My Big Brother and Me

My big brother, Richard Glen, is four years older than I am. He’s just older enough for me to have always looked up to him. He’s always been there for me. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n

My very first recollection was when I was about three or four years old. We lived in a house that didn’t have enough bedrooms! So Richard and I shared a bedroom. I went to sleep every night knowing my big brother was in a bed near by and I felt safe!

When we were kids, back in the 40’s, he had a tall stack of comic books! He was very possessive of them. We, my sister, Lorraine, younger brother, Billy and I couldn’t just pick up a comic book and start reading. Oh no, we had to ask permission to read one! Then we had to put it back on the pile when we finished! I’m sure our mother appreciated the fact that Richard’s comic books were never just laying around waiting to be picked up!kids 1947 (2)  I was just seven years old, and he, 11, called with a gruff voice, “Anita!”

Oh no, what did I do now?

“See my comic books?” he asked sternly.

I nodded, searching through my mind, had I sneaked one to read lately? I don’t think so…I couldn’t remember…

“Well, pick out which ever one you want to read!” he ordered with a friendly grin! “But…take care of it and put it back when you’re done!” OH, okay, I could do that!

Richard was very responsible. From the time he was in sixth grade he always had a job! Covington, Oklahoma: sweeping the floor of the newspaper print shop and recycling lead free linotype cymbals! East Peoria, Illinois: an early morning paper route. Waterloo, Iowa: a grocery store carrying groceries and stocking shelves.

One year for Christmas Dad and Mother gave Richard a new, used Schwinn bicycle. He was so excited. It was bright red, it didn’t really matter that it didn’t have fenders. But, because Richard worked and made a little money, he was able to buy new fenders. Shiny chrome fenders!

One day, some boys after school, were picking on him, trying to pull his bike away from him! I saw them and was horrified! They couldn’t do that to my big brother! I ran toward the boys. When I reached them I started hitting and kicking, yelling all the while, “Leave my brother alone! Get away from him, That’s his bike!”

I don’t remember how it turned out. I do remember the reprimanding I got from Richard, later at home. He told me he could fight his own battles, and I was never, under any circumstances, ever to fight for him again!

When we moved to East Peoria, Illinois in 1948 Richard again went to work! This time he was hired as a paperboy delivering the early morning paper! He had to get up very early every morning! I got up early a couple of times to go on his route with him. It wasn’t even light out, but he was faithful and his customers appreciated him. I felt proud making the rounds with him. I should have gone with him more often…but it was soooo hard to get up soooo early!

Richard, teenagerRichard had a dark room where he developed pictures from our Kodak brownie cameras! He patiently explained the whole process to me. I was impressed! He was so intelligent!

But Richard had a problem. He stuttered. He just recently told me how he overcame this embarrassing, uncontrollable problem. We moved often which meant new schools, new friends, new jobs, new church, etc. During our childhood we never lived in a house longer than three years! It was hard on all of us kids but it was our life. It was hardest on Richard though because of his stuttering. Some letters were harder to say then others. He could hardly get out the letter R, so he took the nickname, Dick, although he’s always been Richard to Mother and me.

But Richard had a teacher in East Peoria who recognized his problem of stuttering because she’d had the problem when she was a girl and a teacher helped her overcome it. She talked to Richard about it and offered to help him, if he would let her.

Thankfully, he did let her and what a difference she made for him!  No more stuttering after a few months of working with her. He ended up with an A in English. Later in life he became an actor, preacher, radio announcer, etc.!

Continued as part 2.

 

 

 

My Friend Barb

I’m thinking about some of my memories with Barb!  Hockaday_Barbara_20151108   I’ve known her since the year before I married Jerry. That would be 1958!

Barb and Dick attended our wedding in Winona Lake, Indiana. In fact, they were among the ‘friends’ who stole my suitcase and tied all my clothes in knots before returning it to our car so Jerry and I could leave on our honeymoon! Dad and me wedding  This picture is proof Barb was at my wedding! No, she’s not in the picture! This is my dad walking me down the aisle, and Barb’s husband, Dick, is in the picture! He’s the man closest to my dad! Barb is next to Dick, and can’t be seen! But she was there!

Dick and Jerry were both in the National Guard and had to go to National Guard Camp every summer. Barb invited me to stay with her since we’d both be alone.

Well, Barb and HoneyBee were alone! HoneyBee was her big, loveable, mixed Boxer dog! She was securely tied in the back yard. Our first night alone, after we were asleep, HoneyBee woke us up with her barking! She didn’t stop! She barked and barked. Barb and I laid in bed trying to convince each other not to worry. It was probably just an animal, maybe a raccoon. But, the longer she barked and the longer we talked, the more worried we became! What if some man heard that two young brides were sleeping in this house, with no husbands…! What if HoneyBee was trying to warn us? What if the man was trying to break in!? Oh, what should we do? We couldn’t just stay there! But how could we get to the car without him grabbing us? Then one of us, I’m not sure which one, got an idea… Let’s call Jim. Jim was our brother-in-law and lived less than two miles away.

(Let me explain the relationship here. Jim was Jerry’s brother. Marion, Jim’s wife, was Dick’s sister. So Jim was the brother-in-law of both Barb and me, but yet, Barb and I weren’t related.)

Then Barb and I had another problem! How could we look up Jim’s phone number without turning the light on? We didn’t want the ‘man’ to know we were up! We called information, in the dark, and asked for Jim’s number, which we wrote down in the dark. Then we dialed, in the dark, and waited and waited, for Jim to wake up and answer the phone. He finally did and I explained to him what our problem was and how scared we were. His reply? “So?” I swallowed hard and asked if he would come and get us and let us sleep at his house! There was a pause…and then he said, “Okay.”

The next night we decided to keep HoneyBee in the house. Ohhhh, every now and then, all night long, I had to push HoneyBee away and wipe her slobbers off my face!

The third night we kept HoneyBee in the house again, but we closed the bedroom door. In the morning, we were hurrying around, getting ready for the day. Barb had to go to work. I just needed to be dropped off at my house. But Barb couldn’t find her keys! We both searched all over the house. No keys. Did HoneyBee hide them? We searched some more. No keys. Finally, Barb said maybe she left them in her car and went out to look. No keys. She searched the ground, in case she had dropped them. No keys. She came back to the house, grabbed the doorknob… Her KEYS! In the lock were her keys on the outside!!! They were just waiting for some man to come in, in the night!

For a weekend, Barb and I drove up to Grayling, Michigan to the National Guard Camp, to be with our husbands for a couple of days. We rented a cottage on a lake to share and had a great time. We watched them march in a parade and go through ceremonial maneuvers.

The next year, when the guys went to National Guard Camp, Barb stayed with me in our new house. I had my new baby, Pamela Gail! Barb loved her! We rented a cottage on a lake again for a weekend and Jerry and Dick joined us again. But this time, I had all kinds of baby paraphernalia!

Years went by, we continued our friendship. We had more babies, five total. Barb and Dick were blessed with two babies, Terri and Brent.

As the years passed, with the business of life, I lost contact with Barb. I’m glad I have these fun memories of her.  Now she’s gone. Today I attended her memorial service. I know she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so someday I’ll see her again.