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…

 

 

 

 

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!