Lorraine and Me

Lorraine was my only sister, older by two years and four months. She was born the day after Valentine’s Day. I can just imagine Mother hoping she would give birth on Valentine’s Day. What a loving day to have a beautiful baby girl! But of course, Mother didn’t know if the baby would be a boy or a girl! Lorraine was born on February 15, 1936, in Clinton, Iowa.

I was born on Halloween Day. I can just imagine Mother hoping she would not give birth on this day of ghosts and goblins! But alas, I was born on October 31, 1938, in Waterloo, Iowa.

Lorraine Roseann. She was named after all four of our grandparents! Lorraine – Laura and Ludwig Aanas, Mother’s parents. Roseann – Rose and Andrew Williamson, Daddy’s parents.

Anita Gail. I asked Mother who I was named  after. She smiled and said when she heard the name, Anita Gail, she thought it was beautiful and if she ever had another baby girl, Anita Gail would be her name! Oh, okay! That satisfied me.

We, also, had two brothers. Richard Glen, seventeen months older than Lorraine, was born on September 7, 1934, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was named after Mother’s younger brother, Richard. Glen was after our daddy.

William Claude. Billy, as he was called, was a premie. He was due in October but was born on August 25, 1942, in Des Moines, Iowa. William was after our great- grandfather, William Williamson. Claude was after Daddy’s brother, Claude, who died as a young man.

Daddy was pastor now of the Free Methodist Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother was very sick when she was pregnant with Billy. On August 23, 1942 when Daddy came home he found Mother passed out on their bed. He called for an ambulance. Lorraine told me she remembered Daddy kneeling beside the bed praying for Mother. She remembered the ambulance coming and never forgot it! She told me, as an adult, whenever she heard an ambulance her mind still went back to that day in 1942! Because I was  only three years of age, a neighbor had taken me home with her, so I have no recollection of that day.

Billy was born on August 25, weighing two pounds and nine ounces, but he wasn’t expected to live and neither was Mother. She had uremic poisoning. But many people were praying for Mother and she was healed!!!

There was little hope for the baby. The hospital didn’t even have an incubator so the nurses put hot water bottles around his tiny body to keep him warm!

Grandma Aanas came to stay and help Daddy with the three of us children. Because Billy wasn’t expected to live she dressed Richard, Lorraine, and me up, curled our hair, then took us to a photographer to have our picture taken for Mother!2414_1029994670148_9430_n

It’s one of my favorite pictures! Richard was  almost eight, I would turn four in October, and Lorraine was six and a half. Oh, by the way, the baby, Billy, lived!

Lorraine and I were close enough in age to love playing together as we grew. Our favorite play time’s were playing house (dolls), school, paper dolls, jacks, jump rope, sidewalk rolling skating, and more. We were always busy and we had so much fun together!

We loved playing house! We loved our dolls. We also loved playing school. Lorraine was always the teacher. In Des Moines, Iowa we played school down in our basement. Neighbor kids came over and played too. A friendly retired neighbor man knew of our play school and made some desks, for us, out of orange crates (wooden boxes that oranges were packed in for sale in   grocery stores)! When we moved to Oklahoma our play school was in a shed in our back yard.  It was also where Mother washed clothes and it became a chicken house the year we raised 100 baby roosters! But, we had great imaginations and Lorraine was a wonderful teacher!

Sometimes Lorraine played school by herself! I can still see her standing on a chair so she could reach the cupboard where Mother kept her spice cans! They became Lorraine’s students! She taught them how to read, to do arithmetic and more! She also taught Mother’s buttons from the button can! She lined them up and had the most obedient and respectful class of interracial students anyone ever had! Scan_Pic0107

You can see in this family picture taken in 1945 that Lorraine, Mother, and I all had our hair braided! We wore braids for several years. Mother would patiently braid our hair every morning before school. After we were gone she braided her own hair and wrapped the long braids around her head two times each!

I don’t remember this next episode in Lorraine’s life but she told me about it! Richard and Lorraine were enrolled at Phillips Elementary School, in Des Moines, Iowa for their beginning years of school. One day they were running late and were afraid of the consequence’s. They had almost a mile to walk to school! Our church had  an outside toilet and they decided to hide in the toilet until time to go home! Somehow Daddy   discovered them hiding. He didn’t get upset very often but when he did…you didn’t want to be the one he was upset with! He marched them straight to school! Lorraine was fortunate and had a substitute teacher that day!

When Lorraine was in 4th grade her class had been studying Iowa history. Her teacher had some creative ideas for teaching. One was for the students to make marionettes and put on a play telling the story of the beginning of Iowa. Lorraine made Julien Dubuque. In 1788 he was the first white settler in Iowa. She asked Mother if she would make some clothes for him. Mother was an excellent seamstress and made a black suit, white shirt, and black bow tie for him.    Lorraine’s teacher was very surprised and impressed when Lorraine brought him back to school. Her class put on a very impressive play for all the students and parents! I was very proud of both Lorraine and Mother! This was one of the life treasures kept by Lorraine.

The school system in Des Moines, Iowa was a little different than some other systems. Depending on the child’s birthday, a child would enter school either in September or in January! All three of us children started school in January.

Our family moved to Covington, Oklahoma in the summer of 1946. A Kessel moving van moved all our belongings to our house in Covington. On the truck was painted, “Don’t cuss, call us!” That move was an exciting experience for all of us!Covington

This was our new two bedroom house. Lorraine and I shared the back bedroom, Mother and Daddy had the other bedroom. The front porch went completely across the front of the house so Daddy took half of the front porch and made it into another bedroom for Richard and  Billy.Covington house (2)

Daddy was an evangelist now and traveled a lot. The school system there started school only in September. So Mother and Daddy had to decide if we could move ahead or repeat the first semester of our gradesb. 6th, 5th, and 2nd. It was a big decision for them to make. They decided we’d repeat the first semester. Richard and Lorraine weren’t happy about it, I was too young to understand, but we all did very well that year!

Another interesting change in the school system was that books had to be purchased by the family. Mother and Daddy were rather shocked. They didn’t have the money for books for three children! After we were enrolled we all were standing outside of the school. They had quite a list of books and they didn’t have the money to buy them! What were they going to do? A man who attended our church and was a new friend, Brother Kegan, was walking by and seemed to sense their dilemma.  He got out his wallet, stepped over, and handed Daddy enough money to pay for all of our school books! It was a gift! They thanked him and God! I still proudly own some of my books! Here’s a couple.IMG_0277   FullSizeRender (100)

All adults, in our church, were addressed by Brother and Sister and their last name, so I don’t know his first name! But Bro. Kegan surely saved the day for Mother and Daddy and for us kids!

Our first Christmas in Oklahoma, Aunt Lou, Mother’s sister, sent beautiful dolls to Lorraine and me! She had even made clothes for them! We were thrilled and spent hours playing with our new dolls.

I remember playing Jacks with Lorraine! We were both really good! I also remember playing paper dolls on Saturday mornings. We’d cut clothes out of the Sears catalog making sure we cut tabs on the shoulders so they would stay on the paper dolls! We used empty match boxes for beds and toilet paper for blankets! We had good imaginations!

Our two years in Oklahoma were the beginning of Lorraine and me having our own friends. We still played together when we were at home but we also spent a lot of time with our new friends of our own age. We both had wonderful memories of our two years living in Oklahoma!

Lorraine became best friends with Iris and Inez McClellan and I became best friends with their younger sister, Molly. Oh, what fun we had. Their daddy was the sheriff of Covington and he also worked in the oil fields! I’ll never forget a day we all got to ride along with Sr. McClellan to the oil field to take lunch to their daddy! That was an exciting day!

Lorraine and I wore dresses all the time. Most of them were made by Mother. We would go to the feed store in town and pick out the prettiest patterns of feed sacks and Mother would wash them and make us very nice dresses!

The dresses we’re wearing in this picture are made from feed sacks! Mother even sewed lace around the necks and on the pockets! Notice Lorraine’s braids are gone! She brushed her hair out. Braids had become a problem between Lorraine and Mother! kids 1947 (2)

Oklahoma has bad storms and tornadoes! One day Mother needed to go to the grocery store. She had to walk several blocks but she was used to it so she told us kids to stay in the house, she’d be back as soon as she could. She didn’t know a storm was brewing!

All of a sudden the wind began to blow! A neighbor came running in our house asking where Mother was and if we were okay! She told us to stay in the center of the house…an unexpected storm was coming! Then she ran back home to care for her own family! All of us kids went into the bedroom of Mother and Daddy. The wind was really howling! We crawled under the bed, crying and praying.

Oh, where was Mother? Why didn’t she come home? All of a sudden Mother came running in the door! She made it home just in time and joined us in the bedroom! I remember all of us crying and praying. The big window in our living room blew outside from the pressure inside the house! A lot of damage was done in our little town, one garage was completely picked up and set back down in the middle of a street!

But the town of Woodward, Oklahoma was completely flattened! We only got the tailwinds and that was bad enough! It’s a storm Lorraine and I, and the rest of the family never forgot!

For the Christmas of 1947 Mother and Daddy wanted to, and felt we should, go to Iowa to visit our relatives, but they didn’t have the money to make such a trip. They decided to pray about it. Daddy had to leave to hold some revivals so he would pray wherever he was and Mother would pray at home. It didn’t look very promising. They were both very discouraged. Daddy’s mother, Grandma Williamson, was getting up in years and not doing well. They felt we needed to go to see her, and of course, the other relatives as well.

One morning a lady went to the parsonage where Daddy was the evangelist and asked to speak to him. The pastor’s wife called him from his bedroom. The woman said she awoke in the night and felt the Lord tell her that Glen Williamson had a need and she was supposed to give him the money he needed. She handed him an envelope and said good-bye. He went to his bedroom and opened the envelope…five twenty dollar bills! $100.00! Today, that doesn’t sound like much! But in 1947 it was a lot of money and it was the very amount they needed for the trip to Iowa! We went by train from Enid, Oklahoma to Waterloo, Iowa! We never forgot that train ride! Mother and the four of us kids! I’m sure the conductors were glad when we arrived in Waterloo! Daddy had traveled from wherever he was preaching.

Lorraine and I never forgot how the woman obeyed God and paid for our trip to Iowa. In that day it was a lot of money and such a gift! Unbelievable! We knew it was their prayers.

Our next big move was to East Peoria, Illinois. Lorraine was in junior high, I was in 4th grade. But we went to the same school which was about a half block from our house. By now Lorraine was making her own friends and I was too. We still did some things together but not playing like when we were younger.

The church was connected to our house. I’m sorry, I don’t know who the folks are in the picture!East Peoria FMC and parsonage.We, kids, cleaned the church every Saturday and made a little money! I’m really not sure just how clean it was when we finished! But I do remember going on the city bus to Peoria to spend our money! That was fun because we were together!

Grandma Williamson died that fall so our family went to Iowa for her funeral. Lorraine and I  were very sad, we both loved Grandma Williamson so much.

Right behind our house and church there was a very high hill. It was covered with trees and brush. Soon after we moved there Lorraine and I climbed that hill! When we finally reached the top we looked down on our house and church! It was quite a task and a great adventure! I climbed the hill a few more times during that year but I don’t remember Lorraine ever climbing it again or at least not the two of us together.

Lorraine had a job working for a lady in the church, Sister Mercer. Lorraine did cleaning and just anything she was told to do.

The Mercers had a son, Ralph. He was an older teenager and had a new jeep! Our family had been invited for supper one day and Ralph wanted to show off his new jeep! He took the four of us kids for a ride. Richard sat in front with Ralph. Lorraine, Billy, and I were in the open back. It was a fun ride until all of a sudden we saw a very deep ravine ahead of us. Ralph stopped for a second before driving straight down! In that instant Lorraine saw what was going to happen! She suddenly stood up and jumped out of the jeep! She was left standing while we went zooming down that steep ravine and back up the other side! I was so scared! I couldn’t believe Lorraine would leave us! Later she explained to me there just wasn’t time to take us with her! She only had time to jump out by herself! She was right!

Our family lived in East Peoria for only one year and then we moved back to Waterloo,    Iowa. Scan_Pic0106 This family picture was taken on Mother’s Day in 1950. Mother and Daddy both wore flowers that day. They explained to us kids that Daddy’s was white because his mother had died. Mother’s was red because her mother was still living.

Daddy was going to be an evangelist again. We stayed with Grandma Aanas in her big house on 5th Street for about six months. She had a rooming house where older men lived upstairs. Grandma and Uncle Richard lived downstairs. She cooked all the meals for the men and carried their meals upstairs to them on trays!  She offered to let Mother take over her business, we could live in her downstairs and she would go to live with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Reinertson.

So Mother took over the rooming house. She cooked and Lorraine and I carried the trays of food up the stairs to the men. Up and down, up and down! But we became good friends of most of them. One was a blind man, Jack. He was our favorite! We never forgot him!

Grandma was very particular and just didn’t really think Mother was doing a good job. So she wanted to move back and Mother and Daddy needed to find another place to live and work! Oh, this was hard and Mother was very hurt. Lorraine and I felt bad but we couldn’t do anything to help out with their feelings.

We had some cousins, on Dad’s side of the family, who lived on a farm just outside of town, Roy and Beulah Gray. They had six kids, Shirley, Leroy, (Lavon) Chuck, David, Evelyn and Marilyn. They had a building on the farm that had never been used and it could be made into apartments. We could live in one apartment. That was a life saver. Daddy helped get the building ready for occupancy. Another family rented the apartment next to ours.

We became very good friends with our cousins! Lorraine and Shirley were close in age. Leroy and I were in the same class in school and became best friends!  We all had many adventures. At times Lorraine even had us all playing school!

But Lorraine hated living in the apartment! It was originally built to be a chicken house! She couldn’t get that fact out of her head! She didn’t want to live in a chicken house, even though it was never used for chickens! It was embarrassing to her.

In the meantime, Daddy bought a large lot from Roy on the other side of a woods that was behind our apartment. He and Richard, with the help of some good friends, built a new house for our family! It was small but it was our house. Part of the little building in the back was our outhouse for about the first year! Then Daddy put in an indoor bathroom! Elk Run Heights house (3)

Life was changing for us. Lorraine had lots of friends from school and so did I. But I missed our playing together. One day I asked Lorraine if she’d like to play house with me like we used to do. I’ve never forgotten the sad look on her face as she looked at me and said, “No.” Then she went to join her friends. It seemed to me   to be the end of an era! I missed our good play times together. But life moves on.

We lived about a block from the end of a city bus route. Because it was the end of the line Lorraine and I became good friends with some of the drivers. We had our favorite drivers! We took the bus everywhere. One of our main places to go was to church. Twice on Sunday and every Wednesday evening. No matter what the weather was, we went to church. Waterloo Free Methodist Church.

Girls back then only wore dresses or skirts. No pants or jeans. I can remember being very cold in winter, while waiting for the bus. Lorraine and I would crouch down so our skirts would cover our legs. But we didn’t complain, it was just our life. Even when jeans and slacks became acceptable for girls to wear we still didn’t wear them to church. We always dressed up  for church, although school clothes were acceptable for Wednesday evenings, but not pants or jeans.

Lorraine and I shared a very small bedroom. Daddy built bunkbeds for us and we had a chest of drawers. Someone gave Lorraine a dressing table with a small seat. A mirror was hung on the wall just above it. On the top of the table was a glass top that just fit the table perfectly! A pretty cloth was tacked all around the table, going down to the floor, It was a very nice dressing table for a young teenage girl! Lorraine loved it and was so proud of it! I can still see her sitting there brushing her hair.

We took turns sleeping in the top and bottom bunks of the bed. One night, when I was on the top bunk, I had to get up in the night. I was half asleep and somehow, while getting down from the top bunk, I stepped on the edge of her dressing table! It flipped over and the glass top broke! Oh no! I felt so bad! Lorraine was so upset and angry! I don’t even remember what happened to me when I fell. All I remember is, I broke her glass top to her lovely dressing table! I was so sorry!

Daddy was hired as the cook at the Free Methodist Camp in Oregon, Wisconsin. He loved to cook! He had been a chef in a hotel before he became a pastor. Mother, Lorraine, Billy, and I took the bus to join him because school was out and it would be a fun time for us all. Mother would help Daddy in the kitchen, Lorraine and I could wait tables.

On the way it began to rain. It poured! A cloud burst! Iowa isn’t flat, it has beautiful rolling hills. We watched out the windows of the bus as fields and pastures flooded with water. Cattle became stranded with water half way up their bellies. Valleys were filled with water. The highway was covered with water in places where it was a valley. The driver very carefully and slowly drove on. He stopped at one point so he and some of the men passengers could take the luggage from the outside luggage spaces and put the suitcases inside all along the aisle! Then we went on very slowly! It was still raining very hard! We came to another valley where the water was very high. The driver couldn’t see the edges of the pavement.  He should have stopped but he didn’t! He kept driving on until suddenly the bus began to tip over! Everyone was screaming and crying! The bus stopped about half way onto it’s side! But everyone was still screaming and crying!

Suddenly a woman near us demanded of Mother, “What’s the matter with you and your kids? Why aren’t you crying and screaming like everyone else?” Mother said softly, “We’re afraid just like all of you but we’re praying! God will take care of all of us.”

We were rescued from the bus by fire trucks and army trucks. Firemen were fastened with large logging chains around them, then they waded through the rushing water to the side of the bus where the emergency door had been opened. They carried each person through the water to the trucks. Children and women were first to be rescued. So Billy and Lorraine were carried to safety. It was important for Lorraine to be with Billy. It was very frightening. I was next. But I bulked and said, “No, you take my mother first!” The men said something like, “no, children first.” But I refused to let them take me. I wanted them to take Mother first! Mother was trying to get me to go, the men were trying to force me! But I was stubborn and said, “No! You take my mother first!” Mother finally looked at the men and said they should go ahead and take her because time was wasting! So they took Mother and came back to get me. There were lots of other passengers still waiting to be rescued.

We were taken to Manchester to a hotel for a nights sleep. What a day that had been! There was something good at the end of the day! We got to take a bath! We didn’t have a bathtub at home! Ah, Lorraine and I each soaked as long as we dared! It was wonderful! The next day we were taken on to Oregon, Wisconsin. We have many wonderful memories of that camp.

Richard would be entering 11th grade in high school and he and Mother and Daddy decided he would go to Wessington Springs Jr College and High School in South Dakota. He’d been working and saving his money. It was a Free Methodist School with a very good reputation. So off he went.

Then someone in the Waterloo Free Methodist Church offered to pay for Lorraine to also go to Wessington Springs for her 10th grade! Wow! How exciting for her! So just a couple of weeks after Richard left, Lorraine left, too. She went by train from Waterloo to Woonsocket, South Dakota!

How would she get from Woonsocket to Wessington Springs? Richard was there but he didn’t have a car. Bruce Kline offered his car to Richard to drive to get Lorraine! That was quite an offer and an honor! Bruce was a faculty member and with a family, Richard was a high school student! Richard did pick her up and that was the beginning of a new and good brother/sister relationship that had been one with lots of friction before! But now they needed each other!

Lorraine did very well and became very popular at Wessington Springs. She made lots of new friends, she was a cheer leader, and lots more! I anxiously waited for letters from her to the family. I missed her a lot!

Life at home changed immensely. Mother, Billy, and I were home. Daddy was traveling a lot as an evangelist. Mother had a job as head cook at Elk Run School where Billy and I attended. It was about a block from our house. I tried to keep busy and happy but I missed Lorraine. She was my big sister and I missed her so much. I prayed for her every day.

So this is just a cap full of the life of Lorraine and me. There is more I could have written, like how we survived the polio epidemic. We had a cousin and close friend who both died of polio, it affected both of us, in fact our whole family!

But this will do for now. Stay tuned…Lorraine, Billy, & me. (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Do Love A Taco

I made tacos for Jerry and me last evening for supper. We do love tacos! Tacos  I forgot to take a picture of an actual taco before we ate them! Sorry! This lazy Susan with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and meat mixture in the center is just right since there are only two of us now.

I’ll never forget the first time my family had tacos for supper. We were in Portland, Oregon, visiting my sister, Lorraine, and her beautiful family. There were six in each of our families. This would have been in the late 60’s. Bob, brother-in-law, suggested we have tacos for supper. My family hardly knew what a taco was! It sounded Mexican. But we were game! As I recall everyone, old enough, helped out. Grating the cheese was the biggest job… We warmed the shells for just a couple of minutes, then filled them with seasoned ground beef, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Oh boy, were they good!

Tacos became a favorite of my family. Everyone pitched in to help with preparation, especially grating the cheese! We never ended up with the right amount of cheese, somehow it got eaten as it was being grated!

One year at our family camp, Pam, our oldest daughter, had her first boyfriend, Lyle. She asked if he could come for supper, one day. Sure, he was a very nice young man. Lyle and Pam were both young teenagers, and what a coincidence, my very first boyfriend was also named Lyle! We decided to have a family favorite, tacos! I worked hard making sure everything was just right. I grated the cheese myself and made sure we had a large bowl of it. We ate outside under our camper awning. I stepped inside the camper to get something and when I came out, I was shocked! The cheese was on the ground! I was mad…okay, I was upset. I said, “WHO SPILLED THE CHEESE?” No one said a word, they just looked at me, like they wished I would keep still! Then Lyle spoke up and said he was so sorry, the bowl just slipped out of his hands! Oh, I felt so bad and so embarrassed. We salvaged as much as we could. I apologized for getting upset. It could have happened to anyone. As I recall we ended up with just enough for everyone to put some in their tacos. Years later, I saw Lyle at family camp again. This time, he was there with his wife and two young children! We talked and laughed about that fateful day, so many years ago!

Years later, Jerry and I went to Mexico, two years in a row. We worked at Rancho Betania, a Free Methodist camp, near Santa Ana, Sonora, Mexico. We were there about two weeks both years. We had a great time. One highlight was going to town for Tacos! We’d been advised to be careful what we bought to eat whenever we went to town. But this little restaurant we were told was an ‘okay’ place to eat! We all went as a group. The owners knew we were coming. Oh my! I’ve never eaten such delicious tacos in my life! What a wonderful memory!

Once in a while we go to a Mexican restaurant here but the tacos we prefer are the ones we have at home, made by me! By the way, I now buy grated cheese, no more grating cheese by hand and eating half of it! What wonderful memories of a simple, but delicious meal!

 

 

 

 

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today started out as almost every day starts out. Autumn was just beginning, as it is now. A few leaves were beginning to turn color. That day, in the morning, I had an inkling to call my sister, Lorraine. But I didn’t because she lived in Portland, Oregon and I live in Midland, Michigan! There is a three-hour difference in our time zones. Or is it four? I’m in Eastern Time Zone and she, in Pacific Time Zone. We’d been getting together about once or twice a year because we’d visit our parents in Washington. Then she moved to Washington for their final years. So when I went to visit Mother and Dad I stayed with her in her apartment. About a year after Dad died, Mother moved to Colorado, where our brothers lived.

And in between those visits, we talked often, on the phone, but most of our calls were late at night, so we weren’t interrupted by anyone or anything. We both loved our visits. They were always long visits, two or three hours long! We had so much to talk about!

  • Our childhood, we were just two and one-half years apart, we had such fun playing house (dolls), paper dolls, school. She was always the teacher! We played jacks, jump rope, tag, hide and seek. We listened to the radio every evening. We reminisced about all of this. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture is of Richard, Me in the middle, and Lorraine. Grandma had curled our hair for this picture.
  • Our family life, back when we were young. Our parents had rules we didn’t understand but had to obey. Dad was a pastor/evangelist in an evangelical denomination, Free Methodist, and there were strict rules. No jewelry or make-up, no movies, no dancing, no mixed swimming, no bowling, so many things we couldn’t do. Lorraine and I had long braids. Mother had two very long braids that she wrapped around her head, twice! Mother 001When Lorraine was in about fifth grade she wanted her hair cut and fixed like the other girls. She begged Mother to cut her hair. Finally, Mother gave in. But Lorraine heard her say softly, “I hope the Lord will forgive me for this!” Lorraine never forgot that statement. kids 1947 In this picture of the four of us children, I have braids but Lorraine doesn’t.
  • Thank goodness the Free Methodist Church no longer has those rules for dress and behavior. I’m still Free Methodist today. I love God with all my heart. But for Lorraine, to live a Christian life was a struggle. We had many discussions about those old rules and what it means to be a Christian today. I believe with all my heart she made her peace with the Lord.Lorraine
  • We discussed private matters that we only shared with each other. Being able to talk with each other, knowing our conversations were, for our ears only, freed both of us from guilt feelings that sometimes can plague a person’s mind.
  • We discussed our children and grandchildren. She had four, all girls. Her oldest, Christine, was my flower girl when Jerry and I got married! I had five, three boys and two girls. She had eleven grandchildren. I have fifteen grandchildren. We both love all of them, with no favorites.
  • We even discussed our husbands! She had two. I have one.

We decided, early on, not to discuss politics. We didn’t.

Well, the day, three years ago today, went by, the urge to call her left me, with the business of the day. That night I was tired and went to bed earlier than usual. But not being able to relax and fall asleep, I got up and went to the loft when I collapsed in my ‘lazy-boy’ chair. I hadn’t been there long when my phone rang. Oh good, it must be Lorraine!

But no, it was my older brother, Richard! He was calling with bad news. Lorraine had died sometime during the day. Her daughter, Christine, found her. Whatever else he said, I don’t know. I was in shock. Three years ago today. I miss Lorraine so much.

Sisters

Who can be closer than sisters? Sisters are special friends. They share bedrooms, even beds sometimes. They share clothes and jewelry sometimes. They have likes and dislikes! Secrets are big among sisters! They love to tease and have fun with each other!  Christy, Pam & Kay  My own two daughter’s, Christy and Pam!

One of my daughters-in-law and her sister. Jessica and Sarah. IMG_1343

0008  ???????????????????????????????  Two of my granddaughter’s, Isabella and Sydney!

Haleigh & Elmise  Two more granddaughter’s, Haleigh and Elmise!

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Maddie and Megan

Two more granddaughter’s, Maddie and Megan! (I’m looking for a better quality photo of them, when I find one, I’ll post it.)

01-22-2009 01;38;52PM  Four of my nieces, belonging to my sister, Lorraine. The oldest playing her violin is Christy. Playing the piano is Rhonda. Singing is Linda and then also, little Sonja! Of course, they’re all grown up now with children of their own. But such sweet sisters. The next picture of three sisters is of my great-nieces, daughters of Rhonda.

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Austin, Mackenzie, and Taylor.

Three more great-nieces, Kimberlyn, Courtney, and Jenna!

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Kimberlyn, Courtney, & Jenna.

Yes, sisters have a special relationship. My own sister and I played together as children. Family 001  Oh, the fun we had back then! We played ‘house’ with our dolls! We spent hours playing Paper dolls, Jacks, Jump rope, School, Tag, and more!  We listened to our favorite programs on the radio, like Fiber Magee and Molly, Let’s Pretend, Amos and Andy, and more!

Then as teenagers we kind of went our own ways. I’m not sure why. Lorraine & Anita as teens    She went away to a Christian High School, in her sophomore year of high school, so we were separated from then on. Of course, we were together occasionally but we lacked the close intimate relationship as sisters. We were both so busy with life.

But in retirement we connected again as sisters should and do! I’m on the right with grayish white hair!Lorraine

We lived across the country from each other but we spent hours on the phone, usually late at night, so there were no interruptions. We discussed everything from our childhood, the fun we had, to the strict rules placed upon us; our school years; our belief in God; husbands and children and then grandchildren! We seldom discussed politics. But we gained back that close relationship we had had as children! We loved each other.  We got together whenever we could.

Then late one night the phone rang. I was sure it was Lorraine and I eagerly answered. But no, it was my older brother. He called to tell me Lorraine had died, unexpectedly. I went into shock and still miss her so much!

I loved my sister.

Lorraine Roseann and Me

Lorraine and I were sisters. We played together all the time as children. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture of Richard, Lorraine and me, was taken in 1942. Grandma Aanas came to stay with us because Mother was deathly ill with our baby brother, Billy. Neither were expected to live. Billy was born three months premature and weighed 2lbs 9oz. . Grandma dressed us up, curled our hair, took us on a city bus to a photo shop and had our picture taken for our mother! I was three years old, I’m in the middle. Richard was seven. Lorraine was five.

Lorraine and I loved our dolls and played with them every day. We also played School, Lorraine was always the teacher. We played Jacks, Jump Rope, Mother-May-I, Paper Dolls, and more.  kids 1947  Richard, Anita, Billy, Lorraine. 1947.

Then Lorraine turned teenager! I was still a child. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to play with me anymore! She began to hang out with new friends! In her sophomore year of high school, she went away to school. Richard went to the same school in South Dakota. Our life at home was never the same.

Lorraine and I were in each other’s weddings,Lorraine 010 but we lived so far apart, South Dakota and Michigan, so we seldom saw each other. In this picture, left to right: Bill and Richard, ushers; Christine, flower girl; Lorraine, matron of honor; me, bride; Jerry, groom; Mother and Dad. Then we both became so busy with babies and raising our families, we didn’t take the time to write letters. I’m ashamed and so sorry that we drifted so far apart.

Lorraine and her family moved to Germany for nine months in the late sixties. On their way and on their way back they came to our house and stayed about a week each time. Lorraine and I became close during those visits. I even confided in her at her prompting. She sensed something was bothering me.

In our retirement, we finally came close once again. Lorraine, on the left. 334297_10150350549117528_639567527_8289434_855443489_oWith the change in phone systems, it became easy to call and chat for long conversations. We called often. We called late at night. We talked long…hours. We reminisced. We discussed God, church, family, death, ourselves, brothers, parents, children, grandchildren, news, weather, etc. We did not discuss politics!

Lorraine & Dog

We often laughed at the longevity in our genes. Aunt Bessie lived to be 102 years, Great Uncle Will lived to be 101 years, Mother lived to be 99 years and five months and Dad lived four days shy of 96 years! We both wanted to live long lives, but we didn’t want to be a burden to our children.

September 4, 2012 my phone rang late, I answered thinking of another good chat with Lorraine. Instead, it was my brother, Richard! He simply told me Lorraine had died. We didn’t talk long. I was in shock. He gave me a few details. She hadn’t answered her phone so Christine went to check on her. Christine’s mother, my sister, had died! I was in shock.

Lorraine was 76 years and seven months old. How could this be? What happened to our longevity? Oh, I miss her so much!

I’m now 76 years and five months old. Whoa…

Every morning I thank God for another day!

 

My Dad Part III

A Kessel moving van moved our families belongings from Des Moines, Iowa to Covington, Oklahoma. The truck driver’s wife was with him. A slogan was written on the truck: DON’T CUSS, CALL US! These are my memories of that move. It was a big adventure! The year was 1946. I was seven years old.

The house Dad had purchased for our family was a small two bedroom house! We were a family of six! But a good-sized porch, with a roof, went across the entire front of the house.    Dad’s plan was to enclose one-half of the porch and make a third bedroom for the boys to share, which he did.

The next big challenge for my parents came the day they enrolled three of us in school. In Des Moines, students were enrolled in January and September. We had, each, already had one semester of our grades. So, we either had to skip a semester or take a semester over! After discussing it, Dad and Mother, decided we should take a semester over. I was in second grade. It was a bit of a disappointment to us, children, especially for my sister, Lorraine. She was an A student. Then Dad and Mother had another dilemma. School books had to be purchased! They had no money left after this big move and I’m sure, buying groceries! I remember our family standing outside the school. My parents didn’t know what to do. They’d never heard of buying school books! A new friend, a man from our new church, Mr. Kegan, saw us and seemed to pick up on our situation. He walked over and handed my dad the money needed to purchase our school books! He was a friend, indeed!

Dad had a full slate of revival meetings lined up. He traveled the U.S. and Canada holding two-week revivals. When he came home for a few days of family time it was an exciting time for all of us. I have a story, posted on, Anita’s Adventures, at mylife-experieces.blogspot.com of one of his homecomings. It’s titled: What More Could Any Little Girl Want?  (the word, experiences, is misspelled)

Dad always brought a present home for each of us. I remember getting a monkey bank. When I put a coin in the slot, the monkey would tip his hat! Another time he brought me a small clock, resembling an antique clock. I treasured his gifts.

The four of us children in Covington. Richard, Anita, Billy, Lorraine. kids 1947

“Someday, when the kids are grown, I’m going to take you around the world!” I can still hear Dad saying this to  Mother.  These were difficult years for Mother. Money was scarce, she had all the responsibility of us children and keeping our family life going.

In 1947, Dad and Mother wanted to take a trip, with the family, back to Iowa, over Christmas vacation. It had been a year and a half since moving to Oklahoma. There just wasn’t enough money for a family of six to travel to Iowa. Dad, wherever he was holding a revival, and Mother at home, were both praying about it. They were both discouraged.

One morning a knock was heard on the door of the parsonage where Dad was staying. The woman, at the door, asked to speak with Rev. Glen Williamson. The pastor’s wife knocked on the guest room door, telling Dad to come to the living room. When he met the woman visitor, she told him the Lord had spoken to her, in the night. He told her that Glen Williamson had a need. She wasn’t able to go back to sleep until she promised to take cash to him in the morning. Surprised, he took the envelope from her and thanked her. After she left, Dad went to his room and opened the envelope. Inside were five 20 dollar bills! What an answer to prayer! This was just what they needed. In 1947, $100 was a huge amount of money!

We went by train to Waterloo, Iowa. Mother had her hands full traveling such a distance with four very active children. I think Dad must have met us there, I don’t remember him traveling with us. We had a wonderful visit with family and friends in Iowa and returned home to Covington. This was our last time to be with Grandma Williamson, Dad’s mother, in Manchester, Iowa. She died in the fall of 1948.

In the summer of 1948, a devastating tornado went through Oklahoma. It completely wiped out the town of Woodward. Covington got the tail winds of that tornado and even that was bad. I remember it well. Dad was gone. Mother had walked to town to the grocery store. The four of us children were at home. Our neighbor, Mrs. Powell, came running in telling us to get under the beds. Then she ran home to her own children. We were afraid for Mother and were praying for God to protect her. Suddenly she came running into the house and joined us in the bedroom. It was such a relief to have her with us, but we were all still scared and she joined us in praying.

We heard a loud crash! When the storm was over, we carefully left the bedroom to investigate. The living room windows were gone! The glass was outside! Our house had created a vacuum and sucked the windows out! Glass was everywhere in our yard! We also lost some siding off the house. But we were safe.

That did it. Dad was so worried about our family. When a church was offered to him in East Peoria, Illinois, he accepted the pastorate.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad…

My dad was almost 96 years old. In fact, his birthday was December 22. My older brother, Richard, and I were visiting Mother and Dad, who lived in Washington. Richard lived in Colorado and I lived in Michigan. My sister, Lorraine, was living in Washington, but because she was with them most days, had taken a few days off while we were there. My younger brother, Bill, living in California, was not there.

Richard and I were staying together in a cottage on the adjoining campground to the senior community Mother and Dad were a part of. Dad was now in the nursing home, Mother lived in their apartment in Independent Living. Sunday morning I decided to go visit with Dad before going to church with Mother and Richard. I walked to the nursing home and went right to Dad’s room. He was sitting in a wheelchair and was so glad to see me. We visited briefly. He was so alert! I suddenly asked if he’d like to go home to see Mother. Oh yes, he’d love to. I pushed him in his wheelchair down the halls to their apartment. Mother was so surprised to see us when we went through the door!

Dad loved being back in their apartment and looked it all over. He was so alert! It was kind of like arriving home after being on a long trip! I called Richard at the cottage and suggested he come right over so we could all visit together. What a wonderful morning we had! We looked at all the Christmas cards they had received, it was quite a stack! Dad knew each person or family and talked about what good friends they had been over the years. We skipped church that morning, but we had a wonderful time of sweet fellowship. God was there!

We took Dad back to the nursing home at noon so he could eat his dinner and we went to eat with Mother. We promised him we’d be back after dinner. We all went back to his room anticipating another good visit.

What happened? Did he know we were there? He wasn’t the same. Did he even know us? We stayed all afternoon, trying to make him comfortable.

We left at suppertime. Mother went back to the nursing home to sit with Dad but Richard and I went to our cottage. It had been a long day. About 9:00 PM I got a phone call from Mother…Dad was gone… December 18, 2005.

Here’s a review of my Dad’s life. He was born, the youngest of seven children, on a farm in Iowa. Scan_Pic0108

Scan_Pic0254  This picture of Dad is a very typical picture of him in his retirement years! Even though he was getting older, he managed to make the switch from a typewriter to a computer! By the way, he typed with two fingers! He spent hours writing stories, articles, books! He had 13 books published! Of course, they weren’t all after he retired. He loved writing. Dad and Mother traveled all over the world researching for books he authored. Most of them were historical biographies.

Dad 45  This picture of Dad is probably from the fifties.  Dad was a pastor, evangelist, writer, chef. He was also an editor, superintendent, traveler, student and author.

??????????????????????????????????  Dad had a bright future ahead of him back in 1928. He graduated from high school and that fall was a freshman at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was going to become a lawyer! He loved debating on the college debate team. Then in 1929, the bottom fell out of the financial world in America. Dad, along with most college students became a dropout.

He managed to get a job as a cook’s helper in a hotel kitchen. Scan_Pic0103 That’s Dad in the forefront. Tony Parrish, the chef, is behind him.

Tony Parrish became Dad’s uncle a few years later when Dad married my mother, Corina Aanas. Tony’s wife, Pauline Reinartson Parrish, was my mother’s aunt. Mother and Dad met when Larry Reinartson, Pauline’s brother, took her for a ride on his Indian Chief motorcycle and stopped at the hotel where he also worked as a cook’s helper! My dad was working his shift and stepped outside on a break, to chat with his friend, Larry. Larry introduced Glen to Corina and the rest is history! ???????????????????????????????  They were married November 30, 1933.

It was Thanksgiving Day, a good day to get married! Glen (Dad) began going through the phone book trying to find a pastor who would be willing to marry them that day! Finally, one answered…Rev. Mark Shockey, pastor of the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church. They had never heard of that church or that man before, but he was willing to marry them if they came soon. He was going hunting so they’d better hurry!

My dad advanced at work and became a chef! But times were tough. They moved often, wherever a cooking job was available. Three children were born to them in five years. Richard in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Lorraine in 1936 in Clinton, Anita in 1938, back in Waterloo. Yes, times were tough. Drinking and smoking were taking up too much of the meager salary Dad was making.

One day, as Dad was reading the newspaper, he decided to check out the pastor of the Free Methodist Church. He wondered if it was the same pastor as the one who married them. No, Pastor Shockey had moved. A new pastor was there now, Rev. E. W. Walls.

Dad suddenly saw a picture of some friends of his from a few years past! J.K. French and Oscar Leper.  They were singers and would be singing in the Free Methodist Church! He laughed! What were they doing singing in a church? When they were all single, these two friends sang in bars! My dad would go into a bar where they were singing, throw a fifty cent piece into a cup…as bait! Other people would follow suit! Then they’d go to another bar. Before entering the guys would hand my dad the fifty cent piece, he’d wait outside until he heard them singing, then he’d go in and throw the fifty cent piece in again! What were they doing singing in a church!?

To be continued…