My Big Brother and Me

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

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

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

Oh no, what did I do now?

“See my comic books?” he asked sternly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued as part 2.

 

 

 

September 4

September 4 was an important day in my life three times. I’ll write about two of them here.

September 4, 2012. My phone rang late that night. I gladly answered it, knowing it would be Lorraine, my sister. We often talked late at night because there were no interruptions! We could talk as long as we wanted to and we often talked for a couple of hours or longer! We talked about our childhood, our parents and brothers and sisters-in-law, our grandchildren, our feelings, our belief in God…and sometimes, non-belief. We both felt better when we hung up, knowing we both had shared our true feelings, knowing we both understood where we each stood on issues, and feeling a little closer to each other and to God.  Lorraine

But this night when I answered with a cheery hello, it wasn’t Lorraine. It was my brother, Richard! Well, that was a surprise, but I enjoy talking with him too. Then he told me why he was calling. Lorraine had died that day! No! No! It can’t be! What? How? When? Why? No! Not Lorraine!

How many times had we laughed about the longevity in our genes! We both hoped we’d keep our good health and clear minds as we aged. Our parents did so we should too! She was a widow and one year she flew from Oregon to Michigan to visit me! I was thrilled as we had a great time together.

We’d been so close as children but had grown apart when we were teenagers and then as young wives and mothers we were so busy and so many miles apart we just didn’t keep up with a close relationship, like we should have. I’m actually ashamed…

But now we were both retired and had time and needed each other so we spent hours on the phone late at night. We sometimes talked about death. I assured her of my relationship with Jesus and my belief in God. She had many questions and I felt her belief begin to blossom again. We even talked about death but it was a long way off and we needed to have a close relationship with God as time was going by so quickly. She told me she had forsaken her faith years ago and I assured her I’d be praying for her because God loved her. Then one night she told me she believed in God again. She felt Him with her. She wanted to be even closer to Him. I continued to pray for her daily. Now, suddenly, she was gone. But our conversations and prayers were not in vain. I believe she’s in heaven and I’ll be with her one day.

September 4, 2013. Mother, who had died on August 25, at 99 1/2 years, was buried beside Dad, in Stanwood, Washington. We struggled, debated, questioned and finally decided to have Mother’s ashes buried on September 4. Lorraine had died one year earlier on September 4. It was a distance from Castle Rock, Colorado where she’d been living and had died. Everyone had a distance to travel to get there and then to get back home, for some many hundreds of miles. Lorraine was also honored in the short burial service for Mother. It was a painful day.                                                                                                            Lorraine & Dog       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     6038 (2) (1)

September 4, 2018. The pain is still in my heart. It hasn’t gone away. It’s just as vivid as in 2012 and 2013. I loved Lorraine and I loved Mother. Someday I’ll be with both of them, when my day comes to leave this earth. I love you, Lorraine! I love Mother!

 

 

Having Babies In The 60’s and Early 70’s

I remember those first few minutes after each of my babies was born. It wasn’t like today! I had no idea what the sex of the baby would be! So it was a wonderful surprise when the doctor would say if it was a boy or a girl! Two times Dr. Buskirk announced, “It’s a girl!” Two times Dr. Buskirk announced, “It’s a boy!” Then Dr. Harrigan announced, “It’s a boy!”  I had wonderful doctors and will never forget them. Five babies and that was enough. But it was a wonderful surprise, which ever it was: girl or boy!

Jerry couldn’t be in the delivery room with me. He had to wait in the waiting room and a nurse went out to tell him the baby had arrived and the sex of the baby! He then waited until I was taken to the recovery room before he could join me and see and hold the new baby! It was kind of torture for him and all new fathers!

When I was taken to my room no visitors were allowed except Jerry and my parents! In our hospital there were wards for new mothers! Four or five mothers to a ward! So I guess it was best that no visitors were allowed! There were large windows lining the wall and looking out to a lovely courtyard. Family and friends could come to the windows and get a look at the new baby and me. Jerry brought all four of our kids to the window to see their new baby brother, Robert Glen. Robby. They were so excited!

But I want to back up to before the baby was born. It wasn’t like today at all. Most new mothers were modest. I was. I wore a skirt or pants with an elastic front that would expand with me! Maternity tops did fairly well! My tops were gathered under the bust and were long enough to cover the elastic on my skirt and to cover my growth! I was fairly comfortable with these outfits. I was proud to be pregnant but didn’t want to show my expanding stomach! I had some very attractive maternity clothes!

I can’t find any pictures of when I was pregnant to show how I and almost all pregnant women dressed. So not just me, it was the style of that day. I will admit when I see a pregnant woman today, I become uncomfortable. I want to cover them up!

It’s the style today and I must conform. But I’m still proud of my pregnancy wardrobe and outfits. I was slender and proud to be carrying a new life within me.

I was fortunate and had relatively short labors! My first baby only took two hours and 20 minutes of labor! After that one my labors were more like five or six hours. My last baby was my longest labor of about seven or eight hours. He was also my largest baby at 8 lbs 6 oz. An interesting fact that is interesting to me is that today I remember the weight of each of my five babies! Pammy – 7 lbs 7 oz; Teddy – 6 lbs 5 oz; Timmy – 8 lbs 2 oz; Christy – 6 lbs 10 oz; Robby – 8 lbs 6 oz.

One fact today really bothers me! I stayed in the hospital for five days after my babies were born! For two of my babies I was kept in the hospital for seven days! Today mothers and babies are sent home after only a couple of days! I don’t understand that and I don’t like it! I know it was difficult for my husband to have me away for so long but my body needed the rest and the strength to return to my normal use.

I wonder if any others feel like I do. Do you like the tight form fitting outfits today? Do you approve of mothers and babies going home after only two days in the hospital?

 

 

 

I Remember…

I don’t have very many memories from my early childhood, only a few outstanding ones.  The first memory I have is when I was three years old. We lived in Waterloo, Iowa and someone gave me a live, white bunny! I loved my bunny! I carried him all around. I don’t remember putting him down but I’m sure I did at meal times and bed time. I didn’t have him long though because one morning when I went to get him he had died during the night! I cried and cried and cried.          doc file Anita  I don’t know how old I am in this picture but I think I look about three. I’m adding it because I’ve been told I cried no matter what they did to make me smile! So they covered my mother with a blanket and I’m sitting on her lap! But I don’t remember it!

One day I fell going up the steps to the front porch. I bit my tongue. It was a bad bite and it bled and bled. It’s strange I don’t remember it because Mother has told how badly I hurt and bled. I still have the cut on my tongue after all these years! So I know it happened but I don’t remember it!

Another memory was one evening my parents had to go somewhere so a friend came to stay with us kids. I remember we took all the cushions off the sofa and chairs and made a playhouse! I think Mother probably wouldn’t allow us to make such a mess in the living room but Daddy’s friend played along with us! We had such fun!

I remember being introduced to some friends of my dad. I must have been about four. I’ve always remembered the look of pride on my dad’s face as he said, “This is Anita, my little daughter!”

I can still hear my Great-Aunt Ina reciting “O Captain, My Captain.” She put such expression into it! But I didn’t know where we were when she recited it until just a few years ago my sister told me she and another great-aunt had come to visit us in Des Moines for a couple of weeks. I don’t remember that! I must have been about four.

Anita Flower Girl, 4 yrs.

Anita, the flower girl with a bow.

I was four when I was a flower girl. That was a mighty important occasion for me! Do I remember it? NO! I remember being told about it but I don’t have any memories of the day or of the experience!

I remember my sister, Lorraine, playing school with Mother’s spice cans and buttons from Mother’s button can! I can even see her!

I could tell you lots of stories from my early childhood but they’d be stories that have been told to me. I started school in Des Moines but I don’t remember it! I’ve written lots of stories from my childhood so I don’t think I’ll repeat them here. If you’re a reader of my blog you’ve probably read them!

My memory opened up when we made our big move to Covington, Oklahoma! It was the summer of 1946. A big moving van moved our furniture. And my mind opened up! The moving van was Kessell’s Moving Van with a slogan written on the truck: Don’t Cuss…Call Us! We were a family that didn’t even use slang words!  The driver’s wife rode with him, they were a very kind and friendly couple!

What about you? When did your memory wake up? I think my memory was rather lazy in my early years! But I have really enjoyed all the stories my family has told me!

 

 

Remembering Billy Graham

Billy Graham breathed his last earthly breath on February 21, 2018. He was 99 years old. He was a man that I, and millions of others, looked up to. He never disappointed me. God was with him.

In 1956 I was hired, as a teenager of 16, to work at the Eskimo Inn, a restaurant in Winona Lake, Indiana. I had taken the train from Des Moines, Iowa, where my family lived at the time, to work for the summer. This is a town, near Warsaw, where there were many Christian conventions and retreats held. My own denomination, Free Methodist, had it’s headquarters in Winona Lake, Indiana.

I was living, along with all the other employee girls, up in the 3rd floor of the Winona Hotel. I remember how hot it was up there, every day and night!!!

So, on this day, I was on my way to my room. As I approached the hotel I saw Billy Graham come out the door! Yes, he was staying in the same hotel I was living in! I’m assuming he had the best room in the hotel, maybe even had air conditioning! It was a very hot summer! As I approached he spoke to me! He was so gracious and polite! Somehow I managed to ask if I could take his picture! He very kindly obliged!

Billy Graham (2)                         I love his shoes!

So many well known evangelists have fallen morally. I remember reading that Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, and George Beverly Shay had an agreement, or more of a pact between them, that they would never meet with a woman, for any reason, alone. Someone would have to be in the room with them. There is just so much to admire about Billy Graham. God blessed him.

When our children were young a special meeting with Billy Graham and his team was scheduled to be in the Silver Dome! My brother, Bill, and his family were visiting us so we all piled in the station wagon and drove to Pontiac to attend the Billy Graham crusade! That was before seat belts! There were twelve of us in our ’66 Pontiac station wagon! It was an unforgettable trip and experience!

There is so much to write about Billy Graham I hardly know what to write! Do any of you, my readers, have an experience to share about Billy Graham? Please write about it in a comment! I would love to read your experiences!

 

 

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)

—————————————————————–

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?”