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.




Saying Good-bye

20130904_105106  It’s never easy to say good-bye. One year ago, today, we said good-bye to my mother. I think it was a beautiful service and I think she would have liked it! We truly honored her.

My brother, Bill, has a son, Chris, who is a minister. We asked him to officiate at the service. He did a fine job! I’m proud of him. Both of my brothers and I each gave a tribute to Mother. Vel, Bill’s wife, also gave a tribute. Richard’s daughter, Susan, sang by means of a tape since she couldn’t be there. Richard’s other daughter, Heidi, played the piano. Three of my children, who were there, Pam, Tim and Christy and Lisa, Bill’s daughter, read scripture.20130904_112050 (2)    Lisa is a State Park Ranger and she ate lunch with Mother every Wednesday. She always had her ranger clothes on so she wore them to the memorial service. You can see her in the picture. Each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were there, took a red rose up to lay on the table. The chaplain from the nursing home played his Native American Flute again.

I have copied and pasted my tribute to Mother here.

Mother and Me

I was born in the time when the three words I Love You weren’t  used in everyday conversations. Love was shown but not verbalized. I knew, without a doubt, Mother loved me, even though she never told me. One day this was put to the test.

I was home from school for the summer. The youth group from our church were going on an all day picnic to a state park and invited me to join them. A car came to pick me up early on Saturday morning. They insisted I sit in the front seat! That seemed strange but I got in and off we went for a fun day!

It was getting close to lunch time and I was very hungry. I looked in a box for a snack and saw a small piece of paper with my name on it! Oh, what was this? I read it in shock. It was written to the leaders by one of the girls in the youth group. “I’ll ride in any car but not in the car with Anita Williamson.” What? Why? Oh, that explains why I had to sit in the front seat… The girl who wrote the note was in the back seat! Somehow we had ended up in the same car!

Oh, what to do…I had no idea I wasn’t liked. I couldn’t  stay here. I’d better leave. Where should I go? How could I get home? There was nothing I could do except walk away. Yes, that’s it. I’d simply walk away and not come back. I’d become a run-away.

In my mind I saw someone calling the police. Then calling my parents. Oh no. Mother. I’d hurt Mother. She loved me. Oh, I couldn’t just leave! I would cause terrible pain to Mother. I couldn’t do that. Mother loved me and I loved her…

Years went by. I finished school, got married, raised five beautiful children. Times were changing, it was now near the end of the 1990’s! We talked on the phone occasionally. One day at the end of our conversation Mother said to me, “I love you.”

What??? I’d never heard those three words, come to me, from Mother before! I stood there not knowing what to say… Finally I said, “ Okay, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” For the next couple of days all I could think of was Mother telling me she loved me! It meant so much to me. I knew I’d have to say it too! Could I? I didn’t know. But finally I made up my mind that I would say it the next time we talked on the phone and I did.

I’ve  been saying it to her ever since. I love you, Mother.


After the service everyone was invited to Bill’s house for a luncheon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We brought flowers, pictures, and all from the church and arranged it all on the Baby Grand piano. Then, as folks visited and ate music could be heard as Chaplain played his Native American Flute again, at our request. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It was a long day, but a good day, in loving memory of Mother.


Reading…My Favorite Pastime

I just finished reading my favorite book from my childhood, Heidi by Johanna Spyri! I read it so long ago I forgot what a good book it is!

I found this old book at a garage sale and came home with it. It’s very old but there isn’t a copyright date or publisher name in it. In hand writing on the first page it says:  To Ernestine from Jean Louise and Rozann   Christmas 1931. The pages are so thick I kept thinking I was turning two pages at a time!  ???????????????????????????????                                                                                     I was born in 1938 so it’s seven years older than I am!

If you’ve read later editions or have watched the movie, Heidi, you have missed the original story. It’s sad what’s done to books when they’re rewritten or made into movies. The lessons, learned by Heidi and Peter, in the original book are so good and so important to learn.

I recently read Carrie and Me  by Carol Burnett. It’s good, about her oldest daughter. It has a few coarse words in it. The book is in two sections and I couldn’t read the second section. It’s a book that was started but never finished by Carrie. (She died.) It’s so full of foul language, I just can’t read it.

Now I’m reading Hungry River: A Yangtze Novel by Millie Nelson Samuelson. It’s very good and I’m enjoying so much. It’s a trilogy on my Kindle. My daughter, Pam, sent it to me. She knows how I love a good book!!! A few of my friends may know Millie Samuelson!

Are you reading any good books?