of stamps. A few products that were rationed were gas, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon. FullSizeRender (2)

In our family sugar was a big item. In order to make it go around Mother devised a game for us kids. We each had our own sugar bowl with a piece of colored thread tied to the handle, for identification. I’m not positive, but my color may have been purple because that’s what is sticking in my mind.  The rule was: each one had to use sugar on breakfast cereal, we couldn’t just go without, but we had to make our sugar stretch as long as possible. A prize was given at the end of the month to the one who had the most sugar left in his/her sugar bowl…I don’t remember what the prize was so I’m assuming I didn’t win!

FullSizeRender (2)  It was a tough time, but the government was doing it’s best to provide for the service men and women, both here and overseas. The manufacturing of cars and trucks was stopped from 1943 to 1945 so jeeps, planes, army trucks and tanks could be built for the war. It was a very bleak time.

Learning To Read

I began school in Des Moines, Iowa, attending Nash and Kirkwood Schools. With their system, at that time, because my birthday is in October I started school in January. Dick and Jane were the books I learned to read with!  IMG_0273  FullSizeRender (97)

We moved to Covington, Oklahoma the summer of 1946. I was ready for my second semester of second grade. But with their system, everyone started school in September. My parents had a decision to make. I could either skip a semester and move up to third grade or repeat a semester and stay in second grade. This affected my older brother and sister, as well. It was decided we should all repeat a semester.

That was a good move for me! I was the best reader in second grade! Mrs. Wilcox was my teacher and I became her helper! When we were having silent reading, if a boy or girl didn’t know a word, they would put their hand up and I would go to their rescue! I knew all the words! No, I wasn’t smarter than the others, I was simply a little bit ahead!

No more Dick and Jane! Now I had Jerry and Alice! Friendly Village was my second-grade reader and If I Were Going was my third-grade reader. I still have them today!  IMG_0278  FullSizeRender (100)  If I Were Going was especially interesting to me because it took us to a lot of countries around the world! Another favorite textbook from 3rd grade was my geography book, I still have it too!  IMG_0277

Another huge difference in the school systems was that in Oklahoma books were purchased, not loaned! The first day of school in Covington, after enrolling the three of us children, my family stood outside the school building. My parents were in shock! They had to buy our books! The problem was moving there had taken all their money! They were broke! A new friend, Bro. Kegan, saw their frustration and came to their rescue, by giving them money to purchase our school books, about $20.00!

I have always loved to read. This fact explains why today I have a reading room in my house!  FullSizeRender (95)  This is only a portion of my books! ?????????????????????????????????????  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This last picture is of the books written by my dad, Glen Williamson. FullSizeRender (93)   So now you know where I got my love for reading and writing!

My Dear Friend, Bro. Trumbauer

When I was a very small girl my family lived in Des Moines, Iowa. In fact, we lived there twice, when I was three to six and when I was 14 to 17. My dad was pastor of the Free Methodist church. There was a man in the church who, for some reason, took a liking to me! Bro. Trumbauer. Back then we called folks, in the church, Brother and Sister.

I remember, as a very small child, sometimes going home with Bro. and Sis. Trumbauer after church on a Sunday morning and staying all afternoon until the evening service! I remember sitting on his lap while he told stories to me! It’s a wonderful memory.

The first time we moved away the WMS (Women’s Missionary Society) made a quilt for my parents. The women embroidered their names on quilt blocks. A few years ago Mother gave the quilt to me. I treasure it. Bro. and Sis. Trumbauer’s name is on the center block along with another woman, whom I also remember. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It’s interesting to me how they wrote their name: Mr & Mrs E. E. Trumbauer and Lila Shott.

When we moved back and I was a teenager, he was still my friend although I didn’t go home with him any more.

Years went by, they both died.

One time when my parents came to visit they brought me a gift from Bro. Trumbauer! An antique mirror! Mother said he gave the mirror to her with the instruction that it was to be given to me when the time was right! That was about 17 years ago! We had moved into our log home and she felt the time was right! I’m thrilled to have this mirror and to have it as a reminder of my dear friend. He’s been gone for a very long time now. Thank you, Brother Trumbauer!       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA