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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Jerry and His Toys

Jerry, like all men, has had his toys! I’ll start here in the very early 50’s! He was a teenager and didn’t like mowing the grass any better than the other boys. So he got to work and made himself a riding lawn mower! No one had riding mowers back then! jerry-mowing-lawn-rider-late-40s-2When we were young, if you wanted something, you either made it or you saved your money and bought it with cash!                                                                                                                  A few years later, at the lake, he saw folks waterskiing! He could do that…he knew he could, if he just had a boat! So…he worked and saved his money

jerry-boat-1955-2 Here is Jerry with his boat he saved for! He became a very good skier and had a great time with his friends! Years later, he taught all five of our children and even some of their friends to waterski!boat-jerry-1980-2 This is at Wixom Lake, north of Midland.  In about the middle 70’s he bought this nice boat so our children could learn to waterski. Jerry is standing in the boat, Tim is sitting, and Robby is in the water, wanting to climb into the boat! I can’t, for the life of me, think who the girl is! We spent many fun hours at Wixom Lake, Higgons Lake, Lake Margarite, and a few others! All five of our children became very good water skiers!    Just…not me!

One day, in the early 2000’s, our son, Ted, called Jerry on the phone. He had the chance to buy a ’69 MG B, but with his young family, he just couldn’t buy it! The price was right! Would Dad like to buy it? It’s the first and only time Jerry ever bought anything without looking it over and driving it, first! Yes, he bought the MG sight unseen! IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF

He loved his little MG! He still has it but he doesn’t drive it anymore.

Jerry bought this Wheel Horse tractor about 35 years ago! He still uses it today but only for plowing, mainly snow or sometimes dirt. He used to mow our grass with it but now it’s too much work to take the plow off and put the mower on, then later, take the mower off and put the plow back on. It’s a big job.  I bought a trailer for the Wheel Horse one year and gave it to Jerry for Christmas. I hid it in the neighbor’s garage and Jerry had to find it! He still has the trailer, too. This is what he plows the snow with in winter. Although now, our good neighbor plows our snow with his truck and all he wants for pay, is a pie from me!

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So he bought his new John Deere for mowing!

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Jerry on his new John Deere

Jerry loves his John Deere tractor!

Life keeps moving on! The years have taken their toll! He can’t play or work like he used to! But mowing with his John Deere is something he can do and he does.

Life has been good! Jerry has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He loves God first, then me, and then our five children.

 

 

 

New, Old Flower Bed

I love flowers. But, living in the woods isn’t a good place for growing flowers. I’ve tried and tried and have had only a little success.

I also love antiques. We have lots. The ones that mean the most are ones that have been in my family from years and years ago.

One of our antiques is an old double bed frame. It’s been in the family for years and years! In fact, Jerry slept in it in his growing up years.Now, what does a person do with an old iron bed frame? It’s been hanging in our pole barn for years.

Somewhere, in our travels, we saw a ‘flower bed’ or ‘bed of flowers’ in a yard! It was an old iron bed frame with flowers blooming inside!

So that’s where the idea came to us. Last fall Jerry and I worked hard making a flower bed inside the frame of our old iron bed frame! IMG_1495  It used to be black, we painted it brown.

It’s still not what I want it to be yet, but we have had flowers blooming in it this summer! Flowerbed 2 (2)  Flowerbed 1 (3) In the right-hand corner, I have a lonely, little, red Petunia.  Actually, I planted Petunias all along there but most of them didn’t make it.  IMG_2208 (2)  This is a close-up of an Oriental Lily.

I’ll have Dahlia’s blooming early this fall. So there you have it!

 

A Drink of Water

 

I answered a knock on our door. A stranger stood there, a young woman, dressed as a person trying to find her way in life, looking tired, disheveled, and frustrated. “Hi,” I said with a question mark. She had dyed her hair a couple of different shades of red or pink or both. It was tied in  sort of a ponytail but it really wasn’t long enough! I don’t know how to describe her pants. They were black, tight, mainly with holes! Her black shirt was long and rather tight.

She began talking fast. “My phone is dead. I’m trying to find my boyfriend’s house. Can I charge my phone?”

Before I even answered I thought of the electrical outlet on our porch! “Sure you can, we have an outlet right over here.” I quickly moved the old antique buggy parked, covering the outlet. “Plug it in right here.”

She explained her boyfriend lived on this same road but she didn’t know where. She needed his house number. “What’s your house number?” She was very nervous. “Could I have a drink of water?” she blurted out.

“Sure,” I answered. “Do you want ice in it?” She nodded. I went in to get her a paper cup of ice water. But when I got to the kitchen I reached for a glass and filled it with ice cubes and water. A Drink of Water close up

She gladly accepted it. I suggested she sit on our swing. She seemed to relax a little bit. I didn’t see a car so I asked how she got here. “On my bike!” she replied.  Sure enough, there sat a bike in our driveway.

I asked if she’d like to call her boyfriend on my phone. She finally reached him and he gave her his house number. It was about a half mile east of our house. As she walked to her bike she thanked me for helping her out and then said, “My boyfriend is the father of the  unborn baby I’m carrying!”

I watched as she rode her bike down our long driveway to the road. I had so many questions. How far had she ridden her bike? How far along was her pregnancy? Did she ride out here from town, a distance of about five miles? Or did she also live in the country? How did she pick our house to ask for help? Did her boyfriend already know about the baby or was she meeting him to tell him?

Jerry and I had a lot to think about and talk about that evening. We had so many unanswered questions. We were so glad I was able to help her out in even just a small way.

Then we began to get some negative thoughts. What if we were being staked out for them to return during the night? No. This couldn’t be. She was too sweet! She just needed help. I don’t even know her name! I don’t know her boy friend’s name, even though he’s a neighbor of ours!

She is a person created by God. She was mysteriously brought to our door. She and her boyfriend and the tiny baby are being added to my prayer list. God knows their names! God loves them!

 

 

Living in the Big Woods, Part 1

During all of my growing up years, I lived in both small towns and large cities. We moved a lot. I lived in Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana and South Dakota. I’ve lived in Michigan now for 58 years.

For all but the first five years of my married life, I’ve lived in the woods! For 19 years I’ve lived in the woods where my husband and I live now. Ah, living in the county and in a woods can be and is so exciting!

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Our log home

We have all kinds of wild life, which we love, so I’ll try to write about them here. We have deer, raccoon’s,  opossum’s,  turkeys, coyote’s, foxes, lynx, rabbit’s, owl’s, eagles, hawks, all kinds of birds, squirrels, snakes, bears (?) and more!

I’ll start with the bear! I was sitting upstairs in our loft, in my lazy-boy recliner, with the window wide open. It was late, I was getting very sleepy and was about to go to bed. But suddenly I heard loud growling, groaning and moaning, mumbling and plundering through the woods! The motion light turned on but I couldn’t see what the animal was. The next night, the same sounding animal went through, but the motion light didn’t turn on. Whatever it was it was good-sized, not like a raccoon or other small animal! Then Jerry noticed a tree near the pole barn that had some branches broken and hanging. It looked like an animal had climbed the tree and was too heavy for the light branches. A bear could have caused that! A couple of days later we saw a picture, in the newspaper, of a bear lying in a ditch… dead, only about two miles from where we live! Could that have been our bear? Another consideration was a wild boar. They’ve been known to be around our area.

I’ll write about our turkeys next. My parents came to visit us from Washington state in September of 1998. They wanted to see our new log home. They would be here for a full week and I was a little concerned with how to entertain them! No worry! Every day, between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, 14 wild turkeys came marching through the woods, up our long driveway! There were three hens and 11 young ones. I called the young ones teenagers because they were big enough to fly into the trees at night. They would wander around our yard, especially under the bird feeders, eating whatever they found, that they liked. Then between seven and seven-thirty PM they flew up into some trees, right beside our house, to roost for the night! My parents were entertained every day!

Sometimes they flew onto the roof of our house. One evening I was upstairs and could hear the turkeys on the roof. I looked up through the sky light. Oh my goodness, a turkey was staring down at me!

Early in the mornings we could hear the gobble, gobble, gobble as they woke up, flew down and went on their way!

The next year a few turkeys came to roost in our trees but not as many. Now days we have a few who come to find food but they don’t stay long and they don’t roost in our trees!

I think my favorite wild animals to visit us are the deer. We’ve had many, many deer come wandering into our yard. They are so quiet I often just happened to see them when I glanced out the window and there they’d be! I would stop whatever I was doing just to watch them. Such beautiful creatures standing quietly, eating leaves off the trees. Sometimes just one, or sometimes several deer would be here. What I loved the most was springtime when a doe would come into the yard with a fawn, or two! It was a thrill to watch them nursing from their mother.

One day our grandson, Armon, came running, “Gramdma, Grandma, you’ve got to come quickly! A baby deer is by the pond! It was just born!” We went running to the pond and sure enough, except there were two fawns!

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Twin Fawns

Twin fawns born beside our pond! It’s kind of hard to make out the second one. We were all so excited! A little while later I went back out by myself to take a better picture…they were gone! The mother must have been watching us and when we left, decided to move them to a safer place, one that we didn’t know about! Several times, as they were growing, they came into our yard by our house. It was so fun to watch them running and skipping about! Sometimes we got to watch them stop for a little nourishment from their momma!

I’ve seen several deer sleep in our woods by our house! It’s very exciting to me to see them before they get up for the day!

Well, more stories another day! Good night!

 

 

Surprise!!!

On Sunday, January 10, Jerry turns 80! Jerry & Anita Jan 8, '06  How can that be? Where have the years gone? Neither one of us know!

It’s been a few days of surprises for Jerry! Our Canadian son, Tim and daughter-in-law, Shauna, came as a surprise! I almost  spoiled it several times! I caught myself just in time and was able to keep the secret! On Thursday, about 3:30 PM I told Jerry I needed to go to the store to pick up a few items. Instead of going to the store, I drove to the airport to meet Tim and Shauna! When we arrived home I let them out so they could go to the front door. I drove into the garage and went in through the kitchen as normal. Jerry mentioned it took me a long time to buy a few items! Then Tim and Shauna walked up and knocked on the door! In they came! Jerry said he thought he was seeing things! He was thoroughly surprised! It was so fun! They brought a surprise gift to him from a friend, Keith. IMG_1673  IMG_1674

This morning, Saturday, we, Tim, Shauna, Jerry, and I went out for breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Lanny’s. When we walked in, there at the far end of the room sat our family! Jerry could hardly believe it! How fun it was!All Here  Here we all are! Shauna, me, Bella, Gene, Pam, Ted, Sydney, Christy, Jerry, and Tim! Jerry was so surprised! They had come from Chicago; South Carolina; and Holland, Michigan! They had stayed overnight at a motel so they could be at the restaurant before the four of us got there!

When we got back home it was interesting to see how everyone was enjoying catching up with each other! Reminscising  Bella and Pam are looking at the calendar Sydney had made and given to us for Christmas. Christy and Ted are looking at the book of photos Christy had made and given us for Christmas! Dad overwhelmed  Jerry is a bit overwhelmed with everyone here since he didn’t know they were even coming! On the sofa is Bella, Ted, Christy, Sydney, Tim is sitting in a chair talking with Sydney. Bella, Grandpa, Sydney Bella and Sydney love Papa! They were the only two grandchildren who got to be in on this birthday surprise! Then Christy decided grandchildren couldn’t take her place on Dad’s lap! Christy loving Dad  Two in-laws escaped to the kitchen to chat! Shauna and Gene  Shauna and Gene.  Finally, Pam had to escape to the sun room to get some work done. In today’s world, you can take your job with you, wherever you go! Pam still working

We missed Rob’s family from Georgia but they were here between Christmas and New Year and just couldn’t take the time from jobs and school to make a return trip so we celebrated birthdays while they were here! Haleigh turned 19 on January 8 and Jerry will be 80 on January 10.Jerry & Haleigh B-day cake

 

FAMILY! The most important and special people in the world!