My Scottish/Irish Roots

My dad’s side of my family came from Ireland and Scotland, so I have roots there!  This is a picture of my great-grandparents, William and Jane (Ramsey) Williamson, and their son, Andrew Stuart Williamson. William & Jennie Williamson (2) Actually, this picture was taken after they came to America. Andrew was born in Seaford, Delaware. He, eventually, became my grandfather! But going back further we can find out a little more about William and Jane in Ireland.

William’s family lived in Scotland where he was born in 1817. The family moved to Ireland while William was still a boy. They settled in or near Belfast. William became a baker.

Jane Ramsey was born in 1827 in or near Belfast. William and Jane met and were married in 1850. They had a baby girl, Mabel. I have no dates for Mabel, but she lived only a short time and was buried in a cemetery somewhere around Belfast.

The ‘great potato famine’ hit Ireland and hundreds of families left to make new lives in America. Heartbroken, William and Jane left Mabel in her grave and in 1864 boarded a ship for America. They lived first in Seaford, Delaware, where Jane gave birth to their second baby, Andrew Stewart, on September 22, 1865. When Andrew was a year old they made their way west to Iowa, where other family members had settled. William and Jane had two more children, William and Jenny.

William and Jane had moved from Iowa to Nebraska. Jane died and was buried in Bayard, Nebraska. Jane Ramsey Williamson (2)

William returned to Iowa and died in 1902. Grave of William Williamson (2)

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Andrew grew up and married Rose Williams. They had seven children. Six children are pictured here with Rose and Andrew. Bessie, Floyd, Eva, Claude, Rose, Roy, Andrew, and Louis.

Scan_Pic0032Scan_Pic0108                                                    One more son joined the family on December 22, 1909.                                                         The youngest, Glen Edgar, shown here, became my father! So there, you now have a short version of my Scottish/Irish roots!

 

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?”

 

 

 

 

Flowergirl and a Bow

 

My mother made my flower girl gown. It was 1942 or ’43 and I was four years old. We lived in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother was almost finished when she decided to add a bow about two inches above the hemline of the dress. The bow made it special! She finished sewing my dress, pressed it, and oh, it was beautiful! It was a perfect fit!

 

Anita Flower Girl, 4 yrs.

Anita, the flower girl with a bow.

Hmmm…do you wonder why she sewed a bow near the bottom of the dress? Well, I had a baby brother, Billy. I suspect he was crying and needed attention! Whatever the reason…my dress ended up with an ugly scorch mark! I don’t know who came up with idea of a bow covering the spot, but it was a good idea! Mother was an excellent seamstress so she may have thought of it herself. There was enough material left over so she made a beautiful bow!

Not long ago I was looking at pictures of President Polk’s wife. She was known for her beautiful gowns. One had a beautiful bow on the skirt of the dress! Hmmm, I wonder if someone made a mistake and covered it with a bow?!

Bow on a gown Mrs Polk

Mrs. Poke’s with a bow on her gown!

Here’s a picture of the entire wedding party in 1942 or ’43. My dad assisted in the ceremony. He’s the first man on the left, second row from the top.

Anita flower girl wedding

Anita (Williamson) Archer, flower girl; 1st row: ? French; ? Matheny, bride; ??, groom; Norma French; 2nd row: ??; Wyla (Notbohm) Skeen; Annabelle (King) Kerestly ; 3rd row: Rev. Glen Williamson; Rev. J.K. French; Rev. E.W. Walls; 4th row: ??; ??; ??.

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.

 

 

 

Bucket List 2016

  1.  Enjoy time with each of our five children. It’s only the middle of January and I’ve already accomplished this! Rob's family  Our youngest son, Rob, with his family, was here for the week between Christmas and New Year, 2015. They left January 2, 2016! All Here  Our other four children, January 9, 2016, celebrating and surprising Jerry, for his 80th birthday, which is the next day! Pam and Ted on either side of the window. Christy and Tim on either side of Jerry.
  2. Travel to Iowa with granddaughter’s, Sydney and Bella, to visit LeRoy and Carolyn and their horses!
  3. Travel to Ireland.
  4. Travel to Norway.
  5. Downsize.
  6. Sort books, keeping only precious books!
  7. Clean out and throw away non-essential ‘things’.
  8. Remodel downstairs bathroom and reading room, making it one larger bathroom.
  9. Go to E. Michigan Conference as a delegate.
  10. Go to E. Michigan family camp.
  11. Plant flowers in Flower Bed.
  12. Yard Sale.
  13. Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!  Accomplished in March! 
  14. More later…!

Halloween Birthday

Yes, I was born on Halloween day. When I was a little girl I dressed up like a witch every year for trick or treating! How could I be anything else? While my siblings were fidgeting, wondering how they should dress up, I was quietly making my tall, pointed, black hat, finishing off my costume of all black clothes, and Mother’s broom!

The only problem with having my birthday on Halloween, as I saw it, was that my siblings didn’t care about a birthday, they only wanted to go trick or treating! And that’s all I wanted to do too. I don’t remember ever having a birthday party. But we sure had fun and we got lots of candy!

Then I grew up and got married. At that time, in Jerry’s family, a party was held for each one on their birthday. So for my birthday, I made a birthday cake, and everyone came over from the oldest- Grandma, to the youngest- baby, Marilyn. The thing I remember most about that party was that my cake wasn’t big enough!

So the years have gone by. Our family grew and our kids loved to go trick or treating. I remember one year, 1970, we had a Halloween party and invited our neighbors and friends. It was a lot of fun. Everyone, including parents, wore Halloween costumes. Halloween party We played all the common Halloween games: bobbing for apples, counting the pumpkin seeds. In this picture, Carolee is trying to eat a donut hanging from a string! We even had a small ghost house! I can’t remember all the games we played, but it sure was fun! Halloween party, Carolee One of the mothers, knowing it was my birthday, baked a birthday cake for me! Surprise!!! It was decorated like a jack-o-lantern!

I’ve continued to have birthdays and Halloween has also continued. We live in a woods with a long driveway today so we don’t even get any trick or treater’s. Jerry always takes me out for my birthday supper.

Three years ago I had an unforgettable birthday! I turned 74! Yes, it was Halloween, but we were on the Norwegian cruise ship, Pride of America,  cruising the Hawaiian Islands! What a special birthday! Jerry and I were with Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law. They celebrated their anniversary! Kay, second cousin, was, also, with us. What a fantastic time we had! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Two years ago, I had another fantastic birthday! I turned 75 and we went to Iowa to visit my Iowa cousins! It wasn’t a birthday trip. It just turned out to be the best weekend for all of us concerned! Tim, our Canadian son, came down to visit us. We traveled to Chicago where Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law, joined us and we all traveled to Iowa to visit our cousins. It happened to be on my birthday. I had requested to, please, keep still about it being my birthday. Well, the first thing that took place was Leroy, my most favorite cousin in the whole wide world, bringing out a huge cloth bag and handing it to me, with a huge smile on his face!

I looked at Jerry and Pam. They both looked as surprised as I did! I slowly opened the bag and inside was a BEAUTIFUL AMISH QUILT! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Leroy!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Carolyn!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Rose of Sharon quilt, hand-stitched by Amish ladies! Carolyn said she knew it was my birthday because of facebook!

Well, that wasn’t the end of my birthday! That evening we went to an Amish dinner! Oh, my! Other cousins joined us! FullSizeRender (79)  The only lights were kerosene lamps.  IMG_0216 (2)  My birthday dinner plate! Everything was so delicious!  FullSizeRender (84) My beautiful birthday cake made by one of the Amish ladies!

So, today I’m planning on a normal Halloween birthday! Jerry will take me out for dinner. I’ve already gotten some phone calls from some of our kids. The mailman must have chuckled when he delivered my birthday cards today! They were addressed to Grandma in various ways!

So begins another year in the life of me! I don’t feel 77! I don’t think I look 77! I know I don’t act 77! I am blessed!

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.